by: Ashley Quinton
News and Politics Writer
The Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association (BANA) is using positive messages and unfiltered selfies to generate awareness of self-esteem and body image issues.
National Eating Disorder Awareness Week started February 1st and runs until the 7th and ties in with Bell Let’s Talk Week – an initiative to encourage conversations about mental health in order to destigmatize it.
BANA’s campaign invites students and community members create a positive message on a letter board and a Polaroid is taken of them. They are then asked to post the picture on social media.
Shauna Chiandussi, Health Promotion Educator for BANA, says the intent of the campaign is “to encourage students to realize they don’t have to edit or filter those photos – they are just able to be themselves.”
Chiandussi said there was a buzz around the BANA booth during the University of Windsor’s Bell Let’s Talk Day event, “I think the students like the fact that it is not all about eating disorders themselves, it’s about the preventative pieces as well. We are focusing on self-esteem building and just truly being you.” She says it’s important to understand that a lot of what we see on social media isn’t real. “We are getting a small piece of someone’s whole life so we are making comparisons and that’s what is really affecting our self-esteem and body image.”
Rebecca Lizner a 4th-year criminology student and President of the Forensic Association at the University of Windsor loves the idea of the campaign. “I thought it was really good that you could pick a quote that either speaks to you or speaks to the level that you’re at in your life right now.”
Lizner picked a quote saying, “shout out to the people that are trying to love themselves in a world that is constantly telling you not to.” She says she feels we are stuck in a negative place right now, “everyone is glamourizing eating disorders and people, I feel, are very negative. So that quote puts the idea out there to just love yourself, who you are and where you are in your life. You can’t just base your life off someone else’s.”
Linzer uses filters on her photos a lot but says this initiative will make her think twice. “I thought the filters took away all the flaws from the pictures, but today I saw the flaws and I embraced them which I normally don’t.”
BANA is a non-profit organization community that treats and diagnoses people suffering from eating disorders in the community. They also focus on health promotion through self-esteem and body literacy.
They will be holding their 35th-anniversary gala at Caesars February 17th.
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