Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought that person looking back at me is ugly, fat or useless? Of course, we have all said negative things about ourselves and the way we look. The truth is everyone is unhappy with one thing about themselves, but it’s all about how you react to the negative thoughts from society and come to the acceptance of your flaws.
As part of Women’s History Month, the Center for Multicultural Education hosted many events during the month of March. One of the events included guest speaker Jes Baker coming to campus and talking to students about body image and loving yourself just the way you are.
During her powerful and passionate “Body Love” presentation, Baker talked about the history of an ideal body type, the stigma surrounding mental illness and ways that people can change the way they look at themselves and others. Throughout the presentation, she encouraged each student to “change the world, not their body” by discussing statistics that related to weight and health. Baker also discussed that learning to love yourself as you are can help improve society on a whole new level.
“When you are confident and take up space and say f— you to fashion rules, it’s a revolution,” Baker said. “There is an alternative way of thinking that the reason we hate ourselves is because of an elaborate hoax that was created by very selfish people decades ago.”
Baker also believes that by embracing “Body Love,” we will be bringing light into our communities on a global level and ultimately we will be investing in and creating confident individuals who are able to accept themselves the way they are.
“When we embrace “Body Love” and the revolution, we will be happy and healthy individuals living the lives we love, but there is more; globally we will see self-depression minimize, increased confidence, goal setting and more money,” Baker said. “Mental health issues will not go away, but that for which we create for ourselves will.”
Alpha Sigma Alpha member Shelby DeMott felt that Baker’s presentation about body image was very eye-opening.
“Something new I learned was definitely where our body images stem from and the facts about how people really compare themselves to others,” DeMott said.
When Baker is not traveling across the world speaking about her positive self-love advocacy at universities, she is writing and pursuing a degree in Social Work at Arizona State University. She writes for several large online publications including xoJane and “Volup2 Magazine” as well as for her blog, The Militant Baker and the “Attractive and Fat” campaign.
Back in 2006, Baker changed the brand’s Abercrombie and Fitch logo to “Attractive & Fat” in a mock black-and-white Abercrombie ad to challenge the line’s branding efforts. The “Attractive and Fat” campaign drew coverage from CNN, the “Today” show, the BBC and many other national and international media networks.
Baker speaks out about the power of vulnerability and living in a world where worth is determined by appearance and the size of clothes you wear.
“We have really bad days and low self-esteem and that just doesn’t need to happen,” Baker said.
In addition, Baker also spends time helping people with mental illnesses and coaching them to re-enter the workforce through on-the-job training. She not only provides peer support and offers new ways to engage in successful recovery, but shows them how to become peer-support professionals themselves.
Nursing major Heather Stobbs believed that the event informed her on a different side that she didn’t know about already.
“I didn’t really realize that body image was a part of history, so it was interesting to see her side from a different view,” Stobbs said.