Arts & Culture / Featured / Mosaic / February 19, 2014

Celebrating bodies, diversity

Sophomore Mackenzie Anderson models for Bodies Week. (Courtesy of Rosie Castle)

Sophomore Mackenzie Anderson models for Bodies Week. (Courtesy of Rosie Castle)

Despite changes to the events this year and even more photographer and model participants, SASS’s Bodies Week remains consistent in its message: the importance of diversity and self-appreciation.

Formerly known as Love Your Body, SASS renamed the weeklong event Bodies Week in an effort to be more encompassing.

“It’s more of promoting awareness of diversity of bodies and saying that it’s a process. That not everyone necessarily loves their body, but it’s something we’re all trying to work toward,” senior Karyn Kraska said. She’s been fundamental in the planning of Bodies Week this year, especially focused on the culminating photography exhibit.

Loving your body, Kraska said, takes time, but Bodies Week aims to encourage students to love themselves.

SASS will be hosting a number of events on campus this week to help spread its message, including a self-care workshop on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. and the Bodies Gallery, which students seem to look forward to most. This year, approximately 100 students modeled and around 20 photographed.

Sophomore Rosie Castle participated in the event last year as a model, but decided to photograph this year, ultimately taking on 15 models — more than any other photographer. It was important to her that everyone had an opportunity to participate in the exhibit and that her models felt comfortable and had fun. Thus far, it’s been her favorite experience at Knox.

“Seeing comfortable men and women pose and be vulnerable was so inspirational,” she said. “It’s just so personal and emotional to see people go through the same things you do. It’s beautiful and it’s definitely one of the best, if not the best, thing I’ve ever been a part of.”

For the first time, this year SASS will release a zine at the gallery, compiled of statements and writings from both photographers and models, which will hopefully shed light on the photos and what they mean to the models and photographers.

“There’s a huge variety of what people have said. Some people are expressing discomfort with their bodies and other people are saying I’ve always loved my body,” Kraska said.

It’s important to her, she said, that people take time to self-reflect over the week and take time to appreciate and respect their bodies.

“I really hope that people are able to see that all of these shapes and sizes and differences in people are really beautiful and they stand out. And I want people to see in the zine that people have a lot of different opinions about how they feel about their bodies,” she said.

Castle expressed a hope that people can reflect on the courage students have shown in taking mostly nude photos for the exhibit, and hopes that the event can help fight against societal expectations of the “perfect body type.”

“Everyone’s beautiful, and I’m a firm believer in that. It’s just a great way of changing the way our society looks at people,” she said.

Kraska echoed the sentiment, which matches the purpose and message of Bodies Week.

“It’s important that people just be healthy and not super skinny or have these really high standards from magazine and media, and just concentrate on this is the body I’ve been given, and it’s functional, and it’s healthy,” she said.

Tags:  bodies Love Your Body models photographers

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Kate Mishkin
Kate Mishkin is a junior majoring in English literature and minoring in journalism. This is her first year as managing editor, after having served as co-news editor and co-mosaic editor. Kate is the recipient of two awards from the Illinois College Press Association for news and feature stories and one award from the Associated Collegiate Press. In 2014 she won the Theodore Hazen Kimble Prize and Ida M. Tarbell Prize in Investigate Journalism. During the summer of 2014, she will be interning at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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