Reflections Body Image Club has existed at SRU for over ten years. The recently revived group discusses beauty ideals in the media, eating disorders and body positivity. This year’s executive board members are working to increase the club’s visibility on campus.
Audrey Hilliard and Sydni Smith are president and vice president of Reflections, respectively. Hilliard doubles as the treasurer and Smith also holds the public relations and outreach position. Both are senior psychology majors.
According to Smith and Hilliard, they took leadership positions because they saw potential in the club.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity to be a part of something,” Hilliard said. “I could see that there were things that needed to be built upon.”
They provide resources for students who may need them, but both women emphasized that Reflections is not a support or therapy group.
“We want to focus on the body positivity, body image, positive affirmations aspect,” Smith said. “I don’t want people to feel bad when they leave. We don’t want people to feel like it was too heavy.”
In the past, Hilliard and Smith have been negatively affected by media that promotes an ideal look. They plan to address these ideals in future meetings.
“As a teenage girl, [body image is] always something you’re thinking about,” Hilliard said. “Media is so targeted on how you look.”
Smith expanded on issues she experienced personally. Starting as a teenager, she dealt with acne, and it took time for her to discover that imperfect skin was normal.
“Not everyone looks airbrushed all the time,” Smith said. “Seeing all these Proactiv commercials back in the day, with all these celebrities endorsing it … I would buy it and it didn’t work on me. And I realized, this is a scam.”
“I think going through that struggle made me more critical of the media,” she continued. “Not just the beauty ideals, but where to spend your money. Beauty perceptions are all marketing. It’s a way to make money off your insecurities.”
Reflections is open to people of any gender or major, with any perception of their body. In the future, Hilliard and Smith want to dedicate a meeting to athletes and another to men. They believe body image in these two groups is not talked about enough.
The club will be holding a body positivity week in late October. They plan to show a movie with body-positive themes and bring therapy dogs to the quad for stress relief.
“We’ve had therapy dogs, but I want to make it bigger this year, to get more dogs to come and bring more happiness to students on campus,” Smith said.
Next spring, members of Reflections plan to hold National Eating Disorder Week for people affected by eating disorders. In the meantime, they will spread awareness of Reflections and its goals through other events.
“Whether it’s looking at yourself in the mirror, not liking what you see, [or] not feeling confident in your body, trying to find that confidence is difficult,” Hilliard said. “For me, it was hard to say ‘I’m enough’.”