TriDelts Confront Body Image on SMU’s Campus

October 2, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Courtney O’Callaghan

Students sign up for the TriFit event, hosted by Delta Delta Delta Wednesday night. (PHOTO BY COURTNEY O'CALLAGHAN / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Walk down the boulevard or through the gym on SMU’s campus and you may hear talk of body image issues.

“I come in contact with girls who will skip meals because they claim to eat too much the day before,” said Sofia Kouninis, an SMU freshman. “Body image definitely has a presence at our school.”

Kouninis believes that group activity to provoke awareness of this silent problem is a good solution to building a needed support system.

That’s part of why she, and around eighty other SMU women, payed $2 admission to attended Trifit on Wednesday evening at the Dedman Center. Hosted by Delta Delta Delta, the night of four one hour-long exercise classes focused on the “healthy ideal” instead of the “thin ideal.”

Trifit is a branch of the Reflections Body Image Program, a Delta Delta Delta national organization established to help sorority sisters find and maintain a positive body image.

The girls are in full force as they work out for better body image. (PHOTO BY COURTNEY O'CALLAGHAN / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

A Cross gender affair

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, as many as ten million women and one million men are suffering from eating disorders nationwide. With this in mind, the women of TriDelt saw a need for the event.

“We saw a positive effect of the program in our chapter and wanted to share that opportunity with the whole student body, boys and girls a like,” said Lauren Richie, an organizer of Trifit.

Translating the NEDA statistic from above, ten percent of those suffering from eating disorders are male. Richie believes the “celebrity ideal” for men and women is twisted and not plausible for what’s healthy. Men and eating disorders are overlooked since the issue is considered by society as mainly a woman’s problem.

According to PBS Perfect Illusions, just like for women, there are cultural and media pressures on men for the “ideal body,” and they are the rise. This increased focus on body shape, size and physical appearance through media messages of dieting, and ideal of muscularity, and plastic surgery options are predicted to contribute to a rise of males body image issues.

“We would like to extend the program in the future by offering classes that cater more to boys as well,” said Alex Wilstrup, another organizer of Trifit. “Most of our proceeds from tonight are going towards expanding the program to reach the student body as one.”

More Than a Physical Issue

Trifit precedes “Fat Talk Free Week,” another component of the Reflections Body Image Program. The campaign runs October 18 to 22, and is intended to draw attention to the damaging impact of “fat talk” and the “thin ideal” on today’s women.

“The goal is to slowly eliminate talk of how we look and transition into talk of who we are,” Richie said. Negative thoughts should be replaced with positive actions. “Instead of complaining about your body, suggest to go for a walk. We’re 18 to 22-years-old. There are so many more important topics to talk about.”

Piotr Chelstowski, the self-defense class instructor for the event, thinks that issues of body image start in the mind and can be solved by finding empowerment through sport.

“Take martial arts. It’s a sport of discipline; a state of being where you don’t have to relay on others approval,” Chelstowski said. “In life, just like in martial arts, every one has the choice to be the victim or assert themselves.”

Richie agrees. She also believes that positive thinking of every day physical and mental processes are a must in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

She said in order to maintain that healthy lifestyle of work, love, and play: “there has a be a balance and connection between the body, mind and spirit.”

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Japanese Film Festival Brings Cultures Together

March 22, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Courtney O’Callaghan

Saturday evening SMU students and Dallas residents were brought together for the second night of a seven-year foreign event. The annual SMU Japanese Film Festival, running this past weekend and next features contemporary Japanese films, this year with a special focus on entertainment value.

Film festival committee member and SMU sophomore Jerra Hynes said every year the members of the SMU Japan club suggest and vote on the films and every year a different theme is emphasized to demonstrate to American viewers that there is more to foreign films than a cultural experience. The entertainment value of this year’s films shows that Japanese films can be as “fun, bold, and cutting-edge as American films,” Hynes said.

Kerri Connelly, a Dallas resident, said this was her second night and second year attending. “I enjoy coming not only because of my strong interest in Asian culture. I get a different perspective of the use of film through a different genre,” Connelly said.

Although some Japanese films can now be found on movie distribution sites like Netflix, she said the festival sometimes shows films that are unavailable to the public, such as last year’s showing of “Swing Girls.” Connelly was one of about 40 patrons to attend the festival that night, a low number compared to last night’s 100 viewers.

Last year the festival attracted 30 to 140 patrons per night according to Hynes. “The festival is growing every year and we hope it continues this year,” Hynes said.

This past weekend’s films included “Kamikaze Girls,” a 2006 Tetsuya Nakashima film that tracks the adventures of two girls who become friends over a common interest of all-girl motorbike gangs. Also shown was “Crows Zero,” a 2007 Takashi Miike film that follows the lives of high school gangs who all have the same goal: to rule and unite their school.

Next weekend “The Machine Girl,” a 2007 Noboru Iguchi film that follows a girl who replaces her hand with a machine gun, seeking revenge for her family’s death will be shown Friday. “Sukiyaki Western Django,” another 2007 Takashi Miike film, is a drama, action, comedy with a wild-west motif starring Quentin Tarantino, whihc will be shown on Saturday.

In reference to Quentin Tarantino’s involvement in the making of next Saturday’s film, Hynes said “these films give you an idea of a very foreign culture through humor and technique, but are also a great tool to find a connection that is film-making between Eastern and Western cultures.”

The annual festival is sponsored not only by SMU’s Japan Club, but a list of supporters such as the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth, the Tower Center for Political Science at SMU and the SMU Department of Foreign Language and Literature. They have all contributed to a festival that promotes language practice and builds a connection between the Dallas community and the SMU campus, committee members said.

All films will continue to be shown next Friday and Saturday, March 26 and 27, at 6:30 p.m. in McCord Auditorium on the 3rd floor of SMU’s Dallas Hall. The films are in Japanese with English subtitles and admission is free.

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