The Psychology Department of Lady Shri Ram College For Women organized a body image workshop, “Mirror on the Wall: Am I the loveliest of them all” on 28th February as a pre-event for their upcoming Gender Knowledge Academic Congress 2014.
The workshop was conducted by Dr. Kanika Khandelwal, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology at LSR with the theme of challenging popular notions of beauty and the ideal body.
The workshop started with the introduction of startling facts and findings neglected by students on a daily basis. It involved a stirring debate on how media has redefined beauty with Photoshop and airbrush, followed by participants collectively defining the thin ideal. This led to critical discussion on the origin of the thin ideal, how it is perpetuated, the impact of messages about the thin-ideal from family, peers, dating partners, and the media, diet, weight loss and fashion and who benefits from the thin-ideal.
The focus was to highlight how media defines beauty, love and romance for us. The stimulating discussion brought to the fore how the media portrays an unrealistic ideal of perfection.
This was followed by the “Mirror Assignment” which required the participants to stand in front of a mirror, observe themselves and write down at least 6 positive qualities about themselves which included physical, emotional, intellectual, and social qualities. It turned out to be a ‘feel good’ activity with responses of beautiful nails to sexy butts!
On this, Neha Yadav, a second year psychology student quotes, “It made me appreciate those qualities that I normally don’t care enough to notice.”
The second activity that followed was a filling up a ‘verbal challenge’ form. It involved counter answering the statements related to popular notions of beauty and ideal body, which one encounters on a general basis. The most interesting one was, ‘My neighbor said, “You should always wear heels. You are short and that takes away from your looks” was countered with a satirical response like “And all this time I thought you needed to grow up!”
The workshop ended with reverberations of the pledge, “I can and I will…” According to Shuchi, a second year student participant, “The workshop was an eye-opener. It made me realize for how long I have been under-estimating myself. It helped me explore the origin of thin ideal, its costs, and challenge personal body concerns.
Psychology Department Union quotes, “It was a successful workshop, and we thank Dr. Khandelwal for helping us celebrate beauty and making it a fun-filled enriching event. It is indeed a perfect prelude to Academic Congress on the theme ‘Gender knowledge’!
For more upcoming pre-academic congress events follow their Facebook page.
Image credits: Disha Kanojia