Student group spreads body positivity with an on-campus fair

The annual Body Love Fair was part of a month-long effort by the Student Assembly for Gender Empowerment to bring attention to health and self-love

USC’s Student Assembly for Gender Empowerment (SAGE) hosted its second annual Body Love Fair in Alumni Park Thursday. The fair is one of a series of events put on by SAGE in celebration of its Body Love Month.

Body Love Month is a part of SAGE’s yearlong body positivity initiative that encourages people to love and embrace their bodies regardless of perceived flaws and differences. SAGE created Body Love Month “to raise awareness about body positivity, body diversity, and other discussions including, but not limited to, healthy body image, weight stigma, ableism, and healthy sexuality” according to their website.

“The idea is just to promote body positivity on campus and encourage people to have healthy relationships with food and exercise,” SAGE co-director Gwen Howard said.

A range of booths that focused on body positivity took over Alumni Park providing information and products to passersby. Each stand provided different insights on body positivity, the importance of healthy eating and information on cervical cancer prevention.

“It’s not just about loving your body, it’s more about accepting your body because very, very few people will love their body all the time,” Howard said. “Even when you don’t like your body, living with it and sitting in it and knowing that it doesn’t change your worth or value as a human being is really important.”

Those at the event were encouraged to walk around, participate in the activities and educate themselves even further. Activities ranged from creating art pieces with spray paint to smashing scales with hammers. The latter was intended as a “a good way for people to get some catharsis with regards to the pressure that scales can have on people,” according to Howard.

“I know a lot of women that are concerned about their weight,” sophomore narrative studies major and fair attendee Maggie Bowen said. “I think it’s kinda nice to take a chill pill and break some scales.”

Exhibits were run by student groups, local organizations or national non-profits. Some of the off-campus groups in attendance include Bamboo Nutrition Therapy, a Downtown L.A.-based nutrition counselling service whose aim is to help people create a better relationship with food; Every Body Deserves Love, a non-profit aiming to open the conversation of self-love; and the National Alliance for Mental Illness.

Howard believes events like the Body Love Fair extend the conversation around body positivity even after the end of October.

“The idea is that we want to keep the conversation going,” Howard said. “We think it’s a really important one and there’s a lot of nuances to it that often gets ignored within the movement for body positivity.”

SAGE will be continuing their Body Love Month with a secret celebrity guest speaker Monday at 8 p.m. in Bovard Auditorium.