UT Martin to host Women’s History Month events

In honor of Women’s History Month, the University of Tennessee at Martin Center for Women and Gender Equality is hosting a series of guest speakers to address this year’s theme “Imperfect, I’m Perfect: The Struggle for Positive Body Image.”

The program event schedule is as follows:

  • March 11: Jean Kilbourne, Women’s Hall of Fame inductee and pioneer in the study of images of women in media; 7 p.m.; “The Naked Truth: Advertising’s Image of Women”
  • March 16: Aimee Jones, UT Martin lecturer of fashion merchandising; 12:15 p.m.; “Unrealistic: Societal Expectations of the Female Body”
  • March 23: Lindsey Guile, body and fat-positive artist; 7 p.m.; “Unapologetic: Altering the Narrative through Art”

Dr. Renee LaFleur, associate professor of history and director of the Center for Women and Gender Equality, says the theme of the month’s programs stems from a deepening societal issue that effects people of all ages.

“I decided on the body image/body positivity theme after my daughter told me she didn’t like her body. She is only eight years old. It crushed me to hear her say that. I had flashbacks of my own struggles with body image. I’m worried this could lead to anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-hate and a host of other issues,” LaFleur said.

“To make that social change happen, we need to have conversations about where expectations for body images come from,” LaFleur continued. “I want this conversation not just for my daughter but the campus community. If we talk about the sources of body images and talk about the importance of body positivity, perhaps we can change someone’s life or begin a change in our community about how we perceive body image.”

The events are open to the public at no cost, but participants are required to register at utm.edu/womenshistorymonth.

For more information about the Women’s History Month events, contact LaFleur at 731-881-1658.

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