Words by Emily Fulmer
The Body Acceptance Movement kicked off National Eating Disorder Awareness Week by inviting the managing editor of Everyday Feminism, the largest independent feminist media site in the world, to speak to Kent State students about self-care.
Monday evening in the KIVA Melissa Fabello, and a doctoral candidate from Widener University, addressed the stigma of eating disorders, their recovery and the practice self-care daily.
The Body Acceptance Movement (BAM) is a student-run organization at Kent State. They dedicate their work to educating, promoting and supporting students on creating a lifestyle rooted in body acceptance.
According to Fabello’s website, she considers herself a “body acceptance activist, sexuality scholar and a patriarchy smasher.” She uses blogging and social media to spread awareness of eating disorders and promote body positivity.
“Let’s talk about what self-care looks like in eating disorder recovery, because it’s not a conversation that people are having,” Fabello says. “It’s something that people really need.”
Elizabeth Garlinger, a senior communications student and the NEDA coordinator for BAM, organized the events for NEDA week.
“We do events and programs that are focused around body acceptance and eating disorders and how we can bridge those two worlds together,” Garlinger says.
Garlinger says she found Fabello online and felt that she was an incredibly compelling individual. She believed that she would provide good dialogue for the Kent State community.
In her presentation, Fabello focused not only on the stigma of eating disorders, but also discussed how nobody wants to talk to the recovery from an eating disorder. Self-care is an important topic that ties into the issue of recovery.
“The conversation about eating disorders was really stalled after the ’90s, but is still a problem,” Fabello says. “Not only is it a problem, but it is a more complicated problem because we’ve had the huge addition in life of social media.”
She feels that the conversation about eating disorders needs to be revisited and rejuvenated so it becomes relevant to today’s society.
Marissa Sciara, a sophomore studying psychology, says she did not know a lot about eating disorders before attending, but she knew that they tied into mental illness.
“I really liked how she was more real about things,” Sciara says. “I think all of her topics she covered were good. I really liked [what Fabello said about] self-care.”
Jess Kemelhar, a sophomore fashion merchandising student, says she and Sciara were required to see a speaker and felt that Fabello would be an interesting speaker.
“I feel like it was relevant, it’s a relevant topic,” Kemelhar says. “I thought it was just going to be about body awareness, which is great, but she really focused on what you can do to be a happy person or be content with yourself.”
Fabello expressed that college campuses are a very special place to talk about self-care and eating disorders. Fabello hopes that the conversation of self-care would continue to help others who are struggling with body image.
“Eating disorders are very common on college campuses, so I think that colleges are an important place to talk about eating disorders period,” she says. “I also think college in particular is an important place to talk about self-care.”
Emily Fulmer is the health reporter for The Burr.