Widgets Magazine

OPINIONS

Editorial: STAMP opens discussion of body image on campus

t may not seem like a revolutionary idea to give Stanford students a voice. As an outgoing, opinionated population, doing so may even seem redundant. Stanford Theatre Activist Mobilization Project (S.T.A.M.P), however, used the “Mirror Mirror” monologue production this past weekend to give voice to the body image issues of Stanford students that often go unheard and many times unnoticed. The striking nature of the monologues–written anonymously by Stanford students and performed by actors–brought to light male, female and transgender body image concerns that simmer beneath our campus culture. In an environment, academic and social, that contains varying degrees of perfectionism, it is not surprising that these issues arise and then subsequently are never voiced.

“Mirror Mirror” exposed a raw side of Stanford many of us do not want to see in ourselves or in our peers. Issues we all know about, such as anorexia and bulimia, were presented, as well as image issues that fit no classification other than overwhelming sense of self-doubt. “Mirror Mirror” tells a story of promise, however, in the presentation of a panel to discuss the issue, which unveiled a platform from which campus discussion can grow. One of the main points of this platform was that students on campus must express their concerns when they see their friends risking their own health solely to improve their body images.

Many people try to follow, as best they can, the clichéd statement that “everyone is beautiful in their own unique way.” But saying such adages does not mean we as humans will change how we perceive and judge those around us, or even ourselves. In an environment where we honor open discussion and diversity, many students still remain complicit in society’s control of body image and the idealization of the human form. While Stanford certainly does not live outside the values and ideals of the rest of the world, the Editorial Board would like to think that the average Stanford student has a more enlightened sense of health and beauty than the staff of Us Magazine.

Stanford provides a multitude of resources for those who are experiencing body image issues, from Vaden’s counseling and support groups to the Bridge Peer Network. But like most of the revolutionary ideas that sweep campus, change has to start with us, Stanford students. It is hard to break one’s own negative body image or combat a disorder. It is hard to navigate a difficult conversation with that friend you know needs help. But the hardest thing may be changing the way we see our peers, judging them for who they are and not by how they look. S.T.A.M.P. has begun this important discussion by giving voice to these issues and the Editorial Board hopes the campus will follow suit to break the cycle of body image issues and a culture of body perfectionism that can take hold of us all.

About Editorial Board

Editorials represent the views of The Stanford Daily, an independent newspaper serving Stanford and the surrounding community. The Daily's Editorial Board consists of President and Editor-in-Chief Victor Xu '17, Executive Editor Will Ferrer '18, Managing Editor of Opinions Michael Gioia '17, Desk Editor of Opinions Jimmy Stephens '17, Senior Staff Writer Kylie Jue '17, Senior Staff Writer Olivia Hummer '17 and Senior Staff Writer Andrew Vogeley '17. To contact the Editorial Board chair, submit an op-ed (limited to 700 words) or submit a letter to the editor (limited to 500 words) at eic@stanforddaily.com.