The Eating Awareness Committee (EAC) sponsored a screening of the documentary, “Miss Representation,” at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Anderson Center Chamber Hall.
The EAC is a University-wide group that provides initiatives for education on, and treatment of, issues related to eating disorders. The committee, formed in 1998, is made up of faculty members and a student sub-group.
“Miss Representation” is a film about mainstream media’s contribution to discrimination against women and the under-representation of women in powerful positions in America.
Jennifer Wegmann, a lecturer in the health and wellness department and member of EAC, said the EAC chose to screen the documentary because they thought the message was relevant to Binghamton University and fit the committee’s mission.
“We believe that everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their own skin,” Wegmann wrote in an email. “We also believe that men and women alike deserve to live in a society that promotes a message that allows for self-appreciation. How can we expect young girls to strive to reach their full potential as a woman, as a human being, when the messages they are being sent are disempowering and degrading?”
Wegmann said she believes the mainstream media should promote an image of diversity that celebrates individual differences, instead of encouraging women to conform to an unattainable and rigid standard.
“Actually I think that we as individuals need to do the work,” Wegmann said. “We need to change ourselves first. If we want to change our society we need to start by changing ourselves.”
Wegmann said there are several ways in which students can affect change in how women are represented: joining a group or organization that promotes positive images of women, refraining from purchasing magazines and products that promote unrealistic images, and practicing self-respect.
“They need role models to lead the way,” Wegmann said. “We all have the power to change — sometimes we are our own roadblocks.”
The film screening was followed by a panel discussion featuring a variety of student and faculty representatives.
Kailee Karst, a member of the EAC student subgroup who was seated on the discussion panel, said that change does not always start at the top.
“You don’t have to be the head of a company to make a difference,” said Karst, a senior majoring in biological anthropology.
Do Heon Kim, a junior majoring in psychology, said the film was eye-opening.
“I was surprised,” Kim said. “Because in Korea, in a Korean perspective on American women is that they are strong and have equal opportunity everywhere, but it’s not really like that. This was a good film for me to see.”
Alexandra Mikhail, a junior majoring in biochemistry, said the film made her feel empowered and strong.
“I am a firm believer in loving oneself just the way you are and this documentary really displayed that ideal,” Mikhail said.
The EAC will host a follow-up discussion about media literacy at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 29 in Old University Union room 120.
Wegmann announced at the event that BU hopes to bring Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the director of “Miss Representation,” to campus for an event in March.