Strutting self-confidence: students urged to “love the skin they’re in”

Meredith Wade

On February 23, students flocked to the Villanova Room to see their peers strut down the catwalk in the “Love The Skin You’re In” fashion show put on by the Office of Health Promotion. Put on to raise awareness for the goal of self-acceptance, the fashion show coincides with the National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, who’s goal is to bring attention to the seriousness of eating disorders and improve the public’s understandings of the triggers, symptoms and treatments for those effected. The “Love the Skin You’re In” show is a unique experience featuring a wide array of models of all different shapes and sizes who exuded confidence coming down the runway. The event helps facilitate a message of positive body image while also raising the question about the skewed vision society has of beauty. 

The Villanova Room was transformed into a true fashion show with a long run-way, seating, music and bright lights. Incredibly, 15 minutes before the show be-gan, the room was filled to capacity with an excited audience. On the back of every seat was a Post-It note with an inspiring and positive message on it. This positive body-image reinforcement set the scene for the very purpose of the show and as the name suggests: to love the skin you’re in. The students walking in the show represented a wide variety of people present on campus: females, males, athletes, nurses, students in greek life, students involved in Special Olympics, business students and many more. They sported garb from local vendors and our very own Villanova bookstore. While the models rocked their clothing, the overall message was more geared towards loving yourself on the inside so that you can be confident in yourself on the outside.

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from a medically significant eating disorder in their life-time with 95 percent of those people aged 12-26. College-aged students are highly susceptible to developing or relapsing into an eating disorder, meaning it is extremely important to try and reverse the negative image that a myriad of students see themselves as. Many students may not have a clinically diagnosed eating disorder, however, they may have unhealthy thoughts, compare themselves to others, or act. This is an issue that can be harmful and can even lead into a more serious problem later in one’s life. The “Love the Skin You’re In” show hopes to combat the problem of bashing our own bodies and expecting ourselves to fit a certain ste-reotype by highlighting models who were confident in themselves no matter what they looked like. The fashion show featured an emcee who announced what the models’ favorite thing about themselves was. Answers included, “my smile” and “my confidence.” In essence, this was the message of the entire show, it is not so much about what makes us pretty, hot or beautiful but moreover what makes us unique, special and happy.