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Eating Disorder Awareness Week smashes societal stigmas

Oklahoma Christian University is shedding light on realities and implications of eating disorders on campus with an eating disorder awareness week following Spring Break.

Senior Gabby Bridgeman said the week is meant to promote awareness for eating disorders because of the negative societal views surrounding them.

“Society causes these eating disorders to be viewed as shameful or composed of guilt,” Bridgeman said. “We want to eliminate those stigmas because this is a thing people deal with and it is important for them to deal with it properly. I wanted to see it be able to take care of others who may be struggling.”

Bridgeman said the idea for an awareness week began because she is passionate about the topic and wanted to see it come alive on campus.

The week will feature chapel talks on Tuesday and Thursday with students sharing their stories and battles in dealing with eating disorders. Bridgeman said the chapel talk on March 23 will introduce an Oklahoma Christian staff scale smash.

“I think it should be interesting to see these individuals we view as really professional people smashing a scale on stage,” Bridgeman said. “Hearing the students’ stories is important because it is meant to be encouraging and powerful. Hopefully, it will allow people to learn for them. I hope through students’ testimony allows us to grow together and create a community.”

According to Bridgeman, there will be a vigil and scale smash on March 23 at 6 p.m. in the Forum. She said the scale smash is an event to show people going against the norm of societal views.

“When we smash the scale, it tells the world that our weight does not define who we are as a person,” Bridgeman said. “We are enough simply because we are who we are, not because of what we look like or what we weigh.”

The creators of the scale smash event, Southern Smash, said scales represent the pressure people feel to attain culture’s impossible body ideals and the struggle experienced to cultivate positive body image. The smash is symbolic of removing the preoccupation with body weight and shape.

Oklahoma Christian’s eating disorder awareness week is March 20-24. Bridgeman said she started planning the event in early fall with the Oklahoma Christian counseling center staff.

“All the staff members have been incredibly helpful and encouraging with assisting in organizing the week,” Bridgeman said. “It could not have been done without them and their support.”

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