‘Inner Beauty’ teaches to love your body
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
UNH students and faculty performed the ninth production of “Inner Beauty…Love Your Body, Ease Your Mind” on Wednesday as part of the MUB’s Current Issues Lecture Series.
“Inner Beauty” (formerly known as “The Mind/Body Dialogues”) is meant to inform and educate the audience about eating, body image issues and recovery through reading various poems, memoirs and personal narratives by individuals who have struggled with their body or who are on the road to recovery. The pieces cover all forms of body image issues, ranging from healthy living to the way media portrays what is physically attractive.
For UNH’s production, the cast of “Inner Beauty” picked pieces that would relate more to college students. The production also included five stories that were written by UNH faculty and students, both current and alumni.
One of the cast members, senior Caille Souza, wrote and submitted her very own story of body image issues. Her untitled piece reflects on both her struggles and recovery from bulimia.
Souza is the only one in the current cast who read her own story to the audience. However, she believes that as long as there is someone suffering from an eating or body image disorder, it is important to share her story if it helps lead someone down the road to recovery.
“I have [a story] to tell,” Souza said. “If someone can benefit from it, I’ll tell it as many times as I can.”
The cast does not just consist of UNH students and faculty who have experienced eating and body image disorders. Senior Anthoni Fortier, who has performed in “Inner Beauty” for the past three years, speaks simply because it is his passion to teach people to love their bodies.
“I’ve always had a pretty good body image, but when I came to college I realized how prevalent [body image issues] are,” Fortier said. “There are people who always find fault with their bodies.”
Fortier read two pieces during the performance: “Nebraska,” a slam poem written by Miles Walser, and an untitled personal narrative written by UNH women’s studies professor Joelle Ryan. Fortier chose both of the pieces to read to the audience.
Ryan’s story explained her acceptance of and pride in being overweight. Fortier felt that Ryan’s piece spoke to what “Inner Beauty” is truly about: loving yourself.
“I was blown away by it and how true it felt,” Fortier said. “It needed to be read.”
In addition to personal stories, facts about body image and eating disorders, both on and off of the UNH campus, were read.
Some of the facts appeared to startle the audience. For example, over 50 percent of UNH students admitted to knowing someone with an eating disorder. In addition to this 63 percent of UNH students exercise to stay fit, but nearly 10 percent said that their exercising significantly interfered with other important activities.
According to senior Becca Bennett, who directed the show, including actual facts about UNH students in the show was necessary to make the performance relatable.
“It really hits home,” Bennett said.
Bennett has performed in “Inner Beauty” for the past two years. She was drawn to the performance after dealing with body image issues of her own.
“It starts so young. I think about my own personal experiences, and it’s just so sad,” Bennett said. “I want to change all that.”
Bennett hopes to hold a second show in the upcoming spring semester and also to increase the impact of the show by performing at different venues, such as high schools, middle schools, and maybe even the Thompson Hall Lawn. Holding a performance with only UNH student-and-faculty-written stories is also something Bennett is interested in pursuing, she said.