‘Disfigured,’ Women’s Resource Center take on body image

By Jerene-Elise Nall

What is it about the mirror that scares us?

Many of us walk through life ashamed of the very body we inhabit, and Disfigured does excellent work of addressing these self-image issues head-on.

The Women’s Resource Center held a screening Monday evening of Disfigured, which was followed up by a discussion that allowed students to ask questions, air concerns and share their own stories with a group of about thirty students.

“I come out to events at the WRC often, so I know their standards are excellent,” said Anneke Higgins, a senior English major, about the Disfigured event.

The events at the WRC are not only excellent– they are opportunities to learn powerful about topics relevant to the futures of NIU students.

“I’m going to into teaching, so I figure to be in tune to [body image issues] is important,” said Nicole Gardner, a junior art education major.

“It’s a film that deals with body image and women,” said Sha’Donna Woods, a graduate assistant at the WRC.

Disfigured focuses around two characters: Lydia and Darcy. While at first, these women appear to be polar opposites, these differences are only skin deep. Lydia, who is a member of the Fat Acceptance Group, befriends Darcy, a recovering anorexic, and together, the two women explore the topics of body image and self-acceptance through their growing friendship as well as through Lydia’s romantic relationship and Darcy’s relationship with her family.

Disfigured explicitly addresses the affect that self-hatred has on women and the ways that our society perpetuates unfair stereotypes of women of every shape and size.

“It’s heartbreaking to think that that’s what our attitudes towards beauty have done to women,” said Steven Duda, a freshman sociology major in reaction to the film. “Selling everything with ‘skinny sex’ is something we really need to change.”

“Your body is the only way you can experience the world,” Woods said.

This is true for everyone– not just women. The male perspective on body image issues is often ignored, but it exists and functions in the same way that the female perspective does.

“We face the same body image problems,” said Doug Snelten, a junior art education major. “Going through a weight loss struggle is just as emotional. We’re under the same pressure to look a certain way.”

As the post-screening discussion drew to a close, it became clear that Disfigured made quite an impact on the student audience. Students walked away empowered by Disfigured’s message, so well-put by Lydia: “stand in front of that mirror buck naked and relish all the beauty that is you. F**k all the negativity.”