Students should shape up body image beliefs

After witnessing the parade of partial nudity this past Halloween, something just didn’t sit right with me. The stark contrast between my former life as a Rhode Islander and my current life as a Miami student became blaringly obvious.

When I first made the transition as a freshman, I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. What shocked me most about the change was that, while my workload seemed to quadruple, the extent to which my clothing covered my skin seemed to shrink by a third.

It wasn’t because I wanted to show off my rockin’ bod. Also, I had no intention of attracting fraternity guys.

Maybe it’s the nature of Miami, or maybe it’s just the nature of college in general. But, simply put, that’s just how everyone around me was dressing. And to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb, I followed the unspoken dress code my peers had defined for me.

Without even realizing it, I had been sucked into the vortex of Miami culture. I was constantly worried about my appearance. I tried to look presentable for class, and I even started wearing make up regularly – something I laughed at girls for doing in high school.

I wasn’t equipped to respond to statements like, “Oh my god. I feel so fat,” or “I can’t eat today,” because never before had I cared about my weight. As long as I was happily hoarding potato chips down my throat, I was (and still am) a happy girl.

But the year progressed, and I saw beautiful girls work out three times a day, take medicine that would prevent hunger and even make themselves sick to feel skinny.

In Miami, it is especially dangerous for girls to succumb to these unspoken social constraints regarding body image and weight. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, and the severity of an individual’s disorder can rapidly increase in environments that promote the importance of being skinny and fit.

Girls, if you are reading this, no guy is ever worth the effort if you feel like you need to starve yourself to get his attention. You know you want that big ol’ bacon cheeseburger, and you know damn well how great it tastes with some curly fries.

Guys, if you’re reading this, grow up, because quite frankly, I’m sick of giving up meat to be treated like a piece of one.

Jamie Servidio is a sophomore majoring in journalism.