Illinois Body Project

The Illinois Body Project Is Ending Negative Self-Talk, One Positive Woman At A Time

Promoting a positive environment for women.


This year, my sorority Alpha Omicron Pi participated in the Illinois Body Project. The Illinois Body Project focuses on establishing a positive and healthy body image for women. This semester, five sororities on campus participated, but the goal is to spread this project to every sorority on campus and eventually to all women. It is a research-based program that is proven to change the mindset about body confidence and spread positivity among women. This project explores body confidence in a unique way. It is so important to be able to have an open conversation about body image, and that is the main goal of the body project.

Body confidence is not something too easily come by especially in today's society where women are placed into categories and expected to reach unrealistic expectations. Even though we all have different experiences in life, so many girls struggle with the same issues when it comes to body confidence and just being overall comfortable in the body we have.

So much of our conversations are focused on negative body talk anything from "Wow I look like a boy in this" to "She is too skinny, it's not even cute." People's bodies look different and using negative body talk to shame our own bodies or someone else's is never ok.

I know personally, I am not always the biggest fan of my body and there are constantly things I would love to change about myself but I just can't. I can't change that I have an athletically built body that does not look good in every article of clothing I wish to wear. I can't change that I have a dimple in my chin and I don't always love how it looks. But on those days I just have to remind myself to not talk negatively about my body. The body project helped to teach me that I am not the only one who feels this way. Lots of girls do. It also taught me how to fight back against negative body shaming even when it comes from myself. That athletic body can dominate a lacrosse field. That dimpled chin is the same chin my grandpa has and it is a constant reminder of him.

The Body Project affects people in different ways. Some it just helped to re-establish the idea that each body is perfect in its own way, whereas with others it completely changed their outlook on body image and the negativity they felt about their body. Previously, some of these girls had never had the forum to openly discuss their body image issues.

I asked a few girls what they thought about the Body Project:

"I have always struggled with body image issues and through this program, I was able to see that I am not alone and that it is just as important for me to build other people up as it is for me to reaffirm myself."

"It validated my feelings about societal pressure, but gave us the tools to go out and help change the way society talks about beauty and our bodies."

"It was a great way to promote body positivity throughout our house among a wide group of diverse women."

I love how this program places such an emphasis on empowering women. Not only did it encourage body positivity within ourselves, but it also taught important lessons about promoting body positivity in others. Sometimes we forget that what we say can have a negative impact on people even if we do not mean it.

Nora Czupek

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.

Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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I Stopped Wearing Makeup For A Week And I've Never Felt More Confident

You don't need makeup to look and feel beautiful if you don't want to.


I began wearing makeup in middle school for special occasions. Whenever there was a school dance, I'd don on some mascara and I would feel beautiful. This continued until the end of my sophomore year of high school when I decided that putting on makeup would become part of my everyday morning routine. Eventually, wearing makeup was something people expected to see rather than something that I wore on occasion.

Things stayed the same until my freshman year of college. There were some days during my first year in college that I couldn't be bothered to wear makeup, because I was in a rush. However, whenever these days occurred, I usually had friends ask me why I was so tired and if everything was okay. I have prominent bags under my eyes that I usually cover up with a concealer, and though I slept enough and tried many remedies, they just wouldn't disappear. Without my makeup though, my friends were concerned and thought that something might be wrong. While they had good intentions, I thought that I must not look good without my makeup.

From then on, I started wearing makeup every day, no matter what. If I went to grab some food quick, I had to wear makeup. Review session for math on Saturday in the morning? Makeup. Volunteering for a club? Makeup. Class? Makeup, always makeup. If there was any chance that I would run into someone that I knew I had to put on makeup because I felt that I would be judged and wanted to look my best at all times.

When I started taking an 8 a.m. class this semester, something changed.

One day, I was running late and was rushing to get to my class on time. I didn't have time to put on any makeup before class. At first, I was self-conscious without any makeup covering up my circles and I felt naked. I thought that people would notice, but I don't think that anyone even noticed. The following week, I had exams and felt that getting a few more minutes of sleep was much more satisfying than putting on makeup, so I went without any makeup that week. At first, I was still self-conscious of not having anything on my face to cover up the imperfections, but as the week wore on, I felt free. Without any makeup, I never had to take any off at night. Normally my mascara takes forever to get off, which is a hassle. Also, I felt that without the makeup, I felt like I looked better over time. I was more confident about how I looked with and without the makeup.

Since that fateful week of not wearing makeup, I've found that not wearing any makeup to be extremely freeing. While I do still sometimes put it on, it is no longer a necessity. If you wear makeup constantly, I suggest trying to go without wearing makeup for a few days. There's nothing wrong with wearing makeup, and there also isn't anything wrong with not wearing makeup either.

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