On Wednesday, February 24, body-image activist Stacy Nadeau delivered a presentation in Love Auditorium as part of Colgate’s “Project Beauty.” Project Beauty is a student organization that seeks to raise awareness about eating disorders, while promoting healthy lifestyle diets and outlooks. The lecture was sponsored by the Shaw Wellness Institute and the Counseling Center. As one of the original five models in Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, Nadeau reflected on her experiences and offered valuable advice and insight regarding body image.
Nadeau began the lecture by recounting her involvement in the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. She was recruited by Dove when she was a sophomore at DePaul University to participate in the campaign’s revolutionary first advertisement. The advertisement pictured six unretouched women of different ages, sizes and ethnicities posing in their underwear. Nadeau recalled that before the advertisement’s release, she mentally prepared herself for criticism by the public, as nothing like this had ever been done before.
This campaign originated following a global survey conducted by Dove that consisted of only one question: “Do you feel comfortable calling yourself beautiful?” Only two percent of those surveyed answered yes.
Nadeau asserted that this is a result of society’s contrived definition of beauty. She also noted these arbitrary definitions and expectations for physical attractiveness are not by any means limited to women; men also face unrealistic expectations.
It is Nadeau’s mission to make more people feel beautiful every day by expanding today’s notion of beauty. In doing so, she hopes to inspire people to take great care of themselves.
“What is the definition of beauty? It is yours,” Nadeau said.
She stressed the importance of being one’s healthiest self, emphasizing that it involves both physical and mental health. Additionally, Nadeau highlighted that one’s best self is not an endpoint but a constant journey. She let the audience know that one’s best healthy self is different today than what it once was in the past and what once will be in the future.
Nadeau urged students at Colgate to begin making changes on campus. She suggested that it is incredibly important to be a friend to yourself because we are our own worst critics. Nadeau noted the importance of respect in the Colgate community. Students have the power to change the conversations from negative to positive, celebrating differences rather than belittling them.
“Together, we can make smaller movements to get to a better place,” Nadeau said.
Senior Lacey Williams reflected on Nadeau’s poignant lecture, and its relevance to how she views her own body.
“I sometimes find it hard to motivate myself, but this talk really resonated with me. Body image is not a static thing and that’s okay. Sometimes you just have to keep reminding yourself of that,” Williams said.
Students appreciated Nadeau’s conversational tone and relatable anecdotes that shed light on the destructive mindsets present in the media today. Nadeau’s devotion to and passion for the topic was clear.
“This is not what I do. This is who I am,” she said.
Students enjoyed the lecture and felt that it was very relevant.
“I thought her message was really powerful,” first-year Sarah Breckenridge said. “She brought up a topic that isn’t discussed enough and I think it’s important that she brought this to Colgate.”