If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be? This question seems harmless — surely people have at least one thing they would like to be different about the way they look.

The Multicultural Student Support of Keene State College and the Women and Gender Studies department teamed up to host an event on Thursday, March 27, to show what answering this question actually means.

The “You Can’t Eat Beauty” workshop showed how societal norms, the media and the beauty industry have influenced how we view ourselves and those around us. One of the coordinators for the event and a member of the Multicultural Student Support, Jessica Pierre, was focused on the hair and makeup that society expects women to have.

“Hair is something that I have always been passionate about,” Pierre explained, “Growing up in Haiti, my mother didn’t like me having my hair all wild and crazy, so she started having me relax my hair. I never liked it, but I thought that was what I had to do to be considered pretty. As a black woman, you are faced with a lot of challenges that society throws in your face, such as having lighter skin or having tamer hair.” Pierre shared her experience with the audience and expressed that you were born to look a certain way. The workshop was interactive, which allowed the message to be more close to home for the audience members instead of seen as a broad topic. Another member of the Multicultural Student Support, Carlos Bravo, helped with gathering information for the show.

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

“This topic is just so important in a college setting because it seems that every girl is so insecure and only focused on their looks, when they are here for an education,” Bravo stated, “Looks are important to an extent, but they shouldn’t only focus on that. There is more to beauty than just a face.”

After countless presentations regarding body image, complexity, hair and the importance of inner-beauty, the Multicultural Student Support got their message across, according to KSC student Kat Langlands. “I came to the event tonight because I am an RA and we are asked to go to certain events, but I am so lucky to have signed up for this one,” Langlands expressed, “I think that the event tonight did a really good job at framing how we feel as women in this society because what it means to be a woman is not just about looks. It emphasized that we are all the same, I always like to say that we are just accessorized differently.”

The take home message from this event is that no one is perfect. Women and men alike are the way they are for a reason, and even though you might want to change something about your body, as a society we need to learn to be happy with what we have got. The “harmless” question does not seem so harmless when you have been given the right perspective.

Olivia Belanger can be contacted at obelanger@kscequinox.com

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