Monday, November 30, 2020
News, analysis and commentary by UBC Journalism students


Women discussing their body image (Left top to right bottom: Rhoda Flores, Helen Proskow, Danni Olusanya, Kate Maliha)

Vancouver women learned to stop punishing themselves for their bodies

“I do try to tell myself that I am still beautiful and it doesn’t matter what they look like”

By Alejandrina Alvarez Debrot and Alexandra Phillips , in City , on March 25, 2020

As millions stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a new meme about weight gain, the “quarantine 15,” has become a social-media staple. And while most of these posts are meant to be taken as jokes, they do raise an important point: what can we do to accept our bodies?

The Thunderbird spoke to four women from Vancouver of all ages and asked them to reflect on their growing relationship to their bodies. One thing was clear — body-image acceptance comes with harsh experiences. 

For Dani Olusanya, almost losing a friend to anorexia taught her the importance of taking care of her body. Kate Maliha saw her mother’s struggles with body image and began strength training to feel powerful. Actress Rhoda Flores and model Helen Proskow learned to take care of themselves and ask for help in an unforgiving industry.

“Body image concerns are more relevant now than ever. One only has to open up their Instagram feed to understand why. We have commercialized women’s bodies — and women have commercialized their own bodies too,” says feminist researcher Allie Carter with B.C.’s Women’s Health Research Institute.

Watch the video to learn more.