The Body Image Council (BIC) was founded in the spring of 2000 after two Bryn Mawr students had voiced the need for such a resource at a Deans and Directors meeting the previous fall. Both of these students (Molly Ahrens ’03 and Erin Dwight ’02) had struggled with eating disorders in the past and they felt that there was still a great deal of silence regarding these issues on Bryn Mawr’s Campus. They hoped that founding a group like BIC and providing resources to the students like a support group would encourage dialogue about the eating and body image issues women in our society face.
By the fall of 2000, BIC began hosting events on campus in order to educate students, faculty and staff about body image issues. Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair (of The Harvard Eating Disorder Center), Joan Jacobs Brumberg (Cornell historian and author of The Body Project), Dr. Judith Rabinor (author of A Starving Madness), Jean Kilbourne (filmmaker of the award-winning documentary “Killing Us Softly”), Becky Thompson (author of A Hunger So Wide and So Deep) and Jenni Schaefer (singer-songwriter and author of Life Without Ed) are some of the renowned speakers that BIC has been honored to host.
In addition to speakers, BIC has also sponsored theatrical productions that deal with related material. In February 2001, Molly Ahrens brought the first student production of Eve Ensler’s famed play The Vagina Monologues to campus. The money raised from the production was divided between a local women’s crisis center, BIC’s speaker fund and the national V-Day Organization, which works to stop violence against women. The Vagina Monologues has been an annual event at Bryn Mawr ever since and continues to benefit BIC as well as other local women’s organizations. Other theatrical productions have included performances by Theatre Ariel (a local improv group), Alicia Quintano (an actress who wrote a series of monologues about her experience with an eating disorder) and Michelle Garb (a California-based comedian whose one woman show “Fat Brain, Skinny Body” is both humorous and educational).
BIC continues to educate students about body image issues by hosting a forum every fall for the Freshman Class as well as by hosting panel discussions for Hall Advisors, Customs People and parents. BIC’s weekly Support Group also continues to be an important resource and is open to the tri-co community. In addition, BIC celebrates Eating Disorder Awareness for the month of February and hosts a series of events (movie nights, Jeans Drive, and more) to help raise awareness on campus.