The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

    Re-imaging bodies

    Jes Baker, Author & Public Speaker, talking about the state of current body image issues at Marsee Auditorium on March 9th, 2017. Photo credit: John Lopez

    In line to talk to speaker Jes Baker after her speech on Thursday, March 9, a student eagerly waiting to speaker to her was all smiles.

    “The line, ‘You deserve to take up space,’ I loved that line.” Tamarin Nuño, undeclared major said. She was looking for advice in helping a friend who had a negative train of thought.

    Nuño wasn’t able to stay long enough to meet with Baker, a fellow plus-size woman, but she and a diverse crowd of students of various ages, body shapes and races came away from Thursday’s speech at Marsee Auditorium, “Changing the World, Love Your Body: The Social Impact of Body Love,” with a positive attitude about themselves and others.

    “It was very inspirational, mind-opening,” Victoria Estrada, communications major said. She added that the speech was full of topics no one feels comfortable talking about.

    When Baker asked the crowd to address a part of their body they feel proud about, Estrada said she felt pride in her shoulders, which she sometimes felt were too broad because she used to work out a lot at the gym.

    In a hour-plus speech she admitted to cramming enough data to do a year-long class on, could Baker told the crowd that fat — a word that is the first thing people come to describe her, despite being an author who got her book praised by Ashton Kutcher on Twitter and a successful spokesperson.

    She also mentions that it doesn’t have to be a negative attribute as it is portrayed in the media and society, adding fear of being seen as heavy fuels the diet industry, which makes $60 billion a year.

    As an added result, those who pay into the fear get upset when a fat person puts up a picture of themselves being happy on social media or succeed in life, Baker said.

    Nicholas Chomori, communication major said the bullying aspect and cycle of self-loathing is something he could see.

    “I’m not overweight, not body conscious … so I couldn’t take it at face value, but I see the value and wisdom in (what she said),” he said.

    In an interview before the speech, Baker said college students are at the age of figuring themselves out.

    “My message to them, it would be the same for everyone. Your body is not wrong. Your body is not broken. The standard of perfection that we (as a society) demand for people … the system is broken, not you,” she said.

    The audience gave a large amount of applause twice during the speech, first when Baker presented a quote from her book and later from a crowd member’s statement during an interactive portion.

    “We all deserve the same amount of opportunity, respect, health care, life, love, liberty and the pursuit of happiness regardless of our size, shade, shape, sex, gender, level of ability and health records,” was the quote from her book, “Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls.”

    There was an outburst from audience members when Baker asked the crowd to say something positive about themselves.

    “I’m beautiful despite what my father says,” a woman in the audience said.

    Baker paused after the outburst and wiped a tear.

    “That made me cry,” she said.

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