FLOC Encourages Body Positivity and Self-Love Through Fashion Show

Story and photos by: Madison Lajewski

The registered student organization Feminist Leaders on Campus, formerly known as OWLs, invited CMU students to wear clothes that make them feel empowered and participate in their body positive fashion show on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022.

The body positivity movement started in 2012 on Instagram. Since then it has rapidly grown and millions have participated in the movement globally. As of today, there have been 10.8 million posts on Instagram with the hashtag “#bodypositivity.”

“Body positivity is the assertion that all people deserve to have positive body image regardless of how society and pop culture view ideal shape, size and appearance,” activism SGA chair Julia Burkholder said. “The goal of the movement is to challenge how society views body image and promote acceptance of all bodies and help people build self confidence and address the unrealistic body standards that are placed on a woman in a society.”

The body positivity movement is not just about feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin, but also about being aware of how often people are judged on their identities. This aligns with FLOCs core purpose of “fighting for gender equity through activism and education.”

“Body positivity is not just about body shape or body size, it’s also about addressing how people judge people based on their disability, race, gender and sexuality,” Burkholder said. “Body positivity is very important because everyone deserves to be happy in their own skin. Every single one of us is worthy of love and that includes love from ourselves. Practicing body positivity can improve other aspects of your life outside of body image. Positivity is a wonderful tool.”

As FLOC members strutted around the Pearce 128 auditorium, they and other attendees were reminded of the importance of self-love and appreciating your own beauty despite what popular “beauty standards” may say.

“I picked my outfits based on what made me feel most confident, but also what I felt fit the occasion,” president Laura Junker said. “It’s a fashion show, so I sort of figured it was an opportunity to go big, and wear an outfit I really liked and that I felt really demonstrated my personality.”

Many attendees picked their outfits based on what makes them confident, but also what uniquely shows their personalities. This included flared jeans, billowy blouses, tight skirts and sequin dresses.

“This is from an independently owned shop called Disco Lemonade,” Burkholder said. “It’s all handmade. They make clothes for people who go to festivals and raves. So I got this to go see Lady Gaga in August, but it didn’t come on time so I couldn’t wear it. So I try to wear it every chance I get.”

After models walked the body positive runway, they opened up the opportunity to participate in lip-syncing to their favorite songs.

“I picked ‘Almost There’ from ‘Princess and the Frog’ because it’s my favorite Disney movie,” FLOC member Makayla Osborn said. “That’s one of the songs that I sing to myself when I’m cleaning.”

Burkholders lip-sync performances stole the show with her showcasing her tap-dancing skills and performing to Lizzo’s “Everybody’s Gay.”

“I really like music that’s super high energy,” Burkholder said. “So I’m always pretty much listening to music that sounds like something you’d hear at a gay club. I really love pop music and I especially like pop music made by very empowered women. Like Lizzo, I love her. She’s amazing.”

The body positive fashion show has been an event included in “women’s empowerment week,” a series of events organized by FLOC. Women’s empowerment week started in 2013 and the body positive fashion show has been a part of it since at least 2018.

“We do this event every year and it seems to be very popular,” vice president Rylie Carson said. “The goal is to help everyone be more comfortable in their bodies and to show people that they don’t have to be the body type that the media wants them to be in order to be/feel sexy.”