My project’s aims are twofold.

First, I want to educate women on Duke’s campus about the reality of self-esteem issues. Many women I’ve talked to are under the impression that they are the anomaly – that they are less attractive than the women around them, but also less intelligent, fit, sociable, and so on – but the reality is that a majority of women on campus feel this in some way or another. I want to help women understand that this problem is prevalent, but that it’s not okay. They should be celebrating the attributes that make them unique and wonderful, not feeling ashamed or inadequate. The first step, then, is to help women understand the reality of self-esteem and belongingness of women at Duke (which I aim to do with my History page).

Second, I want to create a portrait of women at Duke, celebrating what is wonderful about them. How will I do that? By taking photographs of female students holding a sign that reads “I LOVE MY __________”. The final word, originally blank on the sign, will be filled in with the characteristic of the subject’s choice, the physical or personality aspect of herself that she loves most. My hope is to get a wide variety of Duke students as well as a variety of responses. I want the gallery, the collective portrait, to serve as a reminder that we are not all the same, but that should be celebrated. We all have striking qualities that we love about ourselves, be it our voice, our smile, our height, our sexuality, our intelligence, and so on.

While I think that events, organizations, and groups are all great steps in the right direction for changing the perspective of females at Duke, I also believe that women here need to see the visual reminder, see their peers coming together in celebration of what makes them different.

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