Spreading awareness about eating disorders

By Amanda Tonoli



Youngstown State University students spread awareness about eating disorders.

In 2012, student Danielle Peters of the fashion merchandising program at YSU died due to an eating disorder.

Now, students have the EveryBODY Fashion Show once a year in her honor.

“We showcase all shapes and sizes on the runway,” explained Jennifer Frank, YSU fashion merchandising professor. “We show how the fashion industry is changing ... We want to show that you are beautiful no matter what dress size you are or the size of the jeans you wear. It makes students feel good.”

The show also provides resources as to where to go for help.

“We just want everyone to remember not to judge on people’s size, but to judge on people’s heart — that’s how you’re beautiful,” she said. “Beauty comes from what is within. There’s more to life than worrying about that figure.”

In addition to the April show, a group of students participated in September’s National Eating Disorders Association Walk at the Cleveland Zoo to raise money for the organization.

“I think the National Eating Disorders Association is such an important cause and it is great to be bringing attention to this issue,” said student Nicolette Gaboriault-Whitcomb. “It is crazy how little eating disorders are actually talked about.”

Gaboriault-Whitcomb said she participated in the walk because the cause is important to her as a fashion student.

“Although there are many contributing factors, I believe the fashion industry can be one of these factors sometimes with the marketing used and the implications that come with using Photoshop and scarily thin models,” she explained.

“Humans should not feel this strive for the impossible beauty standards that we are shown. I believe the industry should be about self love and show real people. Everyone should be able to go to open a magazine and see people like them, because at the end of the day we are all just people.

“I want to be a part of this change in my fashion career. I am very passionate about wanting everyone to feel loved and loving themselves. Size, color, race, religion, etc., does not define a person; actions do.”

Fellow student Ashley Amendol said she understands the importance of love and support.

“It is crucial for people to understand that an eating disorder is not a choice or a phase,” she said. “ The stigma behind mental-health disorders is still there today, and it is time to put an end to it. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, and neither is talking about it.”

By walking, student Lauren Aey said she was showing her love and support.

“I simply wanted to make a difference by being there, learn more about the eating disorders and learn what NEDA does,” she said. “I wanted to bring awareness to such a harmful issue.”

The walk, Aey continued, impacts the fashion merchandising and interiors program significantly.

“By walking, we encourage everyone to feel comfortable and happy in their own skin,” she said. “Participating in the walk is one amazing experience I ... will never forget. I will never forget the faces behind the stories. The stories I will never forget; how they took their struggles overcame them, and encouraged others with their stories to seek help.

“I hope to walk in another NEDA Walk, and I hope that others will consider walking too. I also encourage everyone to come out and see the YSU fashion show this spring.”

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