Care Allen, OMA to present 'Body Image and Blackness'

By Taylor Crowley | 2/8/18 12:06am

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GVL / Courtesy - gvsu.edu

Care Allen, style consultant for Fashion With Care, has teamed up with the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) to present “Body Image and Blackness” and discuss the evolution of black body image. The presentation will be held Friday, Feb. 9, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center, Rooms 2215/2216.

The OMA is celebrating February being Black History Month with various events and presentations. Allen’s presentation is open to the public and is LIB 100- and 201-approved.  

“Body Image and Blackness” will focus on uncovering truths, myths and rumors about black body image, tracing all the way back to slavery to target realizations and encourage reflection on how slavery has affected the idea of black body image today. The presentation will also cover historical features of black body image and how it has transformed today. 

Allen will discuss body image and blackness as two separate beings but will describe how the two intersect. 

For Allen, body image is essential to her everyday life. Being a fashion consultant, she pieces styles together that work for a particular body type. However, this presentation is the first time Allen will truly dissect body image, rather than just clothing. 

“This presentation will, pretty much, describe a timeline from slavery all the way up to today based on ideas and perceptions placed on individuals who have black skin, who identify as black or who associate with blackness, which is the experience of being black or black culture," Allen said.

Allen is passionate about her work and is excited to talk with students at GVSU. She hopes to form bonds with students and get them to really understand the truth behind the stereotypes and myths. 

Sage Edmonds, a GVSU student, is thankful to see presentations like this at GVSU because, she said, it should be talked about. Edmonds has attended open discussions about topics involving blackness and body image, and she stressed her concerns for the women she is surrounded by. 

“Darker skinned women, or women who don’t have European features, sometimes feel ostracized or uncomfortable in their own skin,” Edmonds said. “Black women have always been taught to hate their features.”

At GVSU, where the majority of the student body is not black, events like these may offer students a space to feel free to express themselves fully and authentically. The "Body Image and Blackness" discussion will nail down not only blackness and body image, but will also touch on social acceptance. 

For more information about this event or Black History Month events, visit the OMA's website at www.gvsu.edu/oma

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