“Got Muffin Top?”: Body Image and College Life

From the Wellness Center at Brigham Young University-Idaho: “Got Muffin Top?”

Photo by Rick Kelly.

Given issues of body image facing college students, this poster is inappropriate. Health and wellness is important. That cannot be denied. However, in a culture where image and body image is already such a problem, this approach seems to be little more than shaming.

Add to this the pressure within LDS college community to get married, let alone academic and financial pressures of college life. We need to be encouraging of everyone. Positive encouragement can be used instead of guilting or shaming and doing so is more effective and more Christ-like.

As somebody who is large, trust me: being large is hard. However, many who beat themselves up because of how they look are not doing so because of health concerns, but because of perceived (and very real) social concerns. These pressures can be downright overwhelming, particularly for college students.

I applaud the Wellness Center at BYU-Idaho for wanting to encourage more healthy living. That said, I hope this poster comes down. There are better ways.

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  • Blake S.

    You will have to forgive me, but what does this poster mean or imply?

  • M
  • Elvenfoot

    Well, gosh, I have a slight muffin top, and I don’t find the poster shaming. And if I did, so what? I DO have one, and I really SHOULDN’T. It’s not like it’s good for me or anything. Actually, though, this just seems like a lighthearted way to draw people into the wellness center to improve their eating habits. I doubt the creator had any thought of shaming anyone. I think it’s kind of cute. I guess everyone has a different perspective on this kind of thing, though.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/approachingjustice/ Chris Henrichsen

      Well, gosh…indeed. I assume it was done with good intent. And it is a cute attempt, but ultimately a failed attempt given the context.

      I have lost 80 plus pounds. I dream someday of only having a muffin top.

  • jks

    Definitely inappropriate.

  • Glenn Smith

    Congratulations on losing 80 lbs. I need to lose that much and more. I am not offended by the poster. Were I near Ricks (oops, BYU-I), I would go see what the Wellness Center could do for me.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/approachingjustice/ Chris Henrichsen

      Oh, I am not offended. If you want to move closer, I still own a house there and I would love to sell it to you. :)