Windsor

Windsor group goes analog to improve perceptions of body image

The Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association set up shop at the University of Windsor this week, asking students to take photos without giving them the ability to edit or enhance the images.

Be Your Selfie project a departure from easily altered digital images shared on social media

(Meg Roberts/CBC)

A Windsor eating disorder association has launched a project that aims to improve perceptions of body image by encouraging people to take selfies with a Polaroid camera.

The Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association set up shop at the University of Windsor this week, asking students to take photos without giving them the ability to edit or enhance the images.

The Be Your Selfie project is a departure from the easily altered images people share on social media, which are easily modified to change someone's appearance.

"It's in the moment," said Zara Ali, who snapped a selfie with the Polaroid. "It's your everyday kind of life, whereas, if you're posting something on Instagram, you are going to look at it for the longest time ever."

Zara Ali and her friend, Aya El-Sabbheh got their Polaroid selfie as part of Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association "Be Your Selfie" campaign. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

The instant-film snap shots are a far cry from cellphone selfies, explained Ali, recognizing how people can obsess over their images and just delete what they don't like.  

"Everyone wants to look a certain way. Their makeup needs to be done a certain way." she said."Taking that selfie — right then and there — this is you and you can't put a filter on it."

Aya El-Sabbheh joined Ali for their Polaroid selfie. She says everyone has dealt with body image issues at some point. 

"I really do like this campaign," El-Sabbheh said. "It's really nice and empowering, I don't want to say, just for girls, it's for everybody."

(Facebook/Bulimia-Anorexia-Nervosa-Association)

Organizers of the project want people to embrace who they are as an individual, instead of trying to find a way to make themselves seem perfect.

"Not all of us have an eating disorder, but every single one of us suffers with poor body image and low self esteem at times," said Shauna Chiandussi, the health promotion educator at Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association.

(Facebook/Bulimia-Anorexia-Nervosa-Association)

The selfie project is a way for others to know everyone has similar struggles, explained Chiandussi.

"Initially people are hesitant to participate," she said. "But once we tell them why we're doing it, all of a sudden everyone is more incline to participate."

The association will set up their Polaroid booth throughout the city until Feb. 7.

now