Physiology classes spread idea of positive body image


Daniel Tan

Senior Allison Win looked down and read the hand-written words on the front of her white T-shirt. “I’m cool, chill, awesome….” She then craned her neck towards the words on her back. “And so are you.”

And with that, she summarized the entire message of her physiology class’s first unit in one sentence: think positively about your body image.

Junior Collin Marcroft works on his T-shirt in physiology class on Friday, Sept. 9. Photo by Elvin Wong.

Since the beginning of the school year, physiology classes have been in their “Inner Beauty” unit. During the last few weeks, students have been learning about the effects of the media on people’s perceptions of their bodies and how to feel positive about their own.

But instead of keeping the learning inside the classroom, the classes decided to use their knowledge to affect the school in a constructive way. On Friday, physiology students decorated shirts with uplifting phrases and words of encouragement in hopes of spreading the message of self-confidence.

“We decided we want our students to write positive messages on T-shirts and walk around with them so people see that it’s just not about what you think is beautiful but that you are beautiful in your own way,” physiology teacher Pooya Hajjarian said.

During sixth period, junior Cassidy Carlsen was busy creating her shirt with a black Sharpie. The phrase “Don’t worry, be happy,” was beginning to take shape on the fabric. She hadn’t started on the back of her T-shirt yet, but Carlsen knew what she wanted to put there: “Put a smile on—you’re beautiful.” In her eyes, a lot of people are not happy with how they look, and she wanted something to counteract that negative feeling. “It doesn’t matter [if] they’re the perfect person,” Carlsen said.

Hajjarian was surprised how many of his students enjoyed designing the shirts and wearing them around campus. One of the reasons senior Vishnu Nair enjoyed the task was because it allowed him to get creative. “Normally in high school we don’t do arts and crafts, and I guess I miss that once in a while,” he said.

Overall, Hajjarian believed the day was a success. He was asked by students many times about the T-shirts his students were wearing, and he knew his students were being asked as well. But it wasn’t just about the questions created by the shirts. Senior Kavya Rammohan remembered heads turning and students to smiling and laughing in the hallways after reading what they had to say.

Her shirt required students to see both sides of it to get the whole message, though: on the front were the words “You’re not that ugly,” while the back read, “Just kidding, you’re beautiful!”

Even then, it wasn’t difficult to get those heads to turn—especially when the phrases said, like on senior Steffanie Sum’s T-shirt, “Find your inner swag.”

With words like those, physiology classes spent last Friday spreading their message of self-confidence across campus.