“The goal of the Bold Beauty Conference is not to impose a rigid set of standards on what beauty is or is not. Instead, through the conference we strive to help students expand their understanding of what and who is beautiful — to embrace and understand the beauty in difference,” senior Cassie McDonagh said. “After four years at an all-women’s college, we have seen first-hand the damage the unattainable beauty ideal has done to the females we interact with on a daily basis,” McDonagh said. “The Bold Beauty Conference helps to reverse these ideals that have been ingrained in our minds and help empower the women of our campus to overcome the narrow ideals of beauty.” Some of the project themes include an examination of how porn has lost its negative connotation and it is now pervasive, how women are hyper-sexualized and an examination of college-aged women and their thoughts on body image, sororities and femininity in light of the St. Mary’s lifestyle. The Bold Beauty Conference will take place today from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Saint Mary’s Student Center. “A new and exciting addition to this year’s conference will be the screening of and panel discussion about ‘Very Young Girls,’” McDonagh said. After the documentary there will be a question-and-answer session with Cait Mullen, who participated in the filming of the documentary. Mullen was also one of the drafters of New York’s groundbreaking Safe Harbor Act, the first law in the country to recognize that children who have been prostituted are victims, not criminals. The second annual Bold Beauty Conference at Saint Mary’s will aim to open the definition of beauty. “Sadly, the average age of entry into prostitution in the United States is under 13 years old,” McDonagh said. “By studying the rapidly growing problem of the prostitution of children in the United States, we see the distortion and abuse of the female body in its most radical form.” Dr. Amanda Littauer, assistant professor of Women’s Studies and History at Northern Illinois University, will be speaking in Carroll Auditorium on, “Teen Girls and American Sexual Culture in the 1950’s” at 7:30 p.m. McDonagh also expressed the need for this conference and why it is important to examine what beauty is. “The conference will host and display projects that members of Saint Mary’s Female Beauty class have been working on throughout the semester,” McDonagh said. Photoshop projects, Barbies on Parade and the Price of Beauty display will be going on during this time in Vander Vannet Theatre. Opening remarks will be at 5 p.m., followed directly by the documentary “Very Young Girls” at 6:30 p.m. Saint Mary’s Communication Studies, Dance and Theater, Women’s Studies, History and Film Studies departments are sponsoring the event.
This Saturday, more than 100 local men will don three-inch, red high-heels and walk through downtown South Bend for “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” to raise awareness for domestic violence and sexual assault and raise money for the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). Amanda Ceravolo, director of development and communications for the North Central Indiana YWCA shelter, said the event, officially titled the YWCA’s “Men’s March to End Violence against Women,” offers men the opportunity to show solidarity for women who have been victims of violence, which is a community-wide issue. “Men really do want to be involved and are looking for ways to help,” Ceravolo said. “It’s also about showing that men can be and are vital parts of the solution to the problem.” Ceravolo said October, which is domestic violence awareness month, offers the perfect opportunity for such an event to begin dialogues about the issue and resources available locally. One fact to consider is that every nine seconds a woman in the United States is beaten or assaulted, she said. “All men come out and for different reasons, but we always remind [people that] one in four women can be a victim of sexual assault,” Ceravolo said. “This could be your wife, your mom, your sister, your daughter. Anyone can be impacted by violence against women.” According to the Indiana Coalition against Domestic Violence, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, with more victims than car accidents, mugging, and rapes combined. The YWCA of North Central Indiana is the largest service provider for sexual assault and domestic violence victims in the area, Ceravolo said, and serves over 1,500 women and children each year from St. Joseph and Elkhart Counties. “The vast majority of people staying here are fleeing from violence in their lives,” she said. Funds raised by the walk will specifically benefit domestic violence and sexual assault programs, including the “New Hope” treatment program, which provides counseling for victims of rape, sexual assault, incest, and sexual abuse, gives immediate shelter to victim, and fosters community outreach programs. Another important program that benefits from the annual walk is “CourtWatch,” which monitors domestic violence cases in county courts to help victims. Ceravolo said other rape centers nationally participate in similar “Walk a Mile” events, now in their fourth year. She said in the past, the walks have raised significant and needed funds, which comes both from registration fees and money collected by the men around the route. “A lot of money comes in the day of. In the past we’ve raised between $15,000 and $20,000 for every year we’ve been [doing] it,” she said. “We thought that it would be a great and fun way to engage men in the mission of the YWCA.” Ceravolo said this year, the event was moved to downtown South Bend from Coveleski Stadium to encourage local businesses to participate, many of whom will have tables out with food and coupons for the male participants. Male Notre Dame students annually participate in “Walk a Mile in her Shoes,” represented by a team organized by the student club Men against Violence (MAV). She said the enthusiastic men ran the course last year in their heels. “They have been represented in all of our walks,” she said. “We absolutely love it. They contacted us the first year and wanted to get involved, and we said absolutely, we want you there.” Senior Jack Toscano, former president of MAV, said participating in the event follows the club’s mission of ending sexual and domestic violence at Notre Dame and in the greater community. “‘Walk a Mile’ gave us a chance to both branch out and help the South Bend community,” Toscano said. “Violence against women is extremely relevant, especially in light of the recent reported sexual assaults. There is no excuse for that being a part of the Notre Dame community.” Toscano, who plans to participate in the event for his second time this Saturday, said the walk could be fun too. “The heels were very awkward at first,” he said. “You gain an appreciation for how much heels suck.” The event will take place this Saturday, Oct. 12 at 10 a.m, starting at the College Football Hall of Fame Gridiron. Ceravolon said those interested in participating should preregister online at ywcda.org/wam to secure their correct shoe size for the walk. Event registration will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, with minimum donations of $50 or $35 for students. Notre Dame students can also reach out to MAV to join their team.