Virtual reality technology translates to body positivity in body image research
Park, a faculty member in the Colorado School of Public Health at CSU Physical Activity and Healthy Lifestyles concentration and an associate professor in CSU’s Department of Design and Merchandising, has guided aspects of her research on how humans use technology toward body positivity. This has included not only the project with CSU students, but a partnership with the Bariatric Center of the Rockies in Fort Collins to work on body image with people who have had bariatric surgery.
“A lot of people who have negative body image tend to focus on ‘problem’ areas,” Park explained. “This research emphasized looking at the whole body. We’re seeing that body image is not always about the physical body.” During the Body Positivity Project, completed with CSU freshmen, participants attended four educational sessions that included discussing the media’s impact on body image, writing a letter to themselves, having a clothing exchange and making T-shirts with body-positive messages.
“A lot of participants said, ‘I’m realizing I’m not the only one who feels this way (about my body)’,” Park said. “It was really important to hear others’ perspectives and understand that they’re not alone.”
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