UT Real Beauty Campaign sparks conversation among students

Heather Kirby

The annual UT Real Beauty Campaign aims to spark conversation among UT students about what “real beauty” means to them. The event runs from Oct. 15 through Oct. 26 and takes place all over campus, with many events held on the West Mall.

With this year’s theme as “All of Me,” the campaign seeks to be a platform for students to discuss beauty through activities, including an open participation chalk board wall, raffles, a keynote speaker, a documentary screening and much more.

Sydney Arceneaux, plan II chemistry junior and codirector of UT Real Beauty, said the idea is to overcome “detrimental beauty standards,” which to her, are unfulfillable expectations conceived by social media and other means of communication.

“The idea of this campaign is to focus on … addressing the beauty that each and every one of us has and just coming to love every part of yourself,” Arceneaux said

Lauren Wasser is the keynote speaker. She is a toxic shock syndrome survivor who had to have both of her legs amputated due to the infection. Toxic shock syndrome is a blood infection that can happen when a feminine product such as a tampon is used for too long. Arceneaux said Wasser is an example of someone who had to completely redefine beauty to accept herself, and Wasser will be sharing her experience on Thursday at the Student Activity Center auditorium.

Neuroscience sophomore Yasmine Soubra plans on attending the events offered by the campaign. She said real beauty is something worth discussing.

“Real beauty doesn’t matter how you look on the outside,” Soubra said. “It’s really very shallow for people to think that in order to be really beautiful they have to be perfect on the outside, when really, true beauty comes from the inside.”

Math senior Evan Shreseha also plans on participating in the campaign because he said speaking on the topic of beauty as a man is important to eventually change beauty standards.

“It sounds like something that could be really beneficial to the mental health of the community and all of the students in general — not just for women,” Shrestha said.

Arceneaux said the UT Real Beauty committee is focusing on creating a gender-inclusive space for this campaign. She encourages anyone and everyone to share their thoughts on beauty.

“If you see us on campus, please stop by and … talk with us and tell us what real beauty means to you,” Arceneaux said. “We’re here to hear everybody’s story on campus, and we want to foster a loving community that I know is on campus.”