Create a more supportive school environment

The closure of the Seaver bathroom is definitely a hot-button topic on campus right now. It stirred conversations concerning the classification of graffiti and vandalism.

Personally, we believe that the situation was handled poorly — yes, it did create extra work for maintenance, but why did it need to be cleaned up in the first place? Why should such an empowering message be taken down?

Seeing a message like that in the bathroom on an extremely low day could really boost a girl’s spirit — we hope that the posters in the bathroom will help at least one girl feel better about herself. The message was placed there to remind young women that they are beautiful in a society that degrades women on a daily basis. At Harvard-Westlake, we lack a program that stimulates conversation about positive body image. “M” was trying to instill this confidence in young women within our community.

An important fact about M’s message is that it was written during National Eating Disorder Awareness week. We believe that it is important to shed light on important topics such as eating disorders, as they plague both males and females all over the world and are prevalent in high schools. M’s message may have been a commentary on the fact that we need to focus more on these issues at Harvard-Westlake.

People do not realize that there is just as much pressure to look a certain way as there is pressure to get good grades at Harvard-Westlake.

After the closing of the bathroom, a group of girls took action, using both social media and artwork as methods of public display for their opinion regarding the issue. And, not surprisingly, many students were frustrated with the school’s reaction to the closing of the Seaver bathroom.

We felt that a powerful, positive message had been silenced and frowned upon. In response, we had the idea of making signs for the bathroom, so M’s message could be preserved. (Rebecca drew the phrases in bright colors on white poster board pieces, surrounded by bouquets of flowers.)

Our aim was to spread message of self-love and self-respect. It is so important for people to love their bodies and themselves in general, especially with problems such as eating disorders and depression so prevalent in our present society.

We selected the phrases “you’re beautiful” and “love yourself” to keep the message sweet and simple.  Seeing these few words can make all the difference.

At Harvard-Westlake, that atmosphere of self-love is just as important to create, so the members of our community are imparted with the confidence and strength they need to thrive not only during their time at Harvard-Westlake, but throughout their lives.

We live in a society where both men and women are expected to look a certain way, and that isn’t right.  Everyone deserves the right to feel beautiful, confident and comfortable in his or her own skin. We are just reminding them.