Sororities have always been about the lifelong bonds of sisterhood. But Greek life has also been criticized for hazing, bullying, and fostering a culture of body shaming. One sorority challenged that criticism by magic-markering messages of self-love on their own skin—and posting the images on Instagram.
The messages are part of #ThisIsMe Week, a campaign created by the Delta Phi Epsilon chapter at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Borrowing the popular #ThisIsMe hashtag and making it their own, the sorority encouraged men and women to embrace their bodies and not buy into cultural beauty norms that make people susceptible to eating disorders.
Delta Phi Epsilon launched the campaign last month during Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders week, and the photos have since gone viral—thanks to the powerful affirmations the sisters proudly displayed on their bodies.
Mollie Thompson, Delta Phi Epsilon vice president of public relations, told the SIUE student newspaper that the campaign was inspired partly by her own battle with an eating disorder, as well as the struggles her sisters endured. “I knew that there were other girls in the sorority that did struggle with body issues and self-love and stuff like that,” she told The Alestle.
One Delta Phi Epsilon sister, Kelsie Stendy, shared an image of herself with the hashtag written across her abdomen.
“Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes. It took me a while to realize this. Growing up I always thought I needed to lose weight to be happy with myself, but now I know that I’m happy just the way I am, and I don’t need to change!” wrote Stendy. “This is me and I’m proud of that!”
Thompson shared a picture of her collarbone to @dphie_siue. “Growing up I had always been the tallest girl, the strongest and biggest," she wrote in the caption. "I used to be ashamed of the way my body was made. Now I can happily say that I’m happy with who I am. I may never be your idealized beauty standards, because I made my own.”