I spoke with senior Courtney Brown, president of Bare Naked Ladies (BNL) recently. Here’s what she had to say:
What is the mission of BNL?
So, the mission for BNL is just to … redefine the standards of beauty and just … we want to put an emphasis on like, internal beauty obviously, it’s cliché, but like what matters on the inside not the outside and … we’re just like a positive, inclusive community that, tries to create … positivity for people and like, encourage self love and self acceptance and … through …. education and empowerment of each other.
Do you have events to promote that?
Yeah, so we do … a variety of mission events and bonding events and social events in our club, it’s kind of like three different … tiers that we do. So, for our mission events … to promote our mission, we’ve done like a lot of … photography campaigns and, like, video campaigns. Our last video campaign was really successful — it was called ‘Beneath the Surface’ and we were actually at Blue Hole and what we did was, like, we were in, like maxi dresses and sports bras and stuff and … we had paint over our bodies and we were … painting our insecurities and then we were … washing them off of each other to, like, show, like, underneath it all is … what matters most. And then we do … a lot of stuff on campus too, like we do … a ‘Proud2BMe’ event and we’ll just … have white boards … out on the commons, like, have people write, like, why they’re proud to … be themselves today and stuff like that. And we do …. random stuff on campus– like during finals week we’re gonna do, like, random acts of kindness and we’re gonna make someone like spread it forward … Mainly just through like awareness and just, like, honestly, just … reaching out. And so, like, on campus and off campus, like spreading our mission of positivity and self love and, like, self acceptance and we do community service events too. We’ve done, like, a women’s clothing drive, like, every semester for the New Direction Center in Staunton, so … a little bit of everything.
How often does BNL meet?
So, we have bi-weekly meetings, so we meet every other Tuesday and then in between the weeks that we don’t meet, we usually have, like, a bonding event or a mission event or a social event.
Overall, what do you want the readers of 22807 to know about BNL?
I just want them to know that, like, we’re a group that’s here on campus that, like, is inclusive and includes everyone and … we just want everyone to accept themselves … as they are and to … with their self love, like spread that love to others ‘cause … it’s very powerful and it’s, like, a very necessary thing for everyone to, you know … believe.
Is there anything else you think we should know?
Mainly, like, a lot of people do get confused that … we’re a feminist club … Obviously I’m a feminist and I have those … ideals and … that does, like, intersect, like, a lot of the time … Also, there’s a misconception that … we’re, like, an eating disorder awareness club too, but, like, we’re not … I guess mainly, just that, like, we’re a self love, like, self acceptance, like, body positivity group and it’s … more, like holistic. It’s not, like, just eating disorders and, like, stuff like that. It’s just, like, growing, like, as a person … It’s, like, the self love journey is pretty much what we like to … say is what we do.
Is there anything in the future that you hope that BNL can accomplish?
Long term, I would really like to spread Bare Naked Ladies to, like, other campuses. I’ve had, like, VCU and, like, Tech reach out to me to … get our foundation and … understand, like, how it works and how they can implement it on campus. So … ultimately the goal is to, like, spread it outside of JMU … The main goal is … it literally just starts with the one person, so if, like, one person can feel better about themselves or, like, feel beautiful, like, that’s the goal, ’cause that spreads.
Bare Naked Ladies meets every other Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
The photo is from BNL’s “Let It Go and Scale Smash” event where students let go of their insecurities by writing them on balloons, then popping them. Students were able to decorate scales and smash them off campus to represent that people are more than just a number.
Photo courtesy of: Courtney Brown