Pace University Screening A Big Success

Screening Draws Impressive Crowd and Discussion

Beauty in the Eyes of the Beheld's February 23 screening at Pace University in New York City drew an impressive crowd and engaged the audience in a lively discussion about body image issues.

“We had a great turnout for this event! In addition to Pace students, other students from New York area schools came out to take part in this important discussion," said organizer Brian Petersen, a psychologist at the Pace University Counseling Center.

liza_pace_2.jpgThe film was screened along with another documentary, Wet Dreams and False Images, as part of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. In addition, Emilie Zaslow, Pace University Assistant Professor of Communications Studies, lectured on the history and economics of the beauty industry. "Beauty in the Eyes of the Beheld challenges some of our key beliefs about how people define and experience beauty," Zaslow said.

"Most compelling is the way in which Liza captures the voices of women for whom beauty has been experienced as burdensome, all-defining, and sometimes painful."

A discussion with the filmmakers and Dr. Zaslow followed the screenings. One female audience member declared, "...seeing the airbrushing ... and then seeing these beautiful women talk about [their physical flaws]... just seeing both of those for me, they made me sit here and go 'You know what? I'm okay. I'm okay the way I am' ...So I think just showing films like this and exposing it is beyond helpful."

Another theme of the discussion centered on how the beautiful women's childhoods affected their lives. One student said, "One of the things that I thought was very poignant ... was that there was a differentiation between how they perceived their families' ideas of beauty and I think it significantly altered their courses in life..."

"The screening at Pace generated a lively discussion and left the nearly 100 attendees thinking critically about the role of normative beauty in the construction of self identity, family relationships, and labor," commented Zaslow.

Audience feedback for the screening was enthusiastic. "A theme of the audience response centered on how this was the first time they had heard women talk about this experience and how beauty can be deceiving for both the beheld and the beholders," reported Petersen.

"I was asked to program more events on this theme and the Pace Counseling Center will be purchasing a copy of ‘Beauty’ for future use in training members of the Pace community.”

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