Smashing scales and stigmas: Clubs bring awareness to disordered eating


Thomas Turner

Pictured (from left to right): Larisa Eichler (Co-president of Active Minds), Abby Clark (Vice President of Active Minds), Erin Whitaker, Karae Shuler, Natalie Henn and Erika Hernandez. Not Pictured: Zoe Rudd (Coordinator for Body Positive at App State).

Thomas Turner, Reporter

As the wind rushed across Sanford Mall Tuesday afternoon, with a crowd of around a dozen people, the only thing standing between Zoe Rudd and the scale on the ground before her was the contempt in her eyes. 

She raises a hammer high above her head, bringing it down to enact her revenge on an item which may influence behaviors linked with disordered eating: a scale.

With Eating Disorders Awareness Week beginning next week, Rudd, the App State coordinator for The Body Positive Organization, wanted to team up with members of the Active Minds club to put on the Smash the Scale event Tuesday, in order to spread awareness on eating disorders.

“We want to make strides towards destigmatizing eating disorders here on campus,” said Abby Clark, vice president of Active Minds. “The scale can act as a very intimidating symbol for a lot of people who suffer from eating disorders, so this event is meant to metaphorically and literally put the power back into their hands.”

This yearly tradition from Active Minds was exactly what it said in the name. Students were given a hammer and the opportunity to unleash their frustrations against the scale. By the end of the three hour run time of the event, both scales used for the event were completely destroyed.

The Body Positive is a nationwide organization that focuses on “creating a lively, healing community that offers freedom from suffocating societal messages that keep people in a perpetual struggle with their bodies” according to their website. The App State branch of this organization is located in the Women’s Center in Plemmons Student Union for anyone who wishes to discuss issues related to body positivity, disordered eating and more.

Co-host of the event, Active Minds, is a campus-based organization focusing on eliminating the stigma associated with mental health on campus, while also opening discussion up to the general public for educating others and themselves. Some of their other events from the past include Expression Night, Stress Less Week and National Day Without Stigma.

“Things have been pretty low-key for us so far this semester, but we’re hoping to put on more events later in the semester,” Rudd said. “We’ll definitely be teaming up with Active Minds more as the semester goes on.”

Active Minds has many more events and meetings planned throughout the rest of the semester, including goodie bags and encouragement during finals week, general meetings to discuss mental health related topics and more said Co-President Larisa Eichler. 

Body Positive is also planning a dance party runway event for later in the semester in order to promote body positivity.

“Active Minds is an amazing club and it has been an honor to help lead it this past year,” said Eichler. “Being a part of this club is truly an eye-opening and amazing experience.”