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Embodying Self Love Club helps students embrace body positivity
The club has helped many SDA students with body positivity and loving themselves
January 29, 2021
One day last summer, junior Manelle Touzni had an idea. “For a long time, I struggled with body image and self-acceptance to an unhealthy degree,” said Touzni. “I learned a lot from my experiences, and I want others to be able to learn about it without having to do it the hard way.” With that idea, Touzni created the Embodying Self Love Club along with co-president junior Ellika Mohler and vice president junior Simone Boutelle at San Dieguito Academy.
Touzni’s main goal for the club is to teach people what she thinks are the most important things students don’t learn in a typical school day: confidence, self-love, and self-acceptance.
The meeting usually starts with a short introduction of the topic for that day on a slideshow presentation, which has included beauty standards in the fashion industry, false assumptions, and myths about calories, nutrition, and exercise. The leaders frequently open the floor up for discussion and invite members to share their thoughts or experiences on the topic.
During the meeting, the leaders usually plan an activity to allow members to participate. Some activities have included making affirmation jars, talking about what you love about yourself, and writing a positive sticky note to put on your mirror.
Mohler and Touzni were both patients at the UC San Diego Eating Disorder Center in the past and used their experience to help others through the Embodying Self Love Club. When Touzni first had the idea of the club, she thought Mohler was a great co-leader. “I knew that Ellika struggled with some similar things as I, and I needed someone else to help me get started,” said Touzni. “She told me right away that she’d love to help and definitely wanted to be a co-President. It was great to get to know her more- she’s done so much for the club, and I’m grateful she was so willing to do this with me!”
Mohler and Touzni then invited Boutelle to join the club as Vice President. “We know how passionate and knowledgeable [Boutelle] is with this subject already, and we’re so glad that she joined because now she’s essential to us and helps with so much,” Mohler said.
Boutelle added that she is proud of the support this club has given everyone in the club and even the leaders. “[I am] forever grateful for Ellika and Manelle giving me the opportunity to be involved in such a wonderful and beautiful topic and community,” Boutelle said.
As for selecting a club advisor, Touzni and Mohler decided Leona Mullen, an English teacher at SDA, would be a perfect fit due to her flexibility and dedication to the club. “‘[We] couldn’t think of a better supervisor,” said Mohler and Boutelle. “Mrs. Mullen is kind, welcoming, and a leader that [we] are so grateful for.”
Mullen was honored to be considered for the advisor position to the Embodying Self Love club. She even helped spread the word about the club by mentioning it to her classes because she believes so strongly in its message.“I thought it was such a great idea that focused on individuals working to grow themselves to help the world,” Mullen said. “Learning to love ourselves is truly the first step to building strong communities.”
Activities aren’t just limited to the club meetings. Embodying Self Love club usually posts weekly challenges that go on the club’s Instagram account. Some of these past challenges have included posting a picture of you doing something that you love, eating your favorite meal, or showing off the positive sticky note on your mirror. These activities and challenges help connect people outside of the one hour club meeting.
Annabelle Breider, a club member and senior, praises the club’s strong support network. “I know it’s a place I can go if I need support. I’ve struggled with accepting and respecting the body I’m in, and when I go through the more difficult times, it’s nice to know I’m not alone,” said Breider. “It’s so important for everyone to know that they’re never alone in their struggles, and this club is doing an amazing job at doing that.”
Chloe Howard, a sophomore, agrees. “Getting to talk to other people that have gone through some hard times and have trouble loving themselves for who they are really helping me,” Howard said.
Estephany Gonzalez, a junior, also expresses her love of the community this club has built. “The club has allowed me to find a group of people that are so welcoming and kind. It has helped me grow in my journey of self-love as well as getting more comfortable speaking on various topics,” Gonzales said, who also enjoys the healthy habits she has developed thanks to the club. “The environment of the club is overall amazing. They’ve helped me positively look at myself and practice more self-love.”
Despite the necessity of having clubs primarily online and its first year as a club, the Embodying Self Love Club has accomplished so much with Touzni, Mohler, and Boutelle’s leadership. The club has created a welcoming and friendly environment for newcomers or past attendees.
If you have a chance and want to feel loved for the rest of your day, check out the Embodying Self Love Club, with meetings every Thursday at lunch. They’re always open to new members!