Operation Beautiful comes to campus

Failing her chemistry test was the last straw for Caitlyn Boyle before she experienced an intense emotional defeat.

“I had a breakdown over how stupid I was and feeling worthless,” Boyle said. “Something came over me, and I wrote ‘you are beautiful’ on a pieceof paper, stuck it on a mirror, and took a picture of it.”


Little did Boyle know that this simple Post-it note would turn into Operation Beautiful, an organization working towards ending  negative self-talk.

Boyle will be coming to campus on Feb. 28 to give a presentation on Operation Beautiful.

This presentation will take place during Eating Disoder’s Awareness week, and it will encompass the negative impact the media has on how people see themselves.

“There is a physical manifestation of the perfect person generated from the media,” Boyle said. “This person is not real.”

Her presentation, which will take place at 7 p.m. in the UC Hamilton Room, will show examples of people we see in the media after photo editing, and what they would look like without it.

Boyle said her main goal with Operation Beautiful is to help people start using positive talk.

“Instead of wanting to change the way you look, change the way you see yourself,” Boyle said.

After she took a picture of her very first Post-it note, Boyle posted the picture on her personal blog and asked her readers to participate by doing the same thing. Boyle said she was shocked when three days later she had over 75 posts.


Realizing she had something big on her hands, Boyle took off with Operation Beautiful. Five months later, she had her first book deal.

At Boyle’s presentation, students will have the opportunity to participate in a Post-it exercise of their own. There will also be door prizes including iPods and gym memberships to the Williams Center.

Jill Mallin, a staff psychologist on campus, and Whitney Henley, the wellness coordinator at UHCS, are leading the activities here in Whitewater.

“Students can follow the campaign by posting anonymous positive body image quotes, Henley said.

Tables will be set up in the University Center and the Center of the Arts starting Feb. 27 through March 2 so students can pick up Post-it notes to write positive quotes on.

Participants can put their Post-it notes anywhere on campus. If participants take a picture of their Post-its and upload them to the UHCS Facebook page, the students will be put in a drawing to win a 50 dollar gas card.

The people at the tables will also be handing out buttons, t-shirts and other information about Operation Beautiful and how to get involved.
Mallin organized a Post-it exercise two years ago, but wanted to get the campus more involved this year with Eating Disorder Awareness week.

“A lot of people participated, and a lot of people saw the Post-it notes,” Mallin said. “They weren’t exactly quite sure what they were for and what was going on.”

This year, Mallin ordered 1,000 more packets of Post-it notes, and she has organized more activities for the Whitewater community members to get involved.

“We’re also trying to focus on the collaboration between the campus and community and getting everybody involved in the whole process,” Mallin said.

On Feb. 25, Studio 84 will be holding a free self-portrait workshop from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Students and community members are invited to go in and make a self-portrait out of any materials they wish. These portraits will then be hung up at Boyle’s lecture.

Since June of 2009 when Boyle posted her first picture of “you are beautiful” to her blog, she has received over 10,000 posts. She has received posts from every continent and in several different languages.

For more information on Operation Beautiful or Boyle’s presentation, visit www.operationbeautiful.com.

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