CWU News

World-renowned expert on body image to speak at CWU

Sonya Renee Taylor Body image is defined as how a person sees him- or herself when that person’s personal image comes to mind. Having a correct body perspective is important to mental health and in preventing eating disorders.

National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) figures show, overall, 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses that affect people, regardless of age, background, ethnicity gender, or size, age.

In conjunction with National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Sonya Renee Taylor will appear at CWU Thursday, February 28, to discuss, what she terms, “radical self-love.” An educator, poet, social justice activist, and spoken word artist, Taylor is also the author of “The Body is Not an Apology.”

“Radical self-love is not independent, it is interdependent,” she explained. “It is about our relationship, not only with our bodies but with the bodies of others. As we learn to make peace with our bodies and make peace with other people’s bodies, we create an opening for creating a more just and equitable world.”

Sonya Renee Taylor, second photoTaylor speaks and performs frequently on university campuses, at other schools, and at prisons, mental health treatment facilities, homeless shelters, and festivals across the globe. Her message is that our bodies are political. 

“The personal is political whether we want it to be or not,” she added. “So, really, the only question to be pondered is whether or not we will use our bodies to uphold systems of oppression or to defy them.”

Her appearance will take place in conjunction with an Open Mic Night, which begins at 7:00 p.m. in McConnell Auditorium. Taylor will appear during the second hour. The event is free for CWU students, staff, and faculty with current CWU identification. General admission tickets are seven-dollars.

Taylor will also participate in an hour-long book signing at 4:00 p.m. Thursday at the Wildcat Shop in the Student Union and Recreation Center.

Taylor’s appearance is sponsored by CWU Campus Activities, Wellness Center, Diversity and Equity Center, with additional support from Disability Services, Department of Theatre Arts, and Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,