‘Real Women’ gather for a night of intimate discussion

Real women have curves. They also have a keen intellect and a great sense of humor, as many participants learned on Oct. 2 when they shared an evening with the members of Lambda Theta Alpha Sorority (LTA) in the New Library auditorium.

The program, called “Real Women Have Curves,” discussed the issues that challenge women everyday, including body image, family ties and higher education.

Throughout the night, students watched clips from the movie “Real Women Have Curves.” The film tells the story of Ana, a college-bound first generation Mexican-American.

Facilitators Deborah Pe?a, junior early childhood education/psychology major, and Veronica Pardo, senior elementary education/psychology major, succussfully inspired discussion about the film, as everyone was eager to comment on Ana’s struggles.

“Everybody was so interactive – not only Latinos. There were other cultures here,” Farline Grullon, senior psychology and nursing major and member of LTA, said. “African-American, Caucasian, everybody. All of them had feedback.”

One discussion point focused on companies who exploit their workers.

Pe?a and Pardo read shocking statistics to their audience, including the alarming number of young women and teens working in sweatshops for American retailers.

The room grew cold with guilt as these facts were returned with gasps and outbursts of “Shut up!” and “For real?” from the audience.

The event attracted quite a few men as well.

“My favorite part of the program had to be when we were discussing the physical appearance aspect,” Tommie Glenn said.

The weight debate was sparked after a scene where Ana stripped down to her underwear at work because she was too hot.

Her mother, conservative and embarrassed by her chubby daughter, pleaded with Ana to cover up.

Once the group started talking about weight and body image, nobody could stop.

Some participants felt it was okay for Ana to lose a few pounds, while others contested that heavier people can be healthy, too.

“I’m glad to see women, just like men, are starting to mature,” Glenn said. “It’s not what you drive, and what you wear, but also how you act and how you feel.”

The program came at an important time of the year for LTA.

“It’s Latin heritage month and we wanted to focus on a Latino issue, but make it open to all cultures as well,” Pardo said.

“People don’t realize it, but there are so many issues that Latino families have,” Pe?a said. “Not only Latino families, because you can relate it to almost any culture. There were so many people here from different countries and they all had input.”

Once the movie and open forum finished, many people stayed behind to linger and further discuss the evening.

If participants learned nothing else that night, the sisters of LTA made everyone realize that diversity has the power to unify people.