This summer, I’ve been interning with About-Face, a San Francisco-based non-profit that promotes positive body image through media literacy. They mainly focus on girls and women but media-driven insecurity certainly can affect anyone, and About-Face addresses this by including boys in their workshops. Often times the work About-Face does revolves around picking apart various advertisements, TV shows, or pieces of pop culture to decode and debunk their messages about how you should look – all very fun stuff!
My project this summer deals with social media, which means that I not only get to spend more time on Facebook than I already do but also that I finally need to figure out Twitter (a process that may never be complete).
What is especially exciting about this internship, however, isn’t all the extra web-surfing – it’s how I got it. During freshman year I took the Sex Cluster, a three-quarter long (amazing) class that included taking a seminar during the spring. My seminar was called “The Psychology of Human Sexuality” and covered a wide range of seriously interesting topics, one of which was body image. I had never really come in contact with the concept of positive body image or knew much about why it was so great, but throughout the course of the class I learned so so much about why it’s important (and cool) to have a positive view of your bod.
One of the seminars featured a guest lecturer from About-Face. She talked about the organization, what they do, who they serve, and she gave a little demonstration of the kinds of activities About-Face puts on during a workshop. Immediately I knew that I could learn something valuable from About-Face and the work that they were doing. I knew I would go back to my dorm and peruse their website, but first I asked the guest lecturer about internship opportunities in the organization. She was more than happy to fill me in and loaded me up with a pamphlet and information on the sorts of things they had going on.
I didn’t follow up immediately, in fact I waited a year before I emailed about working there. But when I did, she remembered lecturing for my cluster and was super excited to have me intern at About-Face. Now I’m learning all of this super cool stuff about non-profits, social media, and body image all because I asked a question to a guest lecturer in one of my classes.
And if that wasn’t enough, a former TA from my time in the Sex Cluster now volunteers at About-Face, too. So whenever I’m in the office I get a bit of UCLA to keep me going.
So, even though I’m not in Los Angeles for the summer, I still have UCLA to thank for the awesome time I’m having.