Photo and story by KeWana McCallum / Contributing Writer
The Iota Tau Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday in the Business and Aerospace Building in honor of Women’s History Month. The panel’s theme was “My Pearl is Precious,” covering the importance of maintaining bodily care.
College of Behavioral and Health Sciences Associate Dean Barbara Turnage, College of Behavioral and Health Sciences professor Chandra Story and JAC Director Barbara Scales spoke on the panel. Delta Sigma Theta member and MTSU senior Kiara Chambers also spoke at the event.
Chambers started the event by talking about being sexually safe and aware.
“This responsibility means making informed decisions and safer sex choices,” Chambers said.
Chambers mentioned how important it is to get to know and communicate with sexual partners.
“It’s better to be in the know than not know at all,” she said.
Chambers said everyone should have the “sex talk” with their partner, get tested and make sure that their partner shows respect.
Another topic was knowing when one is ready for sex. Turnage talked about being able to be comfortable with your body in front of your partner.
Turnage also mentioned other ways of knowing when one is ready for sex, such as being able to be open about using protection, not being ashamed of the person who you’re sexually active with and being able to take responsibility for the choices you make.
“Whatever choices you’re making, be able to look at yourself the next day and say, ‘I’m precious, and this is the choice I made,'” Story said. “And own it.”
Scales added how important communication is when having a partner.
“Before you know that you’re really ready to be sexually active with that person, you talk to them and get to know them,” Scales said. “There’s not enough talking and communicating you could do.”
The panelists then discussed being healthy in a medical sense. Chambers said that she researched the top five common health problems women face: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression and autoimmune disease. Chambers mentioned that many people have misconceptions when it comes to these problems.
“Everybody thinks that diabetes is all caused from sugar,” Chambers said. “It’s not caused from sugar, it comes from fat. It’s about the fast food (and) the Cookout. All of that (causes diabetes).”
Chambers said that another misconception about health problems is genetics.
“Just because (it’s not in your genes) doesn’t mean it won’t happen to you,” Chambers said.
She said practices like eating healthy and exercising can help prevent some of these health problems from occurring.
Story said it is important to take care of oneself both physically and mentally. She also mentioned that what you tell yourself, whether it is negative or positive, can affect one’s outlook on life.
“You wouldn’t want somebody else calling you stupid or saying you’re not enough,” Story said. “So, don’t say that to yourself … When that self-talk enters in, it can impact every single area of your life.”
Story explained how social health can impact people as well.
“Our networks, the women who we hang around (and) the people we choose to hang around affects our health so much,” she said. “The research is showing in some ways that, if your friends are having a hard time, you can actually start to feel that emotionally just as much.”
Story mentioned how important it is to be there for friends, but to rememver to take care of yourself.
“If you are dealing with any type of depression, guess what?” Story said. “Physical activity helps that.”
Another point that Turnage made was to not be so worried about small obstacles that occur in life.
“I don’t have problems,” she said. “I have situations. I have circumstances. Incidents happen in my life, but problems (are things) you can’t solve. Problems, (they make it feel like) it’s taking over you.”
She said that situations are temporary and that they can change. Turnage said that women must be confident in themselves and not worry about what other people think.
More events for Women’s History Month will take place on campus throughout the month. For more information, visit here.
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