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“Nalgona Positivity Pride” leads workshop in the decolonize your body series

Challenging the views of beauty

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Gloria Lucas speaking to the guests

Gloria Lucas speaking to the guests

J. Aaron Delgado

J. Aaron Delgado

Gloria Lucas speaking to the guests

J. Aaron Delgado, Photo Editor

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Gloria Lucas, the founder and director of body positive project “Nalgona Positivity Pride” (NPP), led the decolonize your body series on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at the University Student Union. The NPP project is a Xicana-Brown Indigenous project that focuses on intersectional body positivity; eating disorder awareness and cultural affirmation. The NPP is a small business that is very active on social media, holding workshops and talks on various campuses, as well as support groups. The word “nalgona” means “big butt” in the Spanish language, which Lucas uses as an inspirational term, urging participants of NPP to reclaim their bodies and to accept their bodies no matter the size. NPP’s goals set the tone for those looking to decolonize their body.

Before starting the official workshop and talk, the group had to agree to certain ground rules in order to provide a space of acceptance and openness amongst each other. The first agreement: each person is to be supportive of each other’s learning process and healing journey. The group also had to avoid mentioning numbers, diet and health tips, and describing people’s bodies. Self-love is imperative toward the agreement because it should always come first when in each person’s healing journey. The group is encouraged to challenge the way they define beauty and value since it’s important to view these characteristics in different ways other than the norm. Lastly, the most important agreement is to keep everything confidential within the group. Everyone signed their name in the air to agree to the group’s terms.

These agreements correspond to eating disorders as they can happen to anyone and in various forms. NPP considers eating disorders to be all types of dysfunctional relationships with food because it is a manifestation that can happen to anyone, meaning everybody is prone to it. The disorder can seriously change the brain chemistry or their eating habits; bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and anorexia nervosa are common examples of eating disorders.

In order to decolonize your body the group in the workshop had to understand the roots of colonialism and time period when Christopher Columbus discovered the “new world” or America. Lucas introduced the definition of colonialism as “the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.” The effects of colonialism, in accordance with the definition, brought upon the military conquest of acquiring more land and work to capture or assimilate the native people in their indigenous land which can result in forced relocation to another remote land. Lucas discussed how depictions of military gifting indigenous people blankets and other trinkets but it was seen as a front of passing on epidemic diseases from Europe. Other effects included religious suppression, resource theft, family disruption, slavery, and sexual exploitation.

These things lead to a snowball effect timeline that progresses from the start of the European conquest of indigenous lands. This then shifts to a bigger paradigm that involves the genocide of the native people through disease, war, and environmental degradation. Food & medicine change and religious indoctrination were also among the second paradigm. The timeline then rolls over to the biggest snowball in the timeline where systemic oppression, environmentally racism, poverty, state brutality, and modern day colonialism.

Lucas introduced historical trauma that revolves around the idea of intergenerational psychosocial impacts that resulted from the devastations of previous colonial suppression within a specific group that share a specific identity or affiliation. Symptoms of historical trauma include biological problems such as depression, psychic numbing, anger, self-destructive behavior. Another symptom includes more behavioral actions such as identification with the deceased and re-enacting affliction within one’s own life. Historical trauma is a biological concept that can be passed down generation to generation is it has affected the lives of ancestors. Lucas goes on to explain the phenomenon of historical trauma.

“A lot of us have indigenous and black ancestry,” Lucas said “Their unresolved grief is our grief.”

With the historical trauma breeds post traumatic slave syndrome, which Dr. Joy Degruy defines as “a condition that exists as a consequence of multi generational oppression of Africans and their descendants resulting from centuries of chattel slavery…A form of slavery which was predicated on the belief that African Americans were inherently/genetically inferior to whites.”

The workshop closed by exposing what the white thin CIS industrial complex which is the shared business and communal fabrication of the conviction that the ultimate standard of beauty and health is influenced by those that are heterosexual, cisgender, light skin, and thin. Lucas demonstrates this with examples of modern advertisements and mediums, such as films and magazine covers featuring people are light skin, thin, and heterosexual. The workshop challenges these norms and see subjects that don’t fit the average as beautiful, such as themselves.

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“Nalgona Positivity Pride” leads workshop in the decolonize your body series