Each spring, Concord Academy’s Women of Color Alliance (WoCA) and Intersectional Feminist Orgaization (IFO) jointly host Body Liberation Week (BLW), a week of workshops and discussions about body positivity and self image. This year, BLW took place from April 5-9, and organizers included WoCA, IFO, PeCo (Period Coalition), and QPOC (Organization, Queer People of Color).
The week’s programming began on Monday, when members of the CA community were invited to write positive affirmations on sticky notes that could be shared with others. On Tuesday, PeCo hosted an open meeting to discuss how menstruation can affect body image and self perception. The co-heads began by sharing an article about the relationship between periods and self-esteem, then opened the floor for conversation, allowing attendees to discuss their own experiences. In addition, students shared self care strategies and resources for further learning.
For many, the highlight of Body Liberation Week was Wednesday evening’s presentation and Q&A with Sonalee Rashatwar (she/they) LCSW MEd. “[Rashatwar] is an award-winning clinical social worker, sex therapist, adjunct lecturer, and grassroots organizer. Based in Philly (licensed in NJ and PA), she is a superfat queer bisexual non-binary therapist and co-owner of Radical Therapy Center, specialized in treating sexual trauma, body image issues, racial or immigrant identity issues, and South Asian family systems, while offering fat and body positive sexual healthcare.” The event was held via Zoom, and students who attended say that they enjoyed the opportunity to learn from and connect with Rashatwar.
On Thursday, WoCA hosted a presentation and open discussion on the topic of fetishization of BIPOC women in the United States. Beginning with the origins of fetishization in the 1800s and tracing its evolution into the present day, Thursday’s workshop was both educational and thought-provoking.
Finally, to round off an exciting week of body positivity and collective care, on Friday night, IFO and WoCA held a joint meeting open to the whole community. Participants were welcome to join both in-person and via Zoom to reflect on Body Liberation Week 2021 and discuss how CA could better support its community members on their journey toward body liberation.