The Women’s Center hosted two of five photo shoot sessions Feb. 4 and 6 in preparation for a photo gallery as part of a Body Positivity Month campaign this coming March.

Lyosha Gorshkov, director of the Women’s Center and Pride Center within the Office for Inclusive Excellence, explained the upcoming series of events coinciding with Women’s History Month in March.

“The whole of March is going to be Women’s History Month, and I decided that this year we should hold Body Positivity Month the whole month as well in order to promote positive attitudes towards different types of bodies,” Gorshkov said. “In pop culture and TV shows we’re often shown that there’s one type of body which is appreciated by society, but we as people are different – we’re diverse.”

As for the photo shoots taking place throughout January and February, Gorshkov expressed a desire to highlight reality as opposed to fiction. The main idea, they said, is to empower those who might feel ashamed of their bodies and their differences.

“In real life, people are uncomfortable because society pushes aside those with different types of bodies – they’re not treated the same way,” Gorshkov said. “The main focus is to show people that we are completely different: we’re real people, we’re not from a TV screen, we’re not made-up idols.”

The photoshoot is only the first of many events planned for March, with others focusing on similar aspects of empowerment. Together We Rise, for example, was described by Gorshkov as a chance for female-identified groups to get together in celebration of sisterhood, friendship, and mutual empowerment.

“March is going to be packed,” Gorshkov said. “The biggest, most important event is going to be the Burlesque Bash, which is our collaboration with Rock the Weekend. It’s an all-out celebration of diversity that will be held in the ballroom. There’s going to be different speakers, a drag show, casino games, a photo booth, all sorts of things. It’s going to take a lot of collaboration across the board here on campus.”

Inspiration for the series came from all around campus, Gorshkov said. They worked closely with both students and staff to pitch ideas and help to provide the tools required to bring those events to life.

“Most of this stuff, they created,” Gorshkov explained. “We tried to engage them and encourage them to produce their own ideas; it’s a kind of dialogue, it’s a negotiation and collaboration within the Women’s and Pride Centers.”

The final photo shoot will commence on February 11th in room 249 of the Smith Student Center at common hour. Afterwards, work will steadily continue in preparation of the soon-to-arrive Body Positivity Month.


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