The Women’s Center challenged everyBODY to embrace who they are

Now more than ever, people all around the world are becoming more insecure about themselves and their bodies. The Women’s Center dedicates a week, annually, towards embracing every type of body and individual beauty. In order to make sure that each event was carefully thought out, Chery Pratas, the program specialist at the Women’s Center, was put in charge.

“The whole week event is for people to not get discouraged by what their body image looks like and to show them that you don’t have to be slim, you don’t have to be athletic, it’s whatever you feel comfortable with yourself,” Pratas said. “It’s to teach you that you are more than what you look like.”

Pratas wanted to make sure that each of the week’s events targeted different insecurities a person may have and show them that they should embrace those insecurities instead of being embarrassed by them. To start off the week, there was “Makeup Free Monday.” The main component of this event was to encourage students to wipe off their makeup in order to showcase and feel empowered by their natural beauty.

Then on Tuesday, the Women’s Center held two events. For the daytime event, “Tell Us What You Love About Your Body,” a banner was placed in and moved between the Memorial Union and Hope Dining Halls. Students could write something that they love about their bodies on the banners. Pratas decided to hold this class because she believes that students don’t realize the different ways their bodies can move.

“The class itself is basically to let loose, set free, do something you’ve never done before and have fun with it,” she said. “And to possibly say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know my body could do that.’”

This event was a wonderful way to show that every type of body is capable of doing what others can do. Pratas has been involved with dance for over 10 years and wanted to bring in her experience in order to really make a difference on campus. This event was a great success due to her experience and her willingness to show others that it doesn’t matter what someone looks like or the shape of their body because they are still capable of anything.

Later that evening, Pratas held a dance class called “Keep Calm and Dance On.” This dance class was a hip hop class where she could show students how their body can move, “in ways they never thought it could,” and to embrace their own body.

Then, the event on Wednesday was to have supplies for students to make Valentine’s Day cards. The point of this was to express love towards anyone in students’ lives and to show that they are appreciated. To finish off the week, Pratas kept the banner up on Thursday and Friday to continue encouraging students to embrace their own bodies.

The final event, called “Banish Negative Body Talk,” will be held tomorrow, Feb. 16, from 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. in the Women’s Center Library. Pratas encourages everyone to participate in this last event, so that students can let loose and forget about the negatives in life.

“You get to write what you hate about your body and what you are always focused on and then after we all pop the balloon and we banish it all,” Pratas explained.

If any student missed out on any part of EveryBODY week, but still wants to help out at the Women’s Center, they can contact Chery Pratas. This event will also be back next year, as always, so if a student wants to participate, look out for information on the University of Rhode Island website next spring semester.