In a society in which eating disorder support is usually reserved for thin, white women, Gloria Lucas’s work stands out. Lucas is the founder of Nalgona Positivity Pride, a body positivity project that centers self-identified Xicana, Brown, and/or Indigenous folks. (The name reclaims the Spanish slang word for girls with big backsides.)
On Friday, April 28, Lucas will lead a Portland workshop about the intersections between colonialism and the relationship people of color experience with food. The event is hosted in collaboration with Pochas Radicales, a queer Latinx collective in Portland facilitating community engagement with art and activism.
“The work that Gloria creates has helped me, in all honesty, to get out of bed, look at my naked body in its entirety and breathe,” explains Pochas Radicales co-founder Blanca Stacey Villalobos. “As a queer brown woman, I'm constantly bombarded with images of what our society deems as beautiful: a skinny white woman with hair and curves in all the 'right' places amongst others such as smooth and clear skin. [As an adolescent] I would save up money for beauty products that were not only physically damaging but mentally and emotionally as well.”
The lecture, entitled “Historical Trauma and Modern Day Oppression: How Does This Relate to Eating Disorders?” will help attendees analyze how their own habits of consumption and body image are shaped by Eurocentric ideals. Following the discussion, Lucas will also lead a brainstorm session for participants to share tips on healing, both as individuals and as a collective community.
“Body positivity isn't something that we're taught in our culture,” says Pochas Radicales member Andrea Telles. “For us, the body was something that was either hidden or overly sexualized. Gloria gave cabronxs a space to say that we come in all shapes and sizes, and we're proud. Her message crosses cultural boundaries and speaks to folks who do not identify within the binary, as well as those who deal with all levels of negative body image, but spotlighting a brown woman with a big beautiful ass who loves herself is nothing less than revolutionary.”
Lucas is a California-based organizer and lecturer who focuses on raising awareness around eating disorders within communities of color through several mediums, including Nalgona Positivity Pride, the body positivity project she founded in 2014, and Sage & Spoon, an online eating disorder support group for people of color. Lucas, who identifies as Xicana, became moved to create spaces for culturally specific conversations after years of experiencing her own struggle without adequate representation of fellow women of color in established eating disorder awareness communities.
Lucas began organizing through DIY punk spaces and assisted in the creation of the now-defunct queer feminist festival Ladyfest IE, IE Riot Grrrls zine, and activist outfit Women of Color for Decolonization. In addition to lecturing across the country, her contributions can be found in print at Bitch Media, the Huffington Post, MiTú, and The Body Is Not an Apology. Tickets for the Portland lecture are available online.
6–7:30 p.m. Fri, Apr 28, 3520 SE Yamhill St, $20