The jokes write themselves: It’s Nudity Week at Brown University. A sampling from the roster of events: “Love Being Naked? Want to be Naked More? Want to watch others perform naked? Want to step out of your comfort zone? Want to talk about nudity?”
But the organizers of “Nudity in the Upspace,” a weeklong series of events running from September 30 until October 5 at Brown University, are hoping to accomplish a far more serious goal with their nakedness. In fact, the whole point of Nudity Week, say Rebecca Wolinsky and Camila Pacheco-Fores, is to help Brown students remove their negative stereotypes about body image.
The events, Wolinsky and Pacheco-Fores say, are intended to take aim at the prevailing attitudes at Brown—which come out in full frontal force at “the naked party”, aka the Sex, Power, God gathering—and in the "greater world," which go something like this: "Like, 'oh, nudity is sex.'"
Lest you think that students are walking around the whole Brown campus without clothes, fear not: the nudity is confined to a series of events on a part of the campus known as the Upspace, home to a theater group that Wolinksy and Pacheco-Fores belong to. It’s not an administration-sponsored event, although Wolinsky and Pacheco-Fores say they have been in communication with the university and have received the school's support. The events this week include Nude Body Painting; Nude Yoga; Nudity in the Theater (which includes scenes from plays and explores how the meanings change when the actors aren't wearing clothes); Nude Cabaret; Nude Open Mic Night; and a panel discussing nudity and how it relates to the “isms” such as power, race, class, gender, etc. All events are for Brown students only.
“It’s really interesting to and transformative to talk about things I never thought I would be able to talk about in an open way,” Pacheco-Fores tells The Daily Beast. Pacheco-Fores says certain things about her own body make her self-conscious, but “coming into this space where we are totally naked and totally exposed, personally, I couldn’t ignore it anymore and I couldn’t just hide it.”
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