Women’s Resource Center Hosts “Decolonizing Attraction” Series

by Kiana Sujishi, Staff Writer

There are many different factors that can impact personal relationships in our lives, and they are often difficult to navigate on our own. This is why San Diego State’s Women’s Resource Center is hosting its month-long “Decolonizing Attraction” series. 

For this series, virtual workshops are held on every Monday of the month, with each one centering on a particular topic. These include “self, identity and privilege,” “friendships and romantic relationships,” “interpersonal violence,” “systemic issues and educational privileges” and “self-reflection and being an ally”. 

Second-year psychology graduate student Celine Jusuf is one of the co-facilitators of the series. She said the goal of each workshop is to prompt people to think deeply about their relationships and encourage more cross-cultural interactions. 

“We wanted to create a space to have these difficult conversations about how our privilege or systems of oppression can shape our social world and relationships, and how that can be harmful when entering interracial relationships or dating interracial individuals,” Jusuf said.

Jusuf also explained that interpersonal attraction is often more complicated than it seems. 

“It’s not just attraction based on personal preferences, a lot of times it’s dictated by systems of oppression in society,” she said. “I think it’s a really hard thing to admit. It’s also not something that we’re really taught to analyze in that regard.”

Jusuf described the series as very personal and said it was important for them to provide exercises, discussion questions and reflections that encourage participants to be more thoughtful about their own relationships and identities. 

“In order to be a really good friend or a really good partner, we need to be mindful of the way that somebody’s identity experiences the world,” Jusuf said. “That’s just emotional labor that we should be doing for our friends, but a lot of us haven’t received the education to do it.”

Kinesiology junior and WRC Fellow Cristina Salvatierra said the workshops helped her heal from the negative beliefs and feelings she internalized as a first-generation Mexican American. 

“Going to these workshops really helped further that (healing), in making me feel even more validated by people who may have gone through the same things that I have,” Salvatierra said. 

Salvatierra also found that these discussions created a space where her emotions could be acknowledged by others. 

“For me, I feel like the validation goes such a long way,” she said. “Whether your love language is words of affirmation or not, it helps you so much in terms of understanding what you need.”

Salvatierra said that although these discussions can be difficult and uncomfortable, they’re important to have.

“You come first in terms of making yourself feel safe and loved,” Salvatierra said. “But if you feel up for it, if you have the time, capacity and space, branch out to places that you can learn from.”

The last “Decolonizing Attraction” event, the “Self-reflection and Being an Ally” workshop, was held through Zoom on Nov. 30 from 2-3 p.m.

To stay up to date with the Women’s Resource Center and all of their upcoming events, check out their Instagram and webpage