“The Hunger Games” review: Attacks on Katniss’ Curves

I happened to go see The Hunger Games last night on a rare date with my husband, and I applauded that she was solid, muscular, fit and had curves rather than a skeletal waif-like frame. Now, as you know I am an advocate for healthy curves on a woman, and I found it refreshing to see a more realistic, strong female depiction (well what could be seen with all the shaky camera work). On the way home, I picked up a paper for the train and inside was an article saying how critics had slammed Jennifer Lawrence as having “too much baby fat” to accurately depict a woman living in a starving community.

How can this slim, fit girl be considered too big for The Hunger Games?

Charni of Belly Dance Lessons Online thinks that Jennifer Lawrence accurately represents a fit and strong young woman in The Hunger Games

This got me outraged. Especially as when I did my research on these critics that others criticised them for not being similarly harsh on the muscular, solid males, who were also meant to come from a food deprived district.

Why the double standard? Why are women criticised for being “normal” while men are not? I understand that males in the media also feel a pressure to have 6 pack abs and big biceps, however when you look at all the men in the media, including tv presenters, news readers and actors compared with their female coworkers, the women are always fit looking, perfectly groomed and often receive criticism on their looks not their talent.

It’s got to stop. Let’s focus on health and fitness, and leave the  curves and wobbly bits alone. After all, without these, what’s left to shimmy with?

“Every little girl should know a belly dancer”

I have just come across a really insightful article called “Every little girl should know a belly dancer”. What a great idea!

Every Little Girl Should know a bellydancer"

Charni from Belly Dance Lessons Online will make sure her little girl always has an example of her mother being proud of her body shape.

The author of the article was at an information session about improving self-esteem in women. One woman who was in recovery from anorexia told how her healing began when she started bellydancing and found acceptance and joy in the female form regardless of size. As a belly dancer (or Raqs Sharqi Dancer) of many years I have used it to help me though the many changes my body went through growing up and having babies. I strongly believe that all pre-pubescent girls would benefit from a course in belly dancing! Let’s make it mandatory in schools for girls – just like German Measles shots! It’s just as good for your health!  Performing on stage in front of others can be very liberating, not to mention fun!

Whoever you are, whatever your shape, height, religion, politics, hair colour, nationality rejoice in the beauty that you are RIGHT NOW!

Funny Belly Dance joke for you!

So here is my joke, you be the judge of whether it is funny:

A belly dancer walks into a bar (don’t all good jokes start that way?) it has dusty implements on the wall so corroded with rust you can’t even tell what they were. There are cracked vinyl booths lining the walls, the floor is sticky and there is a decided smell of cooking oil, stale beer and cigarette smoke. The Manager sees her standing in the door looking around and comes up to her “ Ahh you must be the belly dancer I called, come right this way!”

“You mean I’m in the right place?” she says confusedly.

“Of course you are, come this way”.

“But the man on the phone said it was an Egyptian themed bar, this doesn’t look Egyptian to me!”

“What do you mean?” the Manager blusters, “doesn’t it look pretty shaabi!”

Hahahahahahahahaha!

Get it? It’s a play on words of shaabi and shabby…. Ah well (embarrassed cough), it seemed funny in my head!

The thing is a belly dancer (or Raqs Sharqi dancer), often ends up in some weird places booked to dance! The floors ARE often sticky! That’s a story for another time!

Morocco: review of her new book

“You Asked Aunt Rocky: Answers & Advice About Raqs Sharqi and Raqs Shaabi”

Carolina Varga Dinicu, known as “Morocco” or “Aunt Rocky” released her large tome on Arabic dance late 2011 (Mine is signed – woo hoo!). This is a collection and gathering of her research of over 50 years in the ethnicity of all sorts of Arabic dances. She has been asked questions about dance over the years by various people and has kept a copy of the correspondence, a lot of these questions and answers are included. The book is divided into helpful divisions covering Shaabi (folkloric style) and sharqi (cabaret style) props, teaching tools, tips on working in the industry and many, many interesting anecdotes stories and experiences.

One of her assertions is that calling it “belly dance” is a misnomer and incorrect and disrespectful to its origins. It also gives a sleazy image in the mind of the general public (a scantily clad woman dancing in front of men as a source of titillation). I am in two minds about this. Firstly, while I agree, that I want to honour its origins, if I referred to myself as Raqs Sharqi Lessons Online, no one would know how to find me or what it was I did. So how can I introduce people to the beautiful (and super fun!) dance style of raqs sharqi unless I call it by the name it is known by: belly dance.

Cover of Morocco's Book "You asked Aunt Rocky"

“You asked Aunt Rocky: Answers & Advice About Raqs Sharqi and Raqs Shaabi”