They said what about me?

I have just come across a review of my site! I didn’t even know this existed, but now I do, I wanted to give him a big thumbs up for having great taste! LOL

Then you have the lovely Emma Nutrition who actually contacted me before writing about my eClasses: in a previous post)
And another one who actually made an effort:
and an actual genuine review of my teaching:
and this genuine one too (though a little out of date)

Charni from Belly Dance Lessons Online gets reviewed! - Or does she?

Charni from Belly Dance Lessons Online gets reviewed! – Or does she?

Then I found a few “dodgy reviews” not dodgy of me, but obviously have a set text that they just use across all the products they “review” or just do a straight copy and paste of text from my site. Sigh. Some of them are quite complimentary, but go on about it being an e-book which is odd… I am not even going to bother doing a hyperlink to them, but the link is there if you want to see dodgy reviews!

This one uses a picture of somebody else – how’s that for due diligence! Unfortunately not the only one, I found a few who use somebody elses video as a preview!

Or they just give the bare minimum info, which is not what I would call a review!

So here is a call out to all reviewers: If you want people to take you seriously – do a bit of research! Actually LOOK at what you are reviewing, the public are not stupid, they can tell what is genuine and what is not!

Okay rant over and out!
PS – please feel free to do a GENUINE review and send me the link!

“Hunger Games” Barbie Katniss doll??!!

I just recently wrote about how I had enjoyed the film, but found the focus on Jennifer Lawrence’s so-called “too big” figure. I have just found out that the latest buzz word is that Barbie is releasing a Hunger Games Katniss Doll on September 1 2012. Gee, I’d better pre-order to not miss out! Not! When will it end?

Barbie have made a Katniss doll from Hunger Games

Barbie have made a Katniss doll from Hunger Games, is this promoting a good image for young girls?

Apparently, the doll was designed by Bill Greening. As you can see from the photo she is dressed in the outfit that she wore into the Games, with a bow and arrow. The Barbie also features a miniature mockingjay pin, boots and her signature braid.

Does she promote the tough, solid woman from the movie – well sort of. While she has been obviously “barbiesized” in her facial features, she does resemble Jennifer Lawrence somewhat. What is unclear is whether she is shaped like a tough woman who can hunt, shoot and prepare her own kill for cooking. She looks a bit skinny to me! It would be interesting to know if they took a basic Barbie shape and put a Katniss face on, or whether they minimised the bust and gave her better feet for running in the woods rather than walking in high heels.

The boots on Barbie's version of Katniss from the Hunger Games

The boots look like they have a heel built-in to allow for the perpetual tiptoe of a Barbie, so I’m thinking – no.

So girls, if you like Katniss emulate her by taking up archery, tree climbing and join the scouts or guides on wilderness survival or take up belly dance! – you’ll get more out of it than a Barbie doll!

Farida Fahmy: review of the film produced by Keti Sharif

“Farida” film viewing Sunday March 23 2012 at RMIT Melbourne

Charni from Belly dance Lessons Online reviews the DVD "Farida"

Charni from Belly Dance Lessons Online reviews the DVD "Farida"

Hosted by Keti Sharif who also produced it, this film chronicles the life story of Farida Fahmy through interviews with Farida and her brother-in-law, Mahmoud Reda, enhanced by photos and footage from the Reda Troupe of which Farida was principal dancer for 25 years. It was fascinating to hear about how the Reda Troupe started and about the three great influences of Farida’s life: her father, her husband and her brother-in-law Mahmoud Reda.

Her father, a Professor at Cairo University, was very advanced for his time (for any country let alone a conservative country like Egypt). He encouraged both of his daughters to study and do sports and follow creative pursuits, Farida with dance and her sister, Nadeeda, with painting. He withstood much criticism for this. It was through this support and his good public standing, that helped pave the way for dance to become a legitimate profession at a time when it was deemed socially unacceptable. As Farida puts it, he encouraged her to always find out “why” something was the way it was in order to gain greater depth of understanding.

Mahmoud met Farida’s sister at a sports club when Farida was only 13 so he saw her grow up. When she got older she married Mahmoud’s older brother Ali who was already a dancer. Ali was a great husband and supportive of her dancing career. Her husband went on to direct her three films with the Reda Troupe: Agazet Nus El-Sana (Mid-term Vacation, 1963), Gharam Fil Karnak (Romance at the Karnak, 1965) and Harami El-Waraqa (Thief of the Lottery Paper, 1970). The first two are the only ones referenced in the film and are apparently shown on Egyptian television almost every week! They were key to Egyptian cinema as they were the first to incorporate the music and dancing into the storyline, rather than stopping the story to have a song and dance!

Mahmoud told a funny story about filming the movie “Love in Karnak” where Farida had to kiss Mahmoud. He found it very awkward as that was his sister-in-law and didn’t feel at all romantic about having to kiss her in front of her husband who was directing the movie and telling them to kiss! When filming they had to do 23 takes as something kept going wrong!

Farida has a confident, humble style to her reminiscing about the Reda Troupe. I know that sounds a contradiction in terms, however, she says that she was such a success because she had complete and utter trust in Mahmoud and did what he told her, but also acknowledges that she must have had the talent inside her to express what Mahmoud wanted her to. While Mahmoud talks about her amazing dedication and professionalism, she says that she felt she had to set an example of how to behave for the other girls and just did what was expected of them.

Farida also very carefully sorts out some of the misconceptions about dance and origins as opposed to theatre. She talks about the different styles, and the costuming (the first ones were designed by her sister) and how they were not being “authentic” as it was all for the theatre; for an audience sitting in their seats wanting a good show, not a gathering at a party, which is a different audience. It was very illuminating.

The interviews were conducted in Cairo during 2011 (a very tumultuous year in Egytpain history!), and I love how you can hear the constant horns, yells and cries from the street when Mahmoud is on the screen.

I highly recommend this film for anyone interested in raqs sharqi, the Reda Troupe, Egyptian cinema, belly dance and a story of real people who got a dream to materialise and changed a country in the process.

The DVD can be bought through either Keti or Farida‘s websites. Charni was neither paid nor receives payment for her endorsement, and in fact purchased a ticket to see the film.

“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?