Belly dancing, body love style.

In a total twist of fate, a few minutes ago I randomly stumbled upon an excerpt from the most inspirational body-love/hate-related thing that I’ve ever read. Way back in 2006, I picked up an issue of “O Magazine” while getting a pedicure. I think that the magazine was sitting on the chair next to me – I looked over and it called-out to me (well, it must have because I don’t normally read O Magazine). Anyway. I opened it to a random article and started reading. The article was entitled “Belly Dancing”, and I started reading from the middle of the article (also something that I never, ever do!); I was immediately drawn-in. Below is an excerpt from the article. I’ve bolded the few sentences that I’ve never forgotten and still repeat to myself.

Just wanted to share a little bit of sanity and body love tonight. Goodnight from Australia!

“Body hatred has been defined as a personal problem. But it is a social problem, a poilitical problem, a cultural problem. It is not accidental or incidental. It is induced, injected, and programmed. We Americans like to tell ourselves we are free, but we are imprisioned. We are controlled by a corporate media that decrees what we should look like and then determines what we have to buy in order to get and keep that look. We are controlled by our mother’s idea of how we are supposed to look, and our father’s idea. We are controlled by other women’s ideas …

The antidote to body hatred is social activism and community. None of us alone is strong enough to stand up to the daily onslaught of propaganda, imagery, programming, seduction, and mind control. But as a group we can shift and lift the tyranny. Resisting this ideology requires support. It requires a movement. No diet, no surgery will fix the problem. It is collective, pervasive, and ongoing.

Hating one’s body is an all-consuming occupation and a dangerous distraction. It is an addiction. As we spend our days focusing on our thighs and butts, thousands die in Iraq, 37 million live below the poverty line in America, more rivers become polluted, more civil liberties disappear, more rights for women are being erased. In our isolated pursuit of thinness or the perfect body, we give up our power, our vision, our rights. We abandon a world that is in desperate need of our attention.”

– Eve Ensler, “Belly Dancing,” Oprah Magazine, June 2006 216-218

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