Women crush everyday of the week! To honor and share stories of women who are crushing it either on the body front or the mama front I will be featuring short interviews of women who are crushing it here in my #WomenCrushWednesday posts. So without further ado let me introduce you to bellydancer and body positive activist Etang!
How has your view of your body evolved over the years?
My feelings about my body has been a journey from my teenage years feeling disconnected and not present to my discovery of belly dance which has really forced me to be present-to love the body that I walk in the world in. (To) not be concerned with people’s perception of my body.
How do you think women should feel about their bodies?
I think women should have full freedom to make decisions about how they feel about their bodies and that it should come from themselves and even if it takes many many years it’s their decision. It’s hard for to filter out media images and expectations but I hope that for every woman that if it takes to the end of her life that she grows to a place of self acceptance and self love.
All the things we go through whether it’s stretch marks, bruises, blemishes, old age those are all things that we have earned and we don’t celebrate them enough, they are a part of our life.
Why do you do what you do?
I didn’t discover belly dance until I was 29. That was the first time I ever walked into a dance class. I didn’t think dance was for me. So for the last 15 years I have been doing it it has really been a gift back to me and in teaching belly dance to women and girls it is my way of giving back to women and girls in Oakland. There is something about belly dance that forces you to listen to and connect to your body. The movements are subtle, the music has captured me and there is a certain power that makes me feel like I have a secret.
Etang is half of the belly dance troupe Raks Afrika and co-founder of Girls Raks Belly Dance and Body Image Program for girls in Oakland, Ca.