A new study has shown that belly dancers have better body image as opposed to those who do not indulge in the activity. The belly dancers, participants of the research, were found to be more at ease in relation to their bodies and not feeling dependent on the opinions of others.
In a world where physical appearance is the predominant feature by which people judge others and are themselves judged, body image has grown to be quite an issue. It is no more about being fit and healthy. Rather, people want to be recognised by their flesh: how they look is what matters. No wonder what truly reflects who we are is being neglected: the combination of character and personality. As a consequence, a great portion of humanity feels dissatisfied with their physique; some, more than others. A new study has suggested that belly dancers might feel more comfortable in relation to their body image as compared to those who do not belly dance. Does belly dancing lead to positive body image? Let us find out.
The new research, based in Australia, involved more than 200 participants. The aim of the scientists was to find out whether belly dancing contributed to a positive body image by connecting the body, mind and spirit. This sense of connection is termed “embodiment”, which defines the “sense of ownership, trust, respect and self-expression of the body”. The results that were processed from the survey showed that belly dancers had higher marks for positive body image. Furthermore, they had lower marks for measures of body dissatisfaction and self-objectification than their counterparts not having belly danced ever.
One of the authors stated that:
“In the Australian context, we found that belly dancing is an embodying activity because it requires focused attention on breathing and torso muscles, as well as strength and flexibility, all of which calls on the dancers to communicate with their bodies. Belly dancing also has a strong mental and physical element of being ‘in the moment’, which is another characteristic of embodiment.”
Furthermore, the belly dancers tended to be more independent of the opinions of others concerning their bodies. They had lower self-objectification; they did not consider their bodies as being objects that would require the judgement of others. According to the authors, belly dancers, as surprising as it might sound, are not focused on their physical appearances. Belly dancing is, at large, considered to emit ooze out sexuality. But, the results showed this was not the case.
The writers explained:
“Unlike some forms of dance such as ballet, the belly dancers we surveyed didn’t feel outside pressures to be and remain thin – not only is belly dancing open to women of all shapes and sizes, the belly dancers said they participated because it makes them feel good, not for the gaze of others.”