Virtual Bellyface Pageant 2020Lauren Coutts
It is everybody’s right to exercise our inherent permission to claim our own bodies as funny, or unfunny for that matter.
We beat the bastards to it, those lazily using humour around the body as repressive, offensive and derogatory, fuelled by presumption and misconception. Being taken seriously and being a point of humour are not mutually exclusive.
Baubo, the Greek Goddess of laughter, who has eyes for boobs and a chin for a vagina, face on belly- which was claimed as funny and powerful when flashing Demeter (Goddess of Harvest), lifting them out of their depression, spurring her on to allow the crops of the kingdom flourish once again. In this case, her gesture of funny body positivity was responsible for ending starvation for a whole nation!
By moving face to the belly, it breathes vitality, perhaps autonomy into vast and possibly vacant-seeming belly. BREADED SCAMPI VS UNPEELED PRAWN. The face just changes it.
I present: THE VIRTUAL BELLYFACE PAGEANT 2020
Using the bellyface as a trojan horse to play a part in a celebratory shift between derogatory belly scrutiny to a more deserving sense of pride in the belly’s potential for emoting, lip-syncing, eating etc, for joy.
It’s virtual so people have as much time and space as they would like to move in ways they maybe otherwise wouldn’t.
Contestants entered with a 10 second video of them making any face of sorts on their belly contort, twist, gasp, frown, furrow, smoosh, stretch, inflate, float, bloat, make it ENORMOUS, animate, imitate, gossip, cough, sneeze, sneeze, sneeze, charm, dance, sing, flirt, nibble, feast, giggle, howl, chomp on a banana, inhale, exhale, lip sync, dance, whistle, smile, etc, however they see fit.
We had cher lip-syncs, marge take-offs, Star-stomachs, kisses, operatic masterpieces, and countless other wonders.
Together in a hub of a zoom call with only those who’d entered, we joyously uplifted through the critical lens of these three awards that were to be voted for:
THIS ONE’S FOR YOU DEMETER: this award is for that bellyface reminiscent of the way in which Baubo (all the best to you wherever you may be) lifted the spirits of Demeter way back when by flashing their very own bellyface. Which of tonight’s contestants joyously lifts your spirits the most?
MIRROR MIRROR ON THE BELLY: now this award, is for the bellyface that most makes you want to imitate their belly convulsions with your very own? The one which just seems too damn irresistible to not try to replicate. Makes you think, now that’s a party I want to have a boogie at.
3. CHAMA CHAMA CHAMA CHAMA CHAMA CHAMELEE-BELLY: This award is for the belly that you think has most been transformed until it’s almost unrecognisable as the belly it once was.
Belly shame has robbed me and so may others of precious energy, it is not to be detrimental to mental health anymore but harnessed for benevolence both for the self and for others.