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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiradotnet View Post
    That's really interesting. I don't doubt you, it's just that your experience is different from mine. I've heard the Sultan question a LOT over the years. For example, one time I made a comment to my boss about having a male student, and she was shocked. She had always known that I was a belly dancer, and never questioned it, but when I mentioned the male student, she said, "You mean MEN belly dance????? But didn't belly dance originate as women competing with each other for the Sultan's attention?"

    I've also had many different people over the years ask me if belly dance was something like stripping. I've had emails from people asking me at what age children in the Middle East learn "the dance of seduction". And many other variations on that theme...
    The typical response I get when I tell someone I belly dance is an exclamation of "How cool!" or something along those lines, and a request to extend an invitation if/when I perform. No one has ever mentioned anything about harems, slave girls, Sultans or sex. A few times a week

    The "worst" response I've gotten a blink and a smirk.

  2. #12
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    I don't know that I've ever heard the "seduce the Sultan" thing from a live human either, to be honest. People know the dance is "supposed" to have an erotic content and are intrigued at the idea of dancing for their husbands or significant others, which I guess is residual "seduce the Sultan" or the Salome thing. But, you know, you get that in Egyptian movies as well.

    Desmond Morris appears to be responsible for it but many adults today are too young to have read his books (I WENT THERE!!!). I'm pushing 50 and he's before my time....

    Quote Originally Posted by DancingArabian View Post
    The typical response I get when I tell someone I belly dance is an exclamation of "How cool!" or something along those lines, and a request to extend an invitation if/when I perform. No one has ever mentioned anything about harems, slave girls, Sultans or sex. A few times a week

    The "worst" response I've gotten a blink and a smirk.
    In 15 years I have had precisely one woman look at me with an expression of disgust when it was revealed that I belly dance. Everyone else has been positive. Occasionally sleazy, but positive.
    Last edited by Shanazel; 12-26-2012 at 12:06 AM. Reason: merge

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zumarrad View Post
    In 15 years I have had precisely one woman look at me with an expression of disgust when it was revealed that I belly dance. Everyone else has been positive. Occasionally sleazy, but positive.
    I can honestly say I've never come across open disgust. Surprise, interest, and generally positive responses. The occasional sleazy smirk/wink.

    I'm also amazed at how often I'm asked if I have a Slave Leia outfit.

  4. #14
    V.I.P. shiradotnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DancingArabian View Post
    The typical response I get when I tell someone I belly dance is an exclamation of "How cool!" or something along those lines, and a request to extend an invitation if/when I perform. No one has ever mentioned anything about harems, slave girls, Sultans or sex. A few times a week

    The "worst" response I've gotten a blink and a smirk.
    I do often get replies of "How cool!" or "I tried that once and it was fun...." and so on.

    The old stereotypes are not as pervasive as they used to be, but they still regularly rear their ugly heads. People don't always say out loud what they're thinking.

    For example, about 4-5 years ago my mother-in-law wanted me to do a dance lecture/performance at the retirement community where she lived, but the activities director vetoed it on the grounds that "someone might be offended". (My mother-in-law's friends then got a petition together and filled it with signatures demanding that the place let me do my show.)

    For another example, a few months ago I was talking to a dancer who was upset because her husband is pressuring her to stop performing in public - not because he personally has a problem with it, but because he's sick of having other church members ostracize him due to the fact that his wife is a belly dancer.

  5. #15
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    The worst I've had personally was a co-worker saying "I heard you've taken up exotic dance". I said yes that's right and watched him run away. I know, I could have taken the opportunity to set the record straight, but with some people you can tell them about belly dance being fundamentally a folk dance etc etc and all they will hear is a chick talking to them about sexy belly dancing.

    I really don't think friends generally think anything much of it at all, any different to taking up ballroom or Bollywood or playing the trombone.

    But the attitude's still out there. Dance buddy and I were on the train coming back from an event, and someone who'd also been there was sitting nearby with a book on belly dance. Some guy across from her was asking about the book - I couldn't see but he sounder older - he was just being friendly and interested but it was all about ooer that must drive the men wild.

    It was odd as we'd just come from an event where there were hardly any men present, and I suspect some of those who'd been dragged along would be trying to wriggle out of the next one.

  6. #16
    Member Munniko's Avatar
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    I don't think I've gotten any straight out seducing sultan comments, but as soon as it is brought up that I belly dance I can see male and female co-workers look at me a little different in the kinda eyebrow wiggle way.

  7. #17
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    On my way to my first term of bellydance, I had a cab driver wiggle at me suggestively. He was pretty old too, so that just layered on extra creep factor.

  8. #18
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    I wish I had a good response when my Grandmother asked me why I want to learn stripping....*jaw drop* All I could manage was...It's...not...stripping.

    First and only negative reaction though!

  9. #19
    V.I.P. khanjar's Avatar
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    All I get from males is I just have to be gay, closet maybe, but females it is 'why not' and 'I would love to see male belly dance' and here I understand regards the perception of this dance it is a male perception mostly and males educate females in some quarters and especially religious quarters through the fact most priests are male and can only present a male perspective.

  10. #20
    Moderator Zorba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiradotnet View Post
    ... but because he's sick of having other church members ostracize him due to the fact that his wife is a belly dancer.
    Which is an excellent reason to find another church!

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