I think this exemplifies the vast differences between the indigenous cultures of contemporary Egypt and that of the west.
We in the west LOVE the pretty frilly picture of the belly dancer. She's practically a princess! Some costumes even come with tiaras. We fantasize and idealize the profession because we CAN. Because it's cool to be a belly dancer here. It's counter-culture. It's something college-educated women do to express their sexuality and personal creativity during their free time. We don't HAVE to do it. We choose to do it, and we choose our audiences. It's not work; it's fun. Belly dance in the west is a luxury activity, both for the performers and for the audience. It's a pretty big industry that is self-supporting.
It's NOT a luxury activity for many Egyptians. It's a very difficult way of putting food on the table.
I mean in a way, this dichotomy is similar to the vast difference between sewing your own clothes for fun and working in a sweatshop, isn't it?