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  1. #21
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellydance Oz View Post
    I was specifically talking about belly dance in the West, as having built itself a totally different reputation than in the Middle East.

    I am one of the first to get annoyed when people accuse all male dancers of being gay! Having danced ballet, jazz, flamenco and ballroom I know plenty of straight male dancers (in fact my husband is one of them). But the only male belly dancers I've met have been gay, and I felt that bd gave them permission to be soft and feminine, (where other dance genres expect them to depict a strong masculine character).
    That's really sad. But considering our ever-increasing number of wonderful male bellydancer members here, maybe it's a little bit off-putting to them to have assumptions made about their sexualities.
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  2. #22
    Senior Member Duvet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellydance Oz View Post
    Belly dancing in the West has become an art form that empowers women (and some gay men) to express themselves regardless of shape, size or age. That's a great thing.
    In the 'East', belly-dancing women are stereotyped as prostitutes. In the 'West', belly-dancing men are stereotyped as gay.

    So bellydance is stereotyped by everyone as an expression of sexuality and availability. This could be a topic for a whole new thread ("How much is belly dance perceived as expressing the body, rather than expressing the music, and how does this cause the visual to subsume the audial and lead to stereotypes about a dancer's 'message' to the audience?")

    But as you are so eager to affirm, not all belly dancing women are prostitutes, even if your 'misogynist troll' had only met ones who are. Equally I would be eager to affirm that not all male belly dancers are gay, despite your own experience of only having met gay ones. We all carry sexual stereotypes in some measure or another. We think our own stereotypes are the 'norm' (bellydance in empowering) until we encounter someone else's (bellydance is degrading). They reflect the social expectations and perceptions of the culture we grew up or live in.

  3. #23
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darshiva View Post
    That's really sad. But considering our ever-increasing number of wonderful male bellydancer members here, maybe it's a little bit off-putting to them to have assumptions made about their sexualities.
    What's sad?

  4. #24
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duvet View Post
    We think our own stereotypes are the 'norm' (bellydance in empowering) until we encounter someone else's (bellydance is degrading). They reflect the social expectations and perceptions of the culture we grew up or live in.
    That's what I was trying to say. I was responding to a woman who said she would soldier on with her belly dancing in spite of discovering its unsavoury underbelly in the Middle East.

    I was TRYING to say that our belly dance culture in the West is totally different and therefore we shouldn't have to feel "tainted" by any bad reputation it has anywhere else.

    I did not mean to imply all male belly dancers were gay. Having danced other styles, I know the male dancer in most genres is expected to present a strongly masculine image as a counterpoint to the female dancer. What I said was that belly dance gives the gay male dancer a unique opportunity to dance in a softer, more feminine way.

    Not sure why I am being bashed over the head for that.

  5. #25
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Give her a break, lords and ladies. She made a point from which too much is being extrapolated.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  6. #26
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellydance Oz View Post
    What I said was that belly dance gives the gay male dancer a unique opportunity to dance in a softer, more feminine way.
    Unfortunately, although that's what you meant, it isn't what you said. But thankyou for clarifying your stance. *hugs*
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  7. #27
    Senior Member Duvet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellydance Oz View Post
    I was TRYING to say that our belly dance culture in the West is totally different and therefore we shouldn't have to feel "tainted" by any bad reputation it has anywhere else.
    Agreed. Unfortunately the West has its own "tainted" views of what bellydance is!

  8. #28
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellydance Oz View Post
    I was specifically talking about belly dance in the West, as having built itself a totally different reputation than in the Middle East.

    I am one of the first to get annoyed when people accuse all male dancers of being gay! Having danced ballet, jazz, flamenco and ballroom I know plenty of straight male dancers (in fact my husband is one of them). But the only male belly dancers I've met have been gay, and I felt that bd gave them permission to be soft and feminine, (where other dance genres expect them to depict a strong masculine character).
    Interesting. I haven't met a lot of male belly dancers (in the west - several of my teachers were Egyptian men) - but the straight guys way out number the gays.

  9. #29
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kashmir View Post
    Interesting. I haven't met a lot of male belly dancers (in the west - several of my teachers were Egyptian men) - but the straight guys way out number the gays.
    I haven't met many, and none from Egypt. The ones I've met in Australia are not Middle Eastern, have all been gay and dance in a fairly feminine style. I've seen videos of male Egyptian belly dancers and their style is completely different, more likely to have that strong masculine character I'm talking about. I have never given their sexuality a second thought. To emphasise, I was talking about the difference between Western and Middle Eastern belly dance.

  10. #30
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    Duvet - I think every dance has its own stereotypes. Yes, Belly dance has quite a few attached to it, but still
    They change and evolve over time. Stereotypes are what we subconsciously use to simplify our world. Oh also, male salsa dancers are always assumed to be gay too. In my country, Belly dance is growing but salsa is *kind of* looked down upon. The intimacy between the dancers makes people uncomfortable sometimes. Perception changes from place to place and time to time. Bharatnattayam and kathak ( indian classical dances) dancers were seen as prostitutes long time back. Now bharatnattayam and kathak are the most respected dance forms here.
    I feel I kind of overreacted after finding out the whole 'belly dancers seen as prostitutes in the east' thing. I don't give a hoot anymore. Dance is an art. If people want to attach stigmas to it, it's their problem. Over time, Belly dance will be able to shake off these stereotypes as well. B)
    Thanks to everyone who answered

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