Something against males?

Jamil

New member
Why do you think there are Female Dancers that are sooo against Male dancers?

i read a post by someone on a bellydance chat site that said "i am not a fan of male dancers..." and it got me thinking, hmm why?
What made me a bit more confused is that this woman was an actual belly dancer herself.
in my own opinion, i think that all Belly dancers, regardless of age, sex or nationality should support each other. God knows us male dancers don’t have it easy in this society...
After all Belly dance is a dance of Art and emotional expression, not an erotically exotic dance for females to entice the mystery of the east.

Do i have a right to feel somewhat offended at this woman’s Ignorance and arrogant behaviour? :confused:

-=Jamil=-
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
Feeling a bit betrayed? You should be!

I have found, IN GENERAL, 99.99% of female dancers are VERY supportive of us males. Its the other .01% that spoils the barrel - like in anything else.

Sometimes, they even change their minds - look at our very own Shanazel for instance. Education goes a LONG way, but won't fix every situation of course.

I'd suggest popping into that site and asking her directly. I've done this MANY times, and had some very interesting conversations as a result. Usually, I'll find a discussion board talking about me because they linked to my website. They're often VERY surprised when I join the conversation! One time there was a group of women who were seemingly VERY much NOT in favor of male dancers - they were Goddessey types. As I can be a Goddessy type myself, I turned their logic against them - by the end of it they were all but eating out of my hand. New converts - by education.

I also know of a teacher, semi-local to me, who wouldn't accept males in her classes. Actually, she had a pretty good reason not to - she had had a VERY bad experience with a male "student" early on in her teaching career. Frankly, I didn't blame her for feeling the way she did.

Anyway, she followed a thread on Bhuz several years ago where we were discussing the situation in the UK where males seem to have a much harder time being accepted into classes. She read of the agony some were in over the situation. She then posted her experience, and why - and that she felt it was time to re-examine her policy. She now has our very own Sharif in her class! Education, again.

Trying to argue on some kind of historical basis with women is mostly a waste of time as no-one agrees on history anyway. The women in question may be Goddessy types who are into the "ancient women's fertility dance" idea - that's OK, you can convince them on other basis, such as your love for the dance, equality of the sexes, anti-reverse discrimination, and similar arguments.

Nuts, sometimes a gal like this hasn't even ever SEEN a male dancer. I've "converted" a few just by having them watch me!

But again, its a VERY small minority of women. Trying to convince the GUYS, now that's a different story. Its MUCH harder to educate guys...

-Zorba
"The Veiled Male"
Zorba, "The Veiled Male"
 

Marisha

New member
Hi Jamil, I think you have as much right to be offended when you hear "males shouldn't or cannot belly dance" as any other dancer when hearing that "belly dancing is the same as stripping" or "it's a harem fantasy" or other ignorant comments. I think that ignorance is the main (but sadly not the only) reason behind such attitudes. Since this dance has been misrepresented in many ways it can be a shock to someone who has been told that it's a woman's dance or a goddess dance to see a male perform. Just like it can be a shock to see a man in a kilt - hey, men don't wear skirts! ;) It was a surprise to me to see a male student in class when I just starting taking lessons. "Why was he there? Was he there just to oogle girls?" were the questions that run through my mind. But as I learned more and more about this dance I was no longer surprised to see guys learn and perform oriental dance. Btw, Tarik Sultan has a great response on youtube to such a negative comment.
Marisha
 
Hi Jamil, In addition to the other reasons listed above, another reason may be that women often come to BD classes to find a haven from the dog-eat-dog world . Unfortunately, Oriental Dance has ben marketed here in the West as way to 'unleash the goddess' and many women don't feel comfortable unleashing anything in the presence of men. Also there are some women who don't want to share this experience as if a male dancer will dilute the beauty of the dance(nonsense) So to a certain extent current marketing ploys implicitly exclude male participation.
Personally, I'm used to males dancing and never occurred to me to think along those lines. Just whip out your mind-blowing shimmies and tell them to catch you if they can:cool:

On a side note our male dancer is doing well in the first 4 weeks of class, although some of the other students gave him some sidelong glances, so far there hasn't been a fall out over his presence. Now if we can get to stop wearing those big billowy pants so we can see his legs.;)
Yasmine
 

Suheir

New member
You can pointlessly argue all you like about the (mostly theoretical) history but the bottom line is that a belly dance class is a *dance* class and why should someone unreasonably be refused entry into a dance class on the grounds of their sex?
 

Suheir

New member
Unfortunately, Oriental Dance has ben marketed here in the West as way to 'unleash the goddess' and many women don't feel comfortable unleashing anything in the presence of men.
'Marketed' is the key word here. Putting a spin on a dance class to make it seem as though it's a therapy, bonding and exercise session all in one. I've been to classes in the UK which have been nothing more than mutual ego-massage sessions, aren't we all wonderful, beautiful goddesses, kerching, thanks very much, see you next week.
 
'Marketed' is the key word here. Putting a spin on a dance class to make it seem as though it's a therapy, bonding and exercise session all in one. I've been to classes in the UK which have been nothing more than mutual ego-massage sessions, aren't we all wonderful, beautiful goddesses, kerching, thanks very much, see you next week.
LMAO:D :D
Yasmine
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
- hey, men don't wear skirts! ;)

:D :D :D
It was a surprise to me to see a male student in class when I just starting taking lessons. "Why was he there? Was he there just to oogle girls?" were the questions that run through my mind.
These are common question and concerns - and should be addressed. I make a point of mentioning my wife early and often - it helps with the ogling question as well as the "is he gay?".

"What's he doing here?" is even more often an unspoken question - I've had many gals confess this to me after I've known them for awhile. Geez, maybe I'm here because I wanna learn the dance? :doh: But whatever - these usually unasked questions need to be dealt with with understanding, tact, and compassion - the gals are only human too!

-Zorba
"The Veiled Male"
Zorba, "The Veiled Male"
 

Moon

New member
I think women might be put off by the male dancer's costumes sometimes. I'm not sure about this, but I think some men who don't know a lot (or nothing) about the dance judge female dancers more on their looks then on their dancing. Maybe it's the same the other way round? Maybe some women don't like male dancers because the guy is not their type or looks "too gay" or whatever?
Or they just think bellydance is a female thing and still have to get used to the idea. When a man walked in at my first bellydance class, I thought at first he came to watch his doughter and granddoughter (who where there to take lessons too) and when it became clear he was there to take lessons too, I thought "hey that's cool!" hahah
I must admit that I don't always like the male dancers' costumes, but hey, I also don't always like the female dancers' costumes! But I try to look beyond the looks and focus on the dance and I think I get better at that all the time.
I never thought "what is that guy doing here?" during lessons. Actually, I sometimes think that with some female fellow students now :rolleyes:
 

sstacy123

New member
I think for me it was very strange because prior to October of last year I had never been exposed to it...when I signed up for class the paper said women only...it had never occured to me for a man to bellydance...I'd never heard of it-never thought about it. When I joined this board again I was shocked with the male section. The first time I seen a male bellydance was when I followed one of the youtube links on this board...I don't remember who it was now, but I do remember being impressed. For me it will take some getting used to. Just like it is strange to see a female play American football, it makes her happy, she is good at, still strange because I'm not used to seeing it.
 

Persephone

New member
I didn't know there were male bellydancers until one showed up in my class! I thought that was pretty cool, honestly, although my dad was totally horrified to see a guy wearing a hipscarf. Since then I've met quite a few really talented male dancers, and have a close male friend who wants to start classes! I think it's awesome, especially since seeing videos of children and families in the Middle East all dancing together just for fun. I also like when people say "but isn't that like being a stripper/harem girl?" being able to say "But men do it too!" :)

I think there are a couple of reasons why some women aren't comfortable with male dancers. First, someone mentioned that when women go to BD class they're weirded out to think that guys are "looking at them." As a bi-curious woman I hate to burst their bubble, but chances are pretty good that they've already had a class with a gay or bi female classmate who has checked out their butt. :redface: Unless you're wearing a full burqa, it's hard to avoid being checked out, and the vast majority of guys are polite enough to at least be respectfully discreet about it. Especially because they know that the slightest inappropriate comment or gesture, and the teacher will totally kick their butt out of class.

Also, some teachers don't know what to do with a male student. They're afraid that teaching classic BD moves will make the guy feel uncomfortable because the moves might look "girly," but they don't know what else to teach -- in fact, I know of one (ill-reputed) teacher who gave her male student a part in the choreography that was almost entirely pseudo-martial arts movements! Of course, the teacher could just talk to the student about what he's comfortable with (I've met some male dancers who have a very mannered style with very few gestural differences from the classic female dancers, and some who have a much different style that owes more to folkloric than oriental dances), or offer suggestions about different "attitudes" for the same movements, but I think some of them get flustered and react to that by being unwelcoming.

Personally, I've only had one moment of feeling weird about a male dancer. It was when I read the website of a dancer in the US who said that in the years before he found acceptance as a professional performer, he went to the public parks of his city and busked (performed for tips) as a belly dancer. I felt jealous and a little resentful, because he portrayed busking as this idealized experience -- sharing the dance with random strangers in the beautiful open-air environment -- with no mention of how dangerous that would be for a female belly dancer to do. Like "dammit, now you've made me want to do something that I'll never be able to do, thanks a lot." :D
 

Yshka

New member
I love male dancers!! I have never had a male co-student in classes I went to, but some of the best teachers I've taken workshops with were male and very fun to be taught by. I first saw a male bellydancer when I had just started taking courses (and knew nothing about Oriental dance yet except what a hipdrop was ;) ): I was watching tv some night, and a programme about youth holidays in popular Turkish cities came on. A view of a busy street in the city was shown, and a male was bellydancing there:shok: !!! My first reaction was: wow, so males do this too? I started wondering if there were more... than started surfing the internet on the lookout for male dancers. I was very impressed. I try to take classes now with as many male teachers as I can, and one of my fave Dutch dance masters is male.

About costuming.. well yeah, some do have strange taste, but that doesn't JUST go for males (check Amulya's UBDC's lol, only females last time I checked:lol: )

Go male dancers!!
 

Mouse

New member
Since my son dances I'm probably a little biased on the subject of our bellydance brothers :D

Jamil no matter what you do (dance or otherwise) there will always be some people are going to have hang-up's about it, but as I tell my son, its their problem not yours. For sure it can be offensive to have unkind or ignorant remarks directed towards you or something that you love (I have copped my fair share too), so its important to try and keep them in perspective. They are being ignorant, they are uneducated about bellydance, and they are being unkind. Sometimes education will help people change their point of view, but others aren't going to budge in their position and thats ok because the bottom line is its what you think and what you feel that matters and not someone elses perception :)
 
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Going to belly dance to pick up chicks

I believe that Zorba said on his website in his FAQ, that if a man joins a belly dance class to meet girls, the teacher will pick up on this right away. Then boot the male student from the class. That's one reason why male dancers have it so hard at least from Zorba's perspective. Tim
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
Since my son dances I'm probably a little biased on the subject of our bellydance brothers :D

Jamil no matter what you do (dance or otherwise) there will always be some people are going to have hang-up's about it, but as I tell my son, its their problem not yours. For sure it can be offensive to have unkind or ignorant remarks directed towards you or something that you love (I have copped my fair share too), so its important to try and keep them in perspective. They are being ignorant, they are uneducated about bellydance, and they are being unkind. Sometimes education will help people change their point of view, but others aren't going to budge in their position and thats ok because the bottom line is its what you think and what you feel that matters and not someone elses perception :)
An excellent point - even blabbermouth me can't add anything to it!

So Screw 'em if they can't take a joke!

-Zorba
"The Veiled Male"
Zorba, "The Veiled Male"
 

Hyacinth

New member
dance is for everyone & I love seeing men dance!

However, as my teacher found, some ladies when they are learning, wanted an all-women environment because they are nervous / insecure, etc

When she told us this, we all said, send the men to our group!
 

TribalDancer

New member
Well, here I go *diving in*

No, I don't think you should be offended by someone else's *preference*

Let's be clear. The situation you are speaking of, a woman expressed a preference. Did she say men shouldn't be able to dance if they want to? Did she say rude or demeaning things to you personally? Because I would find offense at those situations. But someone who simply doesn't prefer male bellydance, that is not wrong or offensive, and I wouldn't think anything of it. Any more than someone saying they don't care for Turkish bellydance, or they don't like raisin bagels. It's a preference.

Frankly, I have seen very few male bellydancers that I found entertaining. In my experience (personal opinion and experience alert), either the men danced like they were auditioning for Chippendales or they danced like women.

Now, Zorba my love, I know you have your own fish to fry on the male versus female energy and expression, so please, let's not debate it. I just don't *prefer* men to dance in what I and most of the social structure of the world today understands as flowing, feminine style.

And I find the Chippendale approach just as demeaning as a woman dancing like she's in a strip club or on an MTV video. And it really kills me when I go to those shows and see the women screaming and joking about stuffing dollars down the man's pants--supporting it, and acting toward that dancer in a way we would never allow a man to respond to a woman who made the same stylistic choice. I just walk away because it grosses me out on all fronts.

I have seen a few men who did very male-centric folk dances that I simply loved. But I wouldn't consider those folk dances "bellydance" as we are discussing it here, necessarily.

As for in class, I think it is up to the teacher what environment they are creating. I am not ashamed to say that I teach women. Why? Because I have many many MANY students who continually remark at how wonderful it is to have a place away from the world of men for a little while. The energy when there is only women in the room is palpably different from when even a single man enters it. Because I know this dance as a woman, and I teach it from knowledge of my own anatomy, and unique physical characteristics, and with a humor slant toward our own unique experience in the world as women.

Do I think men should be discouraged from dancing based on my preferences? No! Do I think they are gross or offensive or ridiculous? No! I just don't prefer it!

Do I think a bellydance class is the sole domain of women? No! Do I think it weakens the class experience to have men involved? No! I just prefer having my class be a "chicks only" space. Other teachers who feel differently will operate differently, and I think that is FINE. An it hurt no one...

So there you go.
 

Persephone

New member
TribalDancer, I think you should look up Tarik Sultan (who totally posts here! *starstruck*) on YouTube. My teacher friend who has some male students was studying him (in a totally academic manner, of course...) for ideas on how to teach BD in a male-friendly way.
 

Sara

New member
Well I have no probbers with guys dancing, performing or whatever. I think it's wonderful. But I can see Tribal Dancers point and until reading her words I just couldn't think of what I meant, and on the topic of all women classes I thought I;d share my opinion for what it's worth. :think:

In my class there's only women, men are allowed but don't show up, and it is nice for us all to meet up and have a laugh and to be free of everything else in our life. I do think that for me this is wonderful but that's because I've had a bad history with men (from dad's to strange weird men) and I used to be very nervous and not trust guys, and sometimes I still find it really hard to feel comfortable around men. So for me to have an hour or so a week where I'm surrounded by other women is brilliant and I feel very relaxed and safe.

I don't honestly think I would mind if a lad joined the class, it would be fun but probably in a different sort of way. However I can understand why some women would prefer to have an all women class. It's a nice way of having a sort of bonding session in a way.

I hope I didn't offend no one or nowt
 
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