We REALLY need to talk

Take a break from posting no makeup selfies and go and read  Randa Jarrar’s follow up article. Yes, I am linking to it this time, even though I suspect it is an attempt to repeat the clickbait viral phenomenon of two weeks ago, because I have only seen it shared in one place and that was a group specifically formed to discuss matters of cultural appropriation. Is this because the social media cycle moves fast and everyone is over it, or is it because this article contains a whole lot of uncomfortable, un-sugarcoated truth? I read a lot of the same responses in the discussions that followed the original article (and that was what my last post was about) and I find very little to argue with here.

Yes, it might have been interesting if she had responded to some of the thoughtful articles that reflected on the complicated history of bellydance but she’s not obliged to, and frankly there is clearly a lot more basic education to be done. It’s well know that women who speak out online get some really nasty sexist abuse in return, and WOC get all that plus a hefty dose of racism. Seeing what Randa Jarrar got called in public I shudder to think what some of her private messages must have been like. Really, who can blame her for not wanting to engage?

So I’m not going to write about this article other than to say please read and try to understand. Instead I am going to share some other things I saw online yesterday:

A discussion in a bellydance group about cultural appropriation in which the original poster was called a “fat bitch” who “needs to get laid” and that she should be grateful that Westerners want to preserve bellydance.

A bellydance workshop which promises that participants will be “transforming the ordinary sex drive” and suggests dancing with vaginal balls (for four hours? Surely that’s going to chafe).

Sometimes I can’t stand white bellydancers either! Those are just examples I happened to come across yesterday, I didn’t even have to go looking. If you want more, then this tumblr is a collection is mislabellings, misappropriation and misrepresentation. Come on, we have GOT to do better than this.

2 thoughts on “We REALLY need to talk

    • Thanks.

      All the dancers who study extensively in the Middle East, or who only buy Egyptian costumes, or who write academic papers, or who just have good intentions don’t cancel this stuff out or make it go away. I just want us to be honest with ourselves.

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