Category Archive 'Imperialism'

08 Mar 2014

Latest Left-Wing Grievance: Belly Dancing by Western Women

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Yale has had a student belly dance society since 2003.

In Salon, Randa Jarrar inveighs against Western Imperialist appropriation of belly dancing which she regards as a kind of cultural property to which only Arab women of color are entitled.

Arab women are not vessels for white women to pour themselves and lose themselves in; we are not bangles or eyeliner or tiny bells on hips. We are human beings. This dance form is originally ours, and does not exist so that white women can have a better sense of community; can gain a deeper sense of sisterhood with each other; can reclaim their bodies; can celebrate their sexualities; can perform for the female gaze. Just because a white woman doesn’t profit from her performance doesn’t mean she’s not appropriating a culture. And, ultimately, the question is this: Why does a white woman’s sisterhood, her self-reclamation, her celebration, have to happen on Arab women’s backs?

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Eugene Volokh responds by wondering aloud: What would Salon think of an article called, ‘Why I can’t stand Asian musicians who play Beethoven’?


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