Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gender Bending In Egypt: The Male Bellydancer

While in some ways he still promotes the gender binary by stating that men and women should dance differently from one another, daring to belly dance in a country where anything that is remotely associated with homosexuality is considered  taboo deconstructs gender performativity vis a vis traditional ideas of masculinity. I feel that this is a very progressive step.  Western countries have a tendency to perpetuate the idea that fluidity is the preserve of the west but as he clearly displays eastern ideas of masculinity can be just a gender bending when given the opportunity to flourish. 


Tina said...

How delightful! He's clearly an artist and a showman.

*longs to travel to Egypt*

Habladora said...

Cool post, thanks for the introduction to an artist.

Luci-Kali said...

Very cool video, although I feel that he could have quickly covered men's history within raqs sharqi/belly dancing in Egypt.

Men have been present in raqs sharqi/belly dancing for centuries. They were even at times preferred over female dancers for public performances, as it was usually taboo for women to be performing in public. The negative connotations in Egypt (as such equating belly dancing with homosexuality) began after Nassar took over in the mid 1950s. He should have mentioned this, as there is already enough misconceptions about raqs sharqi/belly dancing. I nearly slapped my friend the other day when he put the words "belly dancers," "money," "strippers" within the same sentence. But unfortunately, this is one of those persistent views in these parts of the world.

Here's a recent article on male bellydancers in Egypt: