So my friend Adonia and I were talking about belly dancing the other day and the topic of how females are viewed and the topic of sensuality vs sexuality came to play. She was so full of information on the matter I thought it would be a fun guest blog post for you all to read. Here is a unique point from Adonia!
In today’s modern world, imagery showcases a lot of skin and uses sex to sell everything from underwear, to insurance, to cat food, making it difficult to know where the line between sexy and inappropriate is. What is ok and what is not ok is blurred in a social salad full of grey areas. Mostly, it seems that to be a solo dancer vs a duet dancer, can vastly warp the way one is viewed by the audience, even if they do the same movements and poses.
For instance, American society generally accepts the following images below. The center image is from the well loved hit show “Dancing with the Stars”. The image on the right is from the family friendly “Arthur Murray Dance Studio”.
What do you see as the common factor in these pictures? Beautiful, sexy women supported by strong men seem to be the link. In the image on the right we can clearly see the woman’s butt cheek, but she is regarded as beautiful as she is held by a strong man, and in a friendly atmosphere.
The center photo is showing the most amount of skin and the male dancer is even grabbing her inner thigh but again she is seen as a beautiful woman supported by a strong man and not seen as raunchy or passing the line of appropriateness in any way.
Ballroom is not the only dance form that this is true for; it is the same in swing dance, contemporary, hip-hop, and even ballet.
While the following image is definitely racy, if you saw this portrayed onstage in motion it would be more likely that you would be riveted by their touching story than shocked by their sensual display of motion.
But what happens when the female starts to take control of her own sensuality? In the photo here we see a sensual but empowered woman, yet we don’t find offense because there’s still a man in the picture. You take the man out of the picture and all the sudden people become uncomfortable.
For instance, while samba dancers are widely accepted in places like Brazil, you would find that most Americans are uncomfortable with these scantily clad dancers shaking things up.
The dancer below on the right is wearing substantially more clothing but is still very comfortable with her body and is displaying a clearly sensual movement, and still many people would find this to be uncomfortable to look at and perhaps make them feel awkward. The center photo is the same but it is of a belly dancer.
So why is it that when there’s not a man in the picture all of a sudden we feel awkward or uneasy? Perhaps, it is because from a very young age we are taught to hate our body and that we are not good enough (media). So as an adult if we see someone who is okay with their body, and all that comes with it, and displays that in a public way, then we become uncomfortable because we are taught that without a strong man to support her, a woman cannot be secure within her own body.
So my question for you is why? Why is it that we can see beauty in a sensual or even sexual partner dance but when that sensuality is displayed as a soloist we all of a sudden become very uncomfortable with the situation? Do you think we can change this way of thinking or are we doomed to impose our programmed negative self images on those who would dare to embrace their own natural beauty no matter the size or shape?
Thank you so much for reading this blog by my friend Adonia Belly Dance. I would love you hear your thoughts on the topic so please let me know in the comments box bellow. If you would like to learn more about Chicago Belly Dancer Adonia visit www.vintagebellydance.com