Saudi Arabia: A Unique Fitness Opportunity


 

I am certainly one who is not against activities which promote exercise and physical fitness.  However I must confess that “pole dancing” as an exercise never crossed my mind and is among the least likely of activities I’d imagine to discover exercised in conservative Saudi Arabia.  Yet just because a place gives the illusion of conservatism on the surface that does not mean after peeling away a few layers (no pun intended) one can find anything beneath shifting sands.

This article is the unique story of an expatriate in Makkah who was sponsored to come and teach pole dancing to female members of a Saudi family.


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65 Responses

  1. I think it’s cool that someone was sponsored to teach Pole dancing in KSA! :) Pole dancing seems like so much fun- and a great upper-body workout, too! Ironically, I almost took it once but my American boyfriend at the time thought it was too degrading to women. It’s actually next on my list of dance styles to learn (and hopefully teach one day).

  2. I attended a Saudi wedding some months ago. Many of the women were belly dancing and some were very good at it. Even the younger girls were practicing their moves. So this report is not that surprising. I don’t think the culture has a problem with sensuality, so long as it is halal and private. I’ve read that strict interpretations of Islam forbid dancing, but does that mean only mixed dancing?

  3. Tres exotique!!!! I could not stop laughing looking at the pictures… Very modest pole dance.

  4. Is the last picture for real?? she is really hanging of a pole like that???

  5. I’m sorry but seeing her on the pole in an abaya, hijab and niqab made me feel quite ill. There is something sinister and evil with those pictures. It exemplifies repression and control and women as sex objects.

    Don’t get me wrong – pole dancing for your husband is cool and fine. It’s something that’s been taken out of the strip clubs and put in the home for marital entertainment. To tout it as a great form of exercise is like trying to hide the purpose of the pole.

  6. Dancing with all those clothes on is difficult and it could be dangerous. Most dancers train in tights of some kind, most people exercise wearing short sleeved shirts and short pants. I understand the Saudi fixation on seeing women in black covers but this is absurd.

    The fact that Saudis may regard this as normal is a sign that they need to examine their absurd ideas of modesty.

  7. Jerry, I’m sure the black cover was just for the picture but I think it is ridiculous and kind of mocking. I thought for sure we’d hear a lot of complaints about this woman’s post for various reasons.

  8. I would think the covering is just for the pictures in order to keep anonymity.

    While this dance may be seen as very sensual, remember also that the waltz created a sensation in its day, too, for how close the man and woman danced to each other. I have watched ballroom dancing further sexualize dances like bachata so much so that the dance loses its meaning and people don’t seem to care, so I really don’t see what the big deal is about pole dancing. It’s not as if one is actually stripping for money or public viewing.

  9. If Islam is a universal religion than the message I get is that almost all women in the West are immodest. Not a happy message. If covering like this is simply cultural, than it is outdated.

  10. Obviously the pic is just to exaggerate the irony. In fact there is no irony in it. We can do anything privatly. In fact I think I will buy a pole soon, too much fun to pass up.

  11. Oh come on, everybody! Pole dancing is about sex, it’s about a woman dry-humping a pole, which symbolizes that part of the male anatomy where his ”thinking” is happening.
    And what is more sexually arousing than a fully covered woman in abaya and niqab?
    Nothing!
    At least not if you look around the planet and see what effect clothing, (or lack thereof), has on men.
    If you put together what mode of dress is most successful into making men into slavering sex-craved animals then there can be only one winner!
    As far as sexual titillation potential goes, in the top-ten of ”How-to-drive-men-sex-crazy” the Niqab has to stand way above more mundane and less patently arousing forms of sexual attire, like high heeled black leather boots, or lace undies, or just plain being naked…
    So she really couldn’t have made a better choice.

  12. the second picture looks like a witch whose broom is out of control …yikes! :)

  13. “the second picture looks like a witch whose broom is out of control”

    Or a Ninja at basic training….

  14. Moq and Susanne…

    well, yes…but imagine the muscle control!

  15. yes, it’s impressive. I’ve always admired how witches could balance on those brooms. I always had trouble with that … I was made for walking, I reckon. :D

  16. Oh, no, Susanne, it isn’t very difficult at all to balance. Just like riding a bike. ;-)

  17. The second picture reminds me some of Parkour training when people try to build up arm strength and practice climbing poles by attempting to climb up a street lampposts.

  18. Thanks very much for the link! To address some of the comments here…

    One of the main points of the article (apart from the novelty of pole dancing in Saudi Arabia of course) was to highlight the two distinct lives people in Saudi lead: the public conservative one, and the private one (inside the house or complex), which is much more relaxed and free, and can include things like learning pole dancing.

    Inside the house, Lucy and her host spent most of their time in jeans or shorts and a t-shirt. When teaching pole, they were dressed in a t-shirt or vest top and shorts – the same thing most people wear all over the world in pole dance classes. (You need to stick to the pole with your arms and legs for many moves; skin gives pretty good grip, but fabric doesn’t.)

    The pictures were staged – it just seemed like too good a juxtaposition to pass up. They weren’t meant to cause offense (in fact Lucy’s client found them hilarious). We just wanted to contrast the traditional image of Saudi women with what Lucy was doing there. Plus, as Jerry M says, it would have been dangerous to get on the pole dressed like that…

  19. Actually I find riding a broomstick gets rather painful on long trips. I have a cushion/seating arrangement on mine. And if it’s a really long flight I might even take a plane.

  20. Oh, yes, Aafke, for sure it can get painful but I would guess that all the smarter witches, like us, have nice cushy seats. ;-)

  21. MoQ

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL! Ninja in training!!!! HAHAHAHA!

  22. @Andrew:

    Sorry, but I find pole dancing to be very degrading toward women considering it originates from strip clubs and I honestly cannot understand how this ever became a trend.

    I’m happy Lucy had a positive experience in Saudi, which is where I live, but I have no doubt in my mind that for her hostess it is a case of more money than brains. She invited Lucy over because she had the means to do so without considering how bringing such a scandalous activity could tarnish a very holy city. I found your photos to be disrespectful towards women who wear the hijab with dignity in Saudi and who would never step foot next to a dancing pole after knowing it’s hideous roots. The fact that Lucy’s hostess thought the pictures to be “hilarious” just shows what a class act she is.

    There are numerous other forms of exercise that people can do to build upper body strength that does not have such a seedy reputation as pole dancing does. For the life of me I do not understand how women could miss the immoral implications of participating in such an activity. How very sad indeed.

  23. Rosemary, have you seen Saudi dancing on you-tube? That is not belly dancing, that is so obscene it’s disgusting. it’s actually ten time worse than pole dancing.
    While I dislike the sex-industry-aspect of pole dancing, and I do think it’s silly to rub yourself all over a pole, I do think that professional pole dancers are very athletic and acrobatic.

    It is clear this woman is from a very privileged class, and has plenty of money and wasta, otherwise she would never have been able to fly a personal instructor over, let alone get a visa for a single woman. and Saudi being what it is, she also has her mahram’s (male owner’s) permission and support for doing all this.

    But that doesn’t mean that she hasn’t got to work hard from keeping her owner from looking at other women and maybe cheating on her by marrying other women. If hanging on- and humping a pole helps her achieve that goal then good for her.

    If this lady is open minded enough to be able to make a bit of fun out of an ancient elite Jewish style of dress then doubly good for her.

  24. Rosemary, I agree with you on everything and I am really surprised that you were the only one to express those feelings about this.

    I would also add that I thought it kind of ridiculous to report this as though ‘pole dancing goes to Saudi’ It is one person we are talking about here. If she HAD invited her friends to join her it would be a different story…seems kinda odd and wasteful. I thought it was kind of gross when the daughter watched the dance done for the husband. yuck!

    Also, people keep talking as if this was in Mecca or a ‘Holy City’ but I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t since non Muslims are not allowed in Mecca.

  25. @Lynn,

    I only mentioned the city being holy because that is where the Kabah is located and I’m sure you are aware that Muslims believe the city to be more special than others because of this fact alone. But you are correct, I took the article for face value and momentarily believed it to have taken place in Mecca, now I have my doubts. I suppose there is no way for us to really confirm this however I do believe that if we are speaking about the Royal family here and their boundless connections, the “no Non-Muslims allowed” rule would most likely be lifted just for them, just because they can. Not sure what to make of that honestly.:(

  26. @Rosemary Oh dear. I was really hoping to avoid this conversation as, frankly, I’m tired of it.

    Let me start with a question: do you consider tango, jazz or the fandango to be immoral too? All of these were once considered inappropriate styles of dance for respectable people.

    Yes, pole dancing’s roots are largely found in strip clubs, but that’s not what pole dancing means to huge numbers of people today. People who pole dance (mainly women, but increasing numbers of men too) do not find it degrading and they do not do it for the gratification of others. They do it because they find it empowering, because they find it liberating, because they find it fun — and because it’s a great full body workout. Most students of pole today do not work or attend classes in strip clubs and think of pole dancing as a sport. And this is exclusively what Lucy taught while in Saudi.

    If you have a few minutes, please watch this short video about the first American Pole Fitness Championship. The women and men taking part in the competition are incredibly strong and athletic. Just like gymnastics and other sports, the performances are a show with rules and social norms that have evolved over the past few years. Most of the moves the competitors perform did not exist 5 years ago. They have been created by people who learned pole as a sport for pole as a sport, and frankly wouldn’t be very effective for titillating drunk men.

    I’m not a student of feminism, but I’d encourage you to read and understand a little more about pole from those who are before condemning it as degrading.

    YES, Pole Dancing is Empowering
    ‘Empowerment’ and the Pole: A Discursive Investigation of the Reinvention of Pole Dancing as a Recreational Activity – paper in Feminism & Psychology. Extract on the changing perception of pole

    [P]ole dancing can be redefined and reclaimed as an empowering, fitness activity. One way in which this reclamation was achieved was through the construction of pole dancing as an art form. Thus, pole dancing is discursively redefined as no longer a ‘seedy’ or subculture activity, but as a legitimate form of artistic expression. [...]Then, once rendered neutral, it is (re)constructed as a form of expression requiring artistic talent, persistence, confidence and as resulting in a skill that is ‘just like any normal dancing’.

    I’d also recommend some of Amber Rhea’s writing on the subject, though her site is unfortunately down right now.

  27. [...] post was linked to by American Bedu and some of the comments relate to that. AKPC_IDS += "492,"; News • Pole Dancing Digg [...]

  28. @ Rosemary…

    Are you absolutely sure about your facts? Are you sure pole dancing started in strip clubs? Have you every tried pole fitness?

    Take a look at East Indian and chinese pole, look at cirque de soleil….now look at an advance level of pole fitness…..

    yes there is pole “dancing” and there is pole “fitness” perhaps you are mixing the 2 up? I have been in pole fitness for over a year….I don’t rub my body up and down the pole…I invert, spin and transition.

    There are many sides to pole, too bad so many are closed minded to accept pole fitness….belly dancing, latin dancing is more sexual than what I do on the pole.

    I am sure that in this particular Saudi class they are teaching an intense strengh training. Good for her for breaking barriers, and opening her mind…..

    please comment when you know the true facts, and you have been to a pole fitness class!

  29. “Sorry, but I find pole dancing to be very degrading toward women considering it originates from strip clubs and I honestly cannot understand how this ever became a trend”.

    What a bunch of malarkey and hypocrisy! If the commentator thinks that pole dancing is degrading because it originated from strip clubs, what does she think belly dancing (a very popular erotic/sexual dance in saudi and rest of the muslim world) originated from?

    Historical evidence shows pagan Egyptian tomb paintings dating from as far back as the fourteenth century BC that depict partially clad dancers whose callisthenic and erotic positions appear to be very similar to those used in belly dancing today. Both pole dancing and belly dancing, not entirely different from each other, are uniquely designed for the female body, with an emphasis on abdominal muscles, sexy hip moves, and erotic chest moves.

    Both are essentially firm and earthy sexual “dances” characterized by smooth, flowing, complex, and erotic sensual movements of the torso, alternated with shaking and shimmy type moves of the buttocks. Like pole dancing, belly dancing essentially emphasizes sexuality and the dance as an instrument of seduction.

    I wonder sometimes why many wahabi reverts especially are so hypocritical and ready to condemn pole dancing, and not belly dancing. Perhaps, because pole dancing has its roots in Darul Kuffar and belly dancing has its roots in Darul Islam?????

    “I only mentioned the city being holy because that is where the Kabah is located and I’m sure you are aware that Muslims believe the city to be more special than others because of this fact alone.”

    Here we go again. Another rant from a useful wahabi revert. From what I hear from muslim expats who have lived or are presently living in mecca and medina, alcohol and prostitution and drugs are freely available in these so-called “holy” and “special” cities, and even in the vicinity of kaaba. During the 1979 takeover of kaaba by the shiite muslims, authorities discovered extensive alcohol manufacturing facilities underneath the kaaba in the maze of tunnels.

    I think it is hypocritical to look at mecca and medina as “holy” and “special”, given all the illicit unislamic activities that go on. But then again, islam is full of hypocrisy and full of hypocrites!

  30. Actually bellydancing originated as a female fertillity dance, maybe to pay hommage to the great goddess. Like the Hula dances of Hawaii, they are fertillity dances too. Of course from a time when people were less phobic and twisted about sexuality.
    We have later patriarchal religions to thank for that disease of the human mind.

    Now I think pole dancing went the route the other way around, from a sex-act performed for paying male customers, it is now appropriated by women as something they think is fun for themselves and their partners.
    And it has evolved in a very serious athletic workout. Have you ever seen a really good modern pole dancer?

    I’ll be falling off the couch laughing if ”Pole Athletics” will be the next sport added to the Olympics!
    Maybe finally a sport where Saudi can get some gold medals! :twisted:

  31. ‘She liked the fact that it was a feminine exercise, and that she could feel liberated and sexy whilst doing it.’

    ‘Towards the end of my time I choreographed a routine for her to perform, and she donned her heels and performed for her husband and eldest daughter.’

    Yet you get offended when people think of pole dancing as a sexual thing? LOL

    I am curious what kind of ‘workout clothes’ she wore with those heels for her performance.

    I’m not saying that I think there is anything wrong with pole as a sport but, in my opinion, I think that this very post did paint it as sexual activity why else would it be a big deal that a Saudi woman should want to learn it?

  32. Ballet also has very sexual origins. For those of you against pole dancing, you have any qualms about putting your child in a ballet class? Let’s be real here- sex sells and people like to dance. Is it any wonder that the two have gone together in history over and over again?! If dancing isn’t about getting a guy and a girl together, then it’s about showing off the body via sensual/sexual dancing or via athleticism.

    I honestly got interested in pole dancing because I was interested in acrobatics but don’t like heights all that much. Pole dancing seemed like a stepping stone into it. Plus, I simply like dancing and this promotes a good upper-body workout. I don’t know of very many other dance forms that work the upper body quite like pole dancing.

    It’s not as if one is taking stripping lessons or working in a strip club. That would be a whole other thing entirely. Pole dancing is very common where I live, and this is one of the most family-friendly safe communities in America. If it helps women gain confidence in their bodies then I’m all for it.

    Ballroom dancers also wear high heels.

  33. @Lynn Huh? No, I’m not at all offended when people think of pole dancing as a sexual thing. Some people like to pole dance in a decidedly sexual way (working out while feeling good and feeling sexy can be a big draw), whereas others choose not to.

    What I do have a problem with is people assuming that pole dancing is only about sex, and that pole dancing (no matter how (non-)sexual) must be demeaning and immoral. (Which, as you say, you don’t believe.)

    This has been one of the hot topics within the pole world for a while now, with some people trying to remove the sexual side of pole and turn it into something akin to gymnastics (and, as much as possible, erase its origins from history), and others wanting to use pole dancing to celebrate and enjoy their own sexuality.

  34. No matter how you look at it pole dancing in the USA became popular for women as a way to spice up life in the bedroom, and yes it was because of the pole workouts that were being performed in strip clubs. It was not promoted as a form of exercise. Of course it’s good exercise but you can get even better exercise using other equipment. It really doesn’t matter but if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck then it’s a duck and don’t try to make it a swan. Go for the pole work, girls. Dr.Laura Burman, the ‘good sex’ doctor recommends it for some of the women she counsels.

  35. It’s easy to judge when you’ve never gone to a pole fitness class. The woman I take class with are doctors, chemical engineers, teachers, accountants, nurses, etc. It is a positive environment designed to teach confidence and make women feel sexy. There is nothing wrong with that! I’m happiest during my classes and am on my way to being an instructor.

    We went on a “field trip” to a strip club with poles and believe me, they can’t do half the stuff pole fitness girls can do. It’s been redefined and is much more along the lines of Cirque du Soleil.

    We learn flow which is somewhat sexy but not what I would consider strip club sexual. It’s doesn’t involve humping the ground or the pole. And yep, we wear heels because they’re awesome!! My mom, mother-in-law, friends, family, co-workers, boss and husband have all seen what I’m doing a love it!

    Maybe if you tried it you wouldn’t be so suppressed and angry :)

  36. @Andrew – ‘No, I’m not at all offended when people think of pole dancing as a sexual thing.’

    Oh, sorry I thought you seemed a bit irritated when you said ‘I was really hoping to avoid this conversation as, frankly, I’m tired of it.’

    I just thought that seemed kind of odd considering that I thought that your blog post WAS kinda highlighting that aspect and the oddities of it even existing in such a conservative place such as Saudi Arabia, the home of Mecca. I’m always reading so much into things. My bad ;-)

  37. Oh, come on, pole dancing is all about sex. The problem is that some people have a problem with sex.

    And I don’t think that poledancing is that liberating. Liberating would be a set of laws to protect your liberty, to choose and make decisions for yourself, your bodily integrity, and the right and opportunity to make money and support your own life and maybe some others as well.
    And all of these are not available for women in Saudi Arabia.
    Playing sexy games with a pole is insignificant compared to the total lack of human rights women have in Saudi Arabia.

  38. Well, I did see a Dr. Berman show about a wife who was having trouble relaxing and ‘letting go’. Dr. Laura sent her for some pole dancing lessons and the wife enjoyed them and started to feel sexy and things improved from there so I would guess there might be a reason for embracing pole dancing if it would help.

  39. Sure, so does bellydancing, exotic dancing, stripping, burlesque (great costumes) etc.
    People definitely need to let go of their sex-problems. Which are btw, mostly religiously induced.

    Still, some actual ”liberation” for women in Saudi Arabia, like laws, work, self determination, human rights, etc, is not to be expected any time soon.

  40. Yeah, I didn’t quite get this ‘liberation’ talk either. wth? lol

  41. A woman can do whatever she wants in the presence of her husband. And dancing for your husband is totally permissible in Islam, of course behind closed door. And by the way women do not cover infront of their relatives like her husband, father, sons, nephews etc. This abaya pic is just for publication.

  42. As I understand it and have seen, women DO cover in front of nephews once the nephews have reached a certain age.

  43. When dancing for your husband is done in front of your daughter it kind of grosses me out. LOL

  44. @Andrew, Leah, CC…

    I watched Andrew’s video linked above but sorry you haven’t sold me on pole dancing and never will. And I do not need to actually mount a pole before I change my views here.

    The fact that pole dancing has been repackaged as a fitness/sport means nothing to me as I cannot honestly view it as such. In my mind it will always carry sexual connotations (those that are degrading to women) and I would bet I am not the only one to think this given the way pole dancing has been viewed within the American culture for so long.

    I do not believe you can compare such an activity to other forms of dance or other forms of pole acrobatics such as what is common in India/China and nor will “pole fitness” ever be on the same level as Cirque Du Soleil.

    @Harry…

    I see you’re good friends with Jay. You must feel very clever in using Arabic terms and dismissing me as a “wahabi revert”. You know nothing about me.

    This is just my personal opinion on pole. Please do not quiz me on the Pagan origins of belly dance! Unlike you I refuse to pretend I have knowledge about something in which I don’t. I honestly do not know if belly dancing can be directly related to the sex industry like pole dancing and nor do I have the inclination to research it at this time. I have never been a fan of the belly dance anyway so please do not assume that all Muslims or all people for that matter even like it! Personally I prefer the Tango! Yes, it’s lively and can even be seductive but I have never known it to be related to strip clubs and have never known anyone to do it while sleezy men stuff bills in their nether region!

    Now on to Mecca…A city can be referred to as “holy” because of the significance it carries within a religion. Now compare this to your version of “holy” which means every inhabitant of that particular city, i.e. Mecca, must be totally sin free. Impossible and ridiculous. Islam is not full of hypocrites. I think you need to differentiate between the terms “hypocrisy” and “sinfulness”, they are not one and the same. A person can be sinful yet still believe in the core message of their religion and so long as they do not stand in judgement of other people’s sins and pretend they are not guilty of the same offense, they cannot be considered hypocrites. I personally know many sinful Muslims (myself included) but they do not judge others and are still true to the message of Islam which is the belief in the oneness of God. Not everyone will fall into this category, there are people who try to deceive others, pretending to be virtuous when they are not but I think it is unfair to paint everyone, i.e. Muslims, with the same brush.

    It is a shame that at your age you carry such enormous amounts of hate, anger and spite toward a people and religion you obviously don’t understand. And you are obviously a follower of Robert Spencer, who everyone knows is a moron. Well, everyone knows this except you and Jay that is. Pity the two of you.

    @Aafke, Wendy, Lynn…

    I agree with most of what you have stated regarding pole being about sex. It is what is is, why the denial by so many? My issue with pole is that it can be directly related to the sex industry which is without a doubt degrading to women. I don’t know how anyone can say pole is liberating for women and keep a straight face. Now, I am aware that other forms of dance can be seductive but I do not associate them with the sex industry. I am not a prude, sex is meant to be enjoyed but I have issues with using methods that are associated with strip clubs and getting paid for pleasing others. You can perform a sexy dance for your husband and make it your own without the pole. And I wholeheartedly agree, it should be in private, not in front of your children, no matter what their age!

    @Liz…

    This is my understanding as well. Nothing wrong with dancing for your husband in privacy, nothing in Islam forbids us from such. A Muslim woman is not obligated to wear hijab in front of her father, husband, brothers, nephews. But then again you do have the very odd bunch of Bedouin women that do just that. Obviously this stems from ignorance on their part and is not part of Islam.

  45. @Rosemary

    With all due respects, after you commented that “You know nothing about me”, then you go on to say that “I see you’re good friends with Jay” and that “you are obviously a follower of Robert Spencer”. Interesting case of hypocrisy. Care to explain?

    Regarding belIy dancing and pole dancing, you commented: “I honestly do not know if belly dancing can be directly related to the sex industry like pole dancing and nor do I have the inclination to research it at this time.”

    Wonder what planet you live on?

    If you read up on your islamic history, which you claim you don’t have any inclination to research (I have a hunch that you are ashamed to research your islamic history), belly dancing is very much related to sex and sex industry. After the first four rightly guided caliphs, muslim kings and caliphs and emirs and nawabs and rajas did maintain concubines and prostitutes and belly dancers, as part of their extensive harem collections. And yes, no belly dancing entertainment was complete, without the currency notes of the day stuffed, in what you call, nether body parts of the belly dancers; just like pole dancing. And unless you live on islamic split moon, the same o’ the same ‘o goes on today throughout the muslim lands, including the muslim vatican of wahabi saudi arabia.

    But, Rosemary, you are so fixated on pole dancing as against “islam” in, what you call, the “holy” and “special” cities of mecca and medina, that you completely overlook belly dancing as equally “sinful”. And Rosemary, don’t you think belly dancing is equally “degradeful towards women” as pole dancing, which you claim it is.

    However, as expected of a “good” muslim, you will of course claim that all such pleasures are haram in islam and that muslims who do such stuff are kafirs i.e. that such muslims and countries do not represent true islam. Well then, who represents the true islam? You? Saudi Arabia? Mecca? Medina? Dearborn? Anyone?

  46. Most forms of dancing are sexual and meant to attract or arouse the opposite sex for money or plain pleasure. (Even animal kingdom have mating dances).

    They are degrading to women only in the way or atmosphere it is done. If it performed for money in a room full of men, then yes it is degrading to wonmen kind. Maybe the dancer does not think so.

    If pole dancing was done for the purpose of fitness then why the need for high heels? High heels are not healthy at all for the back bone.

    Why does it always have to be about women? She has to do body alterations for the men, do strange kind of dances to please the men …etc. Why don’t the men do drqastic things to please the women?

  47. ‘Obviously this stems from ignorance on their part and is not part of Islam.’

    Which some could and DO say about women who wear culture based garb as ‘hijab’ ;-)

  48. “Why don’t the men do drqastic things to please the women?”

    Sure, there is Chippendales in the US, where men perform erotic dancing for women and get down to even their undies. I understand it is very popular with women across all ages and ethnic backgrounds!

  49. Gross!!! Who wants to see men in that way!

    Maybe I have answered my own question.

  50. Rosemary, a Muslim woman does not have to wear a hijab for anybody, let alone veil her face. The quran states that women should cover their chests, and down to their knees so anything more is really bidah. Feel free to cover your hair if you feel neurotic about it, but don’t claim it islam because it isn’t.
    Veiling was a cultural habit for elite Jewish women, way before Islam was even invented, so has nothing at all to do with islam. Unless you want to indulge in another bit of bidah.

    Sarah, no, not all dances humans have danced or invented are, were, or have been about sex. Get rid of this obsession with sex.

  51. Sarah, OMG I went to a male strip club in Canada for a friend’s bachelorette party and yes, GROSS!! LOL

    The best part about it was the people watching, DUH, but I mean watching the women who were watching the men dance. LOL! But DISgusting!

  52. AA, I did not say “all”; I said MOST.

  53. It was really funny to learn that another friend’s widowed mother was a regular enthusiastic customer there. Nasty considering that the dancers were her son’s age or younger! yuck! (yes, I say the same about men ogling women their daughters/grandaughters ages)

  54. Most dances forms did derive with sexual tones. It is not an obsession. It has been turned into art form.

    “One of the earliest structured uses of dances may have been in the performance and in the telling of myths. It was also sometimes used to show feelings for one of the opposite gender. It is also linked to the origin of “love making.” ….

    Dance may also be regarded as a form of nonverbal communication between humans, and is also performed by other animals (bee dance, patterns of behaviour such as a mating dance). ”

    – Wikipedia

  55. Lynn, that must have been disgusting party! They must be desparate – the dancing men and the women watching them.

  56. Naaa, they didn’t come off as desperate to me, gay perhaps maybe a little diseased but not desperate. I wouldn’t say it was a disgusting party but it was disgusting what some of the lap dancers would do (using their tool to stir drinks ugh!). Kinda like seeing a disgusting horror flick, some people really like them and some have to look away for the really disgusting parts. LOL

  57. Rosemary, I have no issue with pole dancing for entertainment. Being touted as a good form of exercise is okay but it’s not the primary reason for pole dancing. Ditto belly dancing. Both can be an art, both are used for seduction but the pole as a prop has quite a connotation. What revolted me in the pictures was seeing the woman in an abaya and niqab AND the woman entertaining both her husband and daughter. I suppose it’s good that she will teach her daughter the art of seduction.

    I have been to male strip clubs and I find them very funny. Most male strippers I’ve seen put a little comedy into their act. As for men doing things for their women … a good husband can also be seductive in the bedroom in many, many ways including doing a strip. I wouldn’t be turned on by a man doing a pole dance though … maybe a woman. LOL!!!

  58. Wendy, I have the same reaction when my husband does a strip tease as I did in the strip club. I laugh my ass off! LOL

  59. Rosemary, ”Personally I prefer the Tango! Yes, it’s lively and can even be seductive but I have never known it to be related to strip clubs”

    Actually the Tango was considered a brothel dance, and had a very bad reputation.

    Sarah, The bits you quoted didn’t give the impression at all that dancing was mostly, or even often, a sexual expression. They merely state that dancing could also be for sexual expression. And why do you consider sexual expression and attraction to be so bad? Why do you automatically connect it with ”sex for money” ?
    Your quote actually states myth telling. Which dance is still being used for. Non-verbal communication, does not automatically mean sex, one can communicate about other subjects.
    It’s not in your quotes, but I would consider rituals a primary reason to invent dancing. As dances are still being used for rituals and inducing a trance-state of mind all over the world.
    And I still think you have a bee in your bonnet about sex if you read your own quotes to mean that most dances are sexual in origin.
    Besides, one could do an erotic dance for ones own pleasure, or to attract a mate, or to entertain, but you must needs connect it with everything sordid.
    And why is sex sordid anyway? only because the latest patriarchal judaic/christian/islamic religions are totally phobic about women and sex. Humanity had a far more healthy and normal view on sex and human relationships before patriarchy raised it’s ugly venomous head.

    Really thinking this over I am deeply offended that one of humanities most beautiful expressions, art forms, and communication forms is so mindlessly thrown under the bigoted mantle of ”cold commercial sex”.

    This desire of fundamentalist religion to kill all which is beautiful, which brings joy and pleasure, all these arts which elevate humanity above the level of mere animals, and which nothing else humans do does, is too evil for words.
    It proves that the fundamentals of modern religions are totally wrong, are sick and evil.
    Religion poisons everything.

  60. AA,

    “And why do you consider sexual expression and attraction to be so bad? Why do you automatically connect it with ”sex for money” ?”

    When and where did I say that sexual expression and attraction is bad? I did not even talk on these topics. Lol. I was talking about dancing. Why did I connect sexual expression with “sex for money”? Even if I did, maybe because they are both connected in some ways?

    I think you are reading too much into what I wrote for whatever reason. I did not say anything what you said. It is your thinking. I just said that most dancings have sexual tones. AND it is degrading to women if used inappropriately. That is my opinion. I did not say anything about sex being bad or automatically connect it to anything.

    ” Non-verbal communication, does not automatically mean sex, one can communicate about other subjects”.
    I think you are the one obsessed with sex. Again I did not say that and I agree one can communicate about anything.

    “I would consider rituals a primary reason to invent dancing”
    That is your opinion and I respect that and I stand by my opinion that most dances have sexual expressions. You should learn to respect others opinions too. If it does not match your own it does not mean that they have a bee somewhere.

    If one wants to do an erotic dance with oneself, then thats fine. If he happens to be a male, let him mix his drinks with his tools. Thats fine too. Nothing sordid about that.

    “And why is sex sordid anyway?”
    Who said it was?

    Please do not put words in comments to make it look like what you want it to look like.

  61. Ya’ll have me curious and wondering now…

    One of the wedding gifts I received from Abdullah shortly after we married was what he called a woman’s dancing thobe which was similar to an abaya but made of black netting with gold threads throughout in a beautiful pattern. It also had the long “butterfly” like arms. According to my dear husband the ‘thobe’ he gave me was what women wore for their husbands years ago to dance in but that these thobes are not easy to find. This thobe remains a gift I will always cherish and have such wonderful memories of our precious time we had together. But back to my wondering and curiousity, is anyone else familiar with this type of thobe?

  62. I am all for learning pole dancing, and don’t have a problem with a mother performing in front of her daughter depending on how it is done. (Stripping, however, would be a whole other matter.) Ironically, I am not really one for watching male (or female) strippers. I find the whole idea of strip clubs distasteful, but to each their own.

    As for belly dancing,
    It may have had other origins, but it has been performed by prostitutes at various times in history as a way to sell themselves.

    I don’t have a problem with whatever type of dancing, but I find selling one’s body for sex, etc. to be morally wrong. (If someone else wants to though, that’s their business.) There is quite a substantial difference between the two, in my mind.

    AB,
    The outfit sounds interesting…

  63. Carol, I know the dancing thobe that you are talking about.. It is tradional one worn by girls/women for the typical Arab dancing. It is also worn sometimes with a head gear of intricate designs in gold.

    I had dark green one with gold works on it.

  64. [...] post was linked to by American Bedu and some of the comments relate to [...]

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