This past couple of weeks has been a chewy one for my mind. On different occasions in conversations I’ve heard these words spoken and then the snake chama controversy arose on the internet on different internet forums I belong to. I thought I would share these powerful adages and some thoughts I had that rose from reading comments and viewing the youtube snake chama video. I wrote this last week but re read it a bunch before I posted it.
“It takes little effort to criticize something,
and so much work to create something.”
( words of wisdom from Celeste)
“On the underbelly of judgement is longing”
(words spoken at a labyrinth school)
“Todays most valuable and sought after commodity is your focused attention”.
(woods spoken at a labyrinth school)
“Envy is often indistinguishable from pride.” ( review of 7 deadly sins. This on deserved a lot of thought!).
“Know thyself” (Delphic Oracle)
As some may be aware this video seems to have rumpled the feathers of many belly dancers. They have become very outspoken in the comment section underneath the clip (mostly negative) on youtube, as well as in various belly dance forums, yahoo groups across the nation, and on bhuz. . .
Below I share some thoughts that some may not have thought about. I find throughout my career that we, as a sub culture of women, are very confused and need to continually take our blinders off. Blinders are something you put on a horse that prevents them from looking to the rear and/or side.
I feel like I should say something. I am a person who happens to have done a lot for belly dancing in my career. I‘ve been invited to attend the International Belly Dance Conference in Toronto as a representative of pioneering belly dance in America next month. That must mean something. Delilah Bios
I do not think the women involved in this video have ruined the reputation of belly dance as some of the commented.
I would ask the women throwing stones what they themselves have done to elevate belly dance. I don’t see a lot of large strides being made these days. I see lots of hen pecking. Lots of internet self importance. I feel the actions of these comments is more offensive. Partly I blame the technology of the internet that often draws the worst of all our voices to the surface. Talking in person is way different. Just like dancing in person is. We have the circumstance, the atmosphere that surrounds us and how we are dressed. These thing make a difference in our thought processes and our behavior.
Most people are afraid to comment on the internet because of the flaming. If you have ever been a victim of the flame war, you feel like few will come to your aid, mostly because they are afraid of the flame themselves. Enough about that for now, I don’t really want to talk in that direction today…
Thoughts about the Youtube clip with Sadie and Kaya snake chama
If a tap dancer or a salsa dancer danced suggestively to lewd hip hop lyrics on youtube do we feel all tap dancers or salsa dancers are at risk of being thought of as suggestive and lewd?
My answer: No, I wouldn’t think so.
Well, how come when a belly dancer dances suggestively to some lewd hip hop lyrics on youtube many other belly dancers feel their own reputation and the general reputation of all belly dancers is at stake somehow?
It touches a very real nerve. I ponder hard. . .
I hear, I feel, and I can smell fear . . . I see not power nor strength from either side.
This attitude is very stifling.
Ladies, does our sense of worth come from inside us, or outside us?
Do we respect ourselves and other women or do we still, deep inside, doubt that women have worth as fully embodied females, the way God made them. Is our better worth only as non sexual beings, neutered versions of women?
I would hope that your reputation is built on good deeds and work you have done. If you haven’t done any, than that may be more the problem then someone else’s mode of self expression. I see these dancers who have responded negatively on the youtube clip as well as other talk groups claim that they have lost some degree of respect that they have somehow earned. I am curious what exactly they themselves did?
As a subculture of women, do we even have a sense of worth, or is it non existent? (I made more money for teaching and per performance in 1979 than they get today).
Is our worth so fragile that one persons voice of expression paints all the rest? Kind of pathetic to me. Maybe part of the reason that women are continually objectified is because it’s so easy to do to them. Our defensiveness turns us upside down and renders us powerless.
The way to not be objectified is to use your own power. I am not suggesting we ignore things that upset and effect us, but ask your self what can you do to create a desired positive change. I don’t think ridicule and throwing things at other dancers has accomplishing much.
Women’s power is the Power of Attraction. Thats why women in the middle east cover up. Men are powerless in the face of women’s power of attraction. Thats what they claim! In the western world men learn to behave (kind of), and women learn to pretend they don’t have it! It, being the power of attraction.
We have been taught wrongly that there is only so much love, beauty and resources to go around. It’s called poverty consciousness. Right now with the economy, it is at a record high. For women, the other two, beauty and love are as much at stake as money. When we see someone using those resources “we” think ,it’s unfair. (Envy or PRIDE) What we miss is those girls may be lovely, but all women have the power of attraction. It’s not a commodity, it is a power in the universe. Women have been fooled into NOT knowing they have it. We have also been taught that only a narrow spectrum of life is attractive; the young, skinny, blonde and big boob parts.
Haven’t you ever met a girl you didn’t think was a looker by conventional standards and yet she gets all the attention form men. Well I sure have. The power of attraction is not what you think. It’s how you feel inside.
Who is calling who a Ho?
The mean spirited comments lobed at those girls are pretty nasty. Even more offensive to me than the video. There is not breasts exposed or frontal nudity in the video. No one calls them a ” ho ” in the video that I could pick out. However, they were called prostitutes and hos in comments by other belly dancers. I looked at the comments and I didn’t see anyone chiding the boys for their choice of artistic behavior. Just the girls. So I listened to the lyrics closer. They are adult, but not so bad. In fact it’s beginning to grow on me. A couple of get-your-attention rhymes but nothing worse than what one hears on South Park. (Not to say that condones anything. I’m just saying, it points to larger society issues, and hypocrisy. Those throwing stones probably accept a lot of crap from society as cool).
I think those singers really likesbelly dancers! LOL
I went to the bands site I found they have a trailer where they verbal announced with pride who the dancers are on their video. That was positive in my book.(I was in the major motion picture China Syndrome and didn’t get my name on the credits. It was fun. It was just a role. but not especially doing anything for BD.)
Then I noticed another youtube clip by one of my favorite dancers, snake chama with Rachel Brice. Not a lot different save for the lyrics and the lack of blatant sexual suggestiveness. Yet, she is still sexy in a fashion model tribal way. We are looking just as closely at her sexy belly. The place where sex happens! Belly to belly. OMG!
So what’s the real difference for you ?
The song is a erotic love poem about snaky sexy belly dancing. Ahhh? Belly dancing isn’t always sexy. To me it can be many things (some times it’s down right frumpy), but it sure can be pretty sexy, as these girls illustrate. Serpents have always been connected to this dance. Down deep? Is that not what attracts all of us to the dance if we were really honest? Some sort of ancient symbolic feminine serpent wisdom . This is what I learned in women’s studies class 101. But then there is that garden, Adam and Eve and the serpent thing, so maybe all that Puritan stuff triggers the defensive action in some dancers.
For crying out loud don’t let it! You know how beautiful and positive this dance is for women and don’t you forget it for one moment!
To deny our own sexuality is pretty hypocritical AND disempowering!
When we get all defensive especially with each other, the scorn feels so puritanical. I feel the inquisition lurking around the corner. In the olden days free blacks owned slaves. Thats called wearing blinders. Slaves whipped other slaves. We don’t need belly dancers that don’t have their own sense of self esteem whipping other belly dancers. Better no whippings please.
I feel strongly belly dance empowers my life. That has been my message throughout my career. However, when I feel that there are boundaries set, telling me and others how to express my art; somehow I don’t feel very free. Especially if the boundary being set, even tap dancers can step over. Jeepers!
Truth is we are all free to express our art. . . and truth is, there may be consequences.
While I don’t choose to express myself in certain manners, morally I suppose I must value the freedom to do so. THATS BEING AMERICAN!
Over all I want to encourage dancers to do good work, good deeds and quit worrying about what others do with their artistic licenses. If you have a deep commitment to this dance, to the art, to the profession of belly dance. . . Then I encourage you to each make sure your own artistic license is getting lots of positive use!
Go create something beautiful!