Apr. 24th, 2010

aphrodite: (Default)
Firstly, HOW badly do I want to buy my child this shirt?! About as much as I want to dye my hair bright purple at the moment (READ: A Hel of a lot!)

Second, a post on Native Appropriation Bingo. It's geared specifically towards the appropriation of Native American cultures, but has quite a bit of relevance outside that sphere.
Cultural appropriation is something I run up against inside my own head and life a bit, lately. I LOVE fashion and clothes for instance, and love alternative styling, which means stuff outside the modern, Western, mainstream world interests and inspires me particularly. I can't pretend there's not some internal exoticisation going on there, but then some of it feels like it is a simple appreciation and notice of something different to what I'm usually exposed to.

More appropriately, I ruminate on the questions of cultural appropriation and exotification every time I go to bellydance class.
I LOVE this dance form. I don't want to give it up. It feels far more comfortable, easy and enjoyable to me than something more culturally relevant according to my heritage (ballet, for instance). But then, I'm aware that bellydance as it's performed today is a new danceform, sprung from a mix of ballet, appropriated traditional dances, various bits of stagecraft and ideas from all over. So although we learn about different styles and musics to go with those styles according to where the dances "came from" it's still a bastardised form of what existed there pre-Western invasion, and the version I learn is diferent again to what is currently being taught in those places (and others in Australia, for instance!). It's this weird mix of Western dance, appropriation of other dances, and fantasy. I'm not sure if that makes it "okay" though - especially when considering how my teacher stresses the importance of not dancing with Turkish moves to a Saiidi (Egyptian valley) piece/beat, and vice versa. And how the groups likely to be hiring those of us who dance professionally expect us to dance (i.e, matching steps with certain beats, etc). Bellydance is certainly more elastic than ballet, but it DOES have forms and rules.

Finally, today I am fucking sick of reading shit that assumes I am a heterosexual male. It fills me with rage beyond rage to be happily reading along an interesting, generally addressed piece of social commentary or joke about University life and find myself SLAPPED OVER THE HEAD with the idea that I a)want and/or have a girlfriend and b)Am a male/unconcerned with my looks.
It ruins totally decent and interesting thoughts just like this one.


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The Evening Star

July 2011

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