Chromosomes, justice, and art… a follow-up
Thanks to everyone who commented and responded to the previous post. The responses made me start thinking about another aspect of sexism in bellydance: that of the exclusion of males from belly dance circles. The claim that bellydance is a “female-only” art form is historically inaccurate. Men have belly danced, and were, in fact, entertainers to Ottoman royalty.
Here I’d like to bring to your attention the köçek dancing boys of the Ottoman Empire. The köçek were entertainers, dressed primarily in female drag, and danced in the courts of the Ottoman sultans. The culture of the köçek flourished from the 1600s to the 1800s, and started in the palaces and in the sultans’ harems. Independent dance troupes helped spread the tradition of the köçek beyond the palaces and into greater Anatolia and the Balkans. The dancing boys were, however, also available not only for entertainment purposes but also for sexual acts, available to the highest bidder.
Read more about the köçek here on Wikipedia.