Belly dancing must be one of the most sensual dances ever conceived, before you even inspect the moves involved, just look at the costumes that are used. It is well known that belly dancing originated in the Middle East where the attitudes from men to women are quite different to other parts of the world.
There is a theory put forward in some circles that belly dancing must have been invented for the pleasure and titillation of men. Some men believe that women do everything they do solely for their own pleasure, and if as a woman you come up against this sort of argument then it is hard to sway the argument in your favor as it is bigoted.
In this sort of discussion, the origins of belly dancing are not the real issue, it is that some men find belly dancing very sexy and base their argument on this premise. The answer to if belly dancing is really designed for the pleasure of men lies in its origins and history and not just some warped male philosophy.
The Origins of Belly Dancing
Nobody actually knows the definitive answer to where belly dancing first started, the origins seem to be lost in time. There seems to be no written documentation left to us by the first belly dancers who actually performed the first hip drop! Therefore, there is a lot of speculation about the origins of this ancient form of dancing.
There are many theories put forward as why belly dancing may have been developed, and some of these ideas are based on what people want to believe in and not the actual truth. Here are some of the more popular ones:
Belly dancing was developed as a tool for priestesses to honor a god. Belly dancing was originated to prepare the body for childbirth. It was a dance to seduce men and to pleasure them.
These three theories have no factual basis on the origins of belly dancing, they are simply theories that might or might not have any foundation. More likely they are just proposals that some men would like to be true and fantasize about.
The next popular male argument that belly dancing was originated for their titillation is based on the costumes that are worn by belly dancers. Before we go further, you must understand that the bare midriff is just something recent, a 20th Century adaptation of the traditional costume.
If you look at the old costumes of the famous Mata Hari, the clothes she wore were a concoction of Indonesia (her former home) and French can-can (where she danced). She even was said to have stripped during some of her performances, but although at the time all this was classed as belly dancing, it really had nothing to do with it.
The bare midriff costume actually developed in France, not in the Middle East and was based around the made up costumes of Mata Hari. And this costume was then taken to Egypt and adopted by modern Egyptian dancers of the time, it must be said that all this is mostly supposition and not hard fact. In part two of this blog we continue to examine the belly dancing costume.