Mia Mask's story on NPR, "Eat, Pray, Love. Leave: Orientalism on the Big Screen, reviews the popularity of modern movies with Orientalist tropes, most egregiously with "Eat, Pray, Love," the story of a woman who "finds herself" while traveling in the East. We still associate the east with barbarism and female sexuality. It's the simplification of Eastern spiritual tropes and the "West"'s (I've been nudged for the vague use of that word too) eagerness to make everything a commodity.
How does this relate to belly dance/orientalish? See Deagon's Patriarchy article (below) or any of myriad articles promoting belly dance for women's empowerment, a theory likely created in the "West" for women in the "west." As an active yogi, I fit the bill twice. I have no plans to quit dancing, to avoid books I want to read (such as Flaubert's degrading but captivating trip down the Nile) or to give up yoga, or..to point fingers at others doing the same. I just hope to take stock of what I do and to continue to carve out my own understanding of why I'm drawn to what I'm drawn toward. That is always a mystery to be pursued. (Note: I didn't read "Eat, Pray, Love" or go to the movie.)