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I’m disappointed that Ayesha Morris and the Washington City Paper celebrated sexism in the article about belly-dancing instructor and performer Malika Negwa (“Gut Response,” 7/14). I can’t really think of another instance where you’ve given a bigot such generous press, and I wonder why you found it acceptable to treat Negwa’s shortcomings with a wink. Stinks like hypocrisy to me.
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I’m also disappointed that the proprietors of Marrakesh would provide the discriminatory venue and subject their waiters to the sort of comments that close out the article. I’d give these guys an extra-large tip were I ever to darken that restaurant’s door again—but I probably won’t.
Perhaps belly dancing really is an art that desperately needs to be rescued from soft-porn perceptions, but Negwa has pathetically replaced the baggage of male sexual titillation with the baggage of female sexual politics. Sure, she’s the one who’s teaching and dancing and performing, and she can police the form’s consumption and pollute it with misandry all she wants. But in doing so she’s simply alienating a large percentage of the population and ensuring that belly dancing will be relegated to the freakish footnotes of artistic expression.