Somehow, my blog got tagged in some catalog with “Topless dancer.” No, I’m not a topless dancer or a stripper or a burlesque dancer.

I struggle to write about this, because I think it often becomes condescending towards the above. I recognize that they’re all different and support a woman’s (or man’s) right to work in those industries. Off the top of my head, a Middle Eastern/belly dancer differs from a topless dancer in that

  • S/he doesn’t remove her top. If you’re hiring a Middle Eastern dancer hoping for that, you really should hire someone else
  • S/he performs a cultural dance. Sure, there’s a lot of Hollywood in the current costumes, but the movements, the music, etc. are a part of Middle Eastern dance.
  • S/he provides family entertainment. I’d be hardpressed to find a person who thinks it’s cool to hire a topless dancer for a child’s party. With Middle Eastern dance, a few friends have “Princess Jasmine” birthday party packages where they dress up like the character from Aladdin and do a birthday party thing for little kids.
  • The age range. Middle Eastern dancers range from children to much older women. I don’t see the same in topless dancers

I hope this clears up some misperceptions.