It happened again. A wonderful New England dancer got local media coverage for a Middle Eastern dance event. I have it on good authority that the writer’s original article was respectful and appreciative of the art. And before it was published, the editor added some references to “boobs” and “boom-chicka-boom”. *sigh*
This happens all too often. It’s a combination of genuine ignorance, and the (admittedly correct) belief that some titillation will get people to read the story. The reaction from the dance community is a combination of those who are angry and disgusted, and those who are resigned.
Typically many of us write letters and emails to the editor, post comments on the publication’s online version and social media pages. I know a number of us ask, does it really make a difference?
I don’t expect the media to stop taking this tack in my lifetime. And I suspect that the editors to whom we address these comments aren’t going to change their minds. But, honestly, they aren’t who I write them for.
If we leave these articles unchallenged, they are the only viewpoint much of the general public gets exposed to. By writing public challenges, we inspire some of the readers to question what the real truth about this art is. Sure, some of them will dismiss us. But others will dig a little deeper and see our dance for what it really is.
I don’t lose sleep over these articles. But I plan to continue challenging them as long as they are published.