This is a long weekend read where you will get to know all the history you wish to know about Hula.
Cook and his men—and the merchants, whalers, artists, and writers who followed—mistook the hula’s sexually charged fertility rituals as a signal the Hawaiians’ youngest and loveliest women were both promiscuous and sexually available to anyone who set foot on their beaches. In her 2012 book Aloha America: Hula Circuits Through the U.S. Empire, historian Adria L. Imada explains how natural hospitality of “aloha” culture—the word used as a greeting that also means “love”—made Hawaiians vulnerable to outside exploitation. To Westerners, the fantasy of a hula girl willingly submitting to the sexual desires of a white man represented the convenient narrative of a people so generous they’d willing give up their land without a fight.
One thought on “How America’s Obsession With Hula Girls Almost Wrecked Hawai’i”
A sad and powerful story about the complex erosion and rebuilding of a culture. It’s very interesting to realize how many layers of outside interference have washed over the local culture. In some ways I imagine it was similar with the Roman Empire, washing over the various cultures that they conquered during their great expansion.