"Tourism is not here to sell haole (white) culture. It is here because we are the native people of this aina (land). It is our culture the tourists come to see. It is our land the tourists come to pollute. Without beautiful Hawaiian women dancing, there would be no tourism. Tourism deforms culture to the point of cultural prostitution. When I say prostitution in this context I refer to the entire institution that defines a woman as an object of degraded and victimized sexual value for use and exchange through the medium of money. Examples in Hawaii are the prostitution of the land and things Hawaiian and the prostitution of women’s roles. Hawaii is itself the female object of degradation. Our aina are no longer the source of food and shelter, but rather the source of money. Land is now called real estate, rather than papa, our word for mother. Beautiful areas, once sacred to my people, are now expensive resorts. Now, even access to beaches and near hotels is strictly regulated or denied to the local people altogether. High schools and hotels funnel teenagers from kitchens to gardens to honeymoon suites in preparation for jobs in the state’s lowest-paid industry. Tourism displaces Hawaiians, and those who work do so at the lowest level. According to David Standard, who teaches American studies at the University of Hawaii, “A family of four with one full-time, average-pay hotel worker at its head lives permanently mired in an official state of poverty. To live in the U.S. government’s generous definition of intermediate standard of living, that family of four will have to hold more than three such full-time jobs. The tourist industry, in fact, is not for the Hawaiians.” In the meantime, the state Department of Education distributes tourist-appreciation kits and movies. One film, unashamedly titled “What’s In It for Me?” was devised to convince locals that tourism is “The Aloha Industry” - the golden future for everyone. The commodification of Hawaiian culture includes marketing native values and practices on hole terms. These talents, in Hawaiian terms, are the hula, the aloha - generosity and love - of our people, the u’i or youthful beauty of our men and women, and the continuing allure of our lands and waters. Tourism converts these attributes into profit. Hula dancers wear clown-like makeup, don costumes from a mix of Polynesian cultures, and behave in a smutty manner, rather than in a powerfully erotic manner. The hula is erotic because it depicts the energy of the life force - in the earth and among the people of the earth. This life force or mana (energy) is sensual and fecund. In the hotel version of the hula, the sacredbness of the dance has disappeared and been replaced with an ornamental hoax. Hawaiian women dance with Hawaiian men at “lu’aus” for a lavish “island” buffet and “thrilling” Polynesian revue. Needless to say, Hawaiians don’t participate, and didn’t participate in such things before the advent of haoles in the islands. The woman has an innocent look and is portrayed as a costumed maiden who is virginal yet enticing to the haole tourists. In the native tradition, the hula was performed: 1) as a Mohai (sacred offering); 2) to transmit knowledge as a component of the oral traditions; and 3) as a vehicle for providing social and cultural cohesion. Tourism ponders sexuality through the hula - it commodities the hula for the lurid gratification of the haole. The Hawaiian man, on the other hand, is supposed to convey an image of both virility and threat. The white women in the audience can marvel at his physique and still remain safely distant. He is, like a black American male, a fantasy animal. The men, too, are, in truth, prostituted for tourism."
- The Aloha Industry: For Hawaiian women, tourism is not a neutral industry.-Haunani Kay Trask (via pasifikamovement)