Gender Roles (again)

I can’t help myself, I have to comment about the Tango-L discussion of gender roles. There is a very vocal contingent that believes it isn’t Argentine Tango if a woman is leading. Some of the leaders who take this stance say that a woman who leads will drop to the bottom of his list of potential followers. That’s sad, because many of the women-leaders I know are hailed by local leaders as excellent followers, as well.

Another anecdote from the weekend: In the middle of a song, I gently switched our embrace and started leading. One or two times around the (very small but not crowded) floor, we switched back. I couldn’t do much more than walk, and it felt very rough around the edges, but it was fun! I may not have aspirations to lead often, but it seems odd to completely close off that part of the dance the women who are interested.

Would these same people have a problem with Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake? Well, they might, but they would be missing out on a masterpiece:


5 thoughts on “Gender Roles (again)

  1. Idiots. Well, if they want to self-select themselves out of my partner pool, that’s just fine by me. I’m quite confident that no man I would actually want to dance with would hold that opnion.Incidentally, how do they feel about the gtand old tradition of men learning by following? Or does that not count because those men were ‘just’ practicing together?

  2. I’m not sure if it’s an international perspective … It could just be personal attitudes about gender roles, or about a sense of the tradition or cultural context of AT, or something else entirely …Most of the people I saw on Tango-L were fine with men following other men in practice settings. The problem seemed to be with women taking on the man’s role.

  3. In Argentina, at most traditional milongas two persons of the same sex dancing together might actually be asked to quit, or to leave. But this is America dammit!Seriously, women who know how to lead are often the most awesome dancers. Getting the understanding of the structure of the dance is the best reason to learn to lead. Who wants to dance with people who are so narrow minded anyway?See you soon!Hooray!E

  4. Take it from someone who has been there and done that. When you are young, you want to have fun, so changing roles during a dance is something worth trying. Girls dancing tango with girls in the USA and elsewhere is one thing, but it’s not the standard in BsAs from my experience. Once you are over 50 or 60, your tune will change. There will be fewer tandas and fewer men who will invite you. I advise you learn to be happy with your role in tango as a woman and let the men protect you and enjoy it while you can. Keep yourself in shape and flexible, because the men will always find younger women who want to dance with them. You’ll be left sitting and thinking of how silly you were wanting to lead. If you become good at the man’s role, you forget to let a man do his.

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