If lots of people practice both regularly, I expect the lines between masculine and feminine to blur and equalize. So long as the roles are gendered and sexist messages prevail elsewhere in our culture, we will continue to mostly fall back into these roles along gender lines. This is a subtle way of acknowledging that anyone can be a lead or follow. This is very encouraging. In another dance, you might let your partner take the creative lead. But dance roles are not inherently anything, nor do they need us to ascribe masculine or feminine characteristics to them in order to make partner dancing work. And women must continue working at the forefront to make it happen.
And since, to my knowledge, nobody is nursing a child or lifting weights while lindy hopping, we have run out of ways to blame biology for our sexism. Plenty of people already understand equality of dance roles. I taught leads to be powerful, take charge, and give clear directions. Gendered dance roles are a relic that needs to be killed off like your least favorite Game of Thrones character. Women are expected to follow because the role is considered feminine. The Linchpin Solution Instead of hoping people will get the point of non-gendered language or learning both dance roles, we must also teach them to not be sexist in their dancing. When you have equal opportunity, you do not have to iron yourself into narrow dominant or submissive roles. Sometimes the chatter goes quiet and you have only body language. So long as the roles are gendered and sexist messages prevail elsewhere in our culture, we will continue to mostly fall back into these roles along gender lines. Reprogram your expectations and start learning non-gendered dancing skills right now. Partner Dancing Is a Conversation Sometimes you take turns talking and listening. And it starts with you. Tired of sexism in the lindy hop community? I want an equal opportunity to express myself and be heard in my chosen role. It refers to either he or she, depending on context. If everyone dances both roles, we can understand and accommodate our partners better, whatever role we choose. By acknowledging and practicing the reality of shared decision-making, we can be equals not just in theory but in real life. Nor do I wish to be dominant. In another dance, you might let your partner take the creative lead. In most of the lindy hop world, women are strongly expected to follow and men strongly expected to lead. Why, in dancing, do we still steer people into very narrow roles? This post is a detour from my planned 3-post series I began in my previous post. The biological differences between men and women have literally nothing to do with whether and to what extent we share decision-making during social dancing. Paul thinks this is because there are many sexist messages present elsewhere in culture, and also because you can easily infer gender from context. Currently in lindy hop, we are taught to communicate with each other in very gendered ways: For those of us who would like to be equals to our partner, this language rankles:
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