Why Men Don’t Understand Sexism In Partner Dancing

DL

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure which posts you mean. Certainly it is true that there are beginner male dancers who perceive a bad experience with many of the women in the dance community they meet early on. That is not necessarily to say that those same women are, objectively, worthy of criticism; but the bad experience still feels bad to those men.

I could go so far as to opine that it is also often within the power of women to ease such bad experiences. However I would stop short of asserting that it was the responsibility of any particular woman to do so in any particular case, except to the degree commensurate with the implicit responsibility borne by all in the dancing community to further the enjoyment of dance experienced by others.

Anyway that is part of what I meant by observing that a recent post contained some truth, but that care was needed to express it.

Incidentally, earlier in this thread I made the qualified observation that beginner women who are frustrated at their attempts to fully participate in the dance community could perhaps overlook opportunities for personal growth by concluding instead (sometimes perhaps wrongly) that sexism pertained. I will say the same here for men, with respect to exactly the problem I attempt to state carefully above. For both men and women, dancing is hard. Some of this difficulty absolutely does arise from sexism and other bad action, which absolutely is not OK. However much of it does not; and most of it, regardless, is best addressed by looking inside.

I still don't think that ballroom dancing is inherently sexist, and I still lump "men don't understand sexism in partner dancing" together with most other generalizations I encounter on DF. I also hope that this is not thought of as an "anti-woman post" -- it certainly is not intended as such.
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
There are definitely a lot of women who don't understand how much men struggle to dance, but saying we only have ourselves to blame for the lack of men is WAY off. How about men's egos? How about the pressure you put on each other--in person and in the media--to "act manly" and accusations of being gay if someone is considering learning to dance? There are all kinds of reasons why men don't dance.
 
Has any competitive couple turned the tables and upset the system by reversing roles of lead to woman and follower to man? That would be interesting to witness in a competition and judges reactions to tradition:)
 

snapdancer

Well-Known Member
Not all actions by a person of one gender perceived by a person of the other gender are sexism. Not all actions by a person of one race perceived by a person of another racer are racism. Try to understand the perspective another.

For example, recently while dancing with a woman on a crowded floor, my partner said "I thought the man was supposed to protect the woman", with the inference being that I wasn't protecting her. I was puzzled, as I hadn't noticed any collisions during the dance, as I do put priority on avoiding collisions with other couples even to the degree of brushing limbs and will turn the woman out of harms way to take the hit myself at times. The usual comment from other followers when dancing on a crowded floor is along the line of "good navigating" or "I don't know how you men do it".

So after thinking on this, I asked her if she'd had a collision during our dance that I didn't sense, and it turned out that she hadn't. Her situation is that her husband is blind so unlike most follows she has to be situational aware of other dancers. So I protected her from actual collisions, but not her perception of possible collisions.

A matter of perspective. I could have been offended at the inference of unskillful dancing, but wasn't.
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
Has any competitive couple turned the tables and upset the system by reversing roles of lead to woman and follower to man? That would be interesting to witness in a competition and judges reactions to tradition:)
Yes. Same sex competitions have divisions for reverse role. They accept everyone--gay, straight, genderfluid, whatever. I love them. They are super fun and everyone is very supportive. I started a thread here on them, if you're interested in pursuing that.
 
I think..."generalizing" can be problematic....I think it is true that some women can lack empathy when dealing with a new lead, particularly if he happens to be their partner in all things....but I think it is also true that some men handle the uncertainty of not having mastered something very poorly and are more likely to blame an external source, like their follow....and that is a statistical fact....many studies have been done on the tendency of women to blame internal reasons for their difficulties rather than external ones where the opposite tends to be true of men....keyword= tendency....lol, I would add that this is less likely in women of a certain age who have grown tired of the dynamic :)
While I don't disagree with the research there, I could see a case, in classes or situations where new follows get to dance with more experienced leads (possibly including pros) and then dance with leaders who are at their level, it's very easy for them to blame the newbie leader because they were able to do it with a more advanced partner and now they can't with a comparable skill one, not realizing that they probably weren't really following that well with the experienced leader and he/she was just better at filling in the gaps for the newbie follower. And then there are some teachers who make the mistake (IMO) of saying that any errors are the leader's fault because he could have led it better*

TL;DR I think the way group classes and social dancing work could override this general tendency for women blaming internal factors.





*and then there are teachers in the competitive realm who make a point of telling the follows they work with that there is nothing a leader can do that a skilled follower can't make work; especially considering my coach's partner trained with the Joffrey Ballet pre-ballroom, so in her case she can pull off just about anything with zero connection.
 

flightco

Well-Known Member
Women have far less empathy. Dancing comes much easier for ladies so they have very little empathy for men who suffer as beginner leaders.

Too many women are mean and dismissive of men who are learning -- and that's one of the main reasons that there aren't enough experienced men in dancing.
!
Having been a beginner for about 4 years now, I have to "mostly" disagree with you. I have found that at times new follows are dismissive of a less than good lead, especially if they have been putting in time with the pro, but many are just happy to be dancing. On the other hand, I have found the experienced follows to be "for the most part" very gracious and again are just happy to be dancing. If follows were as dismissive to beginner leads as so many seem to think, I would have moved on a long time ago.
 

Jag75

Active Member
Women have far less empathy. Dancing comes much easier for ladies so they have very little empathy for men who suffer as beginner leaders.

Too many women are mean and dismissive of men who are learning -- and that's one of the main reasons that there aren't enough experienced men in dancing.

Women only have to blame themselves, but they prefer to blame men's sexism. Give me a break!
As a dance instructor for 6 years I can say with confidence that claiming that women having it easier in dancing is just plain wrong.

Try following then get back to me.
 

Jag75

Active Member
Leading and following both have their challenges, and learning to be good at either is just as involved, technical, and difficult.

I hear men occasionally say women have it easier and honestly it makes me cringe. You probably aren't that experienced as a dancer so you believe you're speaking from "experience", however limited that is, and are convinced by it. You haven't tried learning as a follow so in reality you have no clue, but you're "butthurt" to use this internet phrase and like to blame others' for your misfortunes. If it's blaming an entire gender then why not hey?
 

Jag75

Active Member
Following isn't just about following though. As a follow you still need to learn about the following:

Dynamic balance
Correct Posture
Correct stepping technique
Correct alignment
Spins
Travelling turns
Spot turns
Other turns
Frame (using your lats)
Flow
etc

For both lead and follow these are the challenges. "Natural" follows is all well and good but if a person doesn't properly study dance they will remain stuck at the same level. If this means they are beginner then sans the hard work they will remain beginner.
 

snapdancer

Well-Known Member
"Natural" follows is all well and good but if a person doesn't properly study dance they will remain stuck at the same level. If this means they are beginner then sans the hard work they will remain beginner.
I would agree with that, in general. There are degrees of natural follow, and most could use some formal training. There's only one exception, a woman who followed perfectly and insisted she'd had no dance training. But she was chatted up by this newbie guy who danced with her too much. The following weekend she came back and I thought her dancing wasn't as good. And haven't seen her since. Too bad.

Someone like you're thinking is this natural follow who can get by on the social floor but needs instruction on posture and frame. I've told her that she needs to take lessons, she says she will but somehow never does.
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
Leading and following both have their challenges, and learning to be good at either is just as involved, technical, and difficult. ....
I do think the first year is more difficult for the leader. We've both got a lot to learn, but as a follow, I can follow steps I had never done before. No way a leader can lead things s/he doesn't know about!! Leader has to learn most of what the follow does--or a counterpart to it--plus have a much more thorough knowledge of the actual dance steps.
 

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