Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Masculinizing Women Through Dance

Did I just invent a new verb, "to masculinize"? If so, I apologize, but it's the only word that seems to serve in describing the wave we are all submerged in, where women are being encouraged to become more man-like in all they do.

This now extends to dancing, and I'm tired of looking at it. You've seen the commercials--whether it's a gang of children in almost unbearably hip clothing or a mother and daughter in their newly scrubbed kitchen, they've just gotta dance! And their dances all feature the same style of movement: jabbing, jumping, leg-spreading contortions that look like a new generation of the old breakdancing, with an extra dose of unspoken defiance for good measure.  

These brash moves and attitudes in young, testosterone-driven men we rather expect. We can even admire the agility and stamina required. 

But now the same traditionally masculine dance style seems de rigueur for female dancers in commercials, talent acts, what have you. And it does not look good. Women have long kept to a distinctively female mode of movement, which--except for the graceful, extended poses of ballerinas--proscribed throwing their legs wide apart. That is, unless the dance was done around a pole in front of a mostly male audience.  Why was this stance avoided? Because, when done by a woman, it was naturally, genetically, unarguably, provocative in a sexual way. And it is not lovely.

Now, I'm aware that a thoroughly modern lass may say that she wants to express power, not prettiness. Yawn.

The other night I watched in sadness as yet another troupe of bright young dancers took the stage on a major talent show and proceeded to execute, in the usual frenzied way, a harsh choreography that had the young men leaping this way and that while the tightly-clad young women planted their legs wide and shook their rear ends at the audience. When all the vibrating and tumbling were over, the judges melted all over each other in admiration for this bold, fabulous! performance.

Is it just me? Or is anyone else out there dying to see some perky yet graceful dancing by those gals who are heading back to school or feeling just so excited about their new phones? Anybody?
Photo from H&M's back-to-school campaign, 2016

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