Tango is an opportunity to grow. It’s also an opportunity to experiment with how we express ourselves, including what is known rather stiffly as “gender performance”.
Most men these days have been working to be more open and sensitive. This is an important part of getting away from sexism. Thank you for working on it!
Abandoning the arbitrary and cruel habits of a sexist society was an urgent task. Now that we’ve gotten better at being egalitarian in our relations in the workplace, the family, and other important social institutions we are faced with how we want to live and express our gender. How do we want to use it in our personal style, in our romantic relations, in our gestures and embodiment of our personalities?
While these possibilities are a continuum along which every point is inhabited and even the borders can now be crossed, many of us still feel attracted to femininity and masculinity as they are persistently celebrated in the surrounding culture. Although it’s now biologically, socially, and legally possible to live gender any way you want, we have less power to personally determine how we perceive the intersection of gender and romance.
Men still feel the need to be emotionally resilient and in control. (Even men who used to be women seem to feel this imperative.)
Women still want to receive desire and care. (Even though most well know that we’re far more capable of organizing care than most men we’ve met.)
There’s no right and wrong to any of this. It would be helpful to have more diverse images and narratives in pop culture media, but on a personal level, we each need to work out what feels liberated and whole and satisfying.
Some men feel they’ve been bullied into wimpiness. They are trying, rightly, to be anti-sexist and respectful of women, but the culture around them still insists that men should be authoritative and elegant. They’ve lost their sense of successful masculinity. And we all want to be successful at the various tasks this world puts before us, even when they seem contradictory.
Tango is a chance to embody masculinity in a satisfying way, and in a way that fulfils women’s desire for certain romantic gender relations. We don’t want you to boss us around, but we do want to be admired and desired, to feel your masculine attention.
Dancing tango, you are welcome to express your strength, control, and desire with the cabeceo, an authoritative mark, and skilled tenderness.
You may find that these expressions on the dance floor help you find new expressions in all of your life, especially your romantic relations with women.