My take on it is YES TANGO IS SEXIST!
1. Man is the leader, the woman follower. If the women looks to lead she is seen as aggressive dancer. Ha!
2. The lead chooses the follower. Never the other way around,
1. The Man is the leader (usually - my partner frequently leads during Practica and I give my best to follow), BUT Tango is a form of communication. If I am to strict in leading, a lot of experienced followers are well able to take their freedom (without forcing me) !
2. The leader may try to chose the follower. In fact the follower choses the leader by accepting or not !
Is Tango sexistic ? Definitely NO!
This is the language of Tango:
He says: "I can have EVERY woman !"
She says: "Dream on, you will NEVER have me !"
Hi Richard with all due respect I think you are VERY VERY VERY wrong!
All what you say is correct, and I love the tango, but you are blind if you think tango has no sexist.
It is, unfortunately, very sexist.
Lets take the selection of a woman. Almost every man and woman would agree that to be selected by the man, the grace and skill in your dancing matters little compared to how GOOD you look. The more beautiful the woman, and the better she is dressed (a short skirt or revealing clothes certainly help!) the more likely she will be selected, all other things being equal (for example if she is new and nobody knows her).
That, unfortunately, is pure and utter sexism. Selecting a woman for a job on that premise is against the law!
From perspective of lead I am not sure that tango is 100% sexist but it is a bit.
Myself and a lot of other leads that I know will first most ask a follower if she is good. Top priority.
However, I admit, after skill, the next top thing is looks. I've heard many women over 30 or 40 complain they get asked to dance a lot less.
Before we argue whether tango is sexist perhaps we should start with a definition of sexism!!!!
Sexism has two definitions:
1. attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes of sexual roles.
2. prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.
Now I would argue that 2 is hard to prove in tango. I am not sure if anyone specifically discriminates against women in tango because they are women.
However, number 1 is I think very true, for there are are behaviors that a woman must follow or see is (at certain milongas anyway) looked down on. For example, if she selects the man; if she leads; etc.
Can I put this behavior in a totally different light?
Perhaps why men select certain women is not looks or skirt or good looks at all. It is about the 'something' ... that magical something, that vibe, that the woman has, that makes her someone that the man would like to dance with.
I just want to throw in a comment here.... I am an elderly gentleman, probably have now lost my don juan ;) looks.
I notice that as I grow older, my tango improves, but less ladies are ok to dance with me.
Perhaps sexism is equally applicable to the followers mmm?
I am a lady and traditional tango is my love. This is my opinion only. I ask myself about tango- Do I want to be right? or do I want to dance as one with my partner? If I surrender to the "role" the woman plays- follower and the man plays the role of leader---- we dance a beautiful 3 minute love affair dance.
To say that it is sexist or not- I simply enjoy dancing, feeling the music and I refuse to dance with my ego.
I do not care how young or old, etc. as long as the dancing partner has good hygiene and is patient, and willing to take the lead of leader, I am his on the dance floor.
OK, ok, we get you that you do not care how young or old, etc etc.
But it is the MAN who pick the woman at tango! The man!
Why should the woman feel stressed going to tango because they might not be picked to dance?
That is sexism!!!
I have noticed exactly the same in BA and I agree that it PARTLY sexist.
Yes, great followers will be asked irrespective of looks.
BUT a great looking woman in a short sexy thing will also be asked, maybe not with the best leads but definitely will be asked.
I have been dancing for many years and only just recently (about two years ago) I have started tango.
I have been observing this question a lot, since I am in my late 40's and so not a young thing anymore.
In my opinion, how good the woman dances is of little concern to the man. Why does he ask her? More important, much more, is her beauty. Anyone who says otherwise is naive.
This is very cruel to older women.
Other dance styles this is also true, but I think less so.
Sexism? definitely!!!! I have noticed it!
The top followers will get a dance, ok, they will always be popular,
BUT a great looking girl with a hot body and sexy clothes will be asked all the time. She will not sit out.
That's life and it is sexist.
1. Not having been around when Tango was invented, the most common sense thing about the role is that the "leader' is walking forward and can see the ronda better. The metropolitan community's dominant culture will tend to express itself in its subcultures. There are communities where the gender of the dance role isn't a factor.
2. The statement that only the lead ever chooses suggests insufficient understanding of how dancers in a milonga match up. I want to dance with you, but you don't want to dance with me. You want to dance with me, but I don't want to dance with you. In either of these, if there is no compromise ("at least I got to dance"), we won't dance together. However, if we want to dance with each other, we probably will - because will make it a point to. The points that younger, better looking, better dressed, nicer shoes, etc. are the motives behind people not dancing with each other are purely personal opinions and identify typical novice or beginner behavior (regardless of the figures they throw down onto the floor).
Here's another consideration. Do a head count. Get to know your milongas. Pick them the way you want to pick partners. If we go to a milonga scheduled for 4 hrs and it draws 100 gender-balanced dancers, then consider this: there will be 24 tandas (10 min each), 16 of which will be tango, 4 vals and 4 milonga. If we dance every tanda with a different dancer we will only dance with half of the dancers available. If we sit out any tandas, the balance isn't there, the music doesn't match, people aren't there for the full time or 100 other things happens, we will dance either less in number or less in satisfaction, or both.
My point is that the dynamic of the particular milonga culture is much more influential than the social mores we think.
I agree with you..The dance is to be enjoyed without any judgement of the other person. Such a beautiful dance to be enjoyed by two people in synch with the music!! It is a matter of choice to have fun with it!!
People are sexist not dances. I have seen too many tango's between two women or two men for me to be able to take this question serious. I've been dancing one form of dance or another almost my entire life. I will almost always pick the better dancer over the prettier dancer. I prefer a partner that is better than me than one with less experience. Not that I don't appreciate a well-dressed pretty girl.