This is my reply on the blog TangoVoice concerning the issue of women behaving strangely at milongas, raised by commenter named Goat. It was too “juicy” for TangoVoice who refused to publish it.
I do think that Goat is on the right track whereas TangoVoice and Bonnono live in a bananaland, under a rock, or whatever. They either fail or refuse to see the reality that is all around and that is reflected in tango. If Goat is a misogynist then a good amount of women in tango are misandrist. Take the following exerpt from a tango blog by a woman:
Most of my memorable dances to date have been with women leaders … I’ve been told by women leaders that how they lead is grown out of what they want for themselves as a follow. If I miss something, a woman leader will reassure me with a little friendship squeeze.
Lets try switching the roles and sexes so that a man writes about leading other men:
Most of my memorable dances to date have been with male followers … I’ve been told by male followers that how they follow is grown out of what they want for themselves as a lead. If I miss something, a male follower will reassure me with a little brotherly friendship squeeze.
This sounds to me either gay or misogynistic, and so the reverse would be either lesbian or misandrist. So the question is how it is that women who hold men, or many men, in such contempt as to publicly denigrade them on their blog, thus exhibiting what many women are thinking privately, are in tango? Goat attempts to explain this:
Modern western women are rejecting men sexually. They reject the notion that men should be active in bed while the woman is passive and that men should “give” women orgasms. This implies they will also reject the idea of being led by men while dancing. Some will try to lead themselves and do a bad job of it whether with men or women as followers, others will insist on blending leader and follower roles thus making a hash of things, others will dance alone at milongas, which is analogous to masturbating in public.
I think this does point to a real phenomenon in tango. I personally am influenced by Roger Devlin’s “Sexual Utopia in Power” in my interpretation. Here is a brief summary of his argument:
1. Sexual revolution of 1960, instead of expanding the amount of sex has simply redistributed it to a few highly successful men
2. It has also exposed the real nature of female sexuality: hypergamy
3. Liberated women who are now competing with men find that it’s not that easy and become envious and resentful of male power and so want to take men down
Whereas monogamy meant that each men got a wife and women were viewed as innocent and asexual, the 60s sexual revolution has revealed the reality that women are hypergamous: most men are never good enough for them. As a result all women gravitate to a few high status, good looking men, whereas most men go without sex.
We can see this in tango. Most ordinary male dancers soon realise that there is no percentage dancing with beginner women (unless there’s possibility of ‘benefits’) because once these women get any good they will become entitled. In other words, people are no longer generous and become calculating and competitive: who is getting what out of this and how much can I get as much as I can because that’s what everyone else is doing.
Performers, teachers, organisers and Argentinians benefit enormously from what Devlin calls the podium effect. Devlin writes:
When a man is addressing an audience, it conveys subrationally to the female mind that he has status: he speaks, while others merely listen. The phenomenon has long been known to Hollywood scriptwriters. Many old Cary Grant romantic comedies contain a scene where the heroine watches him addressing an audience. Shalit could probably tell us plenty about the podium effect herself, if she cared to; she mentions “my admiration for my [future] husband after hearing him speak at a Passover seder.” (GGM, p. 103) (Not after his holding a door for her!) In any case, the podium effect is a principal reason for the erroneously termed “lecherous professor” situation.
What I think is happening in tango is that at some point the thinking intelligent men notice that the teachers and Argentinians are getting more than their fair share of female attention and dance partners. Men are acutely aware of their status ranking and notice that to gain status being a good dancer is not enough. They then are likely to decide to be much less generous in offering dances, eg., to women that are still learning and/or who are less than attractive. It’s a race to the bottom. That at least is how it was for me and I would say I have a pretty average male brain when it comes to women and observing their behaviour and strategising how to approach them.
So my take on the matter is that because these women then don’t get many dances, since they’re all competing for the few high status men and the other men subsequently stopped asking them, and also because they resent being led by average men who are never good enough for them, they start to engage in a lot of the weirdness that we see: they start dancing with other women, leading men, or dancing in such a way that man can’t lead them. They stubbornly refuse to take on the female role except with high status males. As Goat points out they give the average guy a toxic vibe for having to lower herself to follow him.
TV writes: This bleak dystopian view of tango, replete with misogynistic and homophobic stereotypes, as well as portrayals of sexual interactions in stark physical terms that ignore the emotions of the participants, thereby dehumanizing them, is an assault upon the nature of tango as practiced by the overwhelming majority of dancers worldwide today. This is either the writings of a troll or the spewing of a deranged mind.
Bonnono: Your view, assuming it is sincere and not just an attempt to get a rise out of tangovoice and its readers, is not only pessimistic in the extreme but bears little relation to actual social tango.
Women, cuckservatives, liberals, progressives and men who benefit from the podium effect find it advantageous to ignore such facts at least until they’re hit in the face or as they say ‘red pilled’. Female hypergamy was not a factor in times of monogamy prior to the sexual revoution in the 1960s. As misandrist women get even leftist feminist men fired from jobs the latter will start asking themselves as to the wisdom of their position. My hope is that in tango similar processes will take place.