When tango emerged out of the primordial swamp the world was still in the grip of an oppressive patriarchy. It was an era of primitive practices such as religion, lifelong marriage, female modesty, enforced monogamy, and complementary sex roles: homemaker housewives and breadwinner husbands. After many millenia we are finally emerging out of the darkness into a brave new world of feminization which liberates us with atheism, equal partnerships, no-fault divorce, serial polygamy, career women, single mothers, government schooling, alimony, welfare and affirmative action. A fundamental social transformation which liberates women from their traditional roles at the cost of men (whose jobs and income must be sacrificed to the benefit of women who are not their wives) and the family (which must not impinge on state’s power to indoctrinate the new generation) is bound to have affected tango which is not a world unto itself and whose participants are bound to reflect in their behavior the norms of the new utopia.
The respective roles of the two partners in tango are not marginal to the practice. They reflect the place of sex roles in traditional society, the putative patriarchy. In traditional society men and women have always and everywhere occupied distinct and complementary roles. Men have been out in the world either hunting or, more recently, earning a living so as to provide for their family. To do so they had to exhibit skills and characteristics such as planning, goal-orientation, and rational decision-making as well as a natural sense of responsibility for their dependants. Women looked after the home and the children, for which the husband provides. In this world women have evolved to seek the protective male energy and the men to seek the nurturing female energy. These complementary roles are reflected in tango in which the woman lets the man lead and the man needs the woman to follow, and this complementarity of the roles and the provision of the respective type of energy offers much of the satisfaction of the dance.
In the new feminized society the two partners are equalized: men become more like women and women become more like men, that is, they both become more androgynous. Both sexes are expected to be able to fulfill both gender roles and this is supposed to be natural. True, men and women still dress differently, but this has become a merely external matter of fashion. The urban lumberjack look with bushy beards, Timberland boots and flannel shirts no longer signal any corresponding masculine skill at physical labour such as chopping down trees or anything else for that matter. Hyper-feminine fashion with high heels, immaculate hair and copious amounts of makeup rarely signal actual feminine nurturing energy, which is instead expressed in a vacuous, narcissistic sassy attitude that men find superficially attractive but ultimately draining.
Although based in our basic nature the competent performance of sex roles does require preparation and training which the government schooling characteristically neglects or worse, actively discourages. The free expression of masculinity in boys is increasingly viewed as ‘toxic’, whereas girls are encouraged to ‘lean in’ and be more assertive.
Both sexes are to a certain extent capable of fulfilling both of the traditional roles: men can become more like women and fulfil the female role, and women can in times of need perform in male role. Men can learn to cook, clean and look after children, and in some cases they even dress and behave like women. Women can also work and provide for the family, have careers, and some girls who are tomboys even dress and act like boys.
Instead of viewing such behavioural plasticity as eccentric and marginal, radical feminists, SJWs and transgender activists draw a different conclusion: the sex differences between men and women are a mere social construct, a vestige of an oppressive patriarchal system of men’s power over women, gays, transsexuals, minorities, etc. Further, they insist that gender and sexuality are fluid and people can pick and choose their identity like fashion, as the mood suits them. Sexual identity is subjective and we see a proliferation of gender pronouns and other similar outrages.
Radical feminists view statistical differences in occupations or income levels not as caused by the differences in the choices that men and women make but the oppressive patriarchy whereby women and other oppressed groups (but mainly women) are prevented from career advancement by a ‘glass ceiling’, and are discouraged from going into certain professions by being saddled with artificial sex roles. Women who choose the traditional role of the housewife or caretaker are browbeaten for their complicity in the patriarchal oppression of their sisters.
So rather than allowing women to follow their natural preferences radical feminists reject that such preferences exist and instead attack traditionalist women who refuse to be competitive and career-seeking. Radical feminism wants women to become more like men. The result is that we have a generation of women who are competitive but also unhappy, angry and aggressive. They often cannot easily compete against men who are naturally gifted—or perhaps encumbered—with high levels of testosterone, upper body strength, and an autistic persistence. But they are told that they ought to be as good as men at careers and various competitive pursuits. Denial of such differences leads to situations like transgender ‘women’ easily dominating female sports. Only people in deep denial, having been immersed in the ideology of radical feminism, could fail to see the obvious absurdity of what is being attempted.
Likewise the idea that same-sex tango dancing can be the same thing as traditional tango dancing can be entertained only by people who have been subjected to lifelong indoctrination into radical feminist ideology. The problem, however, is much deeper than that because the current generation of career women and compliant men have been subjected to decades of government schooling that seeks to erase sex differences and leaves them completely unprepared to perform these traditional roles. If tango depends on the ability to perform these roles within the dance then the new androgynous tango is a completely new type of practice. But as such it is unsatisfying if one comes to tango precisely because it offers the possibility of expressing one’s sex role.
Because the competitive career women do sometimes long to feel like women and likewise the compliant urban lumberjacks do sometimes want to be allowed to feel and act like men beyond mere external appearance. Unfortunately tango in itself cannot reverse feminist indoctrination and gender fluidity ideology. What you end up with is the shadow of tango: an egalitarian, androgynous dance in which the roles are performed as a mere formality. The assumption is that the partners are equal and the compliant men expect women to express themselves and compete.
In fact men express their protectiveness precisely by avoiding acting in an overtly protective way so as to not cramp the woman’s style and to ‘give her space’. Unencumbered by potential accusations of toxic masculinity female leaders lead in a way that women actually want men to do so, that is assertive and yet protective. Women are encouraged to ‘lean in’ and take the male role as men step aside. Given the background female empowerment ideology it is but a small step for these women to draw the conclusion that they must be naturally better leaders than men. Since men have learned over time that assertiveness and protectiveness on their part is essentially oppressive they can hardly be blamed for doing everything to avoid satisfying this need. The result is that on the contemporary feminized tango scene we see the shadow of the dance, failing to satisfy the very needs it would naturally meet.