Dance floors need not be laden with unsolicited gropes and slurred pick up lines. There’s an opportunity here for men to learn about consensual grinding. WINS FOR ALL.
Femmes know the feeling of being groped, harassed or cat called on a dance floor. We know the feeling of dancing with our friends whilst some weird short guy with no friends in a fedora violates our personal space. We femmes know the familiar scenario of that dude who reacts explosively for rejecting him. It’s frustrating, but we’ve learnt to expect one or all of these scenarios every damn time we go out for a simple dance.
I’m off it.
Now let’s take a deep breath and imagine a utopia in which we can all dance, flirt and friend zone each another without the drag of gendered social norms creeping onto the dance floor. Imagine bumpin’ to that deep bass for an entire night without feeling shamed, violated or creeped out.
Or flip it and imagine, as a masc, being attracted to someone and understanding how to approach them without disgusting them.
I believe this is possible if you let us, at Groove Therapy, teach you the ways of the dance floor.
80% of Groove Therapy’s clients (and teachers) are femme and we’re often asked if we would consider turning GT into a dance program that is exclusively by and for the empowerment femme and gender non-conforming.
In short, our answer is absolutely not.
Men and the mascs want to dance, they just don’t have society’s permission…yet.
In the quest for making basic dance technique commonplace within society we are pushing for many things. Better moods, better physical health, cultural awareness, emotional validation, body awareness and self-expression.
cis-males cannot entertain dance and/or self-expression without a sexist backlash, often from their mates. Our statistics do not skew towards majority female clients because of our service. They are a product of social labels.
Boys don’t dance.
Want proof? Our number one enquiry at Groove Therapy comes through from dudes who ask if they will be the only guy in the room. Our answer is always the same – ‘no you will not be the only guy, and your attendance will encourage other dudes to also attend!’
Self-expression for men is, unfortunately, revolutionary
Social norms encourage young boys to suppress feelings of empathy, sadness and pain and channel it through rage and anger. In those toxic masc environments, aggressive behaviour is encouraged and rarely has negative consequence. With no other point of reference, this kind of behaviour bleeds onto the dance floor through the way men approach femmes. This does not even begin to skim the implications for gender-nonconforming folks and the very real presence of physical danger in the presence of suppressed and angry men. This needs to change.
So how do we get through to that demographic?
Hip hop dance classes might just be the answer
So much feminist messaging is pumped out in pink fonts with femme-tastic language and branding. When viewed through the lens of marketing 101, it’s kinda no surprise that toxic masc breeding grounds completely reject the messaging. They are not the target market.
Here’s how I think hip hop is revolutionary. It provides an outlet for mascs whilst creating an entry point to talk about feelings and shit. Back flips, legitimately flip the script on dance by making it a cool entry point for men to emote in a positive way. Rather than fighting, yelling and demoralising their fellow human beings, the foundation for hip hop (PEACE, LOVE, UNITY, FUN) asks us to let it all out through dance.
You see, street dance is laiden with competition, physical strain and one-upmanship. In my opinion the highly emotive nature of this very genre becomes a healthy way to channel all that testosterone, build bonds and express yourself without feeling like you’re in a corny share circle.
Now I’m not saying that dance saves everything but I’m saying it’s a start. This doesn’t just come from little feminist me either. Rugby coaches have approached us about weaving dance into their team’s training session. This blows our minds at GT. It shows us that men also want solutions to their own behaviour.
Save our dance floors, one masc groover at a time.
Men need to understand that their advances are being rejected because they’re shit advances. They are not being rejected because femmes are prudes. Men need to understand that others aren’t against flirting, grinding or whining. It’s that many of us want said grind to have a a certain…quality to it, ya dig?
If more humans understood dance, movement, body language and how to physically engage with one another without violation, the narrative would be very different.
So my closing thoughts are this: it is Groove Therapy’s duty to teach people how to dance. It empowers us with a bodily vocabulary of sorts. Through dance, we are armed with a consensual means for flirting, friending and having a good time without feeling gross or sexually obliged afterwards.
It’s a small step, but I think it is a wonderful starting point for the conversation around gender equality, without using a single word.