Tango is not only a fascinating dance but also a fascinating philosophy, culture and lifestyle. The search of tango is the search of connection, love, unity, beauty, harmony and humanity, i.e., an idealism that is not consistent with the dehumanizing reality of the modern world. The world divides us as individuals, but tango unites us as a community and people. In tango we are not individualists, feminists, nationalists, liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, etc., but interconnected and interdependent members of the human family. Tango calls us to tear down the walls, to build bridges, and to regain humanity through connection, cooperation, reconciliation and compromise. It is a dance that teaches the world to love.

May 10, 2017

The Gender Expression in Tango

Unlike in America where gender expression is deemed politically incorrect, in Argentina it is a cultural symbol, which is evident in many aspects of their life* and particularly in their dance.

In chacarera, for example, the man deliberately demonstrates his masculinity, as saying to the woman, "Look how strong and brave I am!" And the woman deliberately displays her femininity, as saying to the man, "Am I beautiful and soft enough for you?"

Such unconcealed gender expression is evident in their tango also.

For Argentinians, male strength and female beauty are positive traits that the opposite sexes use to allure each other. Masculinity and femininity are gender characteristics resulted from millions of years of evolution, which allows the human species to sustain and flourish. Opposite, different, interdependent and complementary, men and women are created for each other. From their union comes children, family, society, and moral principles that hold the society together, such as love, teamwork, role play, agreeableness and cooperation. The sustenance, stability and harmony of the society would not be possible if the two sexes do not attract each other and love each other. Therefore, gender expression is not a sign of gender inequality or sexist display, as feminists claimed. Rather, it is a binding force that unites the two sexes and strengthens the society.

Feminists only think of men and women as independent individuals with conflicting self-interests, but fail to see them as a team in which the two sexes need and complement each other. The feminist proposition that "the history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man towards woman" is a rabid and untruthful statement. Human history is not a history of gender animosity. All men are sons of their mothers and brothers of their sisters, and all women are daughters of their fathers and sisters of their brothers, and they love each other by nature. In fact, for a period much longer than the recorded history the human society is matriarchal, and the love between the two sexes has been documented throughout the recorded history as well. While inequality is a fact of life, it is more a common social issue than a sex issue, and the solution to that is not to repudiate gender differences, gender roles and gender expression, or to incite hatred and animosity, masculinize women, imitate men, reverse gender roles, assert women's independence, women's emancipation from family and women's self-reliance - even in their sex life, and promote lesbianism and same-sex marriage, etc. The attempt to uproot and reconstruct the world according to radical ideas never has made the world better, as attested by the disastrous consequences we are facing now, because such wishful thinking is in conflict with human nature. (See Tango and the Relationship of the Opposite Sexes.)

"If we want to achieve the perfect degree of human nature, or at least close to this level of perfection, then all rules and regulations of mankind should be adapted to human nature. Because experiences prove that we cannot use rules and regulations to bind human nature without destroying their happiness. The attempt to obey rules and regulations that contradict human nature is the main source of human suffering. Any attempt to promote human wellness will not have any result until there is no radical reform in this respect." - On Human Happiness by John Gray

The true solution to gender problems is to embrace gender differences, gender roles, gender expression, love and cooperation, which is nature's way to achieve gender unity and harmony in contradistinction to the arbitrary culture of individualism, feminism, antagonism, hatred and power politics. (See The World Needs a Different Philosophy.) Thanks to tango we have a living testimony of how nature works. "Tango is based on the ideas that men and women are interdependent rather than independent, that masculinity and femininity complement rather than un-equalize the opposite sexes, that being a masculine male and a feminine female is attractive, beneficial and desirable, that the harmony of the two genders is arrived at through mutual respect, submission, accommodation and cooperation rather than resistance, animosity, confrontation and power struggle, and that love triumphs over hostility. While individualism and feminism focus on the individuality and independence of the individual person or gender, tango focuses on the partnership and oneness of the union. It asks us to be friendly, submissive, humble, adaptive, cooperative, agreeable and yielding. Tango proves that the two sexes can form a harmonious relationship by conforming to these values. Despite the challenges that tango faces in the West, it continues to exert positive influences on our societies, I believe, because unless we adopt its values, we are unable to fully enjoy the dance and the relationship with the opposite sex." (Femininity and Feminism in Tango (II))

Gender expression is important in tango also because the juxtaposition of opposite moods complementing each other is a marked feature of tango, which is heterosexual rather than homosexual in nature. Tango music has a rhythm that is masculine - strong, steady, rigid and forceful, accompanied by a melody that is feminine - soft, beautiful, fluid and sentimental. The two opposite moods intertwine and respond to each other, reflecting the man and woman in the dance. Dancing tango, you have to imagine that you are playing the music with your body. The man and the woman are different instruments, each with its unique sound, expressing a different emotion. One is like the bandoneon, the other the violin. One is the passion of the drums, the other the beauty of the melody. One is philosophy, the other poem... Both are indispensable and irreplaceable, and they must complement and collaborate harmoniously in order to create a beautiful tango. (See The Characteristics of Classic Tango.) The attempt to make tango a homosexual or gender-neutral dance would only nip the vitality of tango because without gender differences and gender expressions, tango will loose its richness, beauty and charm. (See Artistic Sublimation and Vulgarism in Tango.)


*I was dancing at Club Gricel and suddenly my partner uttered a scream. She was struck by someone. As I wondered how could that happen, the man of the couple who clashed with us said something reproachful to me, like a male goose protecting his female goose. Perhaps it was my fault, I apologized. We moved on and forgot about the incident. On my way out of the venue, I was approached by that man, he said he wanted me to know it was his fault and he was sorry. The man had to be virile in front of his woman, but privately he admitted his mistake. - That is an Argentine man, not flawless, but good in nature. I had no problem to forgive his being manly.

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