I’m going to indulge myself and go off on a feminist rant. Feel free not to read on.
Quite often in partner dance classes, at beginner level, in a drop-in class where anyone could be an absolute beginner, I choose to lead rather than follow, despite being a lady-person. It’s usually not a problem – it’s quite common that there are more women than men so leaders are in demand. But two things make me sad:
1) If there are more men, some people think it’s somehow…impolite? that I still want to lead, meaning that leaders don’t get to dance all the time – something that followers experience regularly. As if I weren’t allowed to come to a class I’ve paid for to study the thing I want to learn.
2) Many of the women I lead comment on how brave I am to be leading or that they could never do it. Why. On. Earth? It’s a beginners’ class. The guys who lead start from scratch as well and I dare say dancing – leading or following – isn’t a gender-specific skill. I can’t think of any skills that are, actually, at the heart of things.
Leaders are taught to be decisive and clear and think ahead. Followers are told to switch off their brain and not think. Is it so wrong to be a woman who wants to make decisions? Every once in a while? It’s not like you need (to be) a dick to think.