Tango has a tawdry side and it is difficult for me to understand.
Every now and then a woman with whom I am dancing will perform an embellishment that can only be described as vulgar. I've seen a great number of these in my eight years of tango dancing and they always have me asking, “WTF?”
Recently, a Facebook friend posted a youtube clip from an opera called Carmen. I couldn't understand the words they were singing because it was in French but I knew what they were saying: Carmen is a slut!
She’s not just a slut, she’s a slut with a knife and she used it on the woman accusing her of promiscuity. Carmen gets arrested but manages to seduce the soldier guarding her into letting her go.
There is a monster that lives in the universe of women that never rears its ugly head in a man's world. It is called the Slut Shamer and it’s a real killer.
Slut shaming is a new word used to describe the means by which women condemn inappropriate sexual behavior by other women. It begins at an early age and is pervasive throughout all cultures. The definition of inappropriate is entirely up to the plaintiff. The tactics vary from simple name calling to imprisonment and even execution.
I think that women live in constant fear of the Slut Shamer. For some there comes a point in their lives when they can’t take it anymore and they call the beast out. Tango is one of the arenas where these women make their stand and when they do it can be quite shocking.
In the video, Carmen doesn't succumb to the guilt her accuser tries to force upon her. She holds her head high and struts unashamed.
And so it is with the risque embellishment. The follower does not cower in fear of reprisal having made her blatant display of passion, of l'amore, she continues to dance, oblivious to any reaction the audience may have.
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