Sexual explicitness has so become the norm that most don’t give it a second thought..or do they?
At the beginning of the 20th century, immodest images of women in public were virtually unheard of in this country.
Women ballroom dancers swept across the floor in elegant, floor length hemlines.
By the 1920′s, even displaying a woman’s knees was still considered taboo. By the 1950′s, petticoats and tulle were all the rage and hemlines became shorter. In the 1960′s chiffon and semi-sheer fabrics were introduced and even more of the ladies’ legs were visible.
Gradually dresses became shorter and shorter and more and more form fitting and snug owing to the introduction of stretchy fabrics.
In the ensuing decades, women were routinely dressed sexily and whether we choose to admit this or ourselves or not- fashions do dominate our perceptions of popular culture and in particular of women.
Dance movements have become overtly erotic,suggestive and at times simulate sex itself.
The Methodists may not have been too far off when they observed and actually offered warnings in the 18th century that dancing is “stylised sex.”
Prior to the 17th century, men and women danced alongside each other, not even face to face and the extent of the physical contact would be that they may have touched hands with arms outstretched.
Can you say “Wev’e come a long way Baby?”…Well that all depends on where we wanted to end up.
Nearly every experience we have in society- has become ‘sexualized’. Sexuality , we are told is “a natural characteristic” of which we should feel no shame..and certainly no modesty.
But I ask you, just because sexuality may be a natural desire, is it then legitimized in all contexts?..when going to a movie, is it approriate to view explicit sex scenes, when going to a concert, must the male and female background singers and dancers dance provocatively and in a way that encourages a sexual atmosphere?
It is a given that one criterion for a girl or woman to attain stardom in this century is that she not need have any particular talent, but she must be willing to sexualize herself.
What was once shocking in the pop industry, the flagrant promiscuity, the degradation of morality,the attire ..we have now come to expect.
Ballroom dance was once synonymous with the epitome of sophistication. In times past, ballroom dancing was the “social dancing” of privileged classes. The woman wore a stunning, flowing, long gown; the gentleman a suit or formalwear.
Latin and swing dancers wore shorter dresses or skirts but dresses nonetheless.
What passes for womens’dresses in Ballroom dance today does nothing but objectify women.
This “practically naked’ look, we are told is “empowering” to the woman dancer.
We all value her stunning, scantily clad form as she moves across the floor. Rrrright.
This exhibitionism will have one certain result: Every healthy male who watches this woman dance will think of her sexually.
He may not notice a single dance step but her half naked body will not escape him. The tacit message is being sent.
Distracting men with a half naked female body (and it IS a distraction) is the hallmark of the entire advertisement world. But… Turning girls and women into ‘eye candy’ actually contaminates the dance form and lowers it to some biological exhibitionism.
Dancing should be judged by relative merit..not how well the dancer appeared in her bikini top with the sheer sarong wrapped around her waist to make it appear as though she were actually dressed.
Who set this “new bar” for womens’ attire..or should I say “lack of attire” in Ballroom dance?
The objectification of women damages women emotionally as well..Yes, they may seem sexy and risque’..but notice..men are still dressed in a dignified manner, even if their costume is form fitting.
No one would mistaken him for being in his bedroom clothes. Not to mention that women don’t react to the physical the way men do…so seeing a man half naked doing ballroom dance is not a sight most women would even want!
What happened to “class”?
What happened to “grace”?
Must everything in the Culture be dominated by sex appeal?
I say: Women put back on your flowing gowns…Bring back the BeautY that is truly WomaN.
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Hat tip to Karl M for the inspiration.