Should a feminist dance tango? Some reflections on the experience and politics of passion

Special section: Should a feminist dance tango? In dialogue with Kathy Davis

From Feminist Theory

Tango, of all popular dances, seems to be the most extreme embodiment of traditional notions of gender and heterosexuality. It seems to be the performance of passion, but it is also the performance par excellence of gender inequality: feminine subservience and masculine machismo. Kathy Davis intends in this article, to use the question ‘Should a feminist dance tango?‘ to initiate reflection not so much on the impossibility of a feminist dancing tango, but rather on the apparent contradiction between dancing tango and critical feminist inquiry.

 

Abstract

Tango, of all popular dances, would seem to be the most extreme embodiment of traditional notions of gender difference. It not only draws on hierarchical differences between the sexes, but also generates a ‘politics of passion’ which transforms Argentineans into the exotic ‘Other’ for consumption by Europeans and North Americans in search of the passion they are missing at home. In this article, I offer a modest provocation in the direction of scholarship that places politics before experience by questioning whether passion can be explained solely through the discourses of feminism or postcolonialism. Instead I will show why we, as critical feminist scholars, need to pay more attention to the experience of passion, whether we are analysing a passion for tango or any other bodily activity that is intensely pleasurable, addictively desired, but also unsettling, disruptive, and – last but not least – politically incorrect.

 

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Article details
Special section articles:
Kathy Davis
Should a feminist dance tango? Some reflections on the experience and politics of passion1 Feminist Theory April 2015 16: 3-21, doi:10.1177/1464700114562525

 

 

 

     
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