I have been in partnerships – personal and professional – where I have been identified as less than equal due to my gender. These partnerships included situations where my qualifications, experience, and knowledge far outweighed my partner’s yet I was expected to be smaller in input.
Unfortunately, this is frequent in dance partnerships of the male-female competitive type. Why? Men are in short supply, so they are treated with kid gloves to get them to stick around in the partnership. I recently had one of my students ask how much she may clarify with her partner regarding behaviour in the partnership, goals and their modification through time, and general needs from the relationship. Sadly, this was not a surprising question. However, my answer was not straight forward.
Both sides of the partnership should have equal input or at least maximize their input based on their knowledge injection to the partnership. If you have a 10 year dancer dancing with a 1 year dancer, obviously the balance of information contributed will be different. That balance is not synonymous with balance of power though. Many a male partner has quashed my power to the point of telling me should I continue to have an opinion, I am free to leave.
This is asinine behaviour and expectation. Yet, I continues propagation as women are desperate to please and keep their dance partner. This passes acceptance of bad behaviour to the next generation if we do not stop it now. Humans are humans. I have no care for what gender you are identified as, being a good and respectful human should be protocol in dance partnerships.
How do we implement this rehabilitation of attitude? Stop putting up with bad behaviour. Stop putting the worst behaved men at the top of the pyramid. Start revering the ones who are respectful. One of the easiest ways to extinguish bad behaviour in a community is to oust those who do it. Don’t give them the time of day. Don’t reward their bad behaviour with accolades. Don’t support their projects. At the end of the day, those you invest your time and money in are the ones who will best survive. So invest in the good ones. Invest in the people who you respect as good humans. This is how we will see a change in our generation.