Women, sex and Tango

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A New Year’s Eve story…

On the first day of this year, a 41-year-old pregnant woman went missing. 8 days later she was found dead and her partner confessed to the murder. It was one more case of femicide (a woman being murdered because of her gender). Some may call it a crime of passion but when men kill women because they are women and they think they belong to them just because they happen to be in a relationship it is not a crime of passion anymore.

In Greece, only in 2023, there were 12 such cases of femicide. Almost one per month! In one of the first and very prominent cases, a former police officer went on TV and said that the man was stupid because he tried to hide the crime (which was premeditated). If he came to the police and confessed that he did it in a hot temper he would get away with just 5 or 6 months of jail! Yes! A police officer gave instructions for wannabe murderers! In the last couple of years, femicides in Greece seem to spread like an epidemic!

Is it only men?

In my second most visited post for 2023 titled “Men, sex and Tango” I received a lot of comments that were “accusing” me of propagating a stereotype of sex-hungry men and that there are also women who misbehave and cross boundaries. In some comments, people even described personal experiences. I initially responded (and it was actually true) that I never intended to propagate any stereotype but the post came to me after a discussion I had. Somehow, I felt something wasn’t addressed in its entirety.

I mean why is it so that when we hear about sexual harassment most of the time our mind goes to men harassing women? Is there a justified reason or is it a result of a false stereotype? I did a simple search on Google and some of the very first answers were that research so far shows that women are by far more likely to be harassed in different cases such as work environment, school, etc. So all the following statements can be true at the same time.

Yes. Women do harass sexually men.

Yes. Men do harass sexually women

The second is much more often than the first.

But why does this happen? Why is it that women are more likely to be harassed than men? And how on earth does all this relate to Tango?

Power

I started this post with a description of a crime and a pattern of such crimes that you can observe lately in Greece. The pattern of macho men who think they possess the woman they are in a relationship with. From the moment a person sees another one as a possession all kinds of problems start. You see the other person not as an equal human being but as an object of lesser value that you have power on. The power to control them, beat them, even take their life.

It is the same with harassment. Harassment is usually done from a position of power, or at least perceived power. The person who decides to cross the boundaries of someone else does so because they think they are entitled to it. They usually do so because they think they have the power to do what they want and take what they want without facing any consequences. It is this arrogance which leads to such kind of behaviour.

Things get even worse when they actually have some power. Just a few days ago the wife of a well-known lawyer in Greece went to the police to press charges for domestic violence since her husband was beating her. The treatment of the police to the lawyer was not at all what you would expect. Moreover, a journalist tried to victimise the lawyer saying that “his career is being destroyed”. You see… some societies are so sick that when such people with power are accused of something like that, many others will turn to support them just because they depend on their power.

Of course, not everything is black or white. There are also cases of crossing boundaries because of misunderstandings but in these cases, I think the problem can be easily solved if people make their boundaries clear to each other and respect them.

All lives matter

Coming back to the comments about the stereotypes and the fact that there are also women who come to Tango for sex and cross men’s boundaries. As I said already, I accept it. It is undeniably true. It is as true as the “all lives matter” that was used as a response to the “black lives matter” movement. So where is the problem? First of all, it drives the discussion away from the real point. Yes indeed… all lives matter… and all members in a tango community matter… but the point in the black lives matter movement was that there is a systemic failure that leads to an increased proportion of black people being killed by police officers in comparison to white. So by agreeing that all lives matter, we avoid looking into the real problem… we don’t talk about the elephant in the room… about this systemic failure. And if we don’t acknowledge the problem we will never manage to solve it.

But even if we bypass this issue and look at harassment as a whole, no matter where it is initiated from etc., then if we want to solve it we need to find the causes of it and stop it in its roots. When most of the cases are coming from men towards women having in most cases a specific common pattern/cause behind them, then if you find and face the cause for this part you automatically face the biggest portion of the problem. If you fix the systemic failures behind it you managed to fix the biggest part of the problem. Why then try to avoid this discussion by generalizing it?

Important notice: As I already said… Many of the cases of harassment may have reasons in societal backgrounds and can be pinned under the category of machismo and false perceived power. However “many” don’t mean all. Each case needs to be examined separately and pinning every such case under this category or going even further to say that all men are like this is going on the other extreme and is also wrong.


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Multiple realities

You may read this and think. What on earth Christos? We are in 2024! How is it possible to have people think of other people as people of lesser value? Is it possible that men look at their wives, partners etc as objects that they possess? Aren’t we already over this discussion?… I would love to say yes. It should be a given. But the facts and the frequency of femicides in Greece (and possibly in other places) tell another story. A story that doesn’t agree with modern societies in 2024. Maybe you live in a country where all this is in the past. Maybe you have already solved such issues in your communities. This doesn’t mean it’s always everywhere the same. Trying to argue that this is not happening because I don’t see it in my community will not change the reality that some other members and communities experience. Instead, what can help is accepting and trying to understand the other and maybe offering practical advice on how your community and society managed to get over these problems.

To sum it up, yes harassment based on gender is still a problem in some societies around the world and obviously, it is expected to transfer as a pattern in Tango communities since they are a reflection of the wider society. Although I am not aware of a specific research focused on Tango communities (if you know any let me know in the comments) we can assume that it follows the general pattern it does in any other social environments. That means that in some communities women are more likely to be harassed by men. Consequently, this leads to women in such societies being more protective, reluctant and reserved which deprives them of enjoying fully this dance. This may not be the case in all communities… It may be not the case in your community… but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If we don’t accept it… if we don’t listen to it… if we don’t acknowledge it and try to find the real cause behind it… we will never be able to face it and solve it.

Tonight’s Goodnight Tango

Tonight’s Goodnight Tango is a song with a confession of a murderer. A man who surrenders to police admitting he killed his wife and her lover. A crime of passion some would say. Is it an apology that tries to make us sympathize with and excuse the killer? Maybe yes… but… can you? We often say that Tango communities reflect our wider societies… Let us disprove it in this case!

So how about you? Do you think generalizing the discussion of harassment into gender agnostic helps? Do you think there are systemic problems in Tango that can foster such behaviour? Does the wider society and cultural factor affect the phenomenon? How is it in your community? What can you share to help or ask for help from others?

PS. The image of this post is from a scene of a Greek TV series available on NetFlix called “Maestro in Blue” which among other social issues presents a very plausible story of domestic violence.

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