Last night, I went out dancing with two of my female-friends. We made sure to keep close at all times and to have a good time. It was a girl’s night out. Who wouldn’t have a good time, especially with some awesome music and dancing? You can’t lose. However, I must admit that my practice of feminism always get me analyzing most things in life. So, what was the issue now with me? It was dance-floor dancing.
So, I will have to specify that the lounge was upbeat with most of its people in their 20’s and 30’s. The atmosphere was dim with strobe lights in a small and conjested space. You were practically dancing on top of other people. Maybe that was over-exaggerated. However, the place was small and packed. The music was loud and up to the max. In making our way in the crowd on the dance-floor, we started to dance with one another. It was definitely going down. We were too fly. We were in our zone. We were definitely craving some music and dancing.
Unfortunately, a guy came from behind me as I was dancing and started to grind against me. I didn’t know this guy and never met him in my life, but he proceeded to dance all up on me. In a feeling of uncertainty of proceeding in this act, I danced with him anyway. I assumed my position against him and started grinding. He gripped my hips with his hands and started to press firmly against me. We danced through a song and he started to dance with some other folks. I looked around me and grinding was everywhere. Men were posted on walls with women bent over grinding against them while there were many on the dance-floor with women bent over doing the same thing. This is an interesting phenomena because this style of dancing is very much new for me in the last decade or so.
I couldn’t imagine my parents seeing me bent over on a guy in a position of submissiveness. They have always taught me to be vocal about my boundaries and to never give in. However, it felt as if I had traded in my practice of feminsm for this short-term gratification for the sake of this guy. After dancing with the first guy, I went back to dancing with my friends and we were laughing. We were definitely grooving without a doubt. We weren’t looking for male partners to dance with for the evening. We were just out dancing for self-enjoyment. However, I was taken from behind again by another guy that was on a wall originally. Again, this guy had followed suit with the trend of most of the men on the dance-floor. He had firmly gripped my hips, bent me over and grinded against me. The look on my face was of paranoia. I didn’t want it, but I liked the feeling of being wanted. I liked the feeling of being able to dance in a way that was sensual, but why do I like this? Do I simply succumb to this dancing because guys like it? Am I really interested in being bent over on a dance-floor in simulated sex in front of the public? Yes, there were plenty of others doing the same thing. However, was it what I really wanted l? In walking away from this guy after comments about a possible boyfriend ‘allowing me’ to be out alone, I walked away from him and off the dance-floor. After a short break, I came back to the dance-floor to be assaulted by another man. He aggressively took me by the hips, gripped me and started to literally bang against me from behind. The pounding began to hurt and I wasn’t happy at all. His hands started to travel down south on my jeans and I had to leave the space. I don’t know why I didn’t just stop him when he first started. So, the answer is no. I really do not believe that many women like this. So many men will come onto the dance-floor and treat women like property. They grab women any kind of way, bend her over and proceed to violate her body and spirit. The bad part of all of this is the music that accompanies the dancing. It’s a vehicle for the dancing and the seduction. It re-enforces the objectification of women.
In simply trying to have a good time, there is a constant socialization happening. At the school I work at with elementary students, I have witnessed a few girls twirking on the playground and assuming the position. I am afraid for them. I am afraid for myself. Who gaze are these girls being taught to dance for? What the audience? Additionally, I am deeply afraid for our young boys and girls. They are seeing this sexualization and imitating it. This is being marketed to them too. I just wish and pray that they don’t grow up having to fend off these men. I want them to be stronger than me. I want these young girls to say no with strength and certainty. I want them to refuse any illicit and unwanted advances. I want them to know that they have control over their bodies. They don’t have to simply accept the advances and music of misogyny and sexism. I want the boys to say no and to ask permission before proceeding.
In watching the time go by, my friends became victims of this patriarchy that affects all of us. I have to constantly remind myself that patriarchy doesn’t have a gender. Our bodies became the property of men and we gave in because we’ve been told to do this. We have been told that we should enjoy this and the attention we will get from it. We have been told that our sexuality determines our worth, so many of us will bend over and have simulated sex. This is not okay. This is not right. This is wrong.
We laughed. We giggled. We ended the night by saying how much fun we had. We reminisce about the men and their ‘antics’. However, we all are dealing with the pain of knowing that our bodies weren’t ours. We were violated and hurt. We were treated as objects. We were dehumanized in the act of simply wanting to dance and enjoy ourselves for a night.
So, do I think I really had a great time? No, I don’t. I didn’t have a great time at all.