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Do women and men have different motives at contra dances?

July 24th, 2012
contra

In a pair of comments on my post on women asking men to dance Mary makes the argument that because in general men and women come to dance for different reasons it makes more sense as a general rule for the men to be doing the asking:

I don't think balance is worth pursing, though; my general experience is that men go to gendered dances for the women, while women go for the dancing. So if a man asks a woman to dance, she probably did want to dance. If a woman asks a man to dance, it's not so clear that he wanted to dance with her. I know many men do just want to dance but until they become a much bigger and more visible percentage, I'm not going to behave like strangers have the same desires I do--and run the risk of imposing on them.

When I replied that this didn't match my experience she explained:

You talk to your good friends and women who are there to dance, so you have a skewed perspective. I talk to men who aren't your friends, and I also dance other styles where you have to be able to dance (and so the men generally are there to dance, too), so the difference with contra is quite striking to me.

So now I'm curious: how skewed is my perspective? I had thought that women and men were generally coming to dances with similar priorities.

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