Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I have less of a problem with Ann Summers than with women-only shelters - not because I don't want women who are being abused to find a safe haven, but because the narrative associated with them is that men are by definition abusers and women are by definition victims.

So if you're a man suffering from abuse, they have no interest.

The issue for me is defining groups according to externals instead of dynamics. What matters is the fact of abuse, not the individual attributes of the person being abused.

Similarly with women-only dance groups the narrative seems to be one of victimisation, oppression and redemption. It doesn't actually have a lot to do with belly dancing as an historical art form.

You can imagine a situation where sculpture was socially defined as female, and watercolour painting was defined as male. That looks silly now - but it's not really any sillier than claiming any other art form as the exclusive preserve of one gender or other because it happens to fit the teacher's own morality.

Hijacking an art form like this doesn't do the art form any favours. Tying a truck full of ideology to something free-spirited like dancing is just plain perverse - and also may not really benefit the practioners. It's hard to develop artistically if you're encouraged to feel that you're Making A Point rather than just doing whatever you're moved to do.

I have a similar problem with things like Five Rhythms Dancing, some kinds of Drumming Workshops, and so on. I'd rather do art as art and therapy as therapy. There's something a bit worthy and stilted about combining them - you often seem to get the least fulfilling parts of either without the best benefits.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 24th, 2007 at 06:25:04 AM EST
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