Friday, September 23, 2011
Can I have this dance: You lead
I’m not a fan of “Dancing With the Stars.” It’s not that I have a problem with ballroom dancing. I plan to dabble in it myself. The dance style is on my list of things to learn within the next few months. It’s up there with salsa dancing with my girl, skydiving and driving a race car. Yep, I have my own bucket list void of a death sentence from my doctor.
With that being said, I took an interest in this year’s line-up due to two steppers. I tuned in to support Chaz Bono after the homophobes slammed the network for allowing him to dance. The daughter of Sonny and Cher made that leap into manhood in 2009 due to not being comfortable with the body he was born with. Those conservative minded Christians wanted to boycott the show for allowing a transgender person to do the jitter bug on national television.
My disdain for reality television wasn’t enough to sway me away from this seasons “Dancing With the Stars.” It’s not entertainment, this is about affirming inclusion. But, there is more to this cast of boogie artist. I wanted to support the power of human transformation. Bono isn’t the only one who has made a shift worthy of attention. I had to support Metta World Peace.
Who? Metta, formerly known as Ron Artest, is the basketball player who made his way into the stands after being confronted by a fan. World Peace was known more for his off court antics prior to that brawl in Detroit. What happened on that day affirmed what many assumed-that Artest was a trouble maker, a bomb ticking. Tick, tock, he was ready to blow, and he did.
I celebrated with World Peace when he was kicked off the show. His response in defeat said more than a celebration in victory. In the world of games, we have to be reminded that it is only a game. Watching Mr. Peace dance and fail inspired me to celebrate the victories and defeats of life. Not everyone understands that important lesson.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Nancy Grace. The queen of Court TV seems to have a hard time with not being in charge. Watching her exposed a major rule of dancing. It’s a lesson that women like Grace have a hard time accepting. You see, in the world of dance, men lead. Women follow. Grace has a hard time in not leading.
That notion forced me to ponder the implications of such a rule. What happens when the woman is better at leading? What happens when the man isn’t able to lead? Why should gender hinder the beauty of the dance? I had to brood over that one for a few hours.
Gender rules have a way of getting in the way of productivity. Women should lead if they are better at the dance. Men should learn to follow if they don’t know how to lead. Gender identity shouldn’t obstruct the splendor of the dance. This has bearing beyond the dance. I can’t help but think that many relationships would work better if we learned to free ourselves of the massive restrictions that come with gender roles.
This brings me back to Chaz Bono dancing with the stars. The critics of her participation on the show have issue with failing to understand Bono’s gender role. Is he a she, or is he still a she? If he is a she then she is dancing with a she and there is no one to lead. It all boils down to folks failing to respect Bono’s decision to identify as a man. In other words, he is a he, and he was dancing with a she. In this case, Bono was taking the lead, but is it appropriate to assume that he should lead when she is a better dancer than he?
At the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is the dance. Who leads isn’t as important as the fun of the bop. Dancing isn’t a power move; it is a celebration of movement. This brings me back to World Peace’s celebration in getting kicked off the show.
I shed a few tears for him. You see folks; he celebrated because he was allowed to dance. After what happened during that brawl one would think that he would never be allowed to dance. He was chosen, and that may have been enough. The fans voted him off, but not because of his attitude. The dude can’t dance. No biggie. He was given the chance to try.
He didn’t have to lead. All he had to do was dance. Beyond gender identity, beyond past mistakes-he was there with Chaz Bono. Two transformed people on a national stage.
Come dance with me. Before we start, can you lead?