I oddly found these articles very difficult to get through. Probably because they hit closest to home (within my own age and social context). It was Ronen’s Grinding On The Dance Floor that really made me cringe. I honestly think it was the language put into an academic context that just made our generations behavior sound so disturbing. Ronen’s findings were not surprising, but the observations were very interesting and essentially identical to situations I have observed on Saturday nights in Cro. It was Ronen’s language, however, that really drew out how absurd and gendered this behavior is. This article essentially demonstrates what Dream Worlds 3 depicted, but into the real world – with the exception of (the conventional definition of) violence. But everything that Ronen describes, alongside Kimmel’s gendered analysis of hooking up kind of states that women are going to either (1) conform and accept that this kind of dancing is normal or (2) reject the notion but be socially isolated – which I take issue with. As a whole, I disliked Kimmel’s portrayal of women in this article.
Kimmel stated, “Women who decide not to join the party can look forward to going to sleep early and alone tonight-and every night. And women who do join the party run the risk of encountering the same old double standard that no amount of feminist progress seems able to eradicate fully.” But as we discussed with the burka versus bikini image – where is the middle ground? Kimmel states such extremities as though women are either completely alone (forever? “every night” – also assuming that women don’t want to be alone) or that they completely conform and are condemned for it. Why is it all or nothing? Kimmel also made it sound as though “young women are biding their time, waiting for the guys to grow up and start acting like men” which implies that this is all women are doing, and therefore wanting or ‘waiting’ for men is what women’s sole focus is on. I understand that Kimmel is trying to make the point that men are ill-prepared for adulthood and relationships as a result of this hook up culture, but his phrasing and emphasis on women’s expectations of men is not only heteronormative but reinforces the expectation that all women want partners, all the time.
But back to Grinding On The Dance Floor – there were a couple of quotes that I wanted to pull out because they were so poignant in this piece. “Men were predominantly the active partners. Women’s parts in grinding descriptions were limited to response. However, women generally appeared receptive to the movements once grinding had been initiated” (362). This observation was really interesting and honestly made me think of the porn industry. These kinds of gendered portrayals – where only men are the initiators of physical or sexual behavior not only perpetuates the idea that men are entitled to touch women’s bodies (back to Dream Worlds) but that it is unnatural for women to express physical or sexual interest in a partner.
This past weekend I was visiting a friend at Vanderbilt U in Nashville, TN – we were out at a bar and one of her friends wanted to talk to a guy that she had a crush on from class. We were all encouraging her to go say hi and she responded with “No! That’s his job!” and I had to control my jaw from dropping to the floor… I then went on to give her a mini rant about how gendered that was and how we had to break through those norms – especially when you want to go say hello to someone! But it really reinforced how the hook up and grinding culture that we live in enables men to be hyper-aggressive and expects women to be complacent and willing (but are then condemned for this behavior, thus the Madonna-whore dichotomy that Ronen discussed on pg 374).
I left both these articles concerned and disturbed, primarily for future generations of people. We are at a point where women are saying to men, “there are tons of hot girls waiting for you to dance with them. What are you waiting for?” (365). If these are what we are enabling young women to say, have we made progress? If this is how we are being socialized now, what will become of this scene in 10 years?