Critical Essay 3 Final

Critical Essay 3 Final - Shin 1 Jae Shin Emily Carpenter...

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Shin 1 Jae Shin Emily Carpenter Rhetoric R1B R 7 July 2010 Gender Performativity in Latin Ballroom Dancing As a heterosexual competitive Latin ballroom dancer, I am constantly bombarded with questions of gender-role and gender performance in dancing. What is it about Latin ballroom dancing that gives off the idea that it’s “gay” or “homosexual”? (McMains). How is such “hypersexualized homosexuality” (Marion) constructed and what implications do they have on the dancers as well as the audience who “sees” the performance? Clearly, Latin ballroom dancing in my opinion is quite the opposite – I consider it as extremely heterosexual, interactive dance that performs the masculine and feminine relationships between a male “leader” and the female “follower” (Marion 145). In my following essay, I will discuss the gendered practices and cultural implications associated with Latin ballroom dancing through the lens of Judith Butler’s “gender performativity” and two supplementary videos (of my personal choice) that portrays the heteronormativity of dancesport gender roles. But before I continue, I must express my utmost sincerity to this personal and professional matter; it is impossible to do it justice within a short paper, of such dynamically controversial topic. However, it is within my best interest to initiate and provoke this matter, since Latin dancing is and has become a big part of my life. The two videos which I originally intended to use it as a main focus of a my paper will only be used as a secondary sources in order for readers to visually witness and grasp the depictions presented in this
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Shin 2 paper. Instead, I will incorporate my research materials and personal interviews as a major source for presenting my argument. Judith Butler, in her essay “Imitation and Gender Insubordination”, argues that “gender is a performance that produces the illusion of an inner sex or essence of psychic core; it produces on the skin, through the gesture, the move… the illusion of an inner depth” (Butler 29). She is strongly advocating that it is not just enough to say one is female or male, but rather an individual must engage in the repetitive performance of a given gender, thus heterosexuality is something that is “performed” and not “naturally” developed (Butler 20). Latin ballroom dancing is also a performance in which male and female interactions constantly and repetitively “construct” gender roles and gender models. As Butler would agree, gender performance in Latin ballroom dancing is not defined as a set of characteristics that are “authentically tied to the sex of an individual” but perhaps understood as a socially constructed concept that is developed physically and psychologically. Since dance can only be realized through “bodily enactment”, it emerges as a
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Critical Essay 3 Final - Shin 1 Jae Shin Emily Carpenter...

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