Strictly Come Dancing is not what I would consider a bastion of machismo. Ballroom dancing is flamboyantly camp, and has been a realm dominated by gay men and very pretty, dainty straight ones. But Judith Woods in the Telegraph is making out the show is a last ditch attempt by men to regain some of their lost power over women:
‘If you look beyond the cheesiness, you have to admit it’s a tragic indictment of 21st-century manhood that such formulaic role-playing – assertive chap bends pliant, pretty partner to his will, and to a syrupy syncopated beat – is so darned appealing. Like it or not (and I’m donning my tin hat right now), with our empowerment has come their emasculation.
Yes, I know it’s their own fault. It’s always their own fault. But the fact of the matter is, women end up having to shoulder even more of life’s burdens as their supine, self-pitying, over-domesticated menfolk grow ever more paralysed by their apparent obsolescence in a society where women are able to hunt, gather, sweep out the cave, rear children and assemble flatpack furniture. We always could, of course, it’s just previous generations were less obvious about it.’
This echoes Hannah Rosin’s triumphalist declaration of The End Of Men!
As Rosin has done, this journalist is not content to document the changing gender landscape, where men and women are much more similar than they used to be in their activities and interests, and earning power. She has to use it as an opportunity for some blatant man-bashing, emphasising as she does men’s ‘obsolescence’ and their ’emasculation’ as a result of women’s increased potency in society.
But what is Woods really saying? Is she bemoaning the loss of ‘real men’ to these new breeds of metrosexual sissies? Or is she criticising the ‘traditional’ model of dominant masculinity as symbolised by ballroom dancing where the man leads and the woman follows? It looks like, in a typical feminist contradictory ‘double bind’ she is doing both. She is telling us that Strictly is ‘sexist’ in its Tarzan/Jane roleplay, but that this sexism is understandable due to the fact men have become pussies. And it is ‘all their own fault’.