Neo Kizomba

40: How Dance Challenges Our Ideas Of Male Platonic Touch In Our Society?


In this episode, my special guest, Emily Bartholomew and I discuss the pressures males faces when it comes to touching other people in our society.

    • Intro Song:
      • Down For You – Alina Baraz
  • Key Points:
    • There is a definite pressure on males in our society to prove they are trustworthy to touch.
    • If you are male and your love language is touch growing up can be tough.
    • Dance creates an environment where males can be introduced and can engage in platonic touch with other men and women.
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1 comment
Didon Lobe says a couple of years ago

Kizomba aside, I can’t speak to Latin America because I haven’t spent much time there but I have lived in Africa, America, Asia, Near East and spent extended amounts of time in Europe and can say that the aversion to male platonic touch is primarily an American phenomenon. And because we are the leader of the world in a lot ways and used to lead the world in even more ways, that aversion is starting to spread. I too Charles, can count on one hand the amounts of time i hugged my dad or step dad growing up, but I received plenty of physical male contact from males on both side of the family. Also growing up, physical contact between males was common place among not only family members but also friends and acquaintances. Shoot I grew up sharing showers with my brothers and cousins and never thought twice about it until i moved to the US. I think a lot of it stems from the whole “no homo” mentally and the idea that femininity and masculinity are mutually exclusive. Which is not the case. We all have estrogen and testosterone. so it is 100% natural for us all to have and express both masculine and feminine traits (whatever those are for you). I think the way we reverse the trend especially for future generations is to push back on the “no homo” mentally that makes us say things like “grow a pair” “be a man” to men when the equivalent statements don’t get thrown at women (at least not to the same extent).
On a personal note Charles, I hug my dad now when i see him, i can tell he gets thrown by it a little but i don’t care. He’ll live. So feel free to get awkward with your dad too.
On dance, I have been following males for a long time, started with latin dances before i got into Kiz and have been doing it in Kiz since i got into it not only because it’s fun to put yourself in a different role, but as an instructor without a teaching partner i need to be able to break down the lead and follow movements for my students. Women tend to generally get a kick out of this while men sometimes are uncomfortable with just watching. I make my male students lead me in class in part to help them get over that aversion to male on male contact but also because it allows me to feel where they might be lacking in their lead so i can help them better. I have also had male students not only display in their way of dancing but also express to me their apprehension to being inappropriate and/or getting too close because they don’t want to be labelled a creep. So I make my students hug in class, every time you rotate to a new partner (lead or follow, male or female), you hug them and introduce yourselves. I have found that it creates familiarity which eliminates a little bit of the awkwardness that is inherent in getting this close with a relative stranger. Also bringing people in on conversations like this also goes a long way in alleviating a lot of the stress by creating a safe environment for people to express themselves. Great stuff Charles and Emily!

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