But what I have found (in my very little experience and underdeveloped analysis), is that women here are still struggling to be seen as equals across institutions and traditions. Women and men still do gendered work. Women fail to hold the top positions at the same rates of men; for instance, many academic departments at my university lack tenured female faculty members. Moreover, while there is more gender equality, feminism might be even more of a “bad word” here than it is in the U.S. Many of my female students crave female mentors and opportunities to study gender.
With more research, my limited and anecdotal observations would certainly yield more proof of patriarchy’s insidious hold on the world, but I mention these observations here as one of the foundations for a special event I plan to offer this March for International Women’s Day, a mind/body fitness dance event that I hope people here in Odense, Denmark will be brave enough to attend. I am trying to be brave in offering this opportunity to my new and temporary community.
This type of event takes many people way out of their comfort zones, but this is part of the point. Mind/body fitness dance is an opportunity to “dance it off” or “dance it out,” to “shake it off” or “light it up.” My poster invites participants to: “Lose Yourself. Find Yourself” and “Move and Be Moved.” However we think about it, the results are achieved the same way: through novel physical movements set to inspiring music and through new ways of thinking about ourselves and our world(s).
A merger of feminism and fitness, dance and yoga, structure and freedom, this event is really just a glorified fitness class. If someone has done Zumba or step aerobics or Jazzercise, my mind/body fitness dance will seem very familiar. But my class is about more than these dance fitness classes that stay on the superficial planes of the body. The goal of mind/body fitness dance is not toward burning calories or losing weight; it is toward freeing ourselves from such expectations and limitations. It is not an exaggeration to say that this class is a transformative experience.
So, I hope the women and girls of Odense will come dance with me. Brave men and boys are also welcome. That’s part of the point about feminism: it helps all of us live outside of the limited and limiting expectations of gender. This event is an opportunity to play in a dystopic space where the possibilities are what we make them to be.
So, be brave, be fierce, be vulnerable, be powerful. Move and Be Moved.