One day, while attending my usual salsa sessions, I decided to assess people’s actions and interactions with each other. This club was in one of the sophisticated suburbs of the city and was a popular to salsa enthusiasts. Moreover, the people present were young, with most of them being in the age group of 18-30 years. The dancers were in separate groups depending on their expertise in the dance. Additionally, the management offered lessons for apprentices in this genre of dance. Most individuals were in pairs featuring members of both genders, though some preferred dancing on their own.
In my observation, I realized that the females wore revealing dresses. These garments showed their body curves and parts such as legs and breast cleavage. I attributed this to the sensuality associated with the tango, salsa and related dances. On the other hand, the males were in outfits that symbolized sophistication. Most of them were in formal fashionable shirts and trousers. At this point, I recognized the different perceptions of beauty between both genders. It was evident that many adopted the beauty myth. In this context, females equated their sexuality to exposure of certain body parts. Contrastingly, men used their attires to denote financial steadiness and physical strength.
From this analysis, it is evident that gender influences people’s relations with their peers. To start with, women strive to look good in order to attract the attention of men as well as their female counterparts (Holland, 1996). In all occasions, women subconsciously compete with each other in order to be termed as the most beautiful. Likewise, they strive to attract men’s attention. A compliment from a member of the opposite sex, regardless of their intention, uplifts the women’s self-esteem. Additionally, females are not bothered by being physically close to each other. According to social standards, it is acceptable for women to express affection to each other through certain ways such as holding hands.
On the other hand, the male’s main objective of looking good is attracting the female’s attention. They hardly consider their peers opinions in terms of their physical appearance (Holland, 1996). Moreover, competition among them in not based on beauty but rather on success in various life aspects such as finances. They also use these achievements to attract women. I also realized that men are not comfortable with expressing warmth to each other. Unlike the females in the dance session, I saw no man dancing with his peer. Such aspects show how gender affects the way people behave.
The males and females in the club interacted in a similar manner. This was apparent by watching the dancing couples. To start with, they seemed to have an intense connection and attraction compared to members of the same gender. While trying to attract a person of the opposite sex, people use their eyes and body language to communicate (Holland, 1996). This includes the way one sex looks at the other and behaves in their presence. These signals communicate interest. In creating friendships, men are mostly responsible for initiating the conversation with the women giving signs that show similar or different feelings towards the person.
In addition, gender influences the way people walk, talk and behave. For example, during the dance session, I noticed that females incorporate certain moves in their salsa. This includes moving their hips, entangling the men with their legs, and playing with the hair. On the other hand, men use moves that dictate masculinity. For example, they control the women while performing routines involving dips, turns and lifts. While dancing I also related to the gendered framework.
I felt that someone else was in control during the dancing. The firm grip and steady dips indicated that my male partner was masculine and in command. This made the session more fun, as I did not have to worry about falling while making simultaneous turns. Moreover, the connection between us felt stronger compared with that of my fellow females. I used body movements to illustrate my femininity, and this intensified the interaction. This experience made me realize the relationship between gender and social contacts.
Holland, J., Adkins, L., & British Sociological Association. (1996). Sex, sensibility, and the gendered body. New York: St. Martin’s Press.