This is not about women playing dance. It’s about revolution.

The most courageous fourteen year old girl I have ever set eyes on, Malala Yousafzai, was shot in the head for her advocacy of education for women and I am spending my time organizing a flash mob of dancing women to promote gender equality. Is there something wrong, even laughable and inappropriate, with this picture?

Women Dance for a Change  was  inspired by a repugnant, though far less deadly, assault against Jewish girls seeking an education: I refer to the worldwide outrage in response to ultra-Orthodox men in Beit Shemesh spitting on young women going off to school.

Within a week of the Beit Shemesh incident, Miri Shalem organized a flash dance in the town’s public square. This has led to a new movement called Women Dance For a Change.

On October 26th, there will be another flash dance in Israel, this time to raise awareness of breast cancer:  Jewish, Palestinian, Christian and Arab women will join in the round.

I have long danced. It is my way to exorcise personal demons, indulge the quiet-mind moment, make music visible, communicate without words and live fully in a woman’s body.  But when a 14-year old activist and women’s very lives are threatened by such murderous hatred, is it a time to dance?  Or, as in the famous verse of Ecclesiastes, is it more appropriately, a time to mourn?

I am not alone in pausing to question the suitability of dance at a time of life-threatening crisis. Is it too playful? Too non-confrontational? Is dance, in sum, too celebratory to be considered a powerful tool of social change?

Gillian Shuttes responds to those questions on I quote at some length: Dance denotes a freedom of body, mind and soul. It is both a celebratory and rebellious act in that it speaks of a freedom of movement, a non-restricted relationship to body and is the antithesis of an oppressed, restrained and violated body.

It is erroneous to think of celebration as non-revolutionary. Celebration is the ultimate rebellious act in a world that is dictated to us by non-celebratory forces.

It is every woman’s right to live in a celebratory world – one that celebrates her sexuality, her beauty, her wisdom, her body, her right to be orgasmic and free.

I wish I had written these words myself. It is why I dance and why I support Women Dance for a Change. Take a look.

This is not about women playing dance. It’s about revolution.


About susanrtorn

writer, life coach
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One Response to This is not about women playing dance. It’s about revolution.

  1. Reblogged this on mehreenz123dotcom and commented:
    Women’s rights around the world is an important indicator to understand global well-being.

    A major global women’s rights treaty was ratified by the majority of the world’s nations a few decades ago.

    Yet, despite many successes in empowering women, numerous issues still exist in all areas of life, ranging from the cultural, political to the economic. For example, women often work more than men, yet are paid less; gender discrimination affects girls and women throughout their lifetime; and women and girls are often are the ones that suffer the most poverty.

    Many may think that women’s rights are only an issue in countries where religion is law, such as many Muslim countries. Or even worse, some may think this is no longer an issue at all. But reading this report about the United Nation’s Women’s Treaty and how an increasing number of countries are lodging reservations, will show otherwise.

    Gender equality furthers the cause of child survival and development for all of society, so the importance of women’s rights and gender equality should not be underestimated.

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