The discussion on Tango Therapist's blog is about the reductive nature of calling a woman "a follower." I hadn't yet gotten around to fully considering the merits or demerits of "follower" (other than that its gender neutrality is helpful for dancers who do not fall into the man leads/woman follows model). In general, though, it has been something I've been vaguely uncomfortable with for a long time, as I've wrestled with the problem of how to reconcile my feminism with what I do in tango. The discussion in Mark's blog is interesting and useful, with many thoughtful points raised in the comments.
For myself, I mainly dislike being called "a follow." I don't like "follow" being used as a noun because (a) it's a verb, and I'm persnickety about language like that; I occasionally (used to be regularly) get paid to be. It seems lazy on the speaker's part, that he or she can't be bothered to tack on a single extra syllable to avoid poor usage.
But mostly, (b) because it is used as a noun, it becomes a statement about what I am, rather than what I do, and that comes across as belittling. I am not a follow, with all its implications of mindless lack of volition--and, indeed, lack of humanity. A follow, if it exists, is a thing, not a person. Rather, I follow; I am a person who chooses a particular role in this dance, in which both roles are required in order for it to function.
(It appears, Mark, as though you might say that both the man and the woman must follow the music, but that still depends on a notion of leading and following--albeit with a nonhuman leader and two followers--in order for the dance to be both functional and beautiful.)
Credit where it's due: La Planchadora, whose blog was one of the first I started reading regularly and whose
So that's my pet peeve about the language used to describe the roles in the dance. Don't ever call me a follow. Also, don't talk about how you or any leader "drives me."* I am not a car, and if you're dancing like I am, you've got bigger problems than just language.
* Yes, not too long ago I had a leader do both of these things at once, together with a spectacularly rude backhanded compliment. I was so angry I could barely speak. EPIC MANNERS FAIL.