Dance has been around for many years; a lot of people even pursue a dance career. There is not just one type of dance, there is a variety of different types of dances. Two of the most common ones are ballet and modern dance, which everyone believes to be a female sport. Many people are involved in dance since childhood and proceed throughout their life. Most people do not realize that males also find interest in dancing and do not see anything wrong in them wanting to join ballet. Some people will support their male friends and family to pursue a dance career and others will not since its known to be a female sport. It is often that males experience bullying for being in dance. There is a problem they face, it being a stereotype about male dancers and questioning their sexuality since everyone thinks that ballet, dance in general, is only for females.
One of the most common stereotypes is that if there is a male in dance, they are gay or that all male dancers are gay (Bailey and Obershneider 1997; Polasek and Roper 2011). Dance is defined as a culturally feminine activity or that it’s just for girls (Polasek and Roper 2011; Risner 2014). Since almost everyone believes that dance is a female sport there are boys who choose not to join dance. They fear that being in dance is going to get them judged and there are some that even know the challenge of being in dance. They know that they are going to hear stereotypes and even experience bullying. The stereotypes limit the participation in dance by those who do not want to be a part of the stereotypes (Risner 2007). Bullying occurs every day in general without being in dance. Now imagine to what extent the male dancers experience bullying. A male dancer explained how he gave up dancing because of the harassment he experienced, fag. I think that was actually one of the reasons why I eventually gave up ballet was just because of the constant harassment. Some males also must prove their masculinity just, so people will not stereotype that all male dancers are gay, but most do not continue being in dance because they just don’t like experiencing the harassment. Research was done to see how many males experience bullying. The bullying goes as far as teasing and name calling, verbal or physical harassment, verbal threats or threatening behavior, physical harm or injury (Risner 2014). I feel like males either stay away from joining dance or discontinue their dance career because they need support from someone else. It will boost their confidence in joining dance and it will make them fearless and careless of what others say or think. Males also stay away from dance because they do not have support from someone else.
On another side it’s not just peers who believe the stereotype of dance being just for females, it also lies on the parents. The more supportive they are toward their son being in dance the more positive his attitude will be. Also dance teachers, since most of them are female directors they tend to have a negative attitude toward male dancers, they’ll relate them to a fag. Some boys got support from their mothers and their sisters and some were introduced to dance by their mothers and sisters (Polsek and Roper 2011). Studies showed that the mothers and dance teachers were more supportive toward their sons than the fathers were (Risner 2014). It was always the males (fathers, male friends, brothers, etc.) who would give them the least support. The fathers would give them negative attitudes toward dance, their disapproval was due to the association of dance with it being feminine and because of homosexuality (Polsek and Roper 2011). Due to the pressure and the stereotypes that they feel because of their peers and their family the dancers isolate themselves, not only do some drop out of dance, but some hide it from others. Although there were some fathers who actually supported their sons being in dance, some fathers even joined a dance team just so their son would not quit.
Most of the assumptions of male dancers being gay is because there do exist some male dancers that are homosexual. A study suggested that gay men are overrepresented in professional dancers (Bailey and Oberschneider 1997). The reason where the homosexual assumptions come from are because like most people know, dance is a part of art and requires the participants to change into different outfits and for males wearing tights is not the norm. The most common type of dances that fall under that stereotype are ballet and modern dance, it falls under the way they dress (Polsek and Roper 2011). Seven of the participants suggested that such stereotypes were due to the costumes (tights speci?¬?cally), make-up, and movements required of male dancersappearances and behaviors often deemed feminine (Polsek and Roper 2011). Not only the costumes, but also in the way that the male dancers moved and the way that they moved was known to be as feminine, eventually they would see other male dancers and got use to it.
In conclusion, dance should not be believed as just for females. In fact, males should be able to dance without being harassed or bullied. The association that exists within the assumption of homosexuality and males in female- dominated sports lies within the people and the way they perceive dance. Since dance is believed to be feminine there are stereotypes about males’ sexuality. The males suffer from the homosexual/feminine stereotype because not only do they not feel comfortable joining dance, some families do not accept for a male to be in dance. It all lies on the fact that there do exist gay male dancers, the way they dress, and the way they dance. This is the basis as to why the people believe that all male dancers are gay.
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