There Is Room For Equality In Ballet

If you’ve been following the news lately, you may have noticed that the ballet world has been getting a rather large amount of negative press.  And for good reason.  Ballet and dance writ large are built on a foundation of toxic masculinity and that has, both historically and presently, manifested in an incredibly violent rape culture.  Of course, rape culture exists outside of ballet.  But ballet is a female-dominated industry that is run almost entirely by men, which has allowed toxic masculinity and a culture of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse to fester.  The professional world has received a lot of press: for example, Peter Martins of NYCB and Marcelo Gomes of ABT.  However, this neither begins nor ends in the professional world.  Big name ballet companies get a lot of press, but this doesn’t come out of nowhere.  From the time kids enter the ballet world, they are aggressively interpolated into the gender binary with antiquated gender roles enforced both by practices in ballet class and by roles they play in performed ballets. Continue reading “There Is Room For Equality In Ballet”

Why Does Your Computer Need A Gaydar?

Fun fact: I don’t care how accurate your algorithm is if its only clear purpose is oppression.  I don’t care how “compelling” your data is if all it serves to do is perpetuate a damaging norm.  Data is built around norms, folks.  This isn’t news.  I don’t care what “science” you think you’re contributing to or how valuable you think your inquiry is for the scientific community if the only foreseeable use for your results is endangering a group of people. Continue reading “Why Does Your Computer Need A Gaydar?”

Stop Burying Your Gays

I’ve been watching a show called Supernatural which, despite having several levels of problematics (super white washed, heteronormative, misogynistic, etc.), has managed to keep me engaged, which is a rare thing for me in a TV show. Part of the reason I’d been committed to continuing to watch was that I’d grown attached to a number of the characters (as one does on TV shows). Particularly, a super cool badass hacker woman named Charlie was introduced as a character in a later season, and I was promptly drawn in by her spunky and (shockingly, for the female characters of this show) well-rounded character. She was intelligent, funny, and all kinds of things that female characters are often not allowed to be.  She was also a lesbian, which thrilled me even more because I was like, “Wow, this show finally has some semblance of diversity!” Continue reading “Stop Burying Your Gays”

Not Your Muse, Not Your Pawn, Not Your Babe

(Note: This post often addresses gender as a male-female binary, which is a wholly limited and incorrect scope of gender and I fully acknowledge that there are more than two genders; the gender binary is referenced here to address the ways in which much of the mainstream dance world addresses gender.)

Here’s what I’m tired of: gender roles in general but specifically at this moment, the male-centered narrative that allows men to wear women as their accessories, to see them as vessels to the man’s desired end.  You see this in movies, in how roles in a household are constructed, in the workplace, and, to my eternal disappointment, very blatantly in the dance world.  Many factions of the dance world, and particularly the mainstream dance world, love to care a whole lot about centering men.  And not just centering them, but idolizing them.  They are the creators, the curators, the writers of bodies.  And women are often, at best, resigned to being their muses. Continue reading “Not Your Muse, Not Your Pawn, Not Your Babe”

The Politics of the Apolitical

I’d like to start by acknowledging that I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a long time, but I kept finding more angles to come at this concept from, and wasn’t sure which was best.  So, with that in mind, this may be a sort of triaging of all of the angles because there’s value to all of them.  Particularly: I want to look at the performativity of objectivity in daily society, but also the labeling of anything as “apolitical” and the inherent politics in that, and also the tendency to do this to science.  So, without further ado: Continue reading “The Politics of the Apolitical”

Not My Problem: The Feminization of Emotional Labor

I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about how I allocate my time and how this can and should be affected by the way that people respect or disrespect the time, energy, and expertise I put into my endeavors.  For me, this has a lot to do with emotional labor.  Emotional labor is, essentially, lending your emotional capacity to ameliorate someone else’s emotional distress or just to serve someone else’s perceived emotional needs.  This often goes without acknowledgement, compensation, etc. and it is coded as very feminine.  Women, feminine-presenting people, and people taking on traditionally feminized positions are trained from day one to offer themselves as people who are present to listen and to help, which has a lot to do with the ways gender roles are constructed in our society.  Women, and consequently feminized roles, are coded as being positions of support.  Some classic examples of this are the secretary and the nurse, which are both highly feminized professions that are considered to be support for higher up executives and doctors, respectively.  This stems from a long, deep-seeded history of conflating femininity with weakness and also conflating emotional sensitivity with weakness. Continue reading “Not My Problem: The Feminization of Emotional Labor”