Why the insane focus on clothing??
By travelfan
On 01/25/2011 21:50:49
OK, I am really beginning to wonder about this board. Literally half the threads on any given page are about clothing with minimal threads about actual dancing. What is the reason? I'm sure some are well intentioned and out of confusion, and I'm sure that for some guys simply buying clothing makes them feel like an accomplished dancer (similar to somebody buying a nice set of golf clubs even though he can't golf so he feels like a golfer). However, I'm a little nervous due to some of the wording that some of these posts are extremely fetish related. I have no issues with somebody having a fetish, that's normal. Many men have fetishes. However this is absolutely not the forum for it for so many reasons, one of which being that many minors likely come to this site. I'm a little alarmed, for example, that somebody comes on here and asks for pictures of men in ballet class with no reason given, and that somebody responded with a blog of underage ballet dancers (not that the respondent was the one turned on, I think he was genuinely responding out of kindness, but the question raises red flags to me). This is not at all the case on the female versions of this board which are all about actual dancing! It is just kind of creeping me out.
re: Why the insane focus on clothing??
By greenpumpkin
On 01/25/2011 22:55:20
OK, I am really beginning to wonder about this board. Literally half the threads on any given page are about clothing with minimal threads about actual dancing... This is not at all the case on the female versions of this board which are all about actual dancing! It is just kind of creeping me out.
I disagree, there are plenty of clothing-related threads to go around. Consider: "What do you guys have in your dance bags?" "Canvas Shoes wrinkling under arch?" "leotards" "Some pics of me in New York" "A couple more from the rooftop photoshoot" "what brand are your pointe shoes?" "Dancing with my NEW very short haircut" "Body Wrappers Leotards" Wearing the clothing is a huge part of ballet for girls --- just look at all the 4-year-olds running around in pink tutus and tiaras, long before they can do a viable tendu. Yes, getting dressed up is always easier than actually dancing. But ballet has a definite element of dress-up to it. And the imagination engaged while dressing up can become a motivating factor in working toward actually dancing well in the future. Also... many men here participate in what was termed above the "female version of this board" --- i.e. the broader ballet community. If a man wants to ask about tendu, he'll get a wider range of responses if he posts it somewhere other than the "guys in ballet" board. So the topics left for "guys in ballet" are those things that are specific to men --- which consists, in a large part, of clothing. Because clothing is an important way that men typically differentiate themselves from women in the ballet studio, and thereby maintain a sense of masculine identity. Clothing is an important part of the human existence as well; hence the fashion industry. But fashion has been relegated as a feminine pursuit; men are "supposed" to feign indifference to how they look or what they wear. I do not feel that the paranoia about fetish men is warranted --- it's looking like yet another form of gender policing. stefansen made it clear that he was looking for pictures of men teaching ballet because he had so few male role models in is day-to-day experience. Of course he COULD be at troll and it COULD all be a big scam. But I found no particular reason to suspect this person was anything but genuine.
re: Why the insane focus on clothing??
By panic
On 01/26/2011 00:13:21
Dude, the moderators and the adults on this site are always on the lookout for pervs. Whenever you find a questionable post, just click the "Mod" button. They usually take care of stuff like that within a few minutes. We ALL take concerns like yours very seriously.
re: Why the insane focus on clothing??
By travelfan
On 01/30/2011 12:18:07
Greenpumpkin, Frankly you make just about every thread about how evil gender roles are, how they are limiting to personal expression, etc. While I even agree with you to an extent, I think it's pretty clear this represents your own insecurities more than any particular reality of a thread. Asking why there are so many creepy posts about clothing isn't me policing men to make sure they don't care about clothing because of set gender roles (in fact, I like fashion and shopping), it's because they are creepy. There doesn't need to be any ulterior motive or gender policing tie in, you just want there to be one. You make a point that there are clothing threads on the general board. I'm not opposed to clothing threads at all. There are some obviously legitimate clothing threads on the men's forum. However, there are also members who seem to only post about clothing, tights and dance belts and never about actual dancing. I seriously wouldn't be surprised if many of these posters have never even attended a real class before. Not to mention how egregiously obvious some of these threads are (the worst offender probably being the thread asking for the earliest memory of somebody putting tights on you!). I think most people can spot the difference within seconds of a genuine clothing question and an uncomfortable one. While I know this argument always seems moot and like a cop out, I have received several PMs agreeing with me about this. I wish some of them would post in broad daylight, but it is what it is. I also get the feeling that there is nothing I can do to change the discourse in this particular board. That's fine, I'll just stay in the general boards from now on.
re: Why the insane focus on clothing??
By travelfan
On 01/30/2011 12:33:56
Oh, not to mention I couldn't disagree more with you on the importance of clothing in ballet. True, there are traditions about what to wear, but this literally occupies maybe 5 seconds of my mind when I'm changing. Other than that I'm not thinking about clothing, I'm thinking about dancing. An element of dress up? Maybe when putting on a costume for a performance, but not for class! You wear the clothes you wear to see your lines and to be able to have the correct range of movement, not to dress up theatrically. It is just as absurd to say that a football player has an element of dress up for practice. The clothes are for functionality. To the overwhelming majority of dancers, tights and dance belts are just things you put on in order to dance, not a motivating factor or a thing to focus on. This is why I (and others) are alarmed that on this board it seems like for many dancers, clothing is the thing to focus on and talk about rather than dancing.
re: Why the insane focus on clothing??
By guyclone
On 01/31/2011 04:49:23
I can't wait for his 8 page response. And I agree. You need the clothing for practical purposes. When I buy a new skateboard, I buy one that I will be comofortable with, and that is shaped properly for the types of tricks I want to do. Then I buy skate shoes that are going to hold up best to the beating they will take. Only after I meet those criteria, then I look at style, color, etc.
re: Why the insane focus on clothing??
By greenpumpkin
On 01/31/2011 08:23:22
Yea, there are weirdos out there. I just don't think this person is one of them. Also... I've found there's not always a clearcut distinction between the weirdos and the serious dance students. I've observed men who are really into wearing tights (for whatever reason), and that motivates them to start studying ballet. They see the ballet studio, unlike the world at large, as a place were they are "allowed" to wear tights. Some time later, they get drawn into ballet itself, and their focus shifts more toward trying to master the movements. So why do we always have to be so suspicious and question peoples' motives? If someone wants to go into the studio and learn plie and tendu, I don't really care why. Questioning motives is a fruitless task anyway --- people will often keep motives concealed, especially if they believe that you will disapprove of their real motive. And even if they do have some kind of a fetish --- fetishes are legal. And not the same as a sexual predator (although there's a lot of misunderstanding and suspicion on that point). Most of them will get over it pretty quickly anyway if they actually set foot in a studio. Plenty of girls start ballet because they want to wear a tutu, why should one treat that differently from guys who want to wear tights? I am not passing moralistic judgement of gender roles or constructions. I am trying to make them visible --- because I believe that they're an important driving force in so much of what goes on with boys and men in ballet.
re: Why the insane focus on clothing??
By greenpumpkin
On 02/01/2011 07:25:35
For some reason, men tend to post technique questions on other forums. For example, "Tips on finding a girl's center" ended up in Pas de Deux, not Guys in Ballet.
re: Why the insane focus on clothing??
By greenpumpkin
On 02/01/2011 14:56:24
Yes, that's my point. Ballet technique is mostly the same for men and women. Of the technique that's different, the thing that men do that's MOST different from anything women do is partner someone. If partnering questions aren't going to go in the men's forum, what will? Talk about how to do double tours? But there are probably far more women who can help a man with double tours than with how to put someone on her balance. So that leaves this forum pretty much for non-technical topics: clothing, and more generally, social aspects of the ballet experience that are different for men. I don't have a problem with that. When we're students, mastering ballet technique is an engaging and important topic. But in the long term, I've found that the aesthetic and social dimensions of ballet are more likely to hold one's interest.
re: Why the insane focus on clothing??
By Shubik
On 02/08/2011 05:40:42
I think that for beginners it is very reasonable to ask questions about clothing. When I started ballet I was even embarrassed to ask about clothing at the dance school I joined and many of the messages here were really helpful. I was again embarrassed the first time I was wearing tights and dance-belt in front of many girls. I prefer to ask questions about dance technique at the ballet school because there I can see live the answer to my question.
re: Why the insane focus on clothing??
By MrRed
On 02/08/2011 10:05:15
Precisely.
re: Why the insane focus on clothing??
By balletstudent
On 02/20/2011 10:01:49
I'm new to the forum, but it seems that there is nothing wrong with legitimate questions about clothing.
re: Why the insane focus on clothing??
By luv2plie
On 02/20/2011 16:27:45
When I first started ballet I had many questions about the clothing. I just ask my female dancer friends about it and then I started ballet classes. Kev
re: Why the insane focus on clothing??
By jorrdanlewiss
On 03/13/2011 17:54:13
I'm gonna have to agree, not all of them but a large portion of the clothing threads always have a hint of something more going on , maybe that's just my own personal interpretation though.

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