Gender Stereotypes In Ballet

1720 Words7 Pages
Identifying a specific gender with certain activities limits the ability for all people to participate. Society views one gender more dominate than the other, thus when the non-dominate gender associates with the activity, society judges them. Association of gender tends to create stereotypes that alters personal views of the activity. Gender association appears most common in ballet, as the art form popularizes itself mainly with females. Male dancers receive a terrible reputation because the female domination in ballet feminizes the art form. The general stereotype of a ballerina falls far from the typical male persona, and thus society disapproves of males partaking in a female activity. This female dominated profession limits a person’s…show more content…
Ballet has a certain expectation when it comes to appearance, and the stereotypical appearance of female ballet dancers affects the perceived appearance of male dancers. Anandi Ramamurthy, the author of Constructions of Illusions, explains the importance of appearance in photography and imagery. Ramamurthy uses examples of printed media to show its social impact. Her analysis of imagery also expresses the gender representation within the style in which the photographer takes the photo. She even addresses the common stereotypes within photos. According to Ramamurthy, “The stereotypical and highly coded representations of women in popular culture have been given attention by many critics” (846), which remains true for both men and women in ballet. Women must have a slender body, dainty arms, and a look of poise and grace. Men look almost similar, in that they must have a slender masculine physique but also a gentle appearance. Although male dancers can appear masculine, they often receive criticism for appearing too feminine and not manly. This judgment occurs often, no matter if dancers appear different from the stereotypical view, they will endure endless criticism.…show more content…
Many people believe ballet dancers appear weak and have no strength and in fact “it is an ingrained stereotype that male ballet dancers are gay or weak” (macleans.ca). This view holds truth in the eyes of people with no knowledge of the performing arts. Weakness remains more relevant in men than women because ballet associates mainly with females. Emily Martin discusses the image of stereotypes in her essay, The Egg and the Sperm. Martin explains the stereotypes of males and females by comparing female eggs to male sperm and the roles it shares in the reproductive system. Along with explaining stereotypes, she also writes about the typical view of the male and female parts, then changes the perspective to show how common stereotypes of men and women appear different than originally perceived. With classical ballets, such as Swan Lake, “men don’t get much to do” (macleans.ca), as in dance, so “now seen as performing these actions weakly” (Martin 750) men receive little recognition as they stand on stage while the women dance around them, thus a thought of male weakness
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