A boy decides he wants to dance. He saw an incredible ballet performance with his family, and wants to start dance classes immediately.
We can probably all think of some of the negative feedback he might face for this choice. Considering an entire movie was made around the concept of what happens when a boy wants to dance, we know what stigmas exist. In today’s post, K2 Dance Studios is going to examine the stigma behind boys partaking in dance, and we’ll begin including some ways to overcome these harmful mindsets. Bottom line, everyone should be included in a dance class, and everyone should dance without repercussion. Learn more about stigmas in dance, and join us for hip-hop, contemporary, ballet, jazz, and other dance classes at our Corona studio.
Understanding the Stigma
Boys who want to dance often face mindsets that ultimately question their manliness. Dance has historically and culturally been seen as a female activity (which is ironic, considering male dancers have existed since the dawn of time, and are instrumental to the sport). When boys want to try dancing, they are quick to be made fun of in many circumstances.
We all can picture some of the insensitive comments that can be made, but these all boil down to one horrible societal message: It’s not OK for a man to be weak, because being weak means you’re a woman, and being a woman is not OK.
This speaks horrifically to society’s views on women, but for the sake of time and relevance, we’re sticking to what this means for men. For too long, boys have been shamed out of doing something that they’re curious or passionate about, because it’s perceived as a threat to their identity as men.
There is, fortunately, so much that can be done to counter this stigma, and to encourage boys to try out dance classes. Here are a few ideas:
If your son wants to dance, let him! Encourage him like you would any other activity or sport. Slight side note, but dance is also immensely safer than contact sports like football and hockey. If for some reason you struggle with the idea of dancing, dig deep and figure out what it is that bothers you. Ultimately, parents should always want the best for their children, and sometimes this means them finding happiness in ways that the parents weren’t planning on or wanting.
You should absolutely talk to your son about some of the problems they might encounter from others for wanting to dance. For some reason, there are certain dance forms that aren’t seen as emasculating (such as hip-hop), but there are others where the stigma still exists. Talk to your child about the societal issues that exist, and continue encouraging them to listen to what’s important to them versus what they might hear from the naysayers.
Provide Role Models
As we talked about in a previous blog post, there are countless examples of male dancers who broke through barriers to become successful. Even if your child isn’t planning on becoming a world-class dancing sensation, it’s still good to show them that they’re not alone. They might be the only boy in dance classes from time to time, but they’re still not alone.
Set a Good Example
You set the stage for positive masculinity in your home, and you don’t have to be a man to do so. How you interact with other men, how you talk about gender, and the assumptions or biases you carry will all make an impact on your child, for better or for worse.
It might seem small, but avoid making statements or promoting behaviors that associate a trait with a gender. Things like “you’re a man, suck it up” or “those are girl colors” all have negative implications for gender. Counter any examples of toxic masculinity that you see, and openly reflect on any harboring judgments you carry.
At K2 Dance Studios, we want every child to feel welcome in our dance classes. Boys shouldn’t be left out of something that they love, and they are always invited to our studio! Fall in love with dance — start dance classes with our Corona dance studio today.