Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3
Results 31 to 42 of 42

Thread: Newsweek article: 'The Frozen Closet'

  1. #31
    Tripping on the Podium
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    60
    But why is anything too feminine taken to task so often among skating fans? Female skaters who skate to music perceived as feminine, wear their hair certain ways, wear costumes perceived as too feminine are often derided as "pretty princesses" or worse--both words spelled with "w"s. Why can we not accept the women for who they are as well? In the case of Gracie Gold, her off ice persona comes off as pretty girly-girl. Perhaps her look on ice is what she prefers. Why is that not okay?
    For the record, I think we also need to accept female skaters exactly as they are, regardless of the extent to which they adhere to traditional gender stereotypes. The original post that I replied to was talking about male skaters, which is why I focused on that in my response. I'm bothered when female skaters are blasted for being too feminine AND for not being feminine enough. Both are incredibly problematic.

    I'm not sure if you were doing that, Hyena. By "we" did you mean only yourself and drivingmissdaisy, since you had identified a point of agreement between you? It was the "Just something for us all to think about" that made me wonder if you meant that I and everyone else reading this thread feels exactly the same.
    Didn't mean to imply this at all. I was trying to be very careful in my language because I didn't want to come across as accusatory to drivingmissdaisy, which is why I chose "we" and "us" instead of "you", but obviously "us all" ended up being misleading and I apologize. That being said, speaking as a feminist, I think we can always benefit from thinking about our own responses and the responses of others in respectful ways.

    Edited for clarity

  2. #32
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    3,799
    Thanks, Hyena.

    I am very interested in skating from a feminist perspective, or a general gender studies perspective. It certainly does seem to be full of contradictions -- which is part of what interests me.

  3. #33
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    228
    I'm Japanese and I find the attitudes towards androgyny in Japan as positive, but the attitudes towards homosexuality leaning towards negative.
    That is to say, you can dress like a woman, or wear make up, be stylish and extremely fashion conscious, but you must not say you are gay.
    Of course, this is a broad statement, and things are different in the countryside and the city.
    I've heard it said in interviews and when others are commenting on Hanyu, that he looks so beautiful and 'like a girl' but that his personality is very boyish. I've not heard it ever mentioned in a negative way so people in Japan like this about him. Personally, I think he has enough self confidence to pull it off so good for him.

  4. #34
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    9,493
    Quote Originally Posted by Newbiespectator View Post
    I'm Japanese and I find the attitudes towards androgyny in Japan as positive, but the attitudes towards homosexuality leaning towards negative.
    That is to say, you can dress like a woman, or wear make up, be stylish and extremely fashion conscious, but you must not say you are gay.
    Of course, this is a broad statement, and things are different in the countryside and the city.
    I've heard it said in interviews and when others are commenting on Hanyu, that he looks so beautiful and 'like a girl' but that his personality is very boyish. I've not heard it ever mentioned in a negative way so people in Japan like this about him. Personally, I think he has enough self confidence to pull it off so good for him.
    Thanks so much for these details!

  5. #35
    Custom Title Rachmaninoff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    593
    Quote Originally Posted by Newbiespectator View Post
    I'm Japanese and I find the attitudes towards androgyny in Japan as positive, but the attitudes towards homosexuality leaning towards negative.
    That is to say, you can dress like a woman, or wear make up, be stylish and extremely fashion conscious, but you must not say you are gay.
    Very interesting, thanks. Funny how here in Canada/U.S., a large part of the taboo about being gay seems to be because it goes against gender norms and the two are strongly linked in people's minds, while elsewhere androgyny is cool and all but homosexuality isn't. Seems the two are considered to be more separate elsewhere?

    Count me in as someone who appreciates a variety of styles in both sexes. To me, that's part of what makes it fun and interesting. I wouldn't want male skaters to feel like they have to be butch or balletic. (I don't like to use the word "artistic" to describe what people consider an effeminate style, because there are a lot of ways to be artistic.)

    I was annoyed by Stojko's comments about how male figure skating should be about "masculinity" and "strength." I liked him as a skater. He wasn't the most versatile, but he had his own style, powerful and intense, and it worked for him. There was talk from his supporters about how men shouldn't have to be balletic and classically elegant to be artistic, how he should be allowed to "be who he is." Well, sure, that's all well and good. So why, then, should other men not be who they are? Why should there be a push to pander to the hockey crowd and act like manly men? Why does skating have to be as mainstream as hockey, etc.? I doubt effeminate men was the reason for the drop in popularity, anyway. It's not like there are more of them now than there were in the 90s.

  6. #36
    Rinkside
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    21
    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    This may or may not be a related concept, but I know that kabuki is still a premier art form in Japan, and one tradition is that certain actors specialize in playing the female roles. One of the greatest Kabuki actors of modern times, Bandō Tamasaburō V, is such a specialist. This is not at all equivalent to the Western concept of the drag queen or anything campy; it's part one of the most elevated art forms in Japan. Significantly, this gender tradition has continued centuries past the equivalent Western practice of having boys play girls' roles onstage (notably in Shakespeare's time and in the opera). So it must be something that Japanese culture is at home with. If this is true, it gives Japanese men an extra expressive latitude, I'd think.
    As you say, kabuki is not directly related to figure skating, but I found your description providing a very nice hint to understand the cultural attitude of Japanese society.
    Adding to your explanation, kabuki actors consist of only guys, and the culture of kabuki is traditionally handed down to the next generation from fathers to sons for hundreds of years(with some exceptions, though). Therefore kabuki actors are socially supposed to get married and have children, including those who specialize in female roles, so dressing in women’s clothes and playing a woman’s role never mean they are gay.
    Kabuki is one of the most unique forms among many other forms of Japanese culture, and society of kabuki actors are considered to be quite atypical in Japan. But I think it can make a good example because I think I can point out that being androgyny on the stage or a man wearing costumes like a woman are not viewed in the negative way in Japan, because it doesn’t necessarily mean they are actually homosexual. Wearing womanish clothes is not a problem as long as they are regarded as costumes, and being “beautiful like a girl” is a compliment because he is thought to be a boy not a gay, or even if someone who appears on TV is actually a gay, he is considered to be something exceptional that would do nothing with lives of ordinary people, since very few people come out that they are homosexual in Japanese society. But if a man begins to make himself look as a woman in his real life, probably people around him will see him in a negative way.

    This is just my personal viewpoint.
    Social attitude toward gender is related to so many factors in social, historical, political, cultural and religious aspects, so it cannot be explained in a simple way. So we’d need much more analysis and explanation if we tried to have an accurate and comprehensive understanding.

  7. #37
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    272
    What kind of surprises me as ironic is that North America is supposed to be the "Putin-free zone" and yet, it seems that the place from where, number-wise, people (albeit only a portion) seem to having the biggest issue with costumes and masculinity is . . . North America. (N.A. does also have a high majority who have no problem with it, I think, ie people who can tolerate difference, diversity, inclusion as evidenced by some of the posts here, and in the laws enacted generally as acceptance by the majority publicly of at least some diversity.)

    Just for skating, look at the costumes of some of the Russian skaters (past and present). In the land of Putin, they don't appear to have these same kinds of "hate issues" against skaters that are articulated by critics within the North American setting.

    The present debate has been complicated by the type of odd critic who is using the costume issue as a form of hate vehicle in a no-holds personal attack against a particular skater, but that form of criticism can be readily dismissed as unstable. It is apart from that type, to the more apparently rational segment where it gets more concerning. When there is a large portion (even if it is still a minority and, again, as well, I am excluding the nutter type previously mentioned because there is no help for that sort) of a free society that is intolerant wishing not just to leave people be and let them participate, but, instead, impose their rules on a minority and make them conform to their standard, it is indicative that they want a society that is not free. Instead, they are advocating intolerance and exclusion. Very concerning. Surely, intolerance and exclusion is not the way that skating wants to go no matter what. Nor should it be the way that any society turn and surrender to.

  8. #38
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    103
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebonnet View Post
    Society is changing, true. I don't know if figure skating could lead the way though. It is far behind, it seems.
    I completely disagree that figure skating is far behind. Far behind what, exactly? Football, hockey? I don't think so. Figure skating is certainly not perfect or maybe where we wish it would be, but the fact that issues of gayness are even discussed with reference to figure skating, the fact that any figure skaters, current or past, are out at all puts it miles ahead or most other sports.

    This article, to me, is just another attempt to make figure skating look bad and to hold it to a different standard than other sports. Let's see an article, "Football, Turf Closet." With that said, yeah, skating could do better and should continue to strive to do so. But is it certainly ahead of almost every other sport when it comes to acknowledging and accepting that there are, in fact, gay members of the sport and that those members have just as much to offer as any other figure skater.

  9. #39
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    103
    Quote Originally Posted by Hyena View Post
    I don't at all consider you a hater for posting this. I've found myself having a similar reaction before. That being said, I think it's worthwhile to be curious about WHY we prefer men to have a powerful masculine presence. Is it a genuine preference for more powerful performances that crosses gender lines, or is our reaction due to the expectations we've been socialized to have for how men should "be"? Just something for us all to think about.
    Well, I don't think "we" do prefer men to have a powerful male presence. Some people do. I, and I'm sure many others, tend to like Weir-type male skating and take a refrigerator break when the likes of Elvis Stojko take the ice. One of the good things about skating is that there is usually something for everyone. Less so under CoP (I had to get that in), but still enough to interest fans of all kinds of preferences. Above all, most fans seem to appreciate almost any style of skating when it is done exceptionally. I know I do.

  10. #40
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    4,887
    One of my friends is competing in the men's event (individual, not team) and he is gay himself (though not out to everyone). He told me that if asked about the laws he isn't sure whether to flat out come out as that might change people's perception of him. I told him that he shouldn't feel compelled to come out, but the most important thing is how you perceive yourself because there's always bound to be someone with a nasty opinion trying to bring gay people down.

  11. #41
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    9,493
    Quote Originally Posted by airin View Post
    As you say, kabuki is not directly related to figure skating, but I found your description providing a very nice hint to understand the cultural attitude of Japanese society.
    Adding to your explanation, kabuki actors consist of only guys, and the culture of kabuki is traditionally handed down to the next generation from fathers to sons for hundreds of years(with some exceptions, though). Therefore kabuki actors are socially supposed to get married and have children, including those who specialize in female roles, so dressing in women’s clothes and playing a woman’s role never mean they are gay.
    Kabuki is one of the most unique forms among many other forms of Japanese culture, and society of kabuki actors are considered to be quite atypical in Japan. But I think it can make a good example because I think I can point out that being androgyny on the stage or a man wearing costumes like a woman are not viewed in the negative way in Japan, because it doesn’t necessarily mean they are actually homosexual. Wearing womanish clothes is not a problem as long as they are regarded as costumes, and being “beautiful like a girl” is a compliment because he is thought to be a boy not a gay, or even if someone who appears on TV is actually a gay, he is considered to be something exceptional that would do nothing with lives of ordinary people, since very few people come out that they are homosexual in Japanese society. But if a man begins to make himself look as a woman in his real life, probably people around him will see him in a negative way.
    Thanks for the insights. It helps with the understanding of what a gender-different costume implies. As I thought, it gives an extra range of expression without making any statement about the performer's inner nature or indeed the society's view of homosexuality.

    One equivalent I can think of in Western arts these days is the "pants role" in some operas. This is the role of usually a young man that is played by a female singer. It is probably a remnant from the days when only men played onstage, a tradition that kabuki maintains today. The fact that a woman plays the part of a man or boy is no reflection either on the nature of the onstage character or on the sexuality of the singer. It's a convention of the art form. One of the most beautiful manifestations of this tradition is the early twentieth-century opera Der Rosenkavalier, by Richard Strauss, where the sublime final trio is made up of three women's voices, but the characters involved are two woman and a man.

    In the opposite direction, in ballet there is a tradition that Cinderella's stepsisters are portrayed by male character dancers, at least at the British Royal Ballet. (I think that British pantomime also features some kinds of cross-dressing roles.) It's interesting that so often, a female dressed as a male implies freedom, whereas a male dressed as a female implies comedy.

    Onstage, the most famous boy-played-by-a-girl role is that of Peter Pan, both in the original Barrie play and in the musical version. Again, this role is considered to transcend gender.

    All of these thoughts are helpful because they show that there can be many ways for artists to express themselves, with or without any reflections on sexuality, if the culture of the society has room for such expression.

  12. #42
    Rinkside
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    21
    Quote Originally Posted by flipsydoodle View Post
    Only men are gay? No lesbians in figure skating? That's what we'd be given to believe in this article! No mention of what it might be like to be a queer woman trying to get ahead in figure skating, in any country, not just the US.
    Unfortunately it is a tired stereotype created by homophobes that men who do artistic sports rather than "manly" sports are gay. Most figure skaters aren't gay, though they might be more than in other sports. We don't know for sure. But the homophobic idiots who think gay or bisexual me aren't interested in most sports and lesbians and bisexual woman play sports like football and never girly sports like figure skating are offensive.

    We don't know how many women or men are gay or bisexual in this sport.

Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 1 2 3

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •