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Thread: Newsweek article: 'The Frozen Closet'

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy View Post
    There is nothing wrong with it, but I have to admit sometimes I don't enjoy programs as much when the men are overly feminine in their presentation. As a judge I wouldn't mark them down. However, as a fan of dance I do prefer watching a strong male presence on the ice, rather than a man who skates like a woman but with better jumps.
    It's fine not to enjoy certain skating and performance styles. It is not fine to pass judgment about so-called effeminate skaters or to claim that there is something wrong with what they're doing, which is what wallylutz was doing (with a side of Hanyu bashing, as usual).

    I'd rather each skater skates in the way that most appeals to them and suits their style and skill. I've enjoyed both athletic and artistic skaters (to use less loaded terms) and some skaters, IMO, combine both. I don't want men, ladies, pairs or dance teams pigeon-holed into specific styles and approaches.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    It's fine not to enjoy certain skating and performance styles. It is not fine to pass judgment about so-called effeminate skaters or to claim that there is something wrong with what they're doing, which is what wallylutz was doing (with a side of Hanyu bashing, as usual).

    I'd rather each skater skates in the way that most appeals to them and suits their style and skill. I've enjoyed both athletic and artistic skaters (to use less loaded terms) and some skaters, IMO, combine both. I don't want men, ladies, pairs or dance teams pigeon-holed into specific styles and approaches.
    ITA; and very nicely stated!

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    If it were up to me. every skater, male/female/heterosexual/gay should skate in all black bodysuits, that's it. I want to see the focus on their skating, I don't care about sexual orientation, I hate costumes and styles that are distracting.

  4. #19
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    I love when guys skate in some variation of street clothes, such as jeans and a tee-shirt, as many of the pro skaters do. (Paul Martini in ripped jeans...sigh.) One of the most effective competitive skating outfits ever was the business shirt with rolled-up sleeves, pants and tie that Paul Duchesnay wore in "Missing." Who needs magenta or sequins? In fact, at the end of the routine, the camera briefly focused on one of my favorite couples ever, Klimova and Ponomarenko, waiting their turn to take to the ice, and that exquisite duo actually looked fussy and overdone by comparison in their stagey costumes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coM4d1CQZfs

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    I love skating costumes and to me they are a big part of the overall package, both for men and for women. For example, Charlie White was wearing a turquoise blue top for the FS in the beginning of the season, and the color was just wrong for the character he is portraying in the program. The current purple one works a lot better, and adds to the intensity of the program. Some skaters have said they couldn't care less what they wear for the program, while for others the costume is an integral part of their vision of the program as a whole. I don't care how sparkly or plain a skater's costume is (although I love me some sparkle on both men and women!). If it's what the skater wants to wear and it helps them step into a character, I say go for it! Of course we as spectators can express our opinion of it, but I would never want to any judge or official to interfere with costuming (as long as it's not indecent).

    Gender expression is still largely judged based on the normative stereotypes of what the society conceives as "masculine" or "feminine". As another poster pointed out, however, those norms are not static. A few hundred years ago long hair, heels, and tights were common in men. In general, I believe that people would get a lot more comfortable with perceived gender ambiguity if it was more visible--and figure skating could be paving the way, instead of being stuck in the 1950's gender norms. The current rules for costumes, for example, are really quite ridiculous. Why on earth can't men, for example, wear tights and sleeveless shirts in competition? How would this costume be considered indecent or offensive? http://i.flamber.ru/files/st1/122443...99620493_o.jpg Time to move to the 21st century already!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebonnet View Post
    As you yourself has pointed out, there is a perceived gender normalcy in a society, any society. Dressing out of this gender normalcy, it will be seen as cross dressing. Don't ask why. That is the way things are. Hanyu's this year LP costume looks girly while Jason Brown's river dance costume looks not.
    I also pointed out that these norms are not fixed--they change as the society changes. The society is changing and becoming more accepting of more ambiguous gender expressions. My point was that figure skating could be spearheading the inevitable change instead of holding on to norms that are in fact much more conservative (hence the 50's) than those of the current society at large.

    Also, I don't think an "effeminate" costume on a man is problematic at all. I think Yuzuru's costume works for the program. More importantly, however, he likes the costume, and that's what really matters.

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    Well, since he's the one wearing it, I think it might matter.... you know, just a tad.

    Note: No, personally, I don't care for it. Not because of its being "effeminate", but because I find the ruffles distracting. I'm actually not sure if many women would want to wear it, as it would magically remove any figure one might happen to have... But I don't really expect him to consult my preferences when choosing his costumes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drivingmissdaisy View Post
    I agree, but fans are not at fault if they have personal preferences either. When your break the mold you have to be willing to accept that some people will love it and some people will hate it. People who don't like watching feminine male programs aren't "haters". Boitano proved you can be gay but also have a powerful masculine presence on the ice.
    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.

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    The Japanese society has been decorated with heterosexuality for a long time. Modern teenagers are not look at heterosexuality as homosexuality. Japanese culture can be very colorful but at the same time confusing. Every Asians post-X Japan(Rock band with more makeup than Marilyn Manson) era have a more understanding of the idea. Yuzuru, likes any Japanese skaters, wouldn't mind any criticism from the skater fans. They usually are more focus on their goal. Look at Mao with her 3A obsessions, those are nothing to do with OGM, Yuna, or the newcomers but her demon to kill.

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    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.
    I do wonder that as well, especially since I do have the personal bias as far as enjoyment of the programs is concerned. I think it's because I appreciate that men and women's skating are different events that are distinguished not only by what is in between the competitors legs but also the different skill sets that the athletes bring as a result of their gender. I am in awe of great women's spins that exhibit flexibility and speed, and the men do not match the best women here. I also enjoy(ed) great spiral sequences when they were part of the programs, and even the flexible men look more awkward (to me) than women doing the same flexibility moves. For the men, I like seeing the speed and intricacy in the way they move across the ice, as well as the very difficult jumps. So I suppose maybe the reason I like the masculinity in men's skating is because it enhances the power moves (speed and jumps) that make men's skating what it is.

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    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.
    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?

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyena View Post
    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.
    Among skating fandom, there are likely to be individuals who like, maybe in some cases prefer, men to show traditionally feminine characteristics, or prefer blurred lines and mixed gender messages in the way skaters present themselves.

    Or (raising my hand) enjoy both skaters who are extemely butch and others who are extremely femme as well as any mix in between, regardless of biological sex -- as long as they're good skaters and commit themselves to something interesting on the ice, traditional or revolutionary or otherwise.

    Other fans may prefer strict adherence to gender norms. And non-fans will often fall into the strict norms category, since men crossing gender lines seems to be a major reason for non-fans to dislike men's skating in particular.

    But I don't think we can say "We" and mean everyone at Goldenskate. We all love skating or we wouldn't be here. But we don't all have the same preferences. Some of us are straight, some of us are gay, some of us would not choose one of those two words to identify ourselves. Some of us are male, some of us are female. Some of us have conservative attitudes toward gender, others love gender-bending. Some of us love classical styles, others prefer pop culture or postmodernism. Some are mostly interested in skating for the artistic side, some for the athletic side, others for both.

    So we can each analyze our own responses and probably others will find some resonance there. We can guess/speculate about other reasons that people who feel differently might feel the way they do -- especially opinions that seem to be in the majority. But I don't think we can generalize our own experience to assume that everyone feels the same way.

    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.

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    So there are no closeted lesbian skaters? That's what the article seems to imply.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by louisa05 View Post
    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?
    Yes, I get peeved also when I hear someone dismiss a skater as a "pwetty pwincess," as if skating in a delicate way takes less training, strength, or dedication than doing triple axels. Skaters have to contend with enough rules. They should be able to express themselves on the ice as they see fit.

    I have a recollection of reading that there is an aspect of Japanese culture that values androgyny. I can't verify this right now, and I hope someone here can comment on it more knowledgeably than I. I'm just bringing it up to make the point that a cultural norm in one country might not be the same as it is in another.

    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Yes, I get peeved also when I hear someone dismiss a skater as a "pwetty pwincess," as if skating in a delicate way takes less training, strength, or dedication than doing triple axels. Skaters have to contend with enough rules. They should be able to express themselves on the ice as they see fit.
    I find it rather misogynistic. It is all part and parcel with the notion that that which is feminine is weak. Same reason that people bemoan pink stuff being marketed for little girls and pay not attention to the fact that boys are all dressed in some variety of green, blue or camo prints without exception. It is far more likely at your local elementary school to spot girls in all colors of the rainbow without objections or harassment than to find a boy wearing a pastel color or even just orange.

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