Nothing new, but a big platform.
Nothing new, but a big platform.
I have a 21 month old son. He loves to watch skating, so I plan on taking him to lessons when he's two this summer. I'm sure he will be the only boy. I get comments about how I shouldn't ever put him into skating, "so he won't turn out gay". It's horrific the things hockey dads tell little boys, or what these other kids tell the figure skating kids--the boys. I would not be surprised if this sort of awful behavior is why so many boys drop out. Or how you shouldn't wear sparkles (my son likes sparkly things. oh noes, he's gay!1! um. even if he does end up gay, who the $#%#$ cares?! my kid will still be awesome while you'll still be an asshole) or anything remotely feminine.
Just a rant, really. But it makes me so, SO angry that any of this stuff matters/is a problem/etc.
Last edited by Lanie; 01-31-2014 at 05:41 AM.
Nice to see Lorrie Kim quoted.
Really decent article. Glad so many folks got quoted. Apwas a little surprised there was no commentary on all the awkward things eligible US skaters said about the gay laws in Russia -- would have been helpful to note that even commenting on this stuff is fraught with challenges for men skaters.
You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"
I didn't realize there was an effeminacy associated with gymnastics, as stated in the article.
Figure skating needs to embrace the fact it will never be seen as what society considers to be a "masculine" sport. And it shouldn't have to try. It is what it is. Anyone should feel welcome in the sport - gay, straight, etc - and be able to skate in a style that they feel most comfortable. Figure skating is about expression and athleticism, which is what makes it so unique.
Fascinating article with a lot of interesting perspectives. It's late so I don't have the time or energy to post a lot of thoughts right now but will probably post some tomorrow.
Very interesting article. It seems to deal mainly with American skaters though. I am curious about how FS is viewed in other parts of world- particularly Europe.
Well, most surprised I am with American skating fans who seem to have a tendency to assume all male singles skaters to be gay, like e.g. they did rather harshly in connection with Michael Weiss. To me it seems that today there are plenty of skaters who are not gay. Gay or straight, it does not matter, but one should not assume anything.
It is a pity, that many young skaters probably give up the sport of figure skating because it labels them.
Really interesting. It's scary how homophobic society still is. I gave a male friend some tickets to the men's final at Natls. When I saw him after the event, practically his first comment was, "Are ANY of those guys straight?" I wanted to say, "Why does it even matter?" He'd enjoyed the event but obviously still couldn't stop thinking about the gay/straight issue. Makes you realize that there's a segment that's probably never going to be able to appreciate skating because it vaguely threatens their worldview. IMO it's a waste of time and effort trying to "masculinize" the sport. If anything, as shown by Johnny's success and popularity, skating should perhaps embrace its gayness--where it exists. Let skaters wear as many feathers and sparkles as they want and just be themselves. Skaters who share their real personalities are those who will have strong fan bases, be they gay, straight, or whatever.
The important point, that sometimes gets lost, is the intersectionality of this kind of cultural hegemony and discrimination. It affects everyone, including girls. As Kirk put it: "We're stuck in the 1950s with these beautiful housewives on ice." And later in the article: 'In singles, men can wear trousers (not tights) and women can wear skirts, trousers and tights - but try finding a female figure skater competing at the elite level in something other than nude tights and a leotard of some kind.'
The conservativeness of the sport extends far beyond gender issues as well. I remember discussing program ideas with a competitive skater. Since that skater liked rock and metal music, I suggested picking it for their programs, mentioning instrumental arrangements of Metallica, for example. They immediately objected saying it would be too 'out there' and the judges and the federation really wouldn't like it.
On a different note, it's sad that this article re-inforces the ignorant attitudes towards IJS. "The purpose of the new judging system is to hide everything," says renowned figure skater Dick Button. And by 'everything' he means the judges' names I guess? Because everything else is completely transparent which was never the case under the previous judging system where you had absolutely no clue why the ordinals went the way they did.
It's even sadder to see Goebel agreeing with and perpetuating the dominant hegemonic discourse.
And it's yet sadder, and quite shocking, to see that in 2014 USFS still doesn't have sexual orientation listed in their anti-discrimination policy. USOC has added it now, maybe in 50 years USFS will follow suit...
I really like how the article ended, by exposing the thoughtlessness and/or denial between the 'there is no problem' attitudes.
Last edited by Ziggy; 01-31-2014 at 01:41 PM.
Lanie. I commend your unapologetic attitude, and have fun with your 21 month old son this summer.
While I appreciate the author’s perspective with many excellent points, I think she’s missing the mark by not addressing enough the stereotyping of masculinity with being straight, and femininity with being gay; and that masculinity is preferred over femininity in male skaters. For example, many of Brian Bointano’s programs were quite “masculine”, yet he was/is gay. Likewise, many of Alexei Urmonov’s were “effeminate”, yet he was/is straight. Then you have Rudy and Johnny’s programs…less masculine, yet they were able to achieve high marks. In many cases, the gender expression of the whole package changes accordingly to the type of character or persona a skater wants to achieve, regardless of his sexual orientation.
I do however I agree there’s still a certain level of homophobia within our wonderful sport, seemingly unique than other sports…yet it’s interesting to hear of many out gay skaters within the skating community. At the end of the day however, if you can’t land your jumps, you can’t attribute homophobia to the lack of support by skating officials.
As a side note, I am glad that USFS is planning on including sexual orientation to their non-discrimination policy. Hopefully other sports will follow.
As for traditional ideas of masculinity being preferred in male skaters, the article mentions it many times throughout.
"Urmanov's skating style was classical and balletic and it would have never been seen as 'effeminate' in Russia."
Russia/Soviet Union doesn't have any homosexuals, doncha know?
Great photo of the incurably faaaaabulous Johnny Weir!!
I myself don't care what a skater's sexual orientation is. I care if they are showing me some great skating !!! And fulfilling their skating potential. I do hate how the presentation of the sport insists on making skaters fit into this pre-packaged box or that one or another. Branding. Marketing. Bleh.
IMO the article covered what fsu has already covered. It just packaged it a different format for middle-America to digest.
Have a nice day!