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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by maatTheViking View Post
    I also think it is sad that the men in figure skating have to try to be so 'masculine', it does seem rather odd.
    Just to clarify, I think being masculine is not exclusive to being more powerful or superior. You can be feminine and powerful. Many gay men look up to powerful woman as icons like Madonna, Cher, and Barbara Streisand...all 3 have a good mixture of feminity and masculinity. The notion that male skaters yearn to be masculine is misleading and makes a huge assumption about our sport and athletes.

    I think the negative portrayal of our sport by this article and the Newsweek one is pretty one-sided, to be honest. I mean, who would want to take up skating when it’s really that evil and sad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Justathoughtabl
    I had to laugh when I saw a photo of the newly named U.S. Olympic team and all the women were sitting with their hands folded in their laps and their ankles crossed. Exact same finishing school pose, all of them.
    I’m actually okay with the photo because it was taken within the context of a formal group picture, the same way female flight attendants, military folks, etc are in theirs. We can’t possibly expect a group crotch shot like Brittney Spears or Paris Hilton. That doesn’t mean the skaters can’t let their hair down and party hard in other settings.

  2. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jun Y View Post
    Figure skating unfortunately has to care a lot more about its "family friendly image" than other sports, because it does have a performance aspect, set to music and couched in dance choreography and judged, in part, for a skater's ability to emotionally affect people. Plus, because skaters can make a living PERFORMING as a professional, when athleticism is no longer as important and when skating is purely a performance. So a federation has a stake in not only a competitive sport but also an entertainment business.
    Well, the federation isn't, for the most part, producing shows or trying to market skaters as entertainers, aside from exhibitions (and pro-ams in the 1990s).

    But it is true that that's a career path that top skaters can aspire to, and that show producers as well as skaters have to worry about family friendliness for, just because there's a larger potential audience there.

    For USFS, I think another main reason why they're so concerned with family friendliness -- and we see this in the way Skating magazine is slanted -- is that such a large percentage of their membership, of participant skaters, are little girls (and more young boys than grown men, for that matter). So they probably feel a need to keep the sport G rated, so to speak.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Well, the federation isn't, for the most part, producing shows or trying to market skaters as entertainers, aside from exhibitions (and pro-ams in the 1990s).
    Not officially, but these shows are produced and performed by people with deep and long connections with the federations. They all have a financial or nonfinancial interest in seeing skating shows be successful and profitable. NBA, NFL, or ATP also have to manage their sports as money-making business, but shows are not a concern for them.

    For USFS, I think another main reason why they're so concerned with family friendliness -- and we see this in the way Skating magazine is slanted -- is that such a large percentage of their membership, of participant skaters, are little girls (and more young boys than grown men, for that matter). So they probably feel a need to keep the sport G rated, so to speak.
    Agree. Although that argument does not explain the vague sexualization of female skaters/competitors. I think the concept of "clean family entertainment" itself is laden with social meaning that morph over time.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fan123 View Post
    I’m actually okay with the photo because it was taken within the context of a formal group picture, the same way female flight attendants, military folks, etc are in theirs. We can’t possibly expect a group crotch shot like Brittney Spears or Paris Hilton. That doesn’t mean the skaters can’t let their hair down and party hard in other settings.
    Who said anything about crotch shots? lol. I just meant that it's all the same pose, and an old-fashioned one at that. No one has their legs crossed or just together or whatever. It just looks kind of stiff. It's not a big deal-- I just noticed and it made me think of the whole 50s princess thing.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justathoughtabl View Post
    Who said anything about crotch shots? lol. I just meant that it's all the same pose, and an old-fashioned one at that. No one has their legs crossed or just together or whatever. It just looks kind of stiff. It's not a big deal-- I just noticed and it made me think of the whole 50s princess thing.
    Ha, my example of the crotch shot was extreme. I do know what you mean though. My initial reaction from looking at the same group pic was synchronize swimming.

  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post

    For USFS, I think another main reason why they're so concerned with family friendliness -- and we see this in the way Skating magazine is slanted -- is that such a large percentage of their membership, of participant skaters, are little girls (and more young boys than grown men, for that matter). So they probably feel a need to keep the sport G rated, so to speak.
    I just don't think that someone being gay and talking vaguely about their boyfrind ( or girlfriend) in inherently less G rated than someone being straight and talking about their girlfriend (or boyfriend). Max Aaron and Ashley Wagner talked about dating, for instance.
    Check out my baking blog at http://morethandough.wordpress.com, and like it on facebook. Thanks!

  7. #47
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    It's strange too that some people have to sexualize sports. Why is skating "the gayest sport" and why is it any more gay than diving, wrestling, equestrian, or ballroom dancing? The larger question is "why does it even matter?" Just let people be who they are & love who they want . . . why is this even a news topic in the year 2014? WHY? WHY? "WHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYY!?!?!?"

    I detest the ignorance of some to assume that the reason for skating's lack of popularity is because it is "too gay" instead of pointing to the notion that the way the sport is managed is too conservative, too homophobic, and too dang obsessed with being "family friendly". I think the latter is where the true problem lies.
    Last edited by museksk8r; 02-01-2014 at 03:11 PM.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carolla5501 View Post
    Tell you what, when you decide that your comments can be made without a made up screen name then you have the right to demand transparency.
    Many people in the skating community know who I am. If you google my screen name you can find my name, where I live, and picture on other sites. I have no illusion of anonymity.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    Okay, so I know he requested anonymity- but there cannot have been that many senior men's coaches who were former Olympians.

    This quote ("His own top skater, he tells me proudly, is “a true-true guy. The straightest they come.”) is so disturbing to me, I really want to know who said it. Has anyone figured this out before I do the legwork finding out who all the men's coaches were? It can't be describing Max Aaron or Brandon Mroz (which were my first thought, though I really don't know if they are straight or not), as Zakrajsek was not an Olympian.

    ETA: Never mind, that took me like 30 seconds. Probably Keegan Messing's coach, who is a former Olympian; though Ross Miner's wikipedia page also lists a coach who was an Olympian.
    But Ross Miner clearly isn't a true-true guy for sure.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by ks777 View Post
    But Ross Miner clearly isn't a true-true guy for sure.
    Wut u talkin' 'bout, Willis? True-true guys skate to the soundtrack of "The Way We Were" in a purple sweater vest all the time. pfft!
    Last edited by museksk8r; 02-01-2014 at 03:56 PM.

  11. #51
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    I think there's an age factor in all of this too. A lot of these skaters are still relatively young and who's to say they have this whole sexuality thing all figured out themselves? I know I certainly didn't until well into my twenties. If I had been asked about my sexuality as a 16 or 17 year old I doubt I would have answered very eloquently. I'd probably be pretty horrified at what I would have said too,

    I don't see figure skating as all that closeted outside of the public sphere, either. Maybe my experiences are an anomaly but I've been around the sport a long time and the out gay skaters have never actively tried to hide that side of themselves. I also haven't really experienced gay judges or gay coaches trying to actively hide that side of themselves. Get the conversation past the sport and it's usually pretty obvious.
    "Beautiful things don't ask for attention." -The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

  12. #52
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    I just reread the article and the Newsweek one, and I think I will get a bit of smack here. In many ways, the general public is right, male skaters tend to be effeminate with their expressions. Any male skater who has ever claimed their masculinity is really fooling themselves (Elvis Stojko and Michael Weiss). Frankly, when a man dresses up in tights with sequence and flowy fabric, that look is totally effeminate no matter how you slice it. Here are some images:

    http://content.clickbooq.com/86/photos/ac77992db3.jpg
    http://www.parade.com/wp-content/upl...r-1988-ctr.jpg
    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/...?size=620x400s

    And compare to these images:

    http://clouducation.files.wordpress....ll_player.jpeg
    http://postgradproblems.com/wp-conte...63c354cbce.jpg
    http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/im...0729183544.jpg

    So instead of fighting against mainstream folks who think figure skating is only for sissies, their right...but the more powerful response should be, “Who cares? There’s nothing wrong with being effeminate.” To fight it, is already internalizing the preference of masculinity over femininity.

    IceJunkie has it right:

    …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…
    I think this approach is more healthy and fruitful. Mainstream folks will eventually come around to embrace us, just as they have with rap and hip hop music…but I think it starts from within. However, you got to have the goods to get their attention.
    Last edited by Fan123; 02-01-2014 at 04:11 PM.

  13. #53

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    I get frustrated by the general notion that "gay" isn't "family-friendly". I can understand not wanting children to see highly-sexual gay (or straight) images, but to block all gayness; or any view of the world where there are exceptions to the "traditional" gender boxes seems foolish and short-sighted. What happens children are blocked from seeing that exceptions to the gender-boxes exist? You end up with tons of self-hate within the kids who do not feel they fit in to what they are shown, and think they must be all alone on the Earth. Maybe some parents think they are protecting their children by sheltering them from all gay (or non gender-normative) folks; but in truth they are doing more harm than good.

  14. #54
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    When all said and done, of course skaters sexuality does NOT matter that much in the sport, no more than how much it matters in life outside of the sport. If the world outside of skating is homophobic, someone who happens to be gay would be uncomfortable regardless of sports participation.

    The oddity is rather what is the big deal in male figure skating? Why are some federations hysterical and paranoid about this subject as to police their athletes' behaviors and insiders' expression of personal opinions. Perhaps figure skating is TOO popular so that the establishment cares too much about their image, and there is too much money staked on the popularity of the sport. Perhaps, if skating weren't so publicly visible (at least once every 4 years), some federations would not freak out about some diversity.

    I think every popular sport, from American football to tennis, tries to manage its public image. It's nothing new.

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jun Y View Post
    Why are some federations hysterical and paranoid about this subject as to police their athletes' behaviors and insiders' expression of personal opinions…I think every popular sport, from American football to tennis, tries to manage its public image. It's nothing new.
    I think the notion that some federations like the USFS is policing their athletes’ behavior and expression of personal opinions to be overly exaggerated. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the performances of their athletes.

    If USFS was that worried, Johnny Weir wouldn’t have been a multiple National champion, selected to represent the U.S. as a multiple Olympian and named to the World team. No one would even know who he is, despite his flamboyant style and personality, if he didn’t deliver.

    The same for Surya Bonaly. Some claim she didn’t play by the rules by not wearing stockings, had an overtly muscular body, and of course being a black woman…that caused her to have lost the World title in 1994. If these incidental things were that bad, she wouldn’t have been a multiple European champion. Her overall performance was subpar to Yuka Sato in that event.

    Then you have Li Na in tennis. No one would know of her chest tattoo and rebellious nature, and often funny interviews, if she didn’t deliver. The same with Andre Agassi in his 80s colorful, earpiercing, rock and roll long hair look, compared to Pete Sampras.

    I think it would be silly for any governing sport body to ignore their athletes with exceptional talent and accomplishment, even though they may not fit the ‘family-friendly’ mold. And in some cases, they do want some diversity to bring more visibility to their sport.

    Sometimes, we just need to be careful with putting too much emphasis on the fluff than the actual skating, IMO.
    Last edited by Fan123; 02-01-2014 at 09:10 PM.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fan123 View Post
    I’m actually okay with the photo because it was taken within the context of a formal group picture, the same way female flight attendants, military folks, etc are in theirs. We can’t possibly expect a group crotch shot like Brittney Spears or Paris Hilton.
    Hey, it's the singular shots of individual skaters like my favorite cutie, that are perfect for my home-made calendars. Getting a group crotch shot would be hard to choreograph, to say the least. http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2588/4...f0482c60_o.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jot the Dot Dot View Post
    Hey, it's the singular shots of individual skaters like my favorite cutie, that are perfect for my home-made calendars. Getting a group crotch shot would be hard to choreograph, to say the least. http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2588/4...f0482c60_o.jpg
    Ha, can you send one to Dick Button? I'm sure he would think it's juicy.

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    I agree, Fan123; but where I'm concerned is the reports from athletes where they were instructed to fit into the boxes. The folks you mention above ignored the instruction. But countless others try so hard to fit a certain image. That must be exhausting and hard on the ego. I bet if some skaters let go of the effort to "act straight" and instead focused solely on their skating, they would actually "deliver" better performances all the way around. At least they'd be more believable, authentic performances.

  19. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jot the Dot Dot View Post
    Getting a group crotch shot would be hard to choreograph, to say the least.
    not really -- just have to choose the photo angle to match your intentions

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFOS View Post
    Except for male figure skaters (and some other exceptions)\.
    Yeah, I was going to say, someone ask Michael Weiss about people assuming you're straight until proven otherwise. With skaters like him, even when he does something like, oh, marry a woman and have children with her there are fans who insist that it's a beard, he's gay, they KNOW this for a fact totally, he's just in denial/self-hates, etc. It doesn't make skating look "accepting" of homosexuality when fans insist, somewhat fervently, that a skater MUST be gay no matter what he says about it, it makes it look like the stereotype is right, you can't be male and into skating unless you're gay.

    And no, "What? Is there something WRONG with people thinking you're gay?" is not a legitimate defense of that behavior. It's about respecting the person's right to talk about himself or herself and define themselves. USFS may like to pretend that all the men are straight (and that pairs or dance couples who are dating are holding hands at the malt shop and not doing anything more interesting, and female singles skaters are sitting at home practicing 'Clair de Lune' on the piano in their free time) which is quaint at best, but fans who violently insist that something a skater says about himself isn't true aren't helping, even though I believe they think they are by trying to make him to be "honest." Both sides need to back off--USFS needs to see the world won't end if one of their champions is a death metal fan who wears leather on their days off, fans need to accept not every male skater secretly wants to be Johnny Weir.

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