Topic: ArtDance

Last updated: April 19, 2019

Figueroa’s frameworkConstructed over five separate levels: individual, interpersonal, institutional, structural and cultural, these areas are used to investigate the ways in which inequities challenge the area of sport and physical activity.Gender stereotypesGender is… the socially constructed identity associated with the concepts of masculinity and femininity as distinct from solely relating to biological sex. Therefore, it can be understood as predominantly associated with learned characteristics defined by social and cultural norms and values.

3 Though it is frequently misunderstood, gender refers tothe socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for a person based on their sex. ‘Sex’, on the other hand, refers to the biological determinants – chromosomes and genitalia – that distinguish males and females. When we talk about gender stereotypes, we are referring to the socially accepted ideas of what is appropriate for a boy or a girl based on their sex. While gender is often discussed as exclusively masculine or feminine, it should be recognised that gender identity exists across a continuum.

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Although it may seem harmless, labelling attributes and behaviours as inherently masculine or feminine can flow on to influence the work and roles that are considered to be ‘normal’ for each gender. Examples of socialised gender roles are that women are assumed to be better suited to carer roles, such as nurses and teachers, and are expected to take on domestic duties, and that men are believed to make better leaders and often seen as the natural ‘breadwinners’. These gender roles and stereotypes are reinforced through a number of societal channels – toys, sports and games, clothes, books, the media, education, teachers and families.Gender and cultureFamily background and culture can have a strong influence on gender expectations.

Parentscan have very specific notions of what is expected of children according to their sex, which can often be based on hundreds or even thousands of years of tradition. This provides an opportunity for educators to further engage with these families in a collaborative manner and foster a better understanding of the child’s cultural background.Exploring Gender Stereotypes Through DanceWhen I took the opportunity to co-teach a mixed-grade level coed dance class, I expected some of the boys to be reluctant to participate in the ballet portion for fear of being seen as gay or at the very least feminine. To cut this off before it started, I used a Teaching Tolerance lesson plan that allows students to explore gender stereotypes. I put labels on each student’s back with the name of a profession. I assigned traditionally male careers to girls and traditionally female careers to boys.

Students had to figure out their profession by asking yes or no questions of their classmates. Afterwards, they reflected on their reaction to the assigned profession. This activity set the stage for breaking down stereotypes as we also introduced ballet as a dance form. Dance education is not immune to gender problems that exit in society: the scarcity of male students, dancers’ body and self-esteem issues, and student choreographies that echo media stereotypes should convince us of this.The participation rates these age groups in 2009 were 17%, 15% and 11% respectively. The participation rates for all age groups significantly increased between 2000 and 2009 (12% in 2000 to 17% in 2009 for 5 to 8 year olds, 10% to 15% for 9 to 11 year olds and 8.3% to 11% for 12 to 14 year olds)what dance can help with in the future with social and lifeDance helps me with my friendships because with the amount of time you end up spending with other dancers, you only have two options, love them or hate them.

It is a hell of a lot easier to love them to death. The friendships you build through countless hours in the studio with them is incomparable to any other relationship you will have in life. You grow up with the other people you dance with and go through numerous ups and downs together.


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