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Showing posts from August, 2019

“I’m not a girly girl”: Why belittling beauty culture harms girls more than make-up.

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In recent weeks, John Lewis and Mac Cosmetics were forced to cancel a “back to school” make up masterclass at a shopping centre in Kent. This came after parents and charities complained about the pressure placed on girls to break school rules. The incident opened up a debate about what age it becomes appropriate for girls to wear make up, as well as the impact that beauty practices have on young women. For instance, Bex Bailey, of the Young Women’s Trust stated:
If we are ever going to achieve gender equality we have to focus on the talents and skills young women can contribute, not on a prescriptive beauty ideal
Of course, concerns about young women’s body image are valid. Historically, women have been pressurised to strive for unrealistic expectations of attractiveness. As feminists have long argued, in the West, this conception of beauty has been defined through Euro-centric ideals of whiteness and thinness. In particular, as I discuss in my book, The Politics of Weight (Morris, 201…

A Rite of Passage - Bringing your Daughter to Dance Class

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As I drop my two daughters off at their dance classes, I look around the studio building and see all girls. Today, the overwhelming majority of the student population engaged in dance education and training is female (HEADS 2018). Why not bring sons to dance? What is Western society trying to encourage or develop in females by exposing them to dance? What does dance teach females about their bodies and their movement? I know what I hope to develop in my daughters by bringing them to dance class. As a professional dancer, choreographer, and educator, I want them to feel the power of their bodies, experience the connection between the body and mind, to know intimately the medium they experience life through, and to tap into the lineage of the strong women who created modern dance technique. Modern dance is one of the few art forms which women have dominated as creative forces. If I had boys, I would want them to dance for the same reasons. However, I am aware of other reasons to bring you…