Sex and So You Think You Can Dance

When So You Think You Can Dance first started, they had one winner. In season 9, they decided to have two winners: one male and one female. I thought it was because they realized the odds were stacked in favour of male dancers since most of the viewers/voters were female (and, presumably, heterosexual) (and, presumably, not voting for dance ability as much as for sexual appeal). However, in the preceding eight seasons, there were four female winners and four male winners. The runner-ups were a bit more skewed, with two female and six male.

Then I read in an interview about the change, this comment: “Girls dance totally differently than guys.” Yeah, if that’s what their choreographers demand. (Who may, in turn, be providing, what Nigel Lythgoe and the other producers demand.) I have to say I am so very sick and tired of almost every dance being a presentation of the stereotyped (i.e., gender-role-rigid) heterosexual romance/love/sex scenario, right down to the music, the costumes, and, of course, the moves.

But now, they’ve reverted to one winner – suggesting that sex is irrelevant to dance. Does that mean they’re going to make the dances – the music, the costumes, the moves – as sex-independent? Not likely.

Pity. Because I, for one, would love to see more like Mark Kanumura’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” audition piece and Mandy Moore’s “Boogie Shoes” (the latter was, like the former, pretty much just asexual fun with music and movement despite the gendered costumes – cutesy skirt/dress for one, long pants for the other, pink shoes for the one, blue shoes for the other – yes, yes, we must must MUST separate, distinguish, the girls from the boys, the patriarchy depends on it, the subordination of women depends on it!). (And that’s another thing: would they PLEASE stop calling 18-30 year-olds ‘girls’ and ‘boys’?)

They (the So You Think You Can Dance people) really should make up their minds. If sex is important to what they want to be doing, then they should have best male and best female dancer awards, continue to pair in male/female, and continue to insist the males look and dance in a hypermasculinized way and the females look and dance in a hyperfeminized (which in our society means in a pornulated way).

If sex isn’t important to what they want to be doing, then they should have best dancer award, and pair at random – actually, since the heterosexual mating concept would no longer be the central motif, they wouldn’t have to be limited to pairs at all – and let the dancers dance with strength, balance, coordination, musicality, and skill, with beauty, drama, fun, and quirkiness, regardless of their sex.


  1. Dance and song (movement, chanting) is so integral to healthy Be-ing, it fascinates me how current media culture has split off the direct experience for most people who watch it instead in televised competitions. And yet, it is exhilarating to watch great dance filmed, ice dancing at the Olympics, too, and be caught up in the prowess. You make good points about the SYTYCD show changes of mind about female-male categories; generally media changes don’t benefit women long term, as noted by the relative absence of good film roles for women. Maybe this will prove exception to prove the rule.

    BTW, Julian Real is a name I’d seen but never clicked to or read his blog until tonight in your right-hand column. Proof of how there might be hope for men working on radical profeminism with the goal to change themselves and reaching out to have potential to change other men’s thought and action. If he can, more power to him. I’m going to put your blog and Julian’s blog on my “about” page that serves as a blogroll, with a note that I’m not a RF who hates men, only what men as a global sex class have done to women and the world. If there were more Julians, the world obviously would be a better place, and yet I’m still going to leave him to do his thing if he can to change men’s hearts and minds and, most importantly, men’s behavior. As a woman I have enough to do in my own female life interconnected with the women I’ve chosen to know and love, and with the causes and creativities for women that occupy our free time.

    • JE on August 18, 2013 at 9:48 am

    The dancing on DWTS is nothing like the dance you will see at, for example, pagan revels.

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