Ballet dancing which is traditionally considered feminine or “girly” is generally shunned upon within the larger male or masculine centered status quo we live. Generally speaking men that are ballet dancers are presumed to either be gay or effeminate men in danger of becoming gay or at least less manly than their masculine counterparts. This believe seems intrinsic to most as we are led to believe that male expressions are superior or at least “natural” unlike femininity which is purportedly contrived or unnatural. Now a days most people don’t question women’s motivations for wanting to operate in traditionally male occupations or spaces like sports or engineering. The sexist notion that women had penis envy sounds as anachronistic today as it rightfully should. Interesting enough the same fluidity that women have been granted within traditionally male oriented spaces without their sexuality or gender being called into question has not extended into traditionally female spaces.* Men are not granted the same autonomy as their female counterparts which only helps to reinforce our limited understanding of gender and sexuality. When I first watched Sergei Polunin dance above I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by his grace and beauty. His beauty doesn’t lie in his face but in his body’s visceral expressions. He uses his body as his instrument and his performance as his canvas. I’m speechless. I only wish more men regardless of their sexuality or expressions of gender could be encouraged to do the same.
* To clarify: There is no doubt that a woman’s presence is still unsettling to men but generally speaking most men are aware that their doctor or lawyer can easily be a woman. There was a riddle in the 80’s about a father and son that were in a car accident in which the father dies but the son is rushed to the hospital. The surgeon on call looks at the boy and says ” I can’t operate on him! He’s my son.” Most people were unable to comprehend that a woman would be a doctor much less a surgeon.