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A Round of Applause for Sexism

As I have mentioned in one of my earlier post, I always put “lose some weight” on my New Year’s resolution – with mediocre success, to describe it nicely. Something in my brain seems to be disconnected and translates my resolution into “gain weight”. And for what it’s worth – I’m pretty good at the latter. At least one talent.

Because there’s something, I’m definitely not talented at: dancing. Growing up with a sister that trained hard to become a professional ballet dancer, this was always the main thing how people separated me and her from each other asking if I was thedancer in our family. “Oh, you’re not the dancer? Who are you then?” – was always their answer when I had to tell them that I was stumbling not dancing, making me identify as the non-dancer of our family.

Nonetheless, it might doesn’t look as if I am dancing – I actually do enjoy moving my whole body to the beat. And in order to end my exponential weight-gain and finally get this point of my New Year’s resolution, I found my way to Zumba, a dance-sport that is the most of fun (not only for me, but also for others to watch me trying to follow those steps). However, due to its stereotyping, I experienced that men not often participate in it. Even though, in old stereotypic terms, they would have a good view on a group of girls shaking their butts, it is considered as a “women’s sport”. This doesn’t mean that men are excluded from it, they just don’t really go.

Yet, if there is a man, the Zumba instructors always seem to be pretty happy about it. Maybe, because they see it as a compliment that their moves are hip and genderless, maybe, because they like seeing men shaking their butt. This is just guessing and does not represent a final nor valid answer. But that’s what I like about Zumba: everyone is welcome. If you’re a talented dancer, or if you’re just like me, a dance-dyslexic who still likes to shake it, and also, you’re welcome no matter your gender. In the end we’re just a group that wants to sweat, dance and might even lose weight.

At my old gym they made Zumba classes available and after a thousand of lazy excuses I finally went to class. And it was so much fun, so much shaking hips and jumping around like crazy, that I went there a second time. This time, a man showed up, too. And not long after class started, the instructor brought attention to it. During a quick water break a young woman next to me couldn’t open her water bottle. She was a little bit dramatic about it, so it caught the instructor’s eyes. “No problem”, she said and took the bottle, “We have a man here, he can open it!” She gave it to the man, that sweated just like anyone else. And due to the liquid salt water running out of his skin, he struggled to open the bottle. The music stopped and everyone waited to finally dance again, yet, here we were waiting for this water bottle to be opened. Eventually, he managed to open it and the instructor demanded applause: “Good thing, we have a man here to help us out!” And as sad as it sounds, there was no sarcasm involved.

It’s not the fact, that the man struggled opening the bottle. We all sweated and it would have been hard for all of us. But most of us could’ve accomplished it as well.

You do not have to be a man to open a bottle of water. Sure thing, men have the possibility to be stronger than women thanks to biology, but that doesn’t mean every man is stronger than a woman and uses his biological advantages. There are enough times, where woman can open a bottle, lift something heavy, hold a door, etc. just as well as a man can and some of us are might stronger than some men. Gender doesn’t necessarily define strength.

Yes, it was nice that he helped opening the bottle. Yes, he might even deserved the applause. But he did not deserve the applause because he was a man. He deserved it because he helped. And I might be going out of a limb here, but I’m pretty sure that every other women in this room would’ve helped as well, and might would’ve accomplished opening a bottle, too. Despite their gender. And help is the only thing that needs a round of applause not the stereotype of the shining knight that helped a helpless maid in need.

Let’s applause people who are willing to help – no matter what gender they are.

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2 thoughts on “A Round of Applause for Sexism

  1. I can’t comment about Zumba, but I did try my first spinning class recently. I was the only dude in the class (possibly in the building) but it was a ton of fun. I’d do it again and probably Zumba as well..if nothing else, then for the beautiful scenery you mentioned previously.

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  2. It’s frustrating that the instructor gave him the bottle in the first place! I hope there was at least some irony in the applause!

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