Recently I saw a question asked on Quora, “My five year old son wants to do ballet. How do I get him to pick a more manly pastime?” The answer given was much to my surprise exactly the thoughts I was having. Why do we stick to such strict gender roles with activities and our children? Do we realize, as parents, that our children are taught gender stereotypes by us.
If My Son Wants to Be in Dance Class I’ll Let Him
Why? Because he’s found something he enjoys and he feels will be fun. Why should I degrade his feelings? I would show him video after video of strong male dancers including, Carlos Acosta, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, and Savion Glover.
Admittedly, I’m a tap dancer and have since I was six years old. I’ve always dreamt of my kids taking tap no matter if I had a girls or boys.
What really is “manly”?
According to the dictionary Manly is “having or denoting those good qualities traditionally associated with men, such as courage and strength.” Do you know how strong male ballet dancers must be? Have you seen those rock hard legs, abs, and ass? They lift the female dancers with such ease. Courage? Do you know in our society with such toxic masculinity running rampant how courageous it is for any boy to want to dance? I find it extremely manly even if it’s not what we perceive to be based on societies strict gender biases.
What about the flip side? What about my daughter?
Would I let my daughter do a typically “male” activity? Like play football, hockey, or wrestling? Yes, ultimately I would. Honestly I’d have to seriously consider either child playing football, it’s can cause serious injury no matter the gender, but just because an activity is typically a “boy activity” would not stop me from letting my daughter do it.
We have to teach our kids young that they are equal
Equality is not just a problem for women, men should be able to do what they want without judgment as well. In order to bring about equality the best way to change our society is by teaching our children young differently.
How to Challenge Feminist Misconceptions
I have signed my son up for dance class in the past. I encourage him to keep going and I really don’t put ideas on him of what he needs to be involved with.
YES! I completely agree! If my son ends up wanting to take a dance class in order to express himself, then why the heck not?! If he has the courage, then by all means, have at it. He will have my undying support and he should have everyone else’s, as well. Thank you for sharing!
I don’t see why boys shouldn’t take dance lessons. It’s great that you support your son in whatever endeavors he chooses.
I heard that a lot of footballers (the British kind of football) say that ballet is a great foundation for developing excellent footwork! And some kids need the extra help with their physical coordination.
As far as I’m concerned, there’s no shame in boys doing dance. To be honest, I’d love for my husband to do dance classes with me! 😉
I wouldn’t let my daughter play football when she asked. But, she wasn’t good at soccer and wouldn’t get aggressive … shied away from the opposing members if they were charging and wouldn’t get in the mix to take the ball. So, ultimately, we decided football or any other sport that required some kid of aggression wasn’t her thing.
She’s now in gymnastics and she’s blossoming, doing something she’s honestly good at.
I believe in letting kids have their choices, but if something doesn’t make sense for their skills and abilities, it doesn’t hurt to step in and discuss it either.
Love this post! In high school our star running back had taken ballet and it really helped his game. An athlete is an athlete, no matter what sport!
I absolutely loved this post! In our dance class, we have a boy and I remember saying to myself, “we should encourage more boys in dance classes!”
We started our two-year-old boy in dance about six months ago, and it is the BEST. My feeling is that dance and gymnastics are the two sports that you kind of need to be in at a young age to be successful in later, so we’re giving him the opportunity to choose to continue either in the future. He’ll pick up soccer and football and all that in a couple of years, but dance and gymnastics are things he’s good at NOW.
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