“Informative, Inspiring, Brilliant”: Audible Customer Review of “Coming Out Atheist” Audiobook »« “Inspirational, outspoken, thought-provoking”: Amazon Customer Review of “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?”

So You Think You Can Dance, Nudity Parity Watch: Season 11, Episode 7

sytycd logoAs regular readers know, I’m watching the current season of So You Think You Can Dance, the mixed-style dance competition show, and am documenting whether the women are generally expected to show more skin than the men. (I give a more detailed explanation of this project, and why I’m doing it, in my first post in the series.) But before I get into this week’s documentation, I want to answer a question I was asked in the comments last week — namely, what I want the show’s producers and costumers to do about it.

It’s true that having women be more naked than men is the tradition of many dance styles. Similarly, in many past decades of many dance styles, it’s been the tradition for women to show more skin than men. So if a dance routine is in one of those traditions, or if it’s a historical or retro routine evoking a past dance tradition, and if costumers are trying to work within those traditions, then their hands are tied, or at least somewhat constrained. What do I want the costumers to do?

The short answer: I want them to be aware of it. I want them to pay attention to it. I want them to not just reflexively make the women more naked than the men, because that just seems normal or natural or how it’s done. I want them to ask themselves, “Is this really appropriate or necessary for this routine?” I want them to ask themselves, “In this routine, is the man more vulnerable than the woman, or more sexual, or more seductive? Should he maybe be showing more skin than she is?” I want them to at least sometimes show more of the men’s skin than the women’s — not just as a rare exception, but as a regular feature of the show. Even if there’s not strict 50/50 parity, I want something closer to parity — something other than the reflexive expectation that women will be the ones to have their bodies put on display.

I also want a magical rainbow pony who’ll get along with the cats and won’t stink up the house.

So, with that commentary, here is this week’s So You Think You Can Dance nudity parity documentation. Links take you to video clips of the performances; if the Fox network doesn’t keep the links up, most if not all of these performances can be found on YouTube with a little searching.

sytycd top 20 s11e7Introductory performance with all 20 dancers, Broadway
Women somehat more nude than men — women mostly either sleeveless or short sleeves, many with bare legs, men mostly either totally covered or short sleeves.

sytycd tanisha rudy s11e7Tanisha & Rudy, jazz
Woman is somewhat more naked than man (she has bare legs, bare arms, bare upper back, bare sternum, he is shirtless).

sytycd valerie ricky s11e7Valerie & Ricky, contemporary
Woman is more naked than man (she has bare arms, bare legs, V-neck, he has short sleeves and V-neck).

sytycd bridget & emilio s11e7Bridget & Emilio, hip-hop
Woman is somewhat more naked than man (she has short sleeves, bare midriff, he has short sleeves but somewhat longer than hers).
Editorial comment about the theme of this number, which is “he’s meeting an old friend he hasn’t seen for a while, she used to be a nerd but now she’s hot.” The implication being that you can’t be both. Not if you’re a woman, anyway. Bite me.

sytycd jessica nick s11e7Jessica & Nick, West Coast swing
Woman is more naked than man (she has bare arms, bare midriff, bare sternum, bare slash between breasts, he has bare forearms).

sytycd carly serge s11e7Carly & Serge, contemporary
Woman is more naked than man (she has bare arms, bare-ish legs with sheer flippy skirt to knees, deep V-neck, bare midriff, bare back, he has short sleeves).

sytycd emily teddy s11e7Emily & Teddy, hip-hop
Woman is more naked than man (she has bare arms, bare midriff, deep V-neck, he has bare forearms).

sytycd malene stanley s11e7Malene & Stanley, Broadway
Woman is more naked than man (she has bare legs [sheer stockings, I think], sternum & upper back in sheer black netting, he is completely covered).

sytycd jourdan marcquet s11e7Jordan & Marcquet, jazz
Rough nudity parity (she has bare thighs, deep scoop neck, he has bare forearms, deep scoop neck although not as deep as hers).
Editorial comment on costuming: Even though there was rough nudity parity in this routine, her costume was much more sexual than his. In particular, for the scene being enacted (an agent interrogating a suspect), his costume was realistic to the character, ordinary street clothes — while hers was very unrealistically sexualized for the character, a sexy-sexy costumey version of military clothes.

sytycd brooklyn casey s11e7Brookyln & Casey, Argentine tango
Woman is more naked than man (she has bare legs, bare arms, deep V-neck with illusion netting, he is completely covered).

sytycd jacque zack s11e7Jacque & Zack, African jazz
Complete nudity parity (both dancers wearing skin-tight bodysuits covering entire body).

sytycd syncopated ladies s11e7Syncopated Ladies, hip-hop dance crew
This season, SYTYCD is having an additional competition between hip-hop dance crews, with one crew performing per week. This week, the crew was the all-women Syncopated Ladies. All dancers were showing a lot of skin, with all but one with bare legs, most with bare midriffs, and all with bare arms. There won’t be a way to compare this with male dancers until a later week with an all-male or mixed-gender dance crew.

Summary:
In all performances in this episode, either there’s roughly equal skin being shown by both genders, or there’s more skin being shown by women. In total, there is significantly more skin being shown by women. The trend was even more pronounced this week than last week — this week, in only two of the eleven routines (not counting the hip-hop crew routine, which can’t yet be compared, although I can already guess how it’s going to come out) was there rough nudity parity.

Comments

  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    “Nudity” means just that – nakedness – and applies to none of these performers.

    “Exposure” or “baring” would describe the phenomenon in question more accurately.

    /pedant

  2. ragdish says

    During the Winter Olympics figure skating, the women showed more skin than men. Is there any reason women cannot wear pants instead of a skirt or vice versa for men (ie. wear a kilt) when performing the triple lutz? Skin exposure is definitely not equally being shown. Just like in SYTYCD, are women being objectified in figure skating?

  3. Greta Christina says

    Just like in SYTYCD, are women being objectified in figure skating?

    ragdish @ #2: Short answer — yes.

    Longer answer: Read “Little Girls in Pretty Boxes: The Making and Breaking of Elite Gymnasts and Figure Skaters” by Joan Ryan, which investigates that “yes” in thorough and heartbreaking detail.

  4. rumleech says

    With half asleep eyes I originally read “parity” in the headline as “party”. Was this some sort of test? (And did I fail?)

  5. derek lactin says

    So Why did I read the title as ‘Nudity Party’? Maybe it’s the Y chromosome acting up. Again.

  6. says

    I was laughing all through this episode because it was way over the top in supporting your thesis! Sometimes so ridiculously so it almost seemed an act of defiance against your point…the phonecall routine, seriously?…the hip hop routine with the girl in typical sexy club outfit but the guy dressed like a poopy pantsed Morpheus? (they should have just gone full hog and gave him gloves and an executioner’s hood.) Especially since those costuming decisions didn’t make any sense (well maybe the phone routine, if it had an intelligible plot…I see they were going for Fosse-era jazz look, but still).

    BTW, I predict magic ponies within thirty years, based on Moore’s Law. ;-)

  7. mattee says

    I find this fascinating. Having watched the show in years past, I thought to myself “oh everybody’s half-dressed in that show; if anything, the men wear less clothing,” but I was wrong. The difference is quite striking when you actually pay attention.

  8. Greta Christina says

    I was laughing all through this episode because it was way over the top in supporting your thesis!

    Richard Carrier @ #6: I AM ALWAYS RIGHT ABOUT ALL THE THINGS!!! WHEN WILL YOU FOOLS LEARN?!?!?

  9. says

    It’s going to be hard to get people to pay attention to this in dancing when it’s really the norm, everywhere. I get crap (mostly in the form of homophobic slurs) if I wear shorts that expose the skin above my knee while exercising, but no one blinks (mostly due to ogling) when a woman wears shorts that are practically thongs. It’s expected. I would expect that many people, male and female, would just shrug their shoulders if presented with this, not even seeing why it’s a problem.

  10. freemage says

    Micahel Brew: One tack I’ve had some luck with is stressing that it’s not a problem in and of itself; rather, it is an indicator of a problem elsewhere. In other words, the problem isn’t the nudity; it isn’t even necessarily the disparity in all cases. It’s the reasons behind the disparity that are problematic. Of course, this only works with people who are discussing the issue in good faith in the first place; bad-faith debaters will immediately demand total compartmentalization, refusing to acknowledge any sort of context behind anything.

  11. Greta Christina says

    It’s going to be hard to get people to pay attention to this in dancing when it’s really the norm, everywhere.

    Michael Brew @ #9: Possibly. But sometimes. if people are having a hard time seeing a larger pattern, we can see it more easily when we’re pointed to this example of it, and then this one, and then this one and this one and this one…

  12. Greta Christina says

    “Nudity” means just that – nakedness – and applies to none of these performers.

    Pierce R. Butler @ #1: Is that really true? It seems that the terms “partial nudity” and “full nudity” are in pretty common usage. When I Googled the term “partial nudity,” almost a million hits came up. And the phrase “full frontal nudity” wouldn’t have much meaning if it weren’t contrasting with another concept — i.e., partial or non-full nudity.

  13. Marc Abian says

    Interesting book recommendation. It sounds helpful for those akward moments where I am happy about the world…

    I get crap (mostly in the form of homophobic slurs) if I wear shorts that expose the skin above my knee

    I have never experienced anything like that.

    The only thing that I can gripe about is that it is acceptable for women to wear cool clothes like skirts in formal or professional settings but their is no equivalent for men, apart from kilts which are culturally specific and possibly not acceptable in many instances anyway.

Leave a Reply