Happy New Year !
As the festive season draws to a close (yh I know, I started this a while back), this year we have been lucky enough to go several Panto's!
Now, as Theatre lovers, we are no strangers to this annual tradition, Madam Twinkie, Wishy Washy and the Fairy Godmother are almost an extended family! After all I have been going every year since I was a small child myself.
'Do your ears hang low' or 'I am the music man' are my go to distractions for the kids if we get stuck in traffic & Humming 'there's no business like show business' in the early hours when trying to sooth a reflux baby, would keep me sane. - Ok reading that back seems maybe, not as sane as I thought, but you know, 'we are all mad here'...
So there we are, dressed to impress, second row from the front of a rather dinky little theatre listening to the band strike up!
Hiya Kids!... Here's Buttons, the funny chap in a silly costume putting his heart and soul into achieving a laugh from his audience. The first big dance number, a mix of girls & boys from about 6-16 Years, in colourful costumes having the time of their lives prancing with precision around the stage.
The stage lights dim, the music takes on a tone of impending doom...Smoke fills the stage, here comes the Baddie!
Booooo Hissssss hollers the audience in sync.A well made up man, of about 55 years old (clearly accustomed to the immediate dislike hurtling in his direction) encouraging the crowd he oils his way across the stage, scowling at children in the audience & bearing his teeth as he starts his opening number.
Here's the awkward bit...
The older (I say older, maybe 14-16) of the female Chorus dancers all begin to support his solo with expressive dance. Fine.
Only, something didn't feel quite right, Yes we were very close to the stage, maybe that was what felt so uncomfortable? No, not that, what was it? Why should a Baddie in a Panto give off such an awkward feeling, we, (myself and OH) were not sure where to look! Were we being prudish? Over thinking an innocent Panto Moment? Perhaps, but we both felt it.
These girls were behaving in a manor suggestive of being in lust with Mr Baddie!. I mean,Tweens & Teens, twirling and twerking in Mr Baddies direction in teeny tiny leotards. When Mr Baddie happens to be old enough to be their bespectacled Grandad, it was squirm inducing!
Obviously, the girls did a wonderful job and deserved every clap of applause for their efforts, but it did get us thinking.
Is it right that this was the roll these girls were required to play? They clearly enjoyed it, no question about that. But is it right? Isn't that selling these young girls a bit short? Is it sexualising impressionable young girls beyond their years? Not just the dancers, but the little girls & boys adsorbing this demonstration of want towards an obviously 'old man' by the chorus dancers. There was some serious derriere shakage going on!
Are we not setting our little folk up for trouble and strife in their future? Is it just a bit of fun? I had thought so, until I sat so close. Or at least, until I sat so close with my 7 year old daughter!! Perhaps being a parent has made me a miserable cynic?
I think this revelation has spurred me on! So, sorry if you know me 'in real life' but I am back on my soap box, I am more passionate about letting Kids be Kids than ever!
The brands we support here at https://growing-needs.co.uk/collections/new-in are all Ethical, We love Bright & Beautiful Clothing, Fun designs & Practical Style! Lets empower our young humanlets to be bold, jump in puddles, explore, create and Imagine. Lets not lead them to adulthood believing there are restrictions in what they become because of gender, because girls are pretty and boys are strong. Know better, do Better, I am using that phrase more & more in my impending dotterage.
I guess there is still a long long way to go until casual sexism is a thing of the past. Or maybe I just need more sleep.