A former dancer’s thoughts on ballet training and permanent…

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+3058 – A former dancer’s thoughts on ballet training and permanent body alterations in children in the context of the current transphobic moral panic.

2022-06-23 15:39:06

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  1. This is true for any sport (dancers are atheletes, not pretty swans, they are *stacked*). Football kids are risking brain trauma, gymnasts and ice skaters are having the same things as above to their muscles and joints plus concussions and every injury you can do in a gym, cheerleaders do tumbling without a mat.

    And we let the sportos do this from young ages only because sports are socially acceptable body mods.

  2. Think all the people posting “this is a bad argument because dance actually is child abuse” take are missing the point. This isn’t a mathematical calculation about which life decisions are dangerous enough to be child abuse, it’s pointing out the fact that any argument for trans kids not transitioning is inherently transphobic because such arguments only get applied to transitioning, and not the actually damaging decisions like doing ballet.

  3. it’s also pretty much established at this point that playing American football causes permanent brain damage, but people are still letting kids as young as 5 decide they wanna do that

  4. I thought I wanted to be a college football player so I became a linebacker in high school. I got so many concussions I can’t play sports anymore and deal with minor TBI issues.

    But please tell me how puberty blockers are more harmful than ramming headfirst into other kids every day for years.

  5. *Image Transcription: Tumblr*


    So stay with me here, but fun ballet fact: part of the reason you’re supposed to start ballet young is so you stretch and hold your joint in certain ways regularly enough that your body grows different. You know how men who do ballet look only sort of muscular but then like lift a whole ass person? Their muscles are trained to lie flat like that for flexibility, they don’t bulk up. Girl in your class who always stands in turnout? It’s likely not just habit, her joints probably sit like that now.

    I started ballet when I was six and stopped after three years. I then took a break for three years, and came back and did jazz ballet (which has most of the same body mods but without turnout) and tap for another couple of years. And every physio who works on my body looks at my feet, hips and calves and goes “oh you danced”. I was never even flexible enough to do the splits, but you best believe I stand in turnout. I never went en pointe, but I’m 95% sure tap is the reason why my feet have random spasms if I don’t take to them with a tennis ball once a week.

    When I said I wanted to be a dancer at six years old, adults took that to mean I’d want certain permanent alterations to by body. Unlike with young trans kids, no one was looking to make sure I fully understood what I was getting into. And unlike with young trans kids, these changes were not reversible when I changed my mind. There wasn’t even a way to delay things to buy time (like puberty blockers), it was all or nothing. If I wanted to be a professional dancer, my normal ass joints were a ticking timebomb.

    So like ~cis opinion~, but I really don’t have a lot of time for people getting feral about trans kids actually transitioning or going on blockers or even (when they’re old enough for it to be relevant) hrt. Me “identifying” as a dancer at six years old was more physically impactful and less informed than if a six year old changed their name and grew their hair, but you don’t see any of the adults in my life getting accused of child abuse.

    ^^I’m a human volunteer content transcriber and you could be too! [If you’d like more information on what we do and why we do it, click here!](https://www.reddit.com/r/TranscribersOfReddit/wiki/index)

  6. As a musician and supporter of trans rights, I’d like to weigh in on this as well.

    When I said I wanted to play a string instrument in *elementary school*, nobody ever told me that I would have to play it in the exact right way all the time or possibly give myself permanent muscle and joint issues. This high risk compounded by the fact that, despite every individual being different, many teachers take a “one size fits all” approach to technique (i.e. “if you’re not exactly mimicking me you’re doing it wrong”). This has led to me developing issues with tendons and nerves at several different points that were only fixed after months of wearing braces and finding different ways to play.

    It has taken basically until now to find a setup that is comfortable and *safe* for me (which even then is still an ongoing process), and I had to get here with —until recently— almost no outside help, because as mentioned earlier most people only care about following an inflexible set of rules.

    When doctors prescribe hormone blockers or HRT, their approach is (and I say this without hyperbole) several orders of magnitude more individualized than the average music teacher. In fact, a lot of the time there is so much scrutiny that it borders on excessive. Contrary to apparently popular belief, doctors aren’t giving away hormones to anyone walking out of the pediatrician’s office. In fact, it can be a struggle for a trans kid to even get to the proper specialist, let alone receive the care they need.

  7. I did not expect to have literal transphobes in the comment section on this subreddit of all places.

    *checks sidebar* Oh, we passed 100k subscribers. Prophecy starting to fulfill itself

  8. A question I have, though; is it too late to dance once you’re an adult? I took maybe one or two classes as a wee one, but didn’t start loving musical theatre until my mid teens. now I’m an adult who can’t dance and wants to be in musicals. I’m willing to put in the work, but if dancing young literally changes your joints, how much can work do?

  9. The fucked up thing is that most parents signing their children up for dance classes probably have no idea. Still an enlightening comparison though, nobody is organising protests to raise awareness either

  10. well i think adults literally dont know dancing changes the body that much. so they dont worry about it. it looks harmless

    opposite side thy dont know what blockers are and thinks if their kid takes two of them theyll i nstantly grow beard/tits, or they know what blocker is different to HRT but think they look like a 12yr forever

    not saying op is wrong but some of the problem is that they dont fuckin know how they work and are scared, not just that they excusing child abuse.

    fr people can be pretty dumb and do a bunch of things that make no logical sense because it ‘feel’ right and nobody thought to tell them or the wrong people said lies because it ‘feel’ right to them, too. like going to gym to lose weight. na dawg go to gym to get fit, strong, or lungs and heart health. your weight is your food you don’t go to the gym for a flat chest when you literally have soda instead of water dawg, that aint gonna work

  11. I thought I was the only one who stood in turnout all the time, good to know I’m not. I do a lot of 4th and 5th position.

  12. I did ballet for two years and tap for one. Not even a lot of time, but it still impacted the way I move and stand, just like the person in the post.

    I was a violinist/violist for over half my life (I’m 25). The way you hold those instruments is not natural in any way, shape, or form. My shoulder muscles are permanently fucked up. Even professional massage therapists don’t know what to do with my shoulders. They ask me to relax and I tell them I am. My muscles formed at a very early age to do something they’re not designed to do. I’ve already fucked up my body more than any child questioning their gender identity.

    Transphobes can fuck right off.

  13. I also want to mention intersex children. When children are born intersex with ambiguous or unusual genitalia it is all too common for surgeries to be performed on them before they are even old enough to speak, so that they conform better. This was standard practice until very recently and still is standard practice in most of the world.

    The adult intersex and LGBT+ communities advocate for the children’s genitalia to be left alone until the child is old enough to make their own decisions.

    And that’s not even getting in to removing foreskin…

  14. as someone who started ballet at six and did it for 8 years straight, several times a week, what? my body and joints are totally normal. (and i did do point.) i mean i support the message but like, this is just not accurate at all.

  15. I feel like the side effects of HRT and sports are not really equatable in this sense.

    Society should be moving to protect kids, not hurt them. Sports like tackle football very well may need a reevaluation for whether kids should be playing it. But theres a big difference, imo, between the effects dancing has and the effects HRT has. One of then alters your body to something still within acceptable standards, the other alters it to something outside acceptable standards. The dysphoria difference is massive, surely you dont feel like youre trapped on the wrong body because you have to take tennis balls to your feet and your legs point out when resting to the point of anguish.

    If tackle football wasnt a currently cultural thing, then I think I would hold the same position that more analysis needs to be done before we not only green light, but encourage it. Its not that people are concerned about HRT but not football because they hate trans people or are inconsistent, its just harder recognize and change things that are culturally ingrained.

  16. Standing in turnout and having muscles lie flat are not really comparable to the side effects of hrt on a developing body. Let alone puberty blockers, surgeries, etc. regardless where you stand on the issue, anyone arguing in good faith would recognize this is a shitty, easily dismissible argument.

  17. The alterations that trans people undergo sure don’t sound reversible. Puberty is a natural biological process everyone undergoes. What happens to a body when you hamper that process?