Gender roles and expectations have changed quickly in recent years. We learn them from a young age, but each generation seems to have a different opinion about what it means to be a boy or a girl. This can lead to misunderstandings, as young people are held to standards made in the past.
Even royalty is subject to these gender roles. Prince George of the British royal family has chosen to take ballet lessons at school. Ballet is a traditionally unmanly activity.
On Aug 22, ABC’s Good Morning America host Lara Spencer appeared to laugh at the 6-year-old, saying: “The future king of England will … take on religious studies, computer programming, poetry and ballet.”
Emphasizing the word “ballet”, the audience, as well as Spencer, burst into laughter.
Following her comments, many were upset about Spencer criticizing the young prince on TV for enjoying a stereotypically female activity.
Among her critics was US dancer Brian Friedman, who wrote on social media: “Growing up as a dancer, I was bullied. She is teaching the world that it is OK to laugh at boys for dancing.”
Today, as more girls are participating in traditionally male activities, like sports, more boys are doing activities that were stereotypically female. Writing for Quartz, Alexandra Ossola said, “They don’t have to stay within the traditional bounds of masculinity or femininity.”
Ballet in particular has become a way in which boys and men are exploring new meaning of masculinity and sexuality. “I hope to be part of a generation that can change the boundaries of ... ballet ... a generation that says we’re going to represent everyone,” US dancer Preston Chamblee told The New York Times.
Spencer said sorry on Aug 24. “From ballet to anything one wants to explore in life, I say go for it. I fully believe we should all be free to pursue our passions. Go climb your mountain and love every minute of it,” she said.