a qwriting.qc.cuny.edu blog

These videos were used in the photo elicitation segment of our methodology.

Video 1- Male Belly Dancer

Video 2- Natraj Seniors “Battle Song”

Video 3- My QC Qayamat Girlsz

Credits

Male Belly Dancer was posted on YouTube by Trinijo19

Natraj Seniors “Battle Song” was posted on YouTube by Artee88

My QC Qayamat Girls is credited to Bianca Erriah

May 19th, 2010 at 2:22 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Over the last few days, we have developed our surveys and interviews, revised them and put them to work.  For the most part, we found it easiest it to interview the dancers because we are most familiar with them than anyone else in our sample.  Therefore, we decided to start our research interviewing male and female dancers. Here are some of our results (interviews-directly transcribed):

MALE RESPONDENT

Age: 21

How long have you been involved with the dance community? 3 years

As a male performer, how do you feel you are perceived by society? Well, I get good feedbacks from society especially for bhangra so I feel like I get a positive vibe from society

As a male performer, how do you perceive yourself? I believe that Ican dance bhangra really well, very bad with hip hop… Maybe good at contemporary since bipasha (another dancer) says am very graceful (he laughs)

Do you think there is a difference in the “ideal” body type for male and female dancers? Well, I believe that the ideal body type for both male and female dancers are very similar… that is sleek and slender and definitely flexible

FEMALE RESPONDENT

Age: 20

How long have you been involved with the dance community? 15 years

Have male performers been a big contributor to performances? If so, how do you feel about that? Male performers have definitely been a big contribution to dance. My own dance teacher for 8 years was a male. In my opinion it doesnt matter if the dancer is male or female as long as he/she respects dance.

From your experience, how are male dancers portrayed in society? Male dancers are not appreciated as much as female dancers are. Its an old fashioned stereotype that only females should dance. In my opinion that is wrong and many times it discourages many good male dancers. Like I said before, unless you know and respect dance, you do not know how to value it and its followers (dancers).

Do you think there is a difference in the “ideal” body type for male and female dancers? I dont think there is an ‘ideal’ body type for a dancer, whether you are male or female. A dancer is a dancer despite their body type. Once again it must be a stereotype that dancers are slim, slender, flexible..average height. But there are many dancers who may be over average weight, not as flexible but rather very stiff, and either short or tall! There are thousands of diff dance types, and each type requires a diff body type/style. So i dont think there is any ideal body type to begin with, anyone can become a dancer if they believe they can.

FEMALE RESPONDENT

Age: 20 yrs old

How long have you been involved with the dance community? 14 yrs

Have male performers been a big contributor to performances? If so, how do you feel about that? Yes, for as long as I’ve been an active member of Natraj Center for the Performing Arts, there has always been male dancers. In fact, my brother joined dance class when I joined, and since then, we’ve been performing together (and also teaching). The mere fact that boys in our community have the courage to keep our culture alive by learning Indian dance makes me very proud.

From your experience, how are male dancers portrayed in society? From my experience, male dancers are portrayed as unique, in a positive way. Especially in the Indian community, male dancers are much more scarce than females, so whenever I do come across a good male dancer, he is usually portrayed as very talented and one of a kind.

Do you think there is a difference in the “ideal” body type for male and female dancers? I don’t think there is such a thing as a dancer having an ideal body type. For me, dancing is an art and passion that comes from the inside and one’s body is just a medium for communicating that passion. I’ve seen many amazing dancers of different body types, both male and female. Thus, body type doesn’t make a difference in my opinion.

MALE RESPONDENT

Age: 17

How long have you been involved with the dance community? for about 1 year and a half

As a male performer, how do you feel you are perceived by society? I feel that I am perceived as an entertainer and someone who embraces their culture and has a passion to dance.

As a male performer, how do you perceive yourself? As a male performer I perceive myself as a young determined dancer who wants to display my skill for the community and also someone who takes part in their culture not only being religion wise but through other means for example music and dancing. Also I saw other male dancers as men who did what they liked to do and they were idols to me because they showed that men can dance too professional and not only in a specific form, for example, Ballet. Also, I saw that they were well respected and well known.

Do you think there is a difference in the “ideal” body type for male and female dancers? No, I disagree that there is an “ideal” body type for male and female dancers because in our dance school Natraj, amongst the males alone there are 3 of us and all of us are different and all of us still practice as normal and put on the best show possible, as for females its not about image but about putting their heart and soul into the dance and also putting on the best show possible.

FEMALE RESPONDENT

Age: 21

How long have you been involved with the dance community? I have been dancing formally since I was 5 years old.

Have male performers been a big contributor to performances? If so, how do you feel about that? Yes, male performers help us bring versatility to our dances and entertain the audience very much. I think male performers are highly needed in our dance community and more males should be encouraged to dance.

From your experience, how are male dancers portrayed in society? Male dancers are unfortunately not portrayed in high regard when they perform classical or bollywood. They are made fun of or called names… such as being gay, because only gay people could be on stage. But, when males incorporate hip hop into Indian it much appreciated. As of recent times, male dancers are becoming more accepted in our generation.

Do you think there is a difference in the “ideal” body type for male and female dancers? Yes, I believe there is an ideal body of being slim and slender to be a dancer. That way your movements will be more clear and precise but this is actual never an ideal body type because it is up to the dancer to portray the dance to the best of their abilities and sometimes even having the best body, they are unable to do so without the right skill and talent.

That’s all we have gotten thus far.  We will continue with the distribution of surveys and interviews immediately!

April 30th, 2010 at 8:14 pm and tagged  | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

This photo is property of boifoto.com

April 28th, 2010 at 3:46 pm and tagged  | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

General Survey

Disclaimer:  This questionnaire is designed for research purposes only. It aids in supporting data collected in the field of Visual Sociology.  All responses are confidential and anonymous. If there is any question you are uncomfortable answering, please feel free to skip it.

Sex: (Please check one)

  • MALE
  • FEMALE
  • OTHER _________

Age: _______

Race/ Ethnicity:  _________________

Religion: _________________

When you hear the expression “male dancer” what first comes to mind?

____________________________________________________________________________

Note: We use the term “male dancers” to encompass a wide variety of dancing techniques and strictly use it to be interpreted as a dancer with formal training, as opposed to a male entertainer.

Now, when you think of male dancers, write down three words that come to mind.

_________________        ___________________        ____________________

Have you ever seen a male dancer? (Please Check One)

  • YES
  • NO

If Yes, did you enjoy their performance? Why or Why Not?

What do you feel male dancers contribute to the dance community?

Do you think there is a difference in the “ideal” body type for male and female dancers?

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR DANCERS-Female Dancers

Disclaimer:  Your responses contribute to data collected in the field of Visual Sociology.  All responses are confidential and anonymous at the participant’s request.  If there are any questions you are uncomfortable answering, please let us know and it will be negated.

If you don’t mind, please tell us your age.

How long have you been involved with the dance community?

Have male performers been a big contributor to performances? If so, how do you feel about that?

From your experience, how are male dancers portrayed in society?

Do you think there is a difference in the “ideal” body type for male and female dancers?

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR DANCERS-Male Dancers

If you don’t mind, please tell us your age.

How long have you been involved with the dance community?

As a male performer, how do you feel you are perceived by society?

As a male performer, how do you perceive yourself?

Do you think there is a difference in the “ideal” body type for male and female dancers?

Photo Elicitation:

Disclaimer:  Your responses contribute to data collected in the field of Visual Sociology.  All responses are confidential and anonymous at the participant’s request.  If there are any questions you are uncomfortable answering, please let us know and it will be negated.

What is your age?

What is your race/nationality?

How does this video make you feel? What are your views on each video?

Body Type

My QC Qayamat Girls is credited to Bianca Erriah

In your opinion, which one of these dancers have the “ideal” body type?

Why did you choose that girl and not one of the others? What seems to be “wrong” with the others?

Male

Male Belly Dancer was posted on YouTube by Trinijo19

The Pretenders

Natraj Seniors “Battle Song” was posted on YouTube by Artee88

Is this how you imagine female dancers? Why or Why not?

April 24th, 2010 at 12:26 am and tagged ,  | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

Heiland, Teresa L., Darrin S. Murray, and Paige P. Edley. “Body Image of Dancers in Los Angeles: the Cult of Slenderness and Media Influence among Dance Students.” Research in Dance Education 9.3 (2008): 257-75. Academic Search Complete. Web. 9 Apr. 2010.

As previously stated, Bianca and I have decided to explore body image along with gender in the extended Indian dance community. The articles “Body image of dancers in Los Angeles: the cult of slenderness and media influence among dance students” and “Dancing the difference” appropriately discuss our research topic. In the article “Body image of dancers in Los Angeles: the cult of slenderness and media influence among dance students”, Heiland et al. addresses the issue and importance of thinness in the dance community.  This article consists of personal stories, surveys, assessments, and interviews. From the beginning of the article, we identify the emphasis on being extremely thin. We learn “body image and the beliefs, attitudes, and values we acquire throughout our lives can be attributed to social factors that support how we think we should think, look, and act” (Heiland et al., 258).  One of the main causes of this “slender epidemic” is due to the influence of the media on a docile and acquiescent population of young women.  Dancers are not analyzed and judged solely on their skill, but on how they look and how their appearance can grant them success.  In order to achieve the ideal body, dancers starve themselves near death or else are deemed undesirable and are viewed as less feminine. Through interviews, we learn that other social factors that influence the ideal body type are parents, instructors, and other authority figures. Overall, the lesson to be learned is that body image is a product of society and dancers must be slender in order to prosper.

This article directly relates to our topic in that it reflects society’s view on how dancers should look. This article provides some insight into some of the possible responses we may obtain from our research. Through the use of various methodologies, the research article proves to be reliable, which inspires hope for generalizable conclusions in our research.

Thomas, Helen. “Dancing the difference.” Women’s Studies International Forum 19.5 (1996): 505-11. SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 9 Apr. 2010.

In the article “Dancing the difference”, Thomas highlights how dancers themselves perceive the differences between male and female dancers through ethnographic research including, but not limited to participant observation. In her discussion, she also touches upon race in relation to perception. She tells us that dance is seen as a feminine activity and that men who participate run the risk of being perceived as less masculine. In interviews, men revealed that they are truly heterosexual, but know they may be seen as homosexual in the public eye if they were to perform with another male.  Two females, participating in the same dance piece, may represent “camaraderie or friendship”.  In the article, Thomas points out that the type of dance matters in the perception of a general audience. For example, female dancers are always expected to look soft, graceful and petite, whereas male dancers, regardless of the kind of dance, are expected to appear strong at all times. Thomas addresses race in terms of white supremacy over blacks, but we hope to address it differently. From the article, we learn that how dancers perceive themselves counter how society views them.

This research article directly relates to our topic in that it provides a new and different perspective for our paper. For example, we intend to obtain society’s view on male dancers in particular, but this article shows us how they see themselves and how it differs from society’s opinions. Additionally, we want to allude to race in the paper by observing how male dancers who take part in solely Indian dances are perceived and how West Indian male dancers are seen.

Methodology

We will go about our research via photo elicitation, participant observation (we will go to different dance shows and observe the audience’s reaction), as well as short questionnaires to get a general idea of how people feel about gender and body image in the dance community. We choose to use photo elicitation in order to provoke honest opinions about the dancers in specific video segments.  For example, we will show a clip of a male belly dancer performing in a Trinidadian dance competition.  We will then ask the participant what he or she honestly thinks about the dancer. Therefore, the participant provides responses that may be shared amongst a community or society as a whole. Our targeted participants consist of males, females, adolescents, elders, and people of all races/nationalities. This method contributes to overall perceptions of male dancers. We will also show photos of dancers of different sizes (body type) in order to obtain conclusions about what body type is acceptable in society. Being that Bianca and I are involved in a dance group of our own, we will successfully be participant observers.  We will try and step out of our comfort zone, in order to critically analyze the dance population. It would not be difficult for us to become one with the group and live like they do, but problems may occur in the biases that we may create.  We are also thinking of eliminating that problem by “joining” another dance group that we have access to. Participant observation is our method of choice in order to support our research. Lastly, we opt to use short questionnaires.  These questionnaires will ask various questions about acceptability in dance culture and will advance our researcher to a stronger level.

Ethical Considerations

Our project involves the extended Indian dance community. Being that we are familiar with several dance teams, we will inform them of our study.  Given their permission, we will record pictures and videos of them in action.  We will obtain verbal permission as well get permission on video. We will then ask them if it is possible to republish their work for class purposes and research purposes as well.  By research purposes, we mean that we will ask them if we can use their photos or film to stimulate conversations and information among participants in our study. The surveys will be strictly anonymous and we will add disclaimers to the survey informing them of our research purposes.  At the dance shows we will be attending, we hope to ask some of the audience about their personal opinion on what they feel the ideal dancer looks like. We will then ask verbal permission to publish their opinions in our report.

April 13th, 2010 at 9:52 pm and tagged ,  | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The main goal of the Yes Men is to publicly expose major corporations and organizations whose main interest is solely personal gain.  The ways in which the Yes Men strive to accomplish their goals are by posing as corporate officials, leaders, and spokespersons. In order to gain recognition, they make up phony websites about issues that grasp the public’s attention and interest. The public is not aware of their “scams” and welcome them to various conferences and meetings where their intentions are to embarrass corporations.  The Yes Men consist of Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno. We are not sure as to who can join, but we assume that anyone and everyone in opposition to the power of large corporations are eligible for membership. These candidates have to be willing to go through the often “illegal” motions of the act. In order to be effective, the stunts must be completed thoroughly and efficiently. Their organization stems from their passion for what they do. We are sure that the decisions to act are team based efforts in which they consent on how far they are willing to go with the activity.  They are men who “can’t take no for an answer”.  The Yes Men are political activists who stir up debates about current issues through their humiliating actions.  We think that it is great that there are people brave enough in the world to stand up to major corporations and speak their mind using a non-violent approach.  Through their skits and scams, they give voices to millions of Americans and speak for those who do not have the courage to offer their opinions.

We have decided that we would not join The Yes Men because we represent the people they speak for.  We would not be able to humiliate giant corporations and give them a piece of our mind.  We would not be able to successfully follow through with the demands and daunting tasks of The Yes Men.  If we were more daring and bold, this would be an amazing group to join, but seeing that we are timid individuals, we do not fit the job description.

Associated Press is credited with posting this video on YouTube

April 12th, 2010 at 9:35 pm and tagged , ,  | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

In the article, “Signs of Resistance”, what sparked my interest was the amount of  attention given to graffiti.  For example, Operation Clean Sweep “vowed to remove graffiti within 7 days after it was reported to a 24 hour hotline”.  I understand that graffiti is often perceived as disruptive and deviant acts, but to provide this much attention to it makes me wonder about what else society views as a threat.  In my Sociology of Police class, we discussed that graffiti is a quality of life crime, in that it does not directly harm individuals, but speaks to and about society as a whole.  If no one is threatened by graffiti, then why all the hassel and attention?   Another aspect of the article that strangely intrigued me was the researcher’s mode of transportation.  I think that using the bicycle was an innovative approach. Usually, when trying to explore, people would get around via car or by foot. The bicycle allows more room to explore.  Additionally. I thought it was great to learn how research begins as informal, personal enlightenment and morphs into  the study of visual resistance. Everyday wonderings can become an intricate research process.

April 12th, 2010 at 3:18 pm and tagged , ,  | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Our project involves specifically the Indian dance community. Being that we are familiar with several dance teams, we will inform them of our study.  Given their permission, we will record pictures and videos of them in action. We will ask them if it is possible to republish their work for class purposes and research purposes as well.  By research purposes, we mean that we will ask them if we can use their photos or film to stimulate conversations and information among participants in our study. We are still considering whether we will use surveys to obtain information, but if we do, they will be strictly anonymous and we will add disclaimers to the survey informing them of our research purposes.  At the dance shows we will be attending, we hope to ask some of the audience about their personal opinion on what they feel the ideal dancer looks like. We will then ask permission to publish their opinion in our report.

March 24th, 2010 at 4:20 pm and tagged  | Comments & Trackbacks (3) | Permalink

I chose this photo because it partially relates to the topic I am doing on how society views  male dancers in the Indian dance community. I took this photo at a recent cultural show here at Queens College.  I feel that it conquers stereotypes of male dancers by demonstrating their masculinity.

GSA Cultural Show-Natraj Dance Group

I chose this photo because I think it most closely relates to the project I am doing on body image in the Indian dance community. This picture was taken from the Clip Art Library and was drawn by George Supreeth.  I believe this image says a great deal about how the artist and possibly people in general feel about the ideal dancer’s body.  It’s interesting how the artist had many options in sketching this female dancer, but he chooses to make her thin. Is that surprising? Why couldn’t the dancer be thicker in size? Although I do not agree,  I sometimes feel that “thicker” or full-figured dancers are only portrayed for satirical or comical purposes.  Is this acceptable?

Clip Art Library – by George Supreeth-http://www.openclipart.org/detail/28589

March 24th, 2010 at 12:35 am and tagged , ,  | Comments & Trackbacks (5) | Permalink

Do you see what I see?

Photo taken from: http://www.123opticalillusions.com/pages/Facevase.ph

March 22nd, 2010 at 2:22 am and tagged  | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink