kids

Lara Spencer, Prince George, and why we need to stop laughing at boys who do ballet.

This morning during my commute, I watched a short clip of Lara Spencer hosting Good Morning America. It was part of Thursday’s ‘Hot News’ segment, that involved a discussion of what Prince George would be studying in his next year at school.

But one small comment deeply saddened me.

“In addition to the usual first or second grade things, like math, science and history, the future King of England will be putting down the Play-Doh to take on religious studies, computer programming, poetry and ballet, among other things,” Spencer said, with a particular emphasis on the word ‘ballet’.

The audience started to laugh, as Spencer continued, “You couldn’t contain… oh, he looks so happy about the ballet class…” referencing a photo on the screen of Prince George smiling while wearing a soccer jersey.

Watch: The evidence that royal kids are… normal kids. Post continues after video.

“Prince William says Prince George absolutely loves ballet,” she said. “I have news for you, Prince William: We’ll see how long that lasts.”

It was lighthearted, but the insinuation was clear: George was being mocked for taking ballet classes.

Lara Spencer has since apologised for her comments in an Instagram post, acknowledging they were “insensitive”.

ADVERTISEMENT

But the entire scenario warrants further conversation about why we think it’s acceptable to laugh at and belittle a six-year-old boy for joyously exploring an activity for the first time.

As a lifelong male dancer myself, it brought me straight back to junior high school. Flashbacks to years of torment from nasty bullies for performing an activity “suited for girls”.

It left a pain in my stomach that hasn’t gone away.

When we make jokes about Prince George doing ballet, we set a dangerous standard that gender stereotypes and defined gender roles are not only appropriate, but worthy of mockery. These comments – regardless of how casual or flippant – have a lasting impact on many young boys across the world who wish to express themselves through the art of dance.

Perhaps even worse, they have an impact on many parents who may no longer consider allowing their sons to give dance a try.

Why are we still so uncomfortable with our kids challenging the narrow paths their gender sets for them? Are we still trapped in the 1920s? Or the 1950s? Have we not moved away from labelling activities based on the supposed gender of the appropriate participants? Have we not decided as a culture to allow children and adults alike to explore and express themselves as they see fit?

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I ♥️ all of☝???? people.

A post shared by Sean Szeps (@seanszeps) on

ADVERTISEMENT

I thought we had, but it’s clear we have more work to do.

We all need to be careful with the language we use, and the assumptions we make.

Prince George should be able to participate in ballet, without ridicule. Him doing so sets an important precedent for young men everywhere who consider themselves dancers.

Because dance isn’t a “girls thing”, it’s a human thing.

Sean Szeps is a freelance writer, host of The Baby Bubble podcast, and male dancer. 

Beautiful, expecting women. Take our short survey to win $100.

MMSurvey
00:00 / ???