Friday, February 26, 2010

Johnny Wier and Rigid Gender Expectations

I had no idea who Johnny Weir was until the whole fur brouhaha occurred, but I'm really glad he caught my eye. I can still remember my grandma watching figure skating for hours on end when I was a kid. I was immensely impressed with Scott Hamilton's back flips at the time, but beyond that I was never really interested.

When the fur issue did catch my attention though, beyond my general thoughts that wearing real fur is completely unnecessary and barbaric (though vintage fur and fake fur are all good), I didn't really give Weir any extra thought. It did make me interested in him enough to read a post on some comments two Canadian broadcasters made some pretty fucked up comments during his Olympic performance though.

From NY Daily News:
"This may not be politically correct, but do you think he lost points due to his costume and his body language?" Mailhot said.

Goldberg responded that Weir's graceful mannerisms take the muscle out of male figure skating and damage the sport.

"They'll think all the boys who skate will end up like him," he said. "It sets a bad example."

The men suggested that Weir, a three-time U.S. national figure skating champ, should take a gender test — and that he should skate against women.
Seriously, wtf? Unfortunately these comments aren’t really that surprising and are a perfect example of how two-dimensional our gender is seen by a lot of people. Anything remotely “flamboyant” is feminine and anything “aggressive” male.

Weir’s comments were pretty much all I could hope for though:

It makes me wonder what it says about our society when a male figure skater isn’t even allowed to wear sequins without his gender being called into question.

Holden, I promise we'll love you even if you grow up to wear sparkly hot pink leotards and dance to pop music. In fact, I think I'd love you more. Just kidding. Mostly...

And just cause it's too awesome not to post, here's Weir skating to Lady Gaga's Poker Face:


  1. Johnny is awesome, and I love that he is unafraid to be himself. His Pokerface routine was UH-MAY-ZING.

  2. Have you been watching Be Good Johnny Weir? I love him. Also, I have a "Standards of Beauty" post planned with him. He is fabulous. "Peace, bitches."

    I love him for speaking his mind and being him, regardless. I am a little torn on his reluctance to say he's gay though. Like, I get that he doesn't *have* to say it, because DUH. And that it shouldn't matter. But I also feel like visibility is so important now, you know.

    My favorite Johnny quote?
    On figure skating being seen as a 'gay' sport: "I think it's the costumes and music that turns most men off. They want to see spandexed men hitting each other's ass and throwing a ball. It's *very different*."

  3. Meg: I totally agree. He's bringing the drama to skating and I LOVE it.

    Brit: I almost included that quote too! I totally love it. I heard about his show yesterday when I was looking up information, but I didn't realize it was on now. I will have to look for it (I'm pretty sure I get the Sundance channel).

    I kind of like that he doesn’t talk about his sexuality. At first I felt the same way about Mika (like just tell us!). But when he finally talked about his sexuality I was actually a little disappointed. Maybe it’s because I think a little ambiguity is a good thing. I don’t know. I think I’m looking at this from more of a gender expectations way then I am sexual orientation (because I agree with you that the exposure is really good). Once a lot of people find out famous people are gay or bisexual, the whole conversation about gender shuts down since a lot of people equate being gay with adopting certain characteristics with the opposite gender. Did all that make sense? I just woke up. lol

    I look forward to your post though. I am now a Weir fan for sure. :)


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