Ballet Boy: Modes of Masculinity and Women as Objects

Kendra Carson

Beer: the ultimate symbol of manliness. The protagonist of this ad chugs his beer (in the most masculine of ways, “gender done”) and leaves his friends at the bar for a very different kind of barre dance class, which they all laugh at him for. No man would do ballet–what benefit would it have for him? Especially not for men who drink beer. (Gender un-done?!?!)

Still, “Ballet Boy” goes on to class donning pointe shoes and normal man gym clothes (which no real male dancer would get away with in ballet). At class it is apparent that the ratio of these female ballerina object-things to Ballet Boy are like a bagillion to one! Best part of class for Ballet Boy? Partner time. He gets to touch those female ballerina object-things wherever he wants because that’s how classical ballet works. They don’t even notice when he stops to “tie his shoe” under their crotch.

Ballet Boy’s friends return to find that they have been outsmarted! He knows. Which makes him worthy of another manly beer. The whole commercial is a trick! Ballet Boy appears at the onset to be SUUUUPER manly, but then we gasp because he’s actually totally a girl for going to ballet… oh wait! He’s clever for doing so as it allows him to get close to really hot female ballerina object-things and even touch them! Clever shortcuts are masculine, too! (Gender done.)

 

“Gender Done” theme references the work of Judith Lorber:

Lorber, Judith. “The Social Construction of Gender.” Reconstructing Gender: A Multicultural Anthology. By Estelle Disch. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2006. 113-20. Print.

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