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The Radio City Music Hall Rockettes!!! A feminist perspective…

November 30, 2008
me and mom at radio city music hall

me and mom at radio city music hall

uh oh…here she goes!  the femi-nazi analyzing that which should not be analyzed.  how many of you are sick of hearing “why can’t you just enjoy something for a change?”  “why can’t you just watch something and not analyze it?” “why do you have to ruin everything?”  well feminists, here’s your answer: “Because I want to.  and if you don’t like it, then mooooooooooooooooove right along!”  Which brings me to my topic tonight: The Radio City Music Hall Rockettes Xmas Show.

Last night, with much chagrin, I took my mom to see the Radio City Music Hall Xmas show complete with the Rockettes and good ole St. Nick himself. To my surprise, it was quite beautiful.  I had never been to radio city music hall and it was absolutely charming, completely decked out with all xmas gear you can imagine.  from the garlands and tinsel to the giant, shining xmas tree chandelier, it was a child’s xmas fantasy.  My mom had bought tix for the tuesday night show, and i thought we had tix for wednesday…i realized this on wednesday.  SO! i forked out $150 so i would not disappoint the woman who put me through 5 years of undergraduate college, not to mention 10 yrs of piano lessons, 5 yrs of ballet and tap, and a myriad of other ridiculous kid things in order to make me the glorious woman i am now.  so i paid for my mom and i to go see the xmas spectacular!  oye.

the auditorium was absolutely gorgeous, and i was really excited.  then…it started…um…hm…the decorations were gorgeous….um…okay.  so the music was not so great, the music they made up for the show i mean.  the singers were pretty good, but a little over-the-top (but for something called an xmas spectacular! what should i expect right?)  then the rockettes emerged.  perfect, skinny, same size, weight, height, white teeth rockettes kicking away.  i could hear the men panting in the row in front of me as they watched these women jingle and jangle their way in skimpy reindeer uniforms.  then, when i thought it couldn’t get any worse, Santa Claus came out, harnessed the 20+ rockettes to his sleigh, and they carried him to nyc.  hm…okay.  call me crazy, but i have a HUGE problem with this.  i know, i know, I KNOW!  it’s just an xmas show.  but i think there’s more to it than that.  here are these women who, by conventional beauty standards, are perfect, servicing an old white man in what most feminists and animal rights advocates would call slavery.  not to mention the fact that they had LIVE animals on stage for the (gulp) nativity scene.  i’m not saying madison square garden (owns radio city)  believes in slavery, but i have to say i was uncomfortable with this particular choice of stories.

the show truly was magnificent.  the lights and the effects were too good to be true, and had i seen this as a youngster i would have gone nuts and immediately want to grow up and be a rockette (though as my mother told me around age 13 ‘you’re too short to be a rockette’)  this is true, one must be between 5’6″ and 5’10” to be a rockette…i guess it makes sense because of the kicking line…oh fuck it, it’s stupid.  am i jealous?  of course i’m fucking jealous!  i’m only 5’2″ and weigh more than probably 2 of them put together, but i need to return to my own reality that these beauty standards come from men, ad agencies, men, television, men, media, and did i mention men?  rush Limbaugh (EW!) says that most feminists are ugly and that’s why they’re so angry.  this is not true.  i may not be conventionally attractive, but many men and women find me attractive and appealing, so clearly that’s not it.  we obviously need to tweak our standards of beauty to be more inclusive so little girls, who say they want to be an empowered rockette, feel it is within their reach and do not grow up with low self-esteem and a height complex (just speculating folks, totally hypothetical).

so my rating of the Radio City Music Hall Xmas Spectacular?  no rating, but lots of comments.  it was a beautiful show, but i think the real reason for the season should be bringing awareness to more than just 4 ft long legs and the baby jesus; it should be about realizing how warped our visions of beauty are and how disrespectful media is to women, and make more people aware of it.  and as awesome as the toy soldier line-up was, the men in front of me are examples that we are not even near the end of misogyny or patriarchy.

so go feminists!!!  UNITE!  and write!

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