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 Post subject: Is It Fair? Is it Legal?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2000 1:56 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
In pas de deux class one day, I said to my partner "isn't this fun?" and he replied - "yes, it is, and even more so because it is free."<P>Well, it wasn't free for me - I was paying for the class. I soon came to realize that all the men in the class were there "on scholarship" regardless of ability to pay. And, all the women were paying for the class, also regardless of ability to pay.<P>While I realize the dearth of men in ballet class and the need for them, it seems to me that a case can be made for the unfairness - and even illegality of basing payment or lack thereof on gender (just as it would for race).<P>At an informal dinner party, I asked a guest who was an attorney about this, and he said that it is indeed open to question - and a case can be made that it is against the law.<P>I have never heard of the reverse - in a profession where women are in the minority given special treatment when it comes to paying for classes. <P>What say you? <BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Is It Fair? Is it Legal?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2000 2:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Canberra, Australia
Wow Basheva - that's outrageous. I'm an AUSTRALIAN lawyer, with a strong background in anti discrimination law. Obviously, I don't know the US law on this but here in Australia, you would have a legitimate claim for sex discrimination under the Sex Discrimiantion Act. Yes, I understand that men are hard to find in ballet class and I can understand a studio wanting to try this approach, but to me it's appalling. They could at LEAST have a formal scholarship program. Perhaps you should suggest that they institute one (either on the basis of financial hardship or talent) because you're 'concerned' that they may be leaving themselves open to lawsuit.........?<P>Danni Image


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 Post subject: Re: Is It Fair? Is it Legal?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2000 4:44 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Danni - I would do this, but it is not at the present place at which I take lessons. It's really just the teacher and I and a couple of others - we are friends.<P>But this is very pervasive - all over the country. It's not just one area or in one studio at all. Actually every studio I have ever been at that had men in ballet class. And, for the most part the teachers want it that way because they need the men, the men aren't going to complain. And, for the most part the women are young - and don't like to shake the boat either. <P>Basheva <------------boat shaker par excellence.


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 Post subject: Re: Is It Fair? Is it Legal?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2000 4:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
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Location: Australia
basheva, i see you are suiting your signature line to the topic! Image well done!<P>danni - excellent answer - thank you.<P>however, where is the line crossed, between (legal) 'positive discrimination' and the above stuff which you both want to take (legal) exception to?<P>i have no opinion here - i'm usually inclined towards the practical, but i am also strongly a person of principle! <P>'positive discrimination' hits this conflict square on.....<P>

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 Post subject: Re: Is It Fair? Is it Legal?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2000 6:09 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
What is positive discrimination? Is it the same thing that here in the United States is called Affirmative Action? If so, that is being overturned in state after state - even here in LA LA land otherwise known as California.<P>Affirmative Action is an insult to the people that it is meant to help. <P>But, in the case of males in ballet - they need no "help" - they are not given scholarships because they cannot afford the lessons. Whilst, I know for a fact there were many of the women who were in financial need. But the women were expendable........<P>I believe that any group that is artificially favored above another - for whatever reason - is at the expense of others...and therefore crosses the legal as well as the ethical line.<P>------------------<BR>Approach life as a dancer approaches the barre, with grace and purpose.


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 Post subject: Re: Is It Fair? Is it Legal?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2000 3:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Canberra, Australia
Hi Basheva - the exceptions I know of in discrimination cases here in Australia are not about affirmative action as stated in the US (as I understand it). Two examples of exceptions spring readily to mind:<P>1. A women's health service (exclusivley for women) was ruled by a Tribubal here not to be unlawfully discriminatory because it served a legitimate and seperate function given the focus of the service (there are several, Australia wide) on reproductive health and assisting women with problems of violence etc. From memory the argument was that it was beneficial to women in these circumstances to have a dedicated health service where men did not attend.<P>2. A male gay club into which women were not allowed. Similar argument succeeded - men could be themselves with no threat etc. (Bit hazy on the details of this one - I'll look it up if I can scrape some time together but work is pretty frantic at the moment). <P>Up until last year we had in Australia an Act called the Affirmative Action for Women in the Workforce Act (or something along those lines). Even that didn't follow the same line as US AA programs. It was more about companies assuring that women weren't discriminated against and companies reporting on levels of women employed and than anything else. The name of the Act has since changed to something more low key (sorry, it's a very long name and I've forgotten it for now!).<P>Hope that helps a bit.<BR>Danni Image


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 Post subject: Re: Is It Fair? Is it Legal?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2000 4:06 pm 
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Location: Australia
obviously danni (a lawyer) is better placed to comment on legalities. how handy! but males in dance are few and far between, so people often act in ways which will encourage them, as much for their own needs as for the good of the art form (e.g. dance teachers needing boys in the show, coaches needing pas de deux partners, etc). it is not about financial need, but um, er....the need for lift-ers & a bit of testosterone......haha....

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 Post subject: Re: Is It Fair? Is it Legal?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2000 5:17 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I understand the need only too well - it is the remedy I question. <P>If you have a class full of teenagers - the boys are there for free and the girls are paying - that sends a message to the girls. <P>I can understand separate health needs - and even social needs (like the gay groups cited above), but in the case of ballet class both genders are present and needed. A separate ballet class for boys and girls is understandable. But here you have both genders in the same class......one half pays and one half doesn't. <P>A private club can exclude certain groups (at their political peril like the Boy Scouts in the United States) but in a ballet class both groups are welcome - not excluded - but treated differently. <P>If this division happened along racial lines - an outcry would occur - and rightly so. No less should it occur along gender lines. Need is not an excuse to discrimination. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Is It Fair? Is it Legal?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2000 10:49 pm 
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Location: Australia
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>If this division happened along racial lines - an outcry would occur - and rightly so.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>i don't know if it WOULD! Image<P>for example, in endeavouring to get more aboriginal children into dance, if a teacher offered to teach them for free, in the same class as other kids who WERE paying....what do you think, danni?

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 Post subject: Re: Is It Fair? Is it Legal?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2000 12:41 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 774
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
One way to go about it is to get a representative organization of a group of people to pay for the classes, and then have the participants do something for their organization. Perhaps perform or write about their experiences. Then the courses aren't really free - won't seem unfair to children who aren't part of the organization and won't be a patronizing "we know you can't afford this" handout to the children who are. <P>I know it's regular practice to give a price break to students that also do extra work - cleaning up, helping with mailouts, etc. This and the kind of program I mentioned above or other creative ways to make ends meet for people of various backgrounds make far better solutions for all than just "free" stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Is It Fair? Is it Legal?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2000 6:17 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I have no problem with scholarships for those who have a problem with paying for classes. But, what I am talking about here are free classes NOT based on need - solely on gender.


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 Post subject: Re: Is It Fair? Is it Legal?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2000 9:04 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 717
Location: California
I was never on FULL scholarship anywhere I studied. I was always required to pay something(determined by said school) and then clean bathrooms, wash studio floors and mirrors, attend all classes requiring men(pas de deux, dance history, mens class of course, character class and of course regular technique class.)Community outreach played a part in it too as well as running guest teachers around town and serving at various board luncheons,etc.<BR>DH


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 Post subject: Re: Is It Fair? Is it Legal?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2000 11:12 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
It sounds to me, David, like you paid in full for your classes - through cash and your services to the studio.


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 Post subject: Re: Is It Fair? Is it Legal?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2000 11:52 am 
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Location: Anchorage, Alaska
I understand what you're talking about Basheva - and am saying I think flat-out free classes for anyone, near-regardless of circumstance - are a crummy idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Is It Fair? Is it Legal?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2000 5:03 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 4725
Location: Australia
basheva, all you have to do is implement priscilla's excellent suggestion: get the men's organisation (there IS one, isn't there? Image ) to pay for the mens classes, then get each of the individual men to do some tasks FOR the organisation....(you know, dish washing, paperwork, cleaning the floors, etc) - they'd be so willing, wouldn't they, to earn their pas de deux classes that way?<P>priscilla, NOT rubbishing your idea, which is worth remembering for such a situation if it came up here, but when i see analogies (if that's the right word) i always 'convert' literally into the situation it's being applied to, and when i did that one, it just got too funny! hope you appreciate it too... Image

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