should girls be allowed to do live.?

sgrewal30

Member
Messages
609
you dont know whos judging when you apply to a comp its a gamble but to perform and be told girls shouldn't be dancing is terrible. it's unfair and pointless. girls can do any other hobby, bhangra is no different.
 

faysal

New Member
Messages
889
I always said if AMPD for example compete outside of cali they'd place, and look at that, first comp elsewhere they did. Cali competitions with ignorant judges don't deserve high quality performances from girls teams if they can't be appreciated. I feel like this wouldn't even be an issue or as much of one on the east coast either since they take on mostly ex dancers from the previous generation rather than still relying on "aunties and uncles" who are open to such ignorance.
 

yraparla

SwizzeeMusic.com
Messages
2,072
I'll post a more substantial comment tomorrow but just a quick perspective for people (I've only been in california for 6 months only been to bruin, bulldog and dda in the past year, so I don't have the whole picture of the scene here but I have had some conversations with the judges):


I spoke to one of these 'ignorant' judges recently and they're point was: 'To me girls doing bhangra is vulgar and obscene in the way that it would be if they got on stage in bikini and shook their behinds for 8 minutes.'


I know the immediate reaction is to scoff and dismiss the ridiculous analogy and representative ideology, but DON'T do that, at least not as a knee-jerk reaction. These older people have a viewpoint and it's important to at least attempt to understand why. At the very least so we can learn how to better filter them out.


What I got out of this conversation (And similar ones with other aunties and uncles) is that they[these old-school people] don't see girls doing Bhangra as 'wrong' in the moral sense, but 'wrong' in an aesthetic notion. To them, Bhangra is a fundamentally masculine dance (with giddha as the counterpart I suppose), and to see girls doing it is uncomfortable to them and aesthetically unappealing. Yes, it may come from an increasingly archaic gender framework, but leaving it there doesn't solve the problem or bridge the gap.


I once tried to explain to a non-desi person why we didn't have our girls thigh slap (which we did to avoid losing points with some judges). But it's pretty hard to explain the notion of a purely masculine move. By and large those barriers have been brought down in American culture. The closest thing I could think of would be maybe grabbing your balls? Think about girls grabbing their imaginary balls as a dance step, and imagine your parents watching a show with girls grabbing their imaginary balls. That's how this older generation sometimes sees girls+bhangra. It's crazy yes, but I don't think any of us would complain if that was what was on stage (the flaw in this analogy of course is that guys are not on stage grabbing their balls, but again I can't think of anything truly equivalent)


My rambling point is that yes, the judges absolutely need to change. And yes, girls are getting shafted, especially here in California. But I think we hype it up in the wrong way. To me, it's not about equality of girls and guys, at least not directly. It's more about gender notions with the older generation, a fundamental gap in the aesthetic appeal of girls performing the dance. That's not something that can be rationalized or argued with, but I also don't think it's something to dismiss as ignorance. How is a subjective assessment of a dances appeal considered ignorance? It's a preference that is out of touch and has no place in today's circuit. There are very many of you that would laugh and deride a guy if he put on a dress and played the role of a girl in a traditional ballroom dance style....I think that's somewhat similar situation, and a decent analogy.


We need to replace those judges with ones who better reflect the diversity of NA bhangra, but we should also respect and understand why the generation before us has the issues. The judges I met (again, a small spectrum) were definitely not qualified to judge in today's circuit, but they also weren't malevolent, sexist pigs that wanted girls in the kitchen (There are those evil judges sure, but even the female judges I met expressed the aforementioned lack of comfort with the girls' style of dancing these days).


I have a feeling I'm gonna get misunderstood and just torn up here cause it's a sensitive topic, but I thought I'd share the perspective I saw. I'm not saying there isn't an issue, or that there is clear sexist bias. I'm just trying to say that it's not always ignorance, and to share some of these judges' viewpoint. Since I'm not a girl, I probably don't see the rudeness, condescension, and patronization that the girls see. But I also wonder if the judges are just awful at explaining their viewpoint. Definitely took me 30 minutes of conversation to understand what they were saying.
 

Kaur

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,294
Power to females who do live bhangra, its great that you are sticking tot he roots of bhangra and not dancing to music because you think you have no other choice.

But in my opinion based on how a guys body is composed the height, the broad shoulders, bigger legs/arms and then adding a paag on top just makes them look better.

A girl can get as low as she wants on a jugni, and have the exact same form and technique as a guy but I still think the guy would look better doing it just because thats the way I have been exposed to bhangra.

Dont get me wrong, there are some girls out there who would shit on guy dancers, and Iam sure there is a bias and some judges are sexist when it comes to girls and live bhangra. But at the same time I can see where judges at times are coming from especially if they are focusing only on technique and form.
 

sartajjudge

New Member
Messages
609
I think girls are definitely an asset to competitive Bhangra. For instance, DCBC always does a good job, and VCU has a lot of great female talent.
 

Bharathi

Member
Messages
336
Awesome posts, lots of informative content.

Personally I was blown away by watching some recent up and coming all girls teams, live or music. They schooled some of the guys teams they were competing against and really made every woman in the audience proud.

If you find competition judges are biased, think twice before applying to that comp? Or any comp featuring such judges? I've seen a lot of bigger name competitions announce their judging panel well in advance of the competition lately which I think is fantastic. Jawani is really selective about where we compete for those exact reasons, when we were a baby team we totally got the whole "your routine was good but it looks like it should be in a filmi competition" or "why don't you have any guys on your team?" or "very nice but not strong enough". All of this feedback just furthered our resolve to move forward with our team instead of collapsing it or adding boys to make it co-ed.

Power to the (female) people! Woooooooooooooooooo!
 

Yankee Saini

ਅਣਖ ਨਾਲ ਜੇ ਜਿਊਣਾ ਤਾਂ ਗੁਰੂ ਦੀ ਮੇਹਰ ਜ਼ਰੂਰੀ ਏ ll
Messages
714
just bhangra! lokan da ki aa, oh tan bolde e rehnde aa! ;D
 

KDave

New Member
Messages
37
We won't be able to change those judges minds right away.... but the more comps we do and the more we are recognized, hopefully the judges will realize that time has changed and they will have to get used to girls doing bhangra to music or live. It isnt just live bhangra that judges dont want to see girls performing to, but it is to music as well.

If you believe that those certain judges will never change their mind, but if we try as much as we can then thats all that matters to us. We shouldnt and will not stop just because of people who don't like girls performing.

I agree, sometimes a male dancer looks better doing a certain move, but for us we want to look good as a team and it is still taking us time to figure out what and how we want to make our sets that fit our image. It is hard and frustrating because we dont have a coach, we dont have someone outside of our team making our sets, we learned by ourselves by watching india videos and our captain makes the sets with the amount of research she gathers. All of that is not trying to prove 1st or 2nd place, but to prove that we want to succeed as girls doing live team no matter how much time it will take.

We do not see it as wasting our time at comps because we do comps to also have fun and enjoy being with our team and meeting new people... thats part of the bhangra world. Live is what we want to do and getting as close as we can to change sexist judges minds is good enough. If they dont, then who cares... we will still be doing our thing. The audience, bhangra scene, and videos will show our talent if judges dont appreciate it.
 

Saleem

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Messages
1,929
It's very important for competitions to publish who is judging, because the biases that people have mentioned above are huge and will change the results of a competition. I have seen girls teams go and kick ass on-stage, and have had to fight for their rightful placings over nonsensical criticism of "girls should do X but not Y". A lot of teams don't take it into consideration until it's too late.
 

voxanimus

<('.'<) (>'.')>
Messages
1,685
Swi said:

I'll post a more substantial comment tomorrow but just a quick perspective for people (I've only been in california for 6 months only been to bruin, bulldog and dda in the past year, so I don't have the whole picture of the scene here but I have had some conversations with the judges):


I spoke to one of these 'ignorant' judges recently and they're point was: 'To me girls doing bhangra is vulgar and obscene in the way that it would be if they got on stage in bikini and shook their behinds for 8 minutes.'


I know the immediate reaction is to scoff and dismiss the ridiculous analogy and representative ideology, but DON'T do that, at least not as a knee-jerk reaction. These older people have a viewpoint and it's important to at least attempt to understand why. At the very least so we can learn how to better filter them out.


What I got out of this conversation (And similar ones with other aunties and uncles) is that they[these old-school people] don't see girls doing Bhangra as 'wrong' in the moral sense, but 'wrong' in an aesthetic notion. To them, Bhangra is a fundamentally masculine dance (with giddha as the counterpart I suppose), and to see girls doing it is uncomfortable to them and aesthetically unappealing. Yes, it may come from an increasingly archaic gender framework, but leaving it there doesn't solve the problem or bridge the gap.


I once tried to explain to a non-desi person why we didn't have our girls thigh slap (which we did to avoid losing points with some judges). But it's pretty hard to explain the notion of a purely masculine move. By and large those barriers have been brought down in American culture. The closest thing I could think of would be maybe grabbing your balls? Think about girls grabbing their imaginary balls as a dance step, and imagine your parents watching a show with girls grabbing their imaginary balls. That's how this older generation sometimes sees girls+bhangra. It's crazy yes, but I don't think any of us would complain if that was what was on stage (the flaw in this analogy of course is that guys are not on stage grabbing their balls, but again I can't think of anything truly equivalent)


My rambling point is that yes, the judges absolutely need to change. And yes, girls are getting shafted, especially here in California. But I think we hype it up in the wrong way. To me, it's not about equality of girls and guys, at least not directly. It's more about gender notions with the older generation, a fundamental gap in the aesthetic appeal of girls performing the dance. That's not something that can be rationalized or argued with, but I also don't think it's something to dismiss as ignorance. How is a subjective assessment of a dances appeal considered ignorance? It's a preference that is out of touch and has no place in today's circuit. There are very many of you that would laugh and deride a guy if he put on a dress and played the role of a girl in a traditional ballroom dance style....I think that's somewhat similar situation, and a decent analogy.


We need to replace those judges with ones who better reflect the diversity of NA bhangra, but we should also respect and understand why the generation before us has the issues. The judges I met (again, a small spectrum) were definitely not qualified to judge in today's circuit, but they also weren't malevolent, sexist pigs that wanted girls in the kitchen (There are those evil judges sure, but even the female judges I met expressed the aforementioned lack of comfort with the girls' style of dancing these days).


I have a feeling I'm gonna get misunderstood and just torn up here cause it's a sensitive topic, but I thought I'd share the perspective I saw. I'm not saying there isn't an issue, or that there is clear sexist bias. I'm just trying to say that it's not always ignorance, and to share some of these judges' viewpoint. Since I'm not a girl, I probably don't see the rudeness, condescension, and patronization that the girls see. But I also wonder if the judges are just awful at explaining their viewpoint. Definitely took me 30 minutes of conversation to understand what they were saying.
i totally agree with you Swi; a lot of the supposed "misogyny" going around the bhangra circuit is less extreme than it's being portrayed. like you said, i think it boils down to an older aesthetic preference, and the holding of similarly "traditional" views on gender roles. neither of these are particularly extreme and, for the most part, don't really come from chauvinism.

i think the problem is how these biases translate into judging. a nebulous aesthetic dislike for female bhangra often translates, like saleem said, into arbitrary, procrustean requirements teams cannot, and should not, be expected to anticipate, like "i marked you down because you did jugni and i dont like it." dance judging is going to be subjective, but it shouldn't be completely unpredictable.

i think the problem stems from a pervasive lack of transparency in the circuit. this has definitely been brought up before, but the issue of female dancers falling victim to judge distaste is really only an issue because they didn't know who or what was going to be sitting behind the judging table beforehand, and what those people liked and didn't like. sports with similarly subjective judging (competitive bhangra in NA is almost a sport, at this point) are extremely upfront about the entire judging process--the scores of each judge are always published, often soon after judging, the method by which individual scores translate to placings is clear, and the requirements that are to be judged are not something teams have to guess at.

the thing that bothers me is that i feel that it would be an extremely easy problem to fix. comps could just, after they're over, publish the name and scores of each judge, as well as announce who is going to be judging beforehand. teams then could easily make their own judgments, based on a particular judge's past record, what they need to or do not need to incorporate into their routine, etc. of course, it'll take a bit of time for each judge to build up a record, but even without one, notifying competitors pre-competition of who is going to be judging would be enormously beneficial. this is definitely a more feasible fix than attempting to re-educate judges about bhangra in general or the increasing obsolescence of a binary gender model. tasks like phasing out the judging "old guard" are pretty tall orders, and i see interim fixes as quite necessary.

correct me if i'm wrong about any of this; i see from bharathi's post that some comps are starting to announce their judges ahead of time already. i'm speaking from a removed position, so there's bound to be things that i've said that are inaccurate. most people are not going to give a crap about what i said, because i'm not on a team, but this is something i've thought out before, so i wanted to share.
 

Ajay.H

New Member
Messages
142
Crazy respect for Kavina's comments and AMPD's attitude, as well as other girls teams holding it down. In any aspect of life, it's a very tough thing to put in a tremendous amount of work and not get the credit you deserve, especially knowing that the reason behind that may have absolutely 0% to do with the amount of work, passion, or commitment you have put in.
 

Aneeta

New Member
Messages
92
These are legitimate concerns that should be brought up w/ competition organizers' that include these sort of biased judges in their panels. I truly believe it's the moral responsibility of committees to ensure that this sort of biased does not take place at their competition and if they make the mistake of choosing a judge who holds these biased, they should make sure not to welcome them at their competition in the future. It's something that can easily be seen after the show through score sheets and comments.
I think AMPD is doing a great job w/ their team. Salute to all girls' teams! =)
 

HarmanSingh

New Member
Messages
532
There is more misogyny from male teams towards female teams than from judges towards teams. We have all seen the way guys teams behave at competitions, but it is a generally ignored topic.
 

voxanimus

<('.'<) (>'.')>
Messages
1,685
HarmanSingh said:
There is more misogyny from male teams towards female teams than from judges towards teams. We have all seen the way guys teams behave at competitions, but it is a generally ignored topic.
hahha i think that's a topic for a different day; i'd guess that it stems more from objectification of women than antiquated ideologies.
 

G.Grewal

New Member
Messages
46
AMPD being the best example, I'm happy our competition helped prove females have the ability to not only dance live but can set themselves just as good as all male live teams. In my eyes not only should girls dance live but the judging should be fair.. regardless its no different than an all girls music team, females dance.. just this time being on dhol
- AMPD keep up the good work you girls have really proven something
 

sukhman_hundal

Shaan Punjab Di (SPD)
Messages
24
KDave said:
As a girl who does live bhangra and started out competing with AMPD (all girls live team), we have always faced judges at every comp in California who has some sexist point of view. And when one of the judges told us at Nachda Punjab 2010 that girls should not be doing live bhangra or bhangra at all, it struck us hard. However, that night changed our team in a good way. We became much more confident and motivated to strive and improve from our mistakes. We dont compare ourselves to other male live teams- yes, we do have to see what they have to offer, but in the end live bhangra is a general thing.
It is a positive activity which people love to do. If males have passion for it then y should they care if woman perform it? If male judges love live bhangra and the tradition behind it then they should not care who performs it, but who comes out the best either all male, co-ed , or all girls team. Now, when we hear a judge briefly talk about us girls doing live we ignore it. It is old news for us.

It sucks because committee members choose female judges as well which seems fair, but honestly the male judges take over. We talked to a woman judge from a past recent comp in California, and when we went to the hotel we saw her. We came up to her and talked to her about the competition and how she liked it. She was very depressed and she said that she does not want to judge anymore because of the politics behind judging with male judges. She said that her idea of placings were very different and she felt as if the male judges took over her judgement.

We do live bhangra to show the world that girls doing live bhangra is accepted and should be in everyones eyes. We do it because we love traditional bhangra and the meaning behind it. We dont go to comps for placings at all... if we place then we know we deserved it and if we did not place then we know we need to work harder.

We always hear that some moves we do, like dhmaal or jugni, should not be performed by us, however, we believe that if we want to do live bhangra we either do it all or not. We cant take out segments just because some people think it looks wrong for us to do. That is not traditional bhangra. There are certain things that have to be done in a live set. If we can perform the moves with our style and if it is on point then why should it matter if we perform it?

When we went to Canada for RPVD 2 weekends ago, it was a very different environment. The people respect girls doing bhangra to the top. We were so surprised and happy with the amount of support we received there. After the show, the judges came up to us. They were honest and told us our mistakes to help us improve, but at the same time they told us that we r on the right track and deserved the 2nd placing that we received. I wish California male judges had the same mind set as Canadian judges, but that is just something we will have to work with and have been.

It will take alot to change some of the sexist, male judges opinions, but it will happen with everyones support and hopefully there will be more girls live teams!
Of course there are ppl who disagree with girls doing live and we respect that, but when it comes to competitions male judges should be open- minded and they should realize that this is a different time where woman have power in the circuit.

+1 Kavbot doing gaaaaaaaad beepbopboop
 

gulludholi

New Member
Messages
14
Being a part of 3D now for about year has def has proved that calis judging system is all bad sumtimes! I won't name any ppl but a judge gave us a 50/100 because we were a coed team. Its soooo frustrating when shit like that happens cuz its soo discouraging sometimes to the teambut honestly its become such a problem we just go out on stage n are like f*** it let's do bhangra! We go out on stage with the mentality of presenting live bhangra the real and right way n the fact that we have girls tearin it up is just something cali judges will have to accept. I understand why some judges think the way that they do but they need to realize that we are in the 21st century! Props to all the girls dancing out there presenting live bhangra and keepin our virsa alive and running!
 

Harman

Member
Messages
189
Man or woman, a person should be able to dance bhangra regardless. Judges claiming bhangra should be strictly for men are only oppressing the dance. A woman dancing pure, traditional bhangra is a form of beauty in itself. People claiming some moves arent so aesthetically pleasing are following rules not set by bhangra. But rather they are conforming to what society believes what women look good doing. To all the females out there dancing bhangra, whether it may be live or music, keep doing what your doing.
 

samreen1991

New Member
Messages
33
Everything said already has pretty much done the job. But really now?...."allowed"?? -__- come on, it's a free country and culture is ever-changing so girls are capable of doing anything we put our minds to :)
 
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