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Is it just me? X-Factor...

(35 Posts)
robindeer Sat 01-Nov-14 22:48:57

The dancers.

Is it just me who finds semi-nude, writhing women slightly inappropriate on what is supposedly a family show? It's practically required viewing for many pre-teens and teenagers, is it really okay to see women on their backs with their legs apart in front of a group of pubescent boys? Or in denim cut-offs thrusting into a contestant, mouths open, porn-style?

I know I don't have to watch it...

JubJubBirds Sat 01-Nov-14 23:03:08

'I know I don't have to watch it...'
I think you just solved your own dilemma there grin

You are right though. Last week was all legs.

MrsGolightly Sat 01-Nov-14 23:04:36

Agree entirely - inappropriate and demeaning.

PuffinsAreFicticious Sat 01-Nov-14 23:06:57

I don't watch it, sorry. The whole format is grim and train crash TV. There was a woman on one of the other threads who has worked with/trained some of the dancers who work on X Factor who had some things to say about it. Can't remember which thread, but if you're interested, I could hunt it out for you?

oneofthosenicemuslims2015 Sat 01-Nov-14 23:10:40

Thank goodness it's not just me! I am watching with DCs every week like this hmmconfused
Wtf is with the porn faces?! Is this some kind of new fangled dance or do these women have an inability to writhe about without having their mouths hanging open. <complete prude>

robindeer Sat 01-Nov-14 23:41:24

If you don't mind puffin, thank you.

I know I should just change the channel but I find myself drawn in by the mindlessness of it (newborn baby related exhaustion?) and then can't look away from the slack-jawed gyrating ladies...

Seriously though. It's not just inappropriate, it's downright bizarre that this is okay for "family entertainment". So pleased I'm not the only one who is sick of seeing arses wobbling into amateur singers for the entertainment of 12yr old girls.

AsAMan Sun 02-Nov-14 08:54:23

You're not the only one. And they can;t even pretend it's not geared toward children can they? Some of the performers are only 14 aren't they?

oneofthosenicemuslims2015 Sun 02-Nov-14 09:41:11

Tbh I think they reel you in with the "family entertainment" but the show lasts til past 9pm so technically they can show all this crap and get away with it.

Pisses me off as I'm not sure how to counter this with DCs but I find it unacceptable that every bloomin routine has to have half naked women with the dodgy expressions. What kind of message does that give?

Only watched the first half last night as was DCs bed time but they will no doubt want to watch the rest later. .

YonicScrewdriver Sun 02-Nov-14 10:43:22

I know the dancers are very talented and work hard.

As are the ones in music videos. But I still wish shops where children may go wouldn't show Anaconda at 3pm on a Thursday.

PanIsNotAButterfly Sun 02-Nov-14 11:04:15

I know the dancers are very talented and work hard

and they can also do/be those things with most of their clothes on! - as we know the problem isn't with the dancers, is it?

dd likes X-factor, which kinda means I 'like' X-factor, with her. As 'critically-brained' as she is, it doesn't mean non of this stuff doesn't get through on some level.

The same 'family entertainment' stuff is served up on Strictly, albeit in a different way. Having Tess and Clauds as comperes provides no comfort at all.

PuffinsAreFicticious Sun 02-Nov-14 11:43:54

It was this post, a woman called KateeGee (just in case my copy/paste doesn't land in the right place!)

PanIsNotAButterfly Sun 02-Nov-14 12:36:59

I really liked reading Katees posts there. Obv makes it clear why they can't do what they do with more clothes on, and interesting what she says which I read as 'society's view of dancers is from the outside looking in, and draw conclusions, whereas we/they actually do this thing called dancing looking out.'
Tho' it still doesn;t deal with the slight twerking thing and the orgasm faces that pops up now and again...but good to read.

TobyLerone Sun 02-Nov-14 12:44:33

DH and I were saying the same last week. We came to the conclusion that this must have been their brief in rehearsal:

"Take your clothes off, put on these binbag pants, do some writhing".

"But I'm a classically trained dancer..."


chockbic Sun 02-Nov-14 12:45:49

It's just so grim and predictable.

Even worse, Steve Ritchie is an actor shock

KateeGee Sun 02-Nov-14 12:49:28


It's me who posted on the other thread, could feel my ears burning.

I've typed a lengthy response but am reluctant to post. I fear being met with ridicule. "Shut up and twerk, bitch", is definitely not how it goes.

PanIsNotAButterfly Sun 02-Nov-14 12:53:40

hi Katee, thanks v much for your posts. Try posting the response please, and ignore the poss ridicule? It'd prob help a lot with comments between me and dd and maybe others.

KateeGee Sun 02-Nov-14 13:01:12

Hi Pan,

I probably will, I have a couple of points to add (I'm gathering my thoughs and typing in between cleaning and getting ready to go to a class with a tv dancer, funnily enough). My other posts about dance were just for illustration on one of the "I wonder why people are reluctant to post on FWR..." threads.

robindeer Sun 02-Nov-14 13:03:11

If there's ridicule, it won't be from me. The dancers themselves are not the problem, it's the culture that says that highly sexualised dancing is normal and suitable for children to see. I have the same issue with music videos, they are basically soft porn and I'm not sure when this happened to female performers.

KateeGee Sun 02-Nov-14 13:13:57

There's nowt new under the sun, Pan's People were doing this in the 70s. So the question is not so much "when did this happen?" as "have we not moved on?"

Scarletohello Sun 02-Nov-14 15:00:49

I was just going to come on this thread and say the exact same thing about Pan's People gyrating around semi naked on TOTP in the 70s.

Not much progress at all there...

KateeGee Sun 02-Nov-14 18:12:19

In the Anaconda video, Nicki Minaj simulates oral sex with a banana, rubs cream into her breasts, slaps the naked and jiggling buttocks of a dancer wearing a thong, and vigorously rubs her bottom in a man's lap, amongst other things. It is a song that says "look at my fat ass" and the video follows that. Nicki Minaj is not known for being subtle or tasteful, and Anaconda is quite extreme and a world away from X Factor. I'd say it's comparable to the difference between a rom com that shows a couple kissing and canoodling in underwear (which might make me roll my eyes a bit but I wouldn't mind seeing out and about) , and softcore porn which I would be quite shocked to see in a shop at 3pm.

I watched X Factor last night and didn't find any of it that shocking. I am not an X Factor fan really, I find it irritating for other reasons, but I occasionally watch it because other people in my house do. I've caught a few snippets this series. I watched it from the second performance to the end last night, because I had nothing better to do with my Saturday.

The singer with the afro had male and female dancers, the women were wearing long dresses split to the thigh but that's not awful.

The boy band had women dressed as cheerleaders but they looked decent as far as cheerleader outfits go - they were wearing tights and long tops, and their skirts were not ridiculously short. The other group had both male and female dancers, none showing an awful amount of flesh. The final move was flat on their backs with their legs open which in some contexts could look a bit dodgy but with the performance as a whole I don't think it was terrible, it fits in with the choreography.

The Italian man had some women in red lurex catsuits playing devils, in keeping with the song's theme and disco roots - it's a sexy outfit but is it wrong for a woman to wear a sexy outfit on tv? And they were not showing much skin. Alexandra Burke a few years back did a song with topless male dancers in tight leather trousers that you could see their package through - similar sort of thing.

The young girl in the feather skirt who sang Katy Perry's song, she had female dancers in white leotards I think. That's not overtly sexy, leotards are classic dancewear and the performance wasn't a sexy one, it had a black magic theme as far as I could tell.

The most sexualised performance was the guy who sang Meatloaf - he had quite a few women dancing around him wearing black semi opaque tights, red (quite covering) underwear and, over the underwear, black lace leotards that were cut in a way that you could see a bit of buttock. There was a storyline in the performance with a cage. But I still didn't think it overly explicit. They were wearing no less than you might see on a ballerina (is it a high vs low culture thing?), and the theatrics of it were appropriate for the song.

Bearing in mind the theme this week was Halloween - an event notorious for risqué outfits - I think all things considered X Factor was pretty tame last night.

As for the facial expressions, dance is telling a story with your body, and your face is part of that. Sometimes that calls for OTT hammy facial expressions. A blank face or a subtle face wouldn't have the same impact. When you train to dance you usually train to make your moves and your facial expressions big, the idea being that people in the cheap seats can see you on stage. When it's translated onto a high definition tv screen some people might find it a bit much. Also, sometimes dance is supposed to be seductive or sexual, so your face is part of conveying that.

Of the performances I have seen this year, the most Benny Hill-esque have been when the joke act of 2014 (Steve?) sang Rick Astley and Ricky Martin songs. In the Astley one, the dancers were wearing blue mini dresses, in the Martin one they were wearing very small shorts and crop tops. I (very) vaguely know a few of the women who were on stage and am pretty certain that none of them felt exploited or pressured. The context of both performances was pretty much laughing at, not with the singer. I don't think the idea was laughing at the dancers or seeing them as objects - they are more a vehicle for a storyline. The Ricky Martin one probably had the most revealing clothes, but it's a latin themed song, small clothes are the order of the day - in context it was ok. If it were Run DMC they would probably be wearing baggy, masculine hip hop gear.

Although some people say they don't have a problem with the dancers, they have a problem with the system, it can end up disparaging the dancers themselves. Suggesting or joking that dancers are told to "SHUT UP AND TWERK, BITCH!" does not sit well with me. it suggests that the dancers do mot know their own minds and have no agency, and it comes across as a bit dismissive and judgemental towards them.

I think it's all on a scale, I do not deny that this world has a problem when it comes to the objectification of women. There are times that clothes, or lack thereof, is an issue. I know why i might find a male stripper a bit naff and cringy, but find the female equivalent a whole lot more sinister and unsettling. Similarly I know I feel slightly different about a topless male dancer in tight trousers compared to a woman in an equivalent outfit. I get all that. But sometimes I just see entertainment for what it is. Page 3 is awful. Hardcore porn is awful. Blurred Lines was horrible. Anaconda is just a notch down so also quite grim. But I think in its remit as a light entertainment music based show, X Factor is not that awful and oversexed (again, I am not a fan so not defending it because I enjoy it).

There are sometimes when women's clothing is completely inexplicable to me - Hooters waitresses, air stewardesses in some cases... but I think a uniform is quite different from a costume. As a dancer you are doing a performing art, you are a work of art and are there to be visually appealing. The costume is a big part of that. Sure they could have done that Ricky Martin dance in leggings and full length vests but on this occasion they went for something different. It's supposed to be fun, dressing up is fun, play acting is fun. They don't always go for sexualised: the woman with afro sang Lady Marmalade, a song about sex, most recently associated with burlesque and Moulin Rouge. They didn't go down that road though - the dancers had red high waisted trousers, cropped tops and jackets. Nothing extreme really.

Yes the dances could have been done in more modest clothes. Similarly, women out on the town could do their clubbing in jeans or leggings snd t shirts. Indeed many do. But others prefer revealing clothes and there is no problem with that - why the hell shouldn't they enjoy their own bodies? If other people look and think "wow that's attractive" that's not inherently bad, humans are attracted to other people and people like to feel attractive, they're not bad or shallow because of that. I don't see a body as something to be ashamed of and cover up, there is nothing wrong with showing it off if you want to.

I think a woman should be able to wear what she wants, if that's arse flashing hotpants on prime time tv so be it. As that catcalling in NYC video showed, women are objectified whatever they are wearing. They can be walking down the street in black jeans and a t shirt, or they can be bouncing (not even dancing) around Robin Thicke wearing nothing but knickers. I simply think tutting about costumes and dance moves is hitting the wrong target, it's a bit of a red herring. The problem is not the skimpy outfit, but the fact that some people think that women in skimpy outfits are fair game for judgement, unnecessarily crude comments or worse - that goes for your woman in the street the same as the prime time dancer. So the attitudes need to change, not the clothes. Expressing yourself and your sexuality through clothes and movement isn't shameful. Maybe that makes me a terrible feminist, which is why I am reluctant to post here.

YonicScrewdriver Sun 02-Nov-14 18:16:31

Thank you for your post, Katee.

KateeGee Sun 02-Nov-14 18:20:54

Woah that was epic, I thought those were my abridged thoughts, I didn't even say everything I wanted to blush

One other thing, a lot of these dancers who you think are being exploited are among those campaigning for fair pay - to be paid what they are worth according to their skill. Pretty feminist and empowered in my eyes, well more than I am in my humdrum underpaid office job. I've read a few interesting articles about this, will see if I can find any

socially Sun 02-Nov-14 18:28:31

Katee if I could "like" your post, I would smile

I do kind of think that if you sign up to the train wreck that is X Factor then you lose the right to complain tbh. And the costumes are far and away not the worst thing about it....

KateeGee Sun 02-Nov-14 18:31:51

Yes socially, X Factor actually does make me want to eat my own head, the clothes and dancing are probably the best things about it!

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