Tuesday, August 15, 2006

So You Think You're Thin Enough?

Are you following So You Think You Can Dance? They’re down to the final two female dancers, and I can’t help but notice that Donyelle has about 25 pounds on Heidi. I know it’s not just me. Either the contestants themselves or some higher ups on the show notice the discrepancy, too—it’s reflected in their costume choices. While Donyelle is typically covered, often in long pants and sleeves, Heidi’s look is as skin-baring as possible. She gets to wear the sequined skirts, midriff-baring tops, and form-fitting dresses that we’ve come to associate with dancing, skating, pageantry, femininity, and. . . being thin.

When the two performed a number together, wearing two-piece, pin-striped suits, Heidi’s top cut off about four inches above Donyelle’s. It’s interesting how a weight-discrepancy wouldn’t be so obvious amongst male contestants, where costumes aren’t typically as flashy and revealing as they are for the fairer sex.

Let’s be truthful, when it comes to bodies, Heidi’s closer to the American ideal (in more ways than one). Perhaps aided by her boxy shoulders and jutting hips, her lines are angular, and her dancing seems crisp. Notwithstanding technical ability, I wonder how weight and shape will influence our national vote and if it’s possible to evaluate dance without attention to size.

(The two-hour season finale airs tomorrow night.)


Haley-O said...

I cannot wait for tomorrow's show. I'm voting for Heidi--not because of the weight difference. I wanted Allison to win, then Ivan, now Heidi. I'm just not a fan of Donielle's...because she doesn't have the charisma that Heidi has, nor the overt enthusiasm.

The costumes for their duet were APPALLING!!! Not only was Heidi's top cut higher, but her pants were cut lower. It was terrible. Not cool.

I remember having to dance a duet with a skinny girl. I cried. Nuff said.... :S

Beth said...

I'm with Haley about wanting Allison to win. She had it all! Haven't watched last week, but lets be honest, do we all really want to see someone that size in ultra skimpy outfits? She's in great shape, no doubt, but some figures would not be flattered by barely there spandex. Whoever wins will do so bc of talent, charisma, and popularity. Remember Fantasia on Idol? She's not attractive or very thin, but she impressed enough voters to support her and win based on talent I suppose.

drstaceyny said...

haley--I loved Allison, too. At this point, I gotta say I'm with the boys. Re: your duet, that's hard, at any age!

beth--I hope that those factors prevail. I think our appearance standards are a bit higher for dancers than singers, though I'm open to discussion on that. I, for one, would love to see Donyelle in form-fitting gear, though recognize that my preferences are fueled by my philosophy.

Teacher lady said...

I think it comes down to weight, yes, but also to the fact that women's bodies have ALWAYS been open for comment, for display, for "ownership" by men/media, etc., in a way that men's bodies have never been. Those feminist flakes I ate for breakfast sure were delicious!

ps22 said...

I recall Fantasia being pretty slim actually. In terms of what's flattering or not, I think Donyelle and Heidi should wear whatever they feel comfortable in. I personally think most tummy baring shirts are ugly anyway, no matter what kind of bod is wearing them (its only 2006, waaay tooo early to be re-cycling the styles of the late 90's...that's my shallow opinion).

But if Donyelle does wear something tight or not, society has to stop acting like its wrong or an insult when a fuller-figured woman wears tight clothes. Its not a bloody crime like child abuse or something. We need to get some serious perspective.

Kristin said...

Hi there -- I'm a new reader, and I'm glad to have found your blog.

One thing I've noticed watching SYTYCD throughout the season is Donyelle's discomfort in certain situations. Maybe I'm imagining it, projecting it, but sometimes it seems like when she's not dancing, she's uncomfortable standing next to Heidi or with the group in general, like she's holding her breath waiting for the judges to mention her weight (which they have done, even when praising her dancing, it's always "in spite of"). Last week the four of them went to a premiere of a movie about dancers and she exited the limo looking self-conscious and nervous while everyone else was grinning up a storm, like she felt strange with everyone watching her. Again, I could be projecting, because I have the same fear of Being Seen. My heart breaks for her.

I'm in the process of making some changes in the way I look at my weight and my body. I've been through it all and can safely say that everything I have tried to make myself thinner has catapulted me into a weight that is taxing on my body and makes me feel toxic. Changing the way I think has just begun, and it's slow, but I think I'm in a good direction now.

littlem said...

If you Google "Donyelle" and "fat" you will see some interesting discussions.

I think my favorite comment is this one from TVGasm:

"Seriously... why did Donyelle's number have to be from "Hairspray", a musical based on a Ricki Lake film? This show keeps playing her up like she is in the Rosie O'Donnell/Star Jones Fat Camp. Note to Fox: DONYELLE IS NOT FAT!!!
If they would dress her in anything normal, maybe you could tell. That irks me more than how much they hype Benji and Donyelle. Grrr.... way to hold Donyelle up as a beacon to alternative body styles (because in dance and on TV "average" weight is considered alternative!), then make her look as fug as possible. The sound of the retching you overhear is not only me and my disgust but all the little girls who don't wanna grow up big. :-P"

Reminds me of the instructor/head of the dance company in college who said to me, "you move well, BUT you need to drop 30 pounds."

Clearly, plus ca change, moins que ca change ...

and the thing I find the biggest deal about this (other than the fact that I didn't even know there was such a SIZE as Heidi's 00) was that NO ONE CARES HOW MUCH THE MEN WEIGH!!!

And don't talk to me about lifts. I was a dancer. Particularly in modern dance, people of any sex can do lifts. If you can't lift your partner, don't whine until they become anorexic. Go to the gym and work the he** out.

drstaceyny said...

tl--feminist flakes--apparently I've been eating them, too. ; )

ps--good point. Does that mean I shouldn't be wearing my cut-off shirts to work, anymore?

kristin--interesting observation (I'll have to go back to the DVR!) Thanks for reading, and good luck with trying to approach things in a different way.

lm--I totally had the same Hairspray thought. You're right--the men, who dance covered, for the most part, aren't judged for their weight.

30 pounds? Oy.

littlem said...

Dr. S said:
"I think our appearance standards are a bit higher for dancers than singers"

Actually, Dr. S., that's true now, but instead of it getting better for dancers, what I'm observing (working in the entertaiment industry) is that it's actually getting worse for singers instead. Remember what happened to Mandisa on American Idol (issues re: her "niche marketing" skills aside)?

I get reeeeeaaalllllll sick of listening to some producers and A&R guys (and it's ALMOST ALWAYS GUYS! /rant) preach to the girl singers that they have to get and stay skinny skinny skinny (among other outrageous requests). It grinds my tailfeathers like you don't know how. And they're all blase about it, like "it's all about the marketing".

Boy, buddy, let's put your butt on the starvation diet/2-hour daily workout regime and see how YOU do.

We KNOW the camera adds 10-15 pounds. SO pull out your physics books and FIX THE DAMN CAMERAS!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I never watched this show and never will but I can't help noticing in the photo that the woman on the left has her dress falling off her bony chest! Is that what's "sexy" on TV?