She’s allowed to be half-naked on the Concert Hall stage

With a boob popping in and out while she breathes.

Hola a todos. Mi amigo/My friend and I have watched many classical music performances where a female soloist (mostly vocal) will walk out on the stage “half naked” with nearly one mammary gland (breast) — if not both — practically exposed.

Mi amigo says, “Well she’s half naked.” Not that he has any problem with that and that’s not the point. The point is that if a male soloist came out looking similarly, can you imagine the bullying, harassment, the nasty looks and comments and howls of disapproval he would be subjected to? It’s quite sexist as well as hypocritical. Such a double-standard at how society looks at the female body (including her ever-feared nipples) versus the male body and wants the guy to be all covered up. The fear of seeing the male body seems to be at an all-time high now. Ah, people and their body-image issues.

The male soloist can’t come out on the Concert Hall stage wearing a tasteful-looking tank top or shirt exposing half of his chest. Why not? Because it’s not one of the silly, prudish, sexist, misogynistic, chauvinistic, you-name-it (take your pick of words there) traditions of the classical music field with its many double-standards/hypocrisies. No, male soloists are required to be all covered up from head to toe in a stuffy tux.

There are those who like to “sex up” Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana — which some people mistakenly refer to as “opera” when the piece is a symphonic choral work, specifically a cantata — but they only “sex it up” with the females. The male soloist-screamers and the Men of the Chorus remain all covered up, as per usual.

Even though I’m writing about vocal/instrumental soloists here, it’s the same with orchestral and choral musicians. The guys have to be all covered up and the females can be sitting there with some open, low-cut cleavage-exposing shirt on.

Although not everyone approves of the “half naked” soloists. Some commenters (prudes?) find her appearance “distracting” (their word) from the performance when a female is not all covered up, especially pianists playing a piano concerto. I only find it “distracting” or annoying because while watching her I’m thinking: guys can’t look the same way unfortunately.

Then you have the tacky straight guys with their juvenile high school mentality and high hormones who were apparently looking for porn videos but somehow ended up at the classical music videos on U-toob. These guys go on about what they would like to do with the female soloist and her boobs and the rest of her, and how much they love her even though they know nothing about her! I’ve not seen similar comments made about the male soloists.

There’s also this Patriarchy undercurrent in some comments. In general, I’m noticing the Patriarchy mindset coming back in full-force, in part, due to the dark times we’re living in. Some people seem to be returning to living in Victorian times using man-based language such as the man-based “Man and beast” language that some of us thought was long dead. Gender-neutral/human-based language such as “peoplekind” that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau uses is not at all popular. These days, I wouldn’t at all expect it to be because we’re going in the opposite direction. I didn’t know that women enjoyed being referred to as “Man.” These days, feminism is really hated on. I don’t know why really since I don’t see any examples of feminism anywhere. That’s mostly gone.

But the hypocrisy and sexism in classical music performances is noted. I just wanted to make note of this, not that I expect anything to ever change about it, not at the rate things are going.

Innocent Flowers Threaten Breeder Male Masculinity

One change from tradition has been made over the years and one that I complained about for years that I felt needed to be changed. At the end of performances, las flores/flowers — a bouquet of flowers — are given to both genders (the conductor and instrumental or vocal soloists) and not just females as used to be the sexist tradition. I remember writing on BBC Radio 3′s forum, “Guys like flowers too. Why are you being sexist and only giving flowers to the females?” Well, that has changed at least in the EU. The only problem with that now is that most of the guys — I’m thinking of breeder male conductors specifically — seem unappreciative of the flowers and in an equally sexist gesture give their flowers to one of the females in the Orchestra, such as the principal violist who is standing close by. She has a puzzled look on her face as if thinking, “Why did you give them to me? They’re your flowers. They were given to you.” Male conductors never hand their flowers to another guy in the Orchestra because they don’t want to be seen as queer, even when they are.

Note to (macho) supposedly-breeder male conductors: Like any other gift one receives, accepting flowers graciously does not reduce your masculinity in the least if you know yourself as a person and are secure with yourself as a person. There seems to be a lot of (sexually) insecure male conductors out there. So is it really too much to ask that you accept the gift of flowers graciously and with appreciation — even if you don’t want them, appreciate them, at least pretend to, give the appearance that you like them as you would any other gift including a holiday gift — and merely take the flowers backstage and then take them home with you? Keep them. Is that so difficult? Instead, what I’ve seen male conductors do is with this attitude of, “Well what am I supposed to do with these? I don’t want them. Well let me give them to one of ‘the girls.’ Maybe she’ll like them. (Groan/roll eyes.) I also saw one of the Chorus Directors do this after he took his bow and had the Chorus stand to be acknowledged. He was unappreciative of his flowers too that he had just been given. Did those innocent pretty flowers threaten his masculinity? It would seem so. Because he had to walk over to the Symphony Chorus and hand his bouquet of flowers to — can you guess whom? — one of the sopranos in the soprano section who then got all red-faced, giddy and bubbly just because he had given her flowers. He wasn’t about to walk over to the tenor or bass section and deliver them there to one of the guys because we all know how that would look, don’t we? (Sigh.)

This is also setting a bad precedent. Just what we need! Another bad tradition in the classical music field. Go from one sexist tradition to a new sexist tradition. What is wrong with people?!! Will future conductors no longer be able to keep their flowers because of this new tradition having been established from unappreciative conductors giving away their flowers immediately upon receiving them? I can hear future conductors say to male soloists or in conversation with a colleague conductor: “You kept your flowers? Oh good gawd. No, you’re not supposed to keep them! You’re supposed to give them to the females in the Orchestra or Chorus.” (Unspoken: This is the classical music tradition where we enjoy being sexist, among other negative things.) Chau.—el barrio rosa