Eye of the Tiger

EYE OF THE TIGER’S VIEW: Court changes risk female majority

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Changes to the court selection process meant to promote equal representation of the student population could potentially be the start down a slippery slope toward a female-dominated court system.

One of the most prominent revisions to the existing dance court system includes a discontinuation of the five boys and five girls ratio. A minimum of two girls and boys will have a guaranteed spot on courts, but the other eight students can represent either gender.

Although Student Government aims to allow both boys and girls an improved chance of getting on a court while simultaneously moving away from the heteronormativity of a “king and queen” title, this change could possibly lead to an influx of girls on future dance courts while leaving less boys on court with smaller odds at winning the revamped title of “Top Honoree.”

While 43 girls submitted their court nomination packets to be on this year’s Homecoming court, just nine boys turned in theirs, clearly displaying a disparity in interest across genders. While this change carries the intention of de-emphasizing gender in court selection, these statistics show that even though the potential for a male-dominated court is there, the interest is not.

Thus far, girls have demonstrated greater interest and dedication in being chosen partake in a dance court than boys. De-emphasizing gender and focusing on the merit of the individual could entice more boys to pursue court nomination in theory, but it seems obvious that this trend could be difficult to change.

We’re skeptical that a court selection change like this one could reverse the long history of girls’ greater aspirations and lobbying for honoree titles.
To us, it seems as if the odds are stacked against male students. Although it’s true that boys have equal chances as females who apply, it’s clear that female interest simply outmodes that of boys.

If the boys of the student body don’t buy into Student Government’s modifications, their revised system allows the floodgates to open to the huge percentage of female interest – disregarding historical prevalence of male involvement. The history doesn’t always repeat itself, especially in the face of change, but it often informs the future.

With the previous five-to-five gender ratio, boys still were assured a representational stake, whereas now there’s a real possibility they may not stand a chance among the droves of their female counterparts.

We believe that while the new dance court system theoretically offers an opportunity for more boys to receive the honor of being appointed to a court, the lack of an equality-ensuring structure will ultimately discourage boys from applying due to the inevitably female-dominated dance courts.

At the root of any male-and-female equivalent court system, there is simply the intention of offering a school-run opportunity for students to represent their class, as well as their gender. Taking away the guaranteed equality that was evident in the old dance court system seems like a setup catering primarily toward the female interest, and a complete disregard a dance court’s main purpose – to give students both male and female a definite chance at school-wide recognition for their contribution to RHS.

A shift in labels from “King and Queen” to “Top Honorees” requires a serious commitment on the part of Student Government in enforcing the new set of semantics to tackle the persistent common perception among the student body that the court system is a face-value popularity contest.
If two students are still chosen as winners by their peers, does a change in title really alter the fact that it is still, to some extent, a popularity contest that puts students on a pedestal over others?

While Student Government’s efforts aim to quell student backlash, certain aspects of the court changes may work against their goal. By changing the royalty title and replacing crowns with ornamented sashes, Student Government successfully chip away at the false connotations of a royalty title being based solely on one’s social status, but also rid the school of a recognizable tradition.

As facts about these court changes began to emerge from students in the Student Government class, there seemed to be a lapse in communication between classmates, as we received widely varied responses early on from people in the class concerning both the changes as well as the class’s ideas on when, if and how to share the information concerning the dance court changes.

Student Government also failed to release a statement regarding these changes in the weeks leading up to their announcement, contributing to widespread rumors and speculations throughout the student body. On a topic as sensitive as the dance court system, it seems vital that there exists an accessible, reliable and consistent method for distributing information that can dispel uninformed students’ fallacious and incendiary claims.

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