Monthly Archives: July 2005

Hooping Gender Issues, with Ariel & Rob

In my general observations, it seems like about 75% of hoopers I’ve met are women. Why is this? As Rob’s video, and all those hot BAH hoopers, and the boys from Groovehoops have demonstrated repeatedly, strong sexy male hoopers are to die for … so why is it that there are so few boy hoopers? Los Angeles in particular seems especially sparse in terms of boy hoopers — Karis is one of the few we know! It’s not really a physical issue (one certainly doesn’t need hips to hoop!) so what cultural issues come into play with men hooping or not hooping? More importantly, what can we the hoop community do to encourage more men to hoop?
This is my take on Man Hooping (as a man).
Everyone has different hoop styles, but are there broad differences between men and women hoopers?
As you’ve probably noticed there is a physiological difference between genders that can affect hooping style. There’s the hips; women (as a rule) have wider and shorter pelvic girdles to accommodate babies during birth, men’s hip bones are narrower and taller. Compare for yourself – find the bony points of your hips in the front on either side (the ASIS), then check someone of the opposite sex, they’re in dramatically different places. Do the same in the back, it’s not as easy to find, but usually there are ‘dimples’ in the lower back. The differing shapes of pelvic bones affect other body structures and you guessed it – movement. Hips are primary in Hooping which may lead to style variations. Also women have breasts which can influence one’s hoop style. Not to mention muscular patterns; Men generally have more upper body strength and women are stronger in the legs. Of course, hooping is rooted in core strength, but I see men use their arms more than their female counterparts, and I don’t see many men doing extensive leg hooping. Is there a correlation?
There are also cultural issues that may prevent men from picking up a hoop. Hooping, in some circles may be seen as a sexy hip shaking activity. In our media (esp. MTV) women are portrayed as the booty-shakers; this can be intimidating to men. Most men don’t dance regularly either, it could be lack of practice that fuels their reticence. There are definitely gender stereotypes though, and hooping is not in the top 10 of macho activities. The scarcity of man hoopers might be due to fear of embarrassment or bruising of the male ego. (I do notice that drunk men are more likely to try hooping.)
The differing styles along gender lines, seems to be this: athletics vs. dance. This is a generalization of course and should in no way be taken as a blanket statement. Hooping is just as much a workout as it is creative expression, but where the focus lies is the key. The reactions that men and women get from onlookers are “wow, she’s sexy”, “She dances so great” versus “Whoa, did you see his crazy trick” or “He’s really rockin’ it”. [This could be due to the performance aspect of hooping, where honestly, the less clothing you wear the less people notice your hooping style.] Nonetheless, Hooping is a fun activity for all genders and body types; one’s style is a personal thing that happens inside the hoop. Regardless of why or how you do it, it will make you smile and laugh and has numerous health benefits. I hope to see more Man Hoopers as time goes on and I’m sure everyone knows at least one man that could use a good hoopin’.

Hooping with Piercings

Over on, contributor Rob recently posted his advice for hoopers with body piercings. Take a look:

I’ve been hooping for (almost) 2 years and have several piercings including navel and nipples. Hooping does affect piercings, probably differently for each person.
Personally, hooping hurts my nipples during certain hooping tricks and hooping w/o a shirt is unthinkable. For nipples you can put electrical tape over them (fetish-style) for protection, you can even use the same tape for your hoop to match.
As far as my navel goes, I had it for over 10 years and recently it got really unhappy and I decided to take it out. Was it due to the hooping? I don’t know, but it is possible for piercings to become irritated from the constant jostling of hooping.
I would recommend smaller jewelry (ie: curved barbell instead of a ring); no fancy charms and regular hot baths in salt water if your piercings are unhappy. Also, new piercings might not like hooping either, you might have to wait to heal before picking up the hoop.
Give it some time though, hooping and piercings are not mutually exclusive and your body will move the hoop away from uncomfortable areas. For instance some people bruise at first around their hips and knees when trying new hooping tricks; you eventually learn to move the hoop better and voila- no more bruises.
There are many ways to play / dance with a hoop that doesn’t involve the navel, as you learn more tricks, your piercing(s) will take less of a beating. Good luck!

Stay in Your Own Hula Hoop

An article from an Emotions at Work series compares responsibility to hula hoops: Whenever you are taking on somebody else’s stress or responsibilities, you are not staying in your own hula hoop.
From the article:

To remind yourself to stay in your own hula-hoop, buy yourself a gift — get a real hula-hoop and take it to work. Lean it against a wall in your office. Whenever you’re about to commit to something, glance over at your hula-hoop and check that you’re staying within it. If you are, fine. If not, then figure out how to say no. And if anyone asks you what that hula-hoop is doing in your office, just say, “It’s a gift to a hula-hoop champion.”

[via Amy Leblanc]