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gender

Call the Gender Police!

Classical music is often described as “pure, abstract, and apolitical.” We are taught that any “distractions” should be eliminated because they detract from the absolute, abstract beauty of the form. These distractions can be anything from unscripted noises like coughs or whispers, to movements deemed excessive on the part of performers or audience members, to multimedia or theatrical effects, to the clothing we all wear. The following are a few examples from history that demonstrate how what is considered to be a distraction in one era is normalized in another. This directly contradicts any claims that classical music can be separated from its social context. Not only this, but any claims that it can be only serve to stifle self-reflection and perpetuate inequality both on and off the stage.

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