Circus Bodies
how we see ourselves and others
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REPRESENTATION:
what do you see?
I don’t see my body represented in the circus shows I see on stage
I have never seen my circus act performed by someone who looks like me
I have seen circus shows with a variety of body shapes on stage
I have seen circus show with people I would describe as overweight
I have seen circus shows where people I would describe as overweight people were valorized
I have seen circus show with people I would describe as underweight
I have seen circus shows where people I would describe as underweight was valorized
After seeing a circus show, I sometimes feel the need to change my body to resemble those of the performers
PERSONAL (GENERAL):
How do I see myself?
I feel like my personal success in circus depends on how much fat I have on my body
My opinion of my of my physical appearance has worsened since starting my involvement in circus
I feel more confident in my physical appearance since starting my involvement in circus
I started circus training before puberty
I started circus training after puberty
I feel the need to lose weight to succeed in circus
I feel the need to gain weight to succeed in circus
I feel confident in my body practicing circus
I don’t not feel confident in my body practicing circus
I feel the need to drastically alter my body to succeed in circus
I am afraid that things outside my circus life — pregnancy, illness, injury, medication, big life changes — will permanently change my body and that this will jeopardize my place in the circus
I attach my identity to my physique — I feel like my place in circus depends on how I look
When I practice circus, I feel connected to my body
When I practice circus, I feel disconnected from my body
I am alarmed when I see fat on my body that wasn’t previously there
COMMUNITY
How do we see each other?
I see a diverse range of body sizes, physiques, and shapes in my circus community
I have had a coach tell me/ imply that I should gain weight
I have had a coach tell me/ imply that I should lose weight
I have heard a coach say they prefer fatter bodies
I have heard a coach say they prefer thinner bodies
I’m worried about what my colleagues think of my body
I feel supported by my colleagues about how I look
I have been told I have the wrong physique for my circus discipline
I have put pressure on a peer/ colleague to maintain their current weight
I have put pressure on a peer/ colleague to gain weight
My friends, family, or colleagues from outside my circus life have made negative comments about my weight/ size for my circus practice
I have heard a coach praise a student for losing weight/ mass
I have heard a coach praise a student for gaining weight/ mass
I have praised a student, peer or colleague for gaining weight/ mass
I have felt compelled to lose weight/ mass because of a coach’s view of what a circus artist should look like
I have felt compelled to gain weight/ mass because of a circus coach’s view of what a circus artist should look like.
I have heard a circus artist/ practitioner say derogatory comments about the fat on another circus artist/ practitioner’s body.
I have heard a circus artist/ practitioner make derogatory comments about how thin another circus artist/ practitioner’s body is.
I feel rejected from my circus community because of my size
PERSONAL (TECHNIQUE)
How do I see myself in relation to my training?
I feel incapable of meeting the standards of strength and physical prowess around me in the circus
I feel capable, but not supported or encouraged to do so, and I suspect because of my size
I feel like I would meet my strength goals if I had less fat of my body or weighed less
I feel like I would meet my strength goals if I had more fat on my body or weighed more
I am afraid to gain weight because of how it will affect my performance in my circus
I am afraid to lose weight because of how it will affect my performance in my circus
I feel pressure to conform to physical stereotypes within my circus discipline/ specialty
I have been refused a chance to perform or practice circus and was told it was because of my size
I have been refused a chance to perform or practice circus and felt it was because of my size
I try to lose weight or fatty tissue before a date when I know I will perform
I try to gain weight or fatty tissue before a date when I know I will perform
I am worried about my body changing as I age and no longer having the "right" body do practice my circus specialty.
Diet and Consumption
How I feel about what I eat.
I have had peers/ colleagues go on extreme diets to compliment their training
I have been on extreme diets to compliment my training
Circus training has triggered or exacerbated disordered eating/ an eating disorder in certain peers around me
Circus training has triggered or exacerbated disordered eating/ an eating disorder for me
Circus training has helped me or certain colleagues heal from an eating disorder or disordered eating
I have had peers moralize my diet choices/ make derogatory comments about what I eat
When I feel I’ve eaten too much, I make sure to train extra
I don’t feel like I’ve earned the right to eat, especially sweets or junk food, if I haven’t trained that day
I have an image of how “good” or “real” circus artists eat
I feel totally fine balancing how and what I eat — I’ve found what works for me
I feel guilty after eating what I consider unhealthy food and worry about it’s impact on my circus training
OPEN QUESTIONS
let's talk...
Is there anything important that I left out?
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What do you want to see change in circus body culture around you?
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Where do the majority of your body insecurities in circus come from?
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