Sexualizing Spaces

This is old news now, but still worth mentioning. Robert Everett-Green from the Globe and Mail recently shared a very vivid article on the new concert hall at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music.  Though I’m sure patrons of the arts can all be appreciative of a redesigned space, particularly one that makes such significant changes to the performance experience, I question the language that is used to describe the hall.

The headline from the Globe and Mail screams: “Koerner Hall shows more curves than a pin-up magazine” (The article is also available here.)

Taken into context, the headline reads like this:

The room, designed with Marianne McKenna (of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects) and Anne Minors (of Anne Minors Performance Consultants), has more curves than a vintage pin–up magazine. They ripple along the walls, bulge out beside the stage, and run riot across the ceiling.

It’s not bad enough that women performers have faced comment and criticism regarding their bodies since for hundreds of years. First women weren’t allowed to play instruments in public because it was too evocative or “unladylike”, now Anne Sophie-Mutter’s concert attire is known to receive as much criticism as her performance. Apparently the hyper sexualization of women’s bodies has extended to the very spaces where music is performed. Thankfully, John Terauds of The Star was able to provide a similar article on the space that did not feel the need to include ridiculous language.

1 Comment

  1. Yeah, when objects are anthropomorphized, it's usually to reinscribe stereotypical perceptions of the female form: object = woman, woman = object.

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