Dancing, gender and identity


Sir, – John O’Loughlin (Letters, October 25th) seems to misunderstand the phrase “toxic masculinity”, which does not mean that all men – or masculinity – are toxic (“Fluid explorations of gender and identity”, Arts & Ideas, October 23rd).

Instead, it refers to certain behaviours like suppressing emotions or distress, maintaining an exterior appearance of hardness and using violence as a symbol of power. This leads to an inability on the part of men to articulate feelings or seek help, leading to mental health difficulties. The disparity between suicide figures for men and women in Ireland are testament to this.

He should also be reassured that such a weighty topic can be tackled through dance. Oona Doherty is just one of many talented Irish choreographers who are interrogating Irish society and culture through the body, and challenging both male and female stereotypes.

It is hard to beat the exercise, endorphins, sense of improvement and social interaction that is found at an adult dance classes. There are many in Mr O’Loughlin’s Kildare.– Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.