Boy Violinist Insulters
I am a boy in 8th grade, and when some people hear me play the violin, or talk about how I play the violin, they say that playing the violin is "gay" and "for girls". This really makes me unconfident and very self-conscious, and embarrassed. What can I do to combat (not literally) these people?
They are stupid, so ignore them. I have never experienced this. (with violin - my child dream was to dance ballet, I cannot tell this often in public ....).
Ignore them and smile, don’t say a thing. They only aim to upset you and will say anything whether they mean it or not to achieve that goal. Replying only fuels their appetite for more teasing/insulting, and the more you do, the more they’ll go at it. They’ll eventually tire out of it if they see that it isn’t working.
In your age group, a lot of kids try to boost themselves -- and their own egos -- by shoving someone else down. It seems to me that they are the ones who are "unconfident and very self-conscious."
Don't let them make you quit, they're insecure & stupid. Some of the best violinists are straight men. It's just a stereotype and it will go away in a few years.
Literally every relationship I've been in was a direct result of being able to play the violin well. Wear your skill with confidence and girls will notice, especially once you get a tad bit older (probably expect results starting closer to 10th grade).
Let their insults be your motivation.
Hang out with people who play music. They will respect you (even if you play the violin!). We even respected the guy who played the bass drum (joke). You shouldn't hang with people who would treat you that way, they are beneath you - just believe it but don't tell them that!
This is a good point in your life to reflect on the fact that there is nothing wrong with being a woman and it isn't a bad thing to be 'gay'. There is even nothing wrong with being a gay woman!
Harrison, don’t let those ham heads get to you! They are nobodies. True friends are supportive, helpful, and will build your confidence. You may not find many people like that, but when you do, they are a friend for life. I believe that people who do not conform to such pressures generally become much more successful and happier in life.
Great post Michael
Call in the regional biker clubs to stand by you. Yes, they actually might do that. My wife and I have ridden our Harleys with groups of thousands of other bikers, miles long, in support of good causes.
I second you Michael. And if you, Harrison, are looking for an outlet to relieve stress, how about starting swimming in a swimming club? It can be helpful mentally and physically.
Here's a great post from Michael. Show us some pics if Oprah invites you for a dinner :)
Guys that stick with it and make it to a conservatory get the reward of an insane female-male ratio.
Not the violin, but my daughter's first flute teacher was a straight man...he said he chose the flute because that's where the girls were. :-)
The ridicule you're experiencing reaches its peak around 8th grade. It may take a couple of years, but things WILL get better. Continue pursuing your own interests, and try to live in accordance with your own values. Avoid the temptation to change your behavior to "fit in". Soon you will find yourself surrounded by like-minded friends.
Oh, and I met my wife because of the violin. It was a blind date, and we played the Bach double together!
It is really quite worrying that people still use comparisons to women as an insult. Where are these children learning this type of thing?
"It is really quite worrying that people still use comparisons to women as an insult. Where are these children learning this type of thing?"
Ignore them; they are knuckleheads and don't know any better. But if you have to, defend yourself. But do it on your terms.
Some children probably learnt to be sexist from their parents. Their comments may or may not be deliberate. But the comments are certainly hurtful if the one who spurted them out did it with the intent of insult.
It may come from women (occasionally) but keep in mind that it's the result of a society where women are seen as weak, inferior, bad at sports, etc. Which men originally created for their benefit.
Gemma, I agree.
Edit: For the benefit of anyone reading this, Roman Reshetkin has deleted several comments, and that is who I was responding to.
Just for what it is worth...I began playing the violin in my mid 30s. Prior to that I competed as a Kickboxer in which I was undefeated in 20 fights and I also got my black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (the grappling and submission part of the fights you watch on TV). I still train to fight as a way to stay in shape though I have not competed in a few years. I would be interested in what your school friends who bully you would say after a training session with this "gay" and "girly" violinist.
Jessy, I played judo at school, ending up in the school judo team. This was back in the days when the only oriental martial arts known in the UK were ju-jitsu (primarily a mode of self-defence), the very specialist kendo, and judo (the sport version of ju-jitsu). Karate was just starting to arrive in England when I left school, and all the other martial arts over the following years and decades.
The insults may be sexist but the bullying itself is not, my 7th and 9th graders say that bullying by the girls can be more brutal and pervasive than by guys at their school.
Trevor! A fellow grappler! I love judo. One of the best martial arts out there for sure! I have only done one judo tourny and while I ended up winning I don't really count it. Hahah. I've done quite a fair amount of judo as well. I love the story about the art teacher who was a judo beast. Being involved in art, or music, or any other "feminine" pursuit is not indicative of how one handles themselves life and it can be a source of great strength if you take pride in your passion and revel in your pursuits. There will always be naysayers and people who try to hold you back. Don't let them!
Many have spoken well on the subject already....
Boys like that end up working at Walmart as stockers so ignore them. There is nothing philosophical about those kind of people. They are average and always will be.
Michael Whisman why this association? There are many nice people who havent got as much opportunities as others who need to make a livingp, at Walmart or elpsewhere. There are many nasty rich people who got lucky or even worked for getting rich but are still not nice people. When did wealth and opportunities in life dictate the quality of a person?
I think you have to be choosy about whose words can hurt you. If the ones insulting you were the smartest and the most talented, I would feel self-conscious. But if the ones picking on you are the bullies... I think it is actually an honor that they realise you are different from them!
Beat them with your bow.
Like Einstein said, the human stupidity is infinite.
The people who are insulting you only advance their own ego, not their skillset. You will continue to enrich your life and your violin skillset, as well as all of the other ways music influences us to be good people.
I got the same grief when I was a kid. Grew up in a blue collar town where violin lessons were rare. Yes, "ignore it" is easy to say but that's what you do. Here's the best part: violin turns out to be a pretty good medium for meeting terrific females! You'll get your revenge eventually. Stay the course.
I also wish to object to Will Willy's comment about 'non Western women'. I find it fundementally racist. I personally come from an arab background with a family of very strong women. Never has there been any such sentiment such as "be a man" (a phrase that actually exits indigeneously in the english language and which i only heard uttered by those who grew up with its idioms). I am sure the same applies to many others who from african, asian, etc backgrounds.
Their "logic" with the female comments comes from the high pitch & small size of the violin.
I think it may also come from the curvy hourglass-body shape of the violin :-). Certainly the 'sexiest' instrument in my eyes, whose sound best resembles a beautiful soprano voice, in the world of instruments. I can bell, it can belt, it can cry, it can smile.
To this day I remember that, following a performance in front of my school in about 7th grade, a guy I had really never talked to, a basketball jock named Jesse, came up to me and simply said "fag."
Harrison, the people insulting you are wrong. They have no idea how many violinists are boys and men. In my middle school orchestra class, I'm one of three boy violinists. Keep strong, continue to play the violin. I like how the suggestion to hang out around other musicians, and tell them your situation. My elementary school had an amazing program, and so I think about half of the boys in my grade played violin at some point. Think about it: how many great violinists are male? Stay strong, and don't take their comments to hard, they are pretty clearly not very well educated on the instrument.
OP dude, you think you have it rough? I was not only a violinist all through school, but also a preacher's kid. Imagine what that combination was like! LOL
Why the linkage between violin and female strange? Don’t think so, the shape of this instrument, to tell the truth, right similar to the body of woman, second, though many violinists are male, compared with actors like Stallion, they are a little bit femalish and less masculine, for example quite gentle, soft, slim, tall but not strong enough, with few facial hair etc, though there are some exceptions but not common (often, those exceptions have excellent techniques compared with former peers).
Scott that was a great post. Spot on.
They are probably just jealous violists.
Scott: 'There seems to be a correlation between violinists and tennis players. Both require a killer instinct.'
How is a killer instinct a male thing?
I recently (months ago) discovered that stereotype, "violin is for girls". It really caught my attention since I've been a "freak" of the violin these last years, reading threads, understanding music jokes, of course living around musicians, etc... and I never heard that stereotype.
It's a joke, Gemma.
"How is a killer instinct a male thing?"
I was replying to Will Willy's comment.
50 years ago, professional orchestras were mainly male. Now, the gender balance has reversed - and as others have suggested, in a few years you will be surrounded by a majority of female colleagues. What's not to like!
Yeah, it's a joy to be in a field where gender/race truly isn't taken into consideration (correct me if I'm wrong).
I think the most equal profession can also added scientists or scholars, compared with scientists, the circle musicians especially violinists are dominated by Jews, Europeans and East Asians, there are not so many other ethnics (e.g. Hindi, Central and Southeastern Asians, Hispanicos, Africans and Middle Easterners like Arab, Turkish and Persian), but this diversity can be found in famous universities and research institutions, I once found many Hindi, Copt Egyptians, Levants and Persians in US and UK with decent income and professions but they are not related to classical music nor violin, maybe they stick to their traditional musical culture (e.g. Makam music) and not very interested in Western one.
Could that boil down to the proportion of those ethnicities in countries where classical music is a common profession?
Unfortunately, people will be mean and say horrible things no matter what you do. So you might as well do what you want and to hell with them.
Hi to all! This discussion raises a very important issues, that classical musicians live in their own world performing for themselves. I mean in which families parents say that it is cool, difficult and thus respectful, to play/study violin? Only in those, where the classical music (or as variant fiddle) is already part of life: recordings, visiting concerts, may be even practicing at school and at home.
I played the piano at your age, and there were other boys who said things like those ones. I sticked with it, and lots of years after that, I started playing the violin (at 25!) and found people who said it was useless.
I don't think I agree with the idea that it's the classical musicians's fault K Ch. This is an issue larger than the will and desire of musicians.
"an issue larger than the will and desire of musicians" - like being an individualist and not a member of a pack?
Harrison, I took up violin at around your age. I went to a rough school and already had years of being picked on before playing the violin. In my day, bullying was badly addressed - teachers would tell you to 'just ignore them and they will stop', rather than dealing with the situation.