065. Rebecca Brightly: Parenting, gender, and representation

065. Rebecca Brightly: Parenting, gender, and representation

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Rebecca Brightly discusses the changing dynamics of going from Lindy Hop to motherhood and unpacks her parenting philosophy. She explains why she tolerates parkour and how the gender dynamics contrast with her experience in dance. Rebecca gives her thoughts on gender representation and why she wants women to see how capable they are. 

Show notes…

  • Dancing to Parenthood: Expectation vs reality of parenthood, overwhelming changes, dancing as a hobby is not child-condusive. Why she never returned to dancing – Lead/follow dynamics, lack of self-expression and exploration as a follow, pressures of social dance eventually became intolerable. Wanting more collaboration, 
  • Meeting her partner: Short version: Lindy Hop event in New Orleans, he saw her in an elevator (but she doesn’t remember that part). They danced later, then went their separate ways. A year or two later, met him again in Seattle at at dance, and he got her number… the rest is history
  • “Tolerating” parkour: Gender interaction in Lindy vs Parkour, no physical touch, pushing or pulling. Power dynamic of actually moving someone’s physical body, leading or making you do various moves. Parkour doesn’t have that, but still has its own gender dynamics. Tends to cross less boundaries than Lindy; Not perfect, but an improvement.
  • Something people get wrong about you: Many things, but most annoying; Women assume that you’re so fit, strong, special for doing parkour (diminishing hard work). Keeping themselves from seeing their own capability
  • Parenting role and philosophy: Making sure kids know certain things, important skills, but more than that. Providing challenge, risk, opportunity to grow, learn capability, gain confidence. Learning internal motivation, overcoming failure in many areas. Making sure they’re interested, passionate enough in something that they have goals, something to aim for, to persevere. 
  • How parenting is changing: Equipping kids to handle various situations, are we losing that ability? A matter of experience, age doesn’t matter. Complex environment, unexpected movements, learning to communicate and respond to diverse situations. Specific training becomes more difficult the more specific situations become. Learning to move around others who are moving, or preparing kids for certain situations
  • Gender dynamics in parkour: Rebecca’s observations… patriarchy, maintaining masculinity, negative effects to both men and women. Different ways men and women train – expressing  emotion, talking through mental process, fears. Men express fear and process things differently, harder to read or see in body language. How men and women respond differently to fear, and how that affects their training, ability to help each other and the way they train together. 
  • Gender representation: Most women who train parkour tend to be gender non-conforming… not conducive to female beauty standards (scrapes, broken nails, calluses). Actually having an interest in the physicality of parkour, overcoming social conditioning. The voices, pressures women hear in their heads. 
  • Admirable traits: Wanting to live in someone else’s body, trying to understand what it’s like, experience life like that. Male traits: upper body strength, power and dynamic movement, ability to take impact. Specifically, using that to do beautiful, creative movements. Feminine trait: talking through process, feeling the emotion together, empathy and listening
  • Mental game: Mental hang-ups in dance, the excuses we come up with. Same applies to parkour, how we perceive things, how our insecurities effect us and our progress, not just physicality. Examining our mental hang ups honestly, to help us work through them. Need both mental and physical to progress. 
  • Something that gives you joy: Someone listening closely, and being interested in who she is, or a really good dance, where your partner listens to you, that deeper connection
  • Somewhere you’d love to visit: Many parkour communities, a tour, to see and learn about each different community. 
  • Best training session: Best set of sessions – first classes training outside, experiencing the outdoors, and with a particular group of people of all levels and backgrounds. Seeing people being uncomfortable, being challenged together, but at their levels. Creating a more collaborative environment, humanizing everyone. 
  • Note to your future self: Not advice, you’re not as wise as you will be. Saving a memory she didn’t want to forget, a gift for her older self. Journaling and writing, personal essays. Creating a scene, trying to create interest out of your own life. Need to journal more, a gift to herself
  • Theater performance: Experience of going to a tiny show and theater, being very close, and a part of the experience. 
  • 3 words: Technical, mindful, fun
  • Contact and further info: To find out more about Rebecca, or to get in touch with her, you can visit her website (rebeccabrightly.com), or follow her on instagram (@rebeccabrightly) and YouTube. She also wrote a piece about her podcast episode, which you can find on her website, here.  

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