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Is there Sexism in SPOTTING?

This is an interesting topic...


The last few weeks Natalia and Joshua (@acronerds) have been around and we really enjoying training and hanging out with them.


One of the reasons is because we find them so good to talk to and spending time with them guarantees deep conversations (usually acro related).


The other day Natalia asked me a very sharp and confronting question during our training which led to an interesting reflection and conversation.


I found it inspiring and that’s why I want to share about it with you in this blog.



Caspian and I were in the middle of training when we wanted a spot. 


I don’t remember exactly which skill it was, but I think it was some kind of icarian.


Natalia and Joshua were training next to us and I looked over to Joshua and asked ‘Would you be able to spot us?’, to which he replied ‘sure’.


But right there and then Natalia asked me something along the lines of:


‘Why do you ask Joshua specifically to spot and not me? Is that a conscious choice or not?’


The conversation went a little deeper after the training session, and the point of whether it was gender-related, or ability-related came up, and Natalia made the point that she has encountered "being overlooked as a spotter" a lot in acro.


In reflection I see that I indeed asked Joshua for a spot, but thinking about it makes me realize that I would have also been comfortable with Natalia spotting the specific skill we were doing.


Natalia made a good point; if there is a thought through reason for wanting a specific person to spot you then this can be clearly explained and understandable.


But if the choice is subconscious, what are the underlying beliefs or patterns that influence this?



Conscious reasons could be:


‘Joshua, you’ve spotted me before in this skill and this gives me a sense of security in attempting this skill again. Could you spot me one more time please?’


Or


‘For this specific skill I would like a tall and strong spotter in which I feel confident that they can catch my full weight if needed.’


This is to say that there are completely understandable and valid reasons for wanting a specific person to spot, but in reflection this was not the case in the moment during our training I’m talking about.



So what assumption or underlying belief was I having subconsciously that made me not ask Natalia to spot?


I realize now that I was assuming that Joshua was more willing to spot, because of my experiences in acro that guys and bases are more often and more quickly offering to spot. 



Especially at a more advanced level where the skills get more dynamic, I see that often guys are more comfortable and capable to spot.


I’m generalizing here so bare with me, of course this doesn’t apply to everyone.


I’m a total believer and advocate that women are just as capable as men and should have equal opportunity,


AND I know a lot of high level acro couples from which the guy is comfortable spotting dynamic tricks and the girl feels less capable.


It’s often the guys spotting the standing dynamic tricks, because they are generally taller and because of the size ratio to the flyer it’s more accessible for them to catch the full weight if necessary.


Maybe because this is the case, my default was to ask Joshua for a spot and not Natalia.



A subconscious habit that I’m now reflecting on, to make sure I can make more conscious choices when asking my spotters.


Because I see that some girls are also very good and capable spotters who also enjoy to spot. Which is the case for Natalia, and I also consider myself one of them.


So it’s totally personal and most important is that whoever is spotting feels confident and capable, which has nothing to do with your gender.


So my takeaway and intentions are:



1. Be conscious about who you ask to spot, so you don’t unintentionally exclude someone.


The benefit of this is that the whole community will level up their spotting skills. There might now be a group of people who wants to spot but doesn't get the opportunity as much. When everyone gets more experience it will increase the level and connection of the community.



2. It’s totally okay to have reasons for wanting a specific person to spot.


Would you feel safer and calmer with a tall and strong spotter? Then ask for it!



3. Do you feel like you want to spot more; tell people!


If you feel like you don’t get asked to spot so often but you want to practice and get more experience then express this to the people you’re training or playing with.


This way you can create opportunities for yourself and it will increase your spotting abilities, confidence and experience which is overall a benefit to everyone.


Plus people will see your initiative and desire to spot, maybe shifting their subconscious mindset.



I’ll end with a saying I love... ‘the level of a community is the level of the spotters’, and a thank you to Natalia for raising my awareness in this topic.


Feel free to share your view and experience on this topic as I’m curious about other opinions around this.



Catch ya in the next one!


Laura





Laura and Caspian acrospirit


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