Symposium of Circus Thinking - Keynote Speaker
Frailty and Infertility; How Victorian-era Gender Myths Still Permeate Modern Day Circus
In the 1800s, sport was a determiner of supposed superior status; and available mostly to those who were white, wealthy, male. Women on the whole were considered too weak to participate in any form of physical education. It wasn’t just societal barriers at play; medicine at the time backed up these myths, medically barring women from physical expression for their own reproductive protection. It is easy to feel divorced from the Victorian-era in the 21st century, but so much of the mygonigy that was touted as science at the time has continued to permeate contemporary sports culture and circus (for example, the ludicrous myth that catching in flying trapeze will render female catchers infertile). Morgan Barbour will discuss how frailty myths, the cult of invalidism, and infertility myths continue to impact contemporary circus and female-identifying performers, and how to combat and dispel these myths.
Morgan Barbour is an American writer, circus artist, and movement director with a split homebase between London and Los Angeles. She specialises in flying trapeze and doubles hoop. She has spent her career analysing and challenging myths based in misogynistic pseudoscience in both sport and circus.