Where did the boys go: lack of male representation in fine arts

Lily Hemmeter and Laura Pohl

Walking into journalism this year, we were shocked to find a complete lack of male representation on the staff. After viewing Dulaney High School’s spring musical, we saw this trend extended past journalism and into other creative arts. So, that left us with the question, where did the boys go?

In recent years, the Dulaney journalism staff went from being evenly split by gender to not having a single male writer. While it is natural for class demographics in electives to shift from year to year, this shift has been too drastic to go unnoticed. Former journalism teacher, Cassandra Hatter, noticed that male enrollment in the class decreased between 2018 and 2019 and has steadily dropped since.

When discussing reasons for this, Hatter said, ”In my experience, female students have always been pushed towards the creative classes, and I feel like male students have been pushed towards the sciences and athletics…I think this is a common trend in academics.”

Senior Liam Gaumont was in a unique position last year as one of the only boys in journalism. Due to the nature of the class being primarily centered on individual work, being in the gender minority didn’t bother him. Gaumont decided not to take the class this year, but cited scheduling conflicts as his reason rather than apprehensions over being the only boy. He wants other boys interested in journalism to know that writers can choose the topics they write about.

Gaumont said, “Maybe advertise that in journalism you can cover sports because I know a lot of guys want to cover sports, but they don’t know that they can go to sports games and interview people.”

Another elective drastically affected by the lack of a male presence is theater. In Dulaney’s spring musical, “Footloose”, there were just five boys on stage. Creatively making up for the lack of male actors, Tami Moon is still able to put on successful performances by casting females as male characters. For example, in “Footloose”, the leads were played by two females rather than one male and one female.

Senior and two-time actor in Dulaney musicals, John Kallaur, says that the lack of male actors has allowed him to score bigger roles despite having less acting experience. Kallaur also points out that the benefits do not come without added pressure.

“Not having other guys on stage makes it a little unnatural because being the only guy up there it feels like I have to fill this whole demographic by myself,” Kallaur says.

A common theme mentioned in each interview is that with creative classes, not limited to journalism and theater there is a stigma around boys being involved and excited about these electives. 

Moon says, “I’ve always just wanted any kind of stigma around the arts to go away.”

We hope that in Dulaney, gender diversity will be broadened in the arts and more boys will try new classes and extracurriculars.