I've been hula hooping for almost four years now and along the way I've picked up quite a few stereotypes surrounding hula hooping. Many people have a strong idea in mind of what it means to be a hoop dancer, but there is so much more than you think. Here are some of the things we're tired of hearing.
1. All hoopers go to festivals and raves.Giphy
Of course I can only speak for myself, but I've been to only one music festival since I started hooping and it was a bluegrass festival. Just because we are hoopers and a lot of hoopers tend to go to raves and festivals doesn't mean we all do. I personally just hula hoop in my backyard or sometimes in the park on a nice day and think hooping in a crowded place like that would be very limiting to my creative freedom.
2. We all do psychedelics and smoke marijuana.Giphy
Following my last point, too often people assume all hula hoopers do drugs. Just because we like to express ourselves creatively through movement doesn't mean we have to be stoned. Would you say the same about a ballet dancer? This makes people think harshly about the hooping community before ever experiencing it.
3. We all can dance.Giphy
WE ARE NOT BEYONCE. We cannot all dance. In fact, many of us, me included, use our hula hoop as a sort of security blanket in dancing situations. My theory is why dance when you can just hula hoop? Although I know many hoopers that really can dance, this just makes the rest of us out to be something we are definitely not: good dancers.
4. We are all flexible.Giphy
I think that this one is due to online videos of really flexible hoopers but this is a misconception. Although most hoopers I know are a little flexible I also know just as many that can't even touch their toes. Hula hooping does not always equal gymnast. I wish I could be more flexible but years and years of cheerleading and I can't even do the splits.
5. Only a certain body type can hula hoop.Giphy
I've personally experienced friends of mine telling me how cool they think hula hooping is but how they just don't think it's for them because they are "bigger". This is a huge lie.
Hula hooping is for everyone to feel confident in their bodies, whether you are a string bean like me or have some curves. Some of the best hoopers I've seen on Instagram are plus size women. Don't let the fear of messing up stop you from trying something that interests you.
6. Hula hoopers just do it for attention.Giphy
For many hoopers, hula hooping is a sort of therapy better enjoyed alone. Lots of hoopers don't do private lessons or meet up with others and want to keep hooping sacred to themselves. This misconception gives hoopers a bad image and makes us all seem like attention seekers when that is far from the truth.
7. We all are sluts and wear no clothing.Giphy
Let me just explain one thing. Having fabric all over my body and my plastic hoop flying around sounds really messy. To execute moves correctly and make them look good hoopers have to wear tight clothing. Not only do we have to wear tighter clothing but our hoops stick to our skin better than they would to fabric (which they tend to slide around on).
To be able to shoulder hoop or hoop around my legs I need to wear a tank top and shorts, but that does not in any way make me a slut. It doesn't make it so I'm seeking attention like above and it doesn't mean I want to be catcalled. I just want to hoop in peace, please and thank you.
8. All hoopers are female.Giphy
This is a common one because it's all you usually see, but there are many male hoopers and many of them are really amazing. People commonly think when they see a male hooper that he must be gay, but that is also judgmental and not true. Hula hooping in no way has anything to do with your sexuality. You should't judge someone before you know them.
9. We are all young.Giphy
We are not all teenagers. In fact, most hoopers I follow on instagram are probably almost thirty. A lot of people pick up hula hooping to lose weight or improve their mental health, which is something you can choose at any age! Some older people that I know have laughed at me when I told them to get a hula hoop, but when my grandma actually did she was so grateful.
10. We want to give you a free show, right now.Giphy
This is one of the worst things. Just because I have my hoop with me, which I often do, doesn't mean I want to drop what I'm doing or the conversation I'm having to show you a trick, especially if I don't even know you. Yeah, I'll do it, to be nice and because I'm non-confrontational but it sucks to be put on the spot and expected to perform for you. This isn't saying I don't ever want to or that I'll be mad, just please don't be demanding and wait for me to finish my conversation first.