My girlfriend and I just started hooping.
It’s fun. It’s a nifty, skill-building thing that requires remarkably little start-up money (just shy of twice-your-height worth of rubber pipe + a joiner and, if you wanna, some colourful tape) and nothing like a gym-membership to maintain. You make/buy your hoop and you get started and it’s just a case of building skills — you don’t need to build skills and strength, and you don’t need any kind of certification (the way you do with, for example, scuba diving). And the skills are, at the beginning at least, relatively simple to learn. (Which doesn’t mean either of us are particularly good at anything other than getting the thing to spin at the waist, but still. We have hope. ;-))
Beyond that, it’s an awesome way to hang out with my girlfriend. We drag the equipment (such as it is) down the street to the local playground or up through Little Italy to the water, and just play. It’s fantastic.
So, yeah. Consider me hooked. 😉
Beyond our respective degrees of vast enthusiasm, though… we’re noticing something:
We check out websites, and see mostly women doing it. We see them doing hooping, and we see them doing belly dance with hooping, and we see them doing neo burlesque with hooping. And they’ll have links to their etsy shops, or their costume designs, or their makeup/accessory tutorials, or, or, or.
The subculture, at least what I’m finding online and what I’m seeing in my own city, comes across as very woman-centric. My sweetie looks at it and says “this is women’s culture”, and I look at it and say “This is a Femme thing”.
What I mean by that is that Hooping seems to attract the kinds of women as roller derby, punk-ass DIY crafting, belly dance, and neo-burlesque: Meaning women who are comfortable with both girliness/femininity (shaking your hips, your tits, letting your backbone slip, fishnets rip, elliptical hip-check) and being actively in, and actively aware of, their own girl-bodies, where we carry our energy, how our individual bodies move. Which of my hips rolls more easily? Which of my legs is steadier? What am I doing in this direction that isn’t working in that direction, and how can I adapt around it?
Both of which, to me, are very femme things – at least if I’m contrasting “femme” with “normative femininity”.
See what I mean?
Also, have a look at this. Fantastic. 🙂
– Ms. Syren
 For example, I’m noticeably more than six feet tall, and my hoop took about 12 feet of pipe to make.
 And gymnastics, and yoga, and, and, and…
 And, just to be perfectly damn clear, you bet I mean BOTH trans femmes and cis femmes when I talk about girl-bodies. FYI.