As I walked into the packed room, I couldn’t help but notice all the girls around me were wearing enough makeup to frost a cake and all the women were wearing jeans with intricately Be-Dazzled™ designs on their butts. “Where the hell am I?” I thought to myself as the raunchy lyrics of Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera pumped through the speakers and girls in various cuts of neon spandex took to the stage and started shimmying, gyrating, and thrusting. No, this was not a strip club. This wasn’t even an underground dance club. This was a horror show. Scantily clad elementary-school-aged children awkwardly keeping in step with choreographed pelvic thrusts set to the THUMP, THUMP, THUMP of deep bass-driven, sexually-charged pop music. God help me, this was my little nieces’ dance recital in the local high school auditorium, and the ages of said girls on stage ranged from six to twelve years old.
Let me get one thing clear: I’m not one of those crazy people who thinks women should only wear dresses buttoned up to their chin and girls shouldn’t be allowed to fraternize with boys. I’m not saying girls shouldn’t dance. In fact, there were two dance routines (out of 25) that proved that these girls could be taught graceful dance moves requiring talent and precision without the need for costumes made out of underwear or the sexualized movements. One was a hip-hop routine where the girls (and even a few boys) wore pants and t-shirts, and OMG, somehow they managed to move just fine in such restrictive clothing. Another dance showcased the miniature girls in a shirt and a skirt with longer shorts underneath while the girls leapt, twirled, and twisted in some impressive moves.
The other 23 dance numbers featured sexually suggestive convulsions from the tiny bodies that were repulsive and infuriating replications of oversexualized pop stars. The display was so hard to look at, I ended up spending a good amount of time looking into the faces of the parents in the audience and silently condemning them (and wondering if their butts hurt from sitting on all those faux jewels). How could a parent bear to see their little girls represented in such a way, especially at such a young, impressionable age? Didn’t they see that they were encouraging their children to find approval in all the wrong ways and in all the wrong places? Shame on these women, these mothers who perpetuate this cycle of abuse by condoning such a horrible practice. I couldn’t believe that I was sitting in what is considered to be a civilized society in the United States of America and that all those present were willingly participating in such an event. How can we demand equality for women and an end to sexual abuse when we willingly contribute to the perpetuation of the problem?
Am I saying all girls’ dance troupes are evil? Of course not. But I’m saying I’m astounded that there are dance teachers that think this is “cute” or appropriate in any way. I’m saying I’m frustrated with parents who don’t seem to understand the psychological damage that they’re inflicting upon their children. Damage that can’t be undone. I’m saying good-freaking-grief, we should not be putting up with this crap. We should not be watching 6-year-olds shaking their hips to songs about being a super model or getting drunk at a club and thinking this is okay. And I’m beyond horrified that all this has to be said and isn’t just taken as a given.
*Note: Neither of my nieces participated in the worst of the dances, and my brother and sister-in-law were just as surprised/upset with the program as I was.
1) I agree with your rant2) That is hilarious, or at least your narration of it is3) That is so sad4) Were the majority of the dance instructors >25, because that's what it seems like. Oh, me and my girlfriends really like this song, let's give it to the children! Waaaaaht? This song is really about watching gay porn while tripping on illegal substances!?!? Oh well, it has a catchy beat. Keep dancing, children-sluts!
Thank you for being level-headed and independent enough to realize that popular pop music is disgusting smut wrapped in pretty packaging for little girls. Remember Nellie Furtado's "Promiscuous girl"? Remember all the prepubescent girls singing that on car rides around the world? Or how about Katy Perry's (I have no idea how to spell these people's names, btw) newest piece of pop shit about rape? I was HORRIFIED when I heard it. "I want to be a victim…" and then the rap guy comes on and talks about stealing her and probing her. WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE WE DOING TO OURSELVES??????? It makes me sick.
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Thanks for everyone's comments.
I removed a previous comment (although it made some excellent points) because I'm uncomfortable with accusatory comments on my blog about professors at the university where I attend and teach.
I am so glad that you posted this. If no one shouts, no one will wake up.
I teach dance… AND sexy baby dances are the worst. I think I'm the only teacher that feels that way too… then again, I each ballet.So. Yeah. They need to cut it out, or I'm calling child protective services or whoever governs that.Maybe my ballets need my sexy hip shakes. Maybe that will up attendance…?
Only it’s not anonymous, it’s Tiffany Mull.Sorry if my entry made you feel uncomfortable, that wasn’t my intention. I’ll give you an edited version using generalizations instead of specific examples, though I might point out that the examples I gave were true. I agree with your blog entry, but I will add that even if our society is encouraging such exhibitionism, or quasi-exhibitionism, there is NEVER an excuse for sexual abuse. “I couldn’t help but rape her, she was exposing her midriff and dancing!” Stories from the Middle East where women have been raped and then executed for the crime of having been raped (the poor man couldn’t help himself, she WAS exposing her wrists, after all) come to mind.I also think of a certain man I know who, while I strongly suspect he would agree with your assessment of the dance recital, also rattles off on a regular basis about how the female brain is underdeveloped when compared to the male brain (which is ridiculous). I think of some experiences I had at a university, which imposes a strict moral and dress code (I might add that I largely agree with that code), that filled me with a horror comparable to what you experienced at the dance recital. I distinctly remember sitting in a class listening to male after male of the student body offer a shockingly long list of what were, in their mind, “up sides” to the treatment of women in Middle Eastern society (you know, like forcing them to wear burkhas, or not allowing them to divorce/vote). I was, per usual, the only one willing to raise a fuss. I do not mean that these attitudes are relegated solely to this university, but that is where I happened to witness them. I also have had experiences with men who are respectful to women in a certain sense (as in not wanting to see them dance around half naked), but disrespectful in other areas (implying that they are somehow inherently inferior). Men who would qualify as misogynists, but whom I fully expect would agree with your assessment of that dance recital as well – all for girls dressing modestly and behaving like “ladies.” I used examples to illustrate how even people who would rightfully agree with you concerning the dance you witnessed, might still have screwed up views about women. I wanted to emphasize the universality of the problem.Again, I think you are very right in your assessment of the recital, but what I am adding is that it is a symptom of a much larger problem. It’s not just a Middle Eastern problem or a Western one. It’s not just a right wing (women tend to vote in higher frequencies for the left) problem or a left wing one (the purportedly “feminist” [and obviously leftist] NOW continued its enthusiastic support of Bill Clinton even after he pressured his young intern to service him sexually and then LIED about it). It’s a global catastrophe which, I think, most people just don’t even want to think about. Anyhow, didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable on your blog. It's a good entry. Hope this one doesn’t offend. Sorry for all the parentheses, and hooray for insomnia!