Stop Slutting Up Our Girls

Last week I attended my first dance competition with my daughter. It was a lot of fun to see girls of all ages strut their stuff on the stage and do an amazing job at it. The talent in these young ladies was amazing to see.

What I wasn’t ready for was seeing young girls in fishnets, tight boy shorts and thigh high leather boots. The teased hair, fake eye lashes and gyrating bodies on stage. I talked about this on Cast of Dads #18 and was glad to hear that the other dads were equally upset by it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am the farthest thing from an uptight prude. But, as I sat there in the audience and watched the 6 & 7 year old teams shake things they didn’t have and perform moves that were more appropriate for a stripper pole then a school stage I had to stop and wonder. Why are we letting our kids do this? Worse yet, why were there parents in the audience hooting and hollering every time they did an extra sexy move? How is it that suddenly slutting up our girls is ok with parents?

If you need a visual to make this real for you, take a look at this video below. It hit the web yesterday and after Jessica Gottlieb wrote about it, I knew I had to share my thoughts. Keep in mind that the girls in this video are seven and eight years old.

I can appreciate the girls dancing skills (they are super talented in that video) and I’ve heard the arguments of “they are just costumes”, but all of it still pisses me off. If you can’t handle watching the whole thing, the last 20 seconds or so will be enough to make you scream.

I have a daughter. I see the way she is marketed to. I’ve taken her shopping and seen the outfits that hang on display. Most of it is fine, but so much of it is far from that. Sure, sex sells, but do we need to be selling it to girls so young that they haven’t even developed yet? There is no reason for that.

This is not going to be one of those scream at society pieces, because I firmly believe that it is the job of the parent to not let this happen to their own kids. It is up to you to say, “no you can’t wear that” and explain why something is inappropriate. We can scream all we want, but when I heard those other parents cheering on the girls on stage (just listen to the video) it made me shake my head in shame. I wanted to stand up and turn around and ask point blank, “what the hell are you doing?”

One thing, that this personal experience has taught me is that I’ve got to be more involved if Emily is going to continue doing dance. I had never seen the routines she was working on, until they were on stage. I had seen the costumes ahead of time and they were fine. But, if she had come home with some of the outfits that I saw other girls in what would I have done? I’ve been thinking a lot about that and I know for sure I wouldn’t have allowed her to do it. That would not have been easy as I know dance is turning into a bit of a passion for her, but I would have needed to do it.

My daughter is growing up with a deep rooted self confidence. I want her to know that whatever she ends up looking like that she is her own person. That she is beautiful, smart, awesome and unique. There is nothing wrong with being sexy and flirtatious. That is part of the fun of being a human and while I’m scared to death of when she figures that out, I know it is part of growing up.

Parents, you are the last line of defense here. The old saying that sex sells is a fact and we all know it. That is never going to change, but does sex have to sell in your house? No, it doesn’t. This is a problem that parents are allowing to happen. Complain all you want about what is happening in our world, but the more active you are as a parent and not allow things like this to happen the better we all will be.

Update: As of this afternoon, it looks like all copies of the video have been removed from YouTube, so the embed below won’t work. Can’t say that I’m dissapointed in this, but it does kill a little experiment I was going to do with my daughter.

Tags: , ,

C.C. Chapman is the Founder of Digital Dads and the Author of Content Rules. He is a family first entrepreneur with two great kids (a boy and a girl) who loves the outdoors, cooking, photography and playing with technology. He consults with companies around the globe to help them embrace the new world of marketing and business. C.C. is a sought after speaker, photographer and content creator who looks forward to each day as a new adventure.

138 Responses to “Stop Slutting Up Our Girls”

  1. Tweets that mention Stop Slutting Up Our Girls | Digital Dads -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Thomas Mancusi. Thomas Mancusi said: Agree and it is so wrong, great post- RT @cc_chapman: Stop Slutting Up Our Girls: http://bit.ly/bVkvY8 [...]

  2. SOB Business Cafe 05-14-10 | Liz Strauss at Successful Blog Says:

    [...] Stop Slutting Up Our Girls [...]

  3. Gray Miller Says:

    As a Dad who's raised four girls and also a former dance teacher, I agree with you – that kind of dancing is inappropriate for kids that age (and some people who know me, another “farthest-thing-from-a-prude” kind of guy, that'd be surprising to hear).

    The thing is, CC, it's not the dance teachers who are teaching this. Kids came to my class already knowing these moves, wanting to put them into their own routines (which I nixed on many occasions). They learn them from TV, movies, and their friends – the same way kids have learned “inappropriate” dancing for generations.

    I don't know that you can stop it. I'm not even sure that you should – my own daughter just looked at me with pity when I asked if I could chaperone a dance at her school when she was 15. “Ok, Dad,” she said. “But keep in mind I'm going to dance how I dance – and you may not like that.” She's right. I didn't like it. But I think maybe I'm not supposed to. And maybe the job of us Dads is not so much to prevent it – “Footloose,” anyone? – but just to say “Um…are you sure?” Maybe it's to not support it until they ARE sure.

    And not to buy those clothes, even though we know they'll dress however they damn well please anyway…

  4. @katbrogan Says:

    I wish someone who has a daughter that performs would comment
    i really think this entire thing would be more balanced if we could at least understand where they are coming from
    when i saw my first girl dance performance
    i was shocked
    completely
    shocked

    but as the acts continued i noticed that in the dance community
    it's a given.
    it's what being in dance other than ballet means
    if you want to compete it seems it's this way or you lose
    ?

    maybe it's like girl beauty pagents
    it's this little world onto itself
    where it's all expected and therefore okay
    ?

    there's got to be some kind of explaination of mindset
    otherwise
    we're all so $%^*&^ doomed

  5. 3girlsrmine Says:

    I would love to retweet this, but dang, that image at the top is porn. Kindof defeats the purpose.

  6. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    They may not be teaching them, but they are putting together the routines and while I completely hear what you are saying, at the same time just because the kids know how to do it, doesn't mean it is right.

    I had a conversation recently and someone asked me what IS the right age to allow this and I didn't know. I'd never like to see my daughter doing this, but i know full well at some point she will. That is part of being a teenager and growing up. I get that.

    Maybe “the right age” is when they hit puberty? I don't know. I just know that girls under 10 at least should not be doing this stuff.

    But, again as I tried to harp on, this is something PARENTS need to stay on top of. They are the first and last line of authority in kids lives and they've got to be active and aware.

    Sounds like you've got a great relationship with your daughter based on that single comment she said to you. Well done.

  7. PJ Mullen Says:

    As a soon to be father of a daughter I could barely watch that video, I shut it down after a few seconds. That is disturbing beyond belief. Parents should be the first and last line of defense on something like this.

    With all of the music that is out there who in their right mind thought that seven year old girls dancing suggestively to a Beyonce song was appropriate? Total parenting fail by everyone there, especially if any of the parents involved feel the way we do about it and did nothing. There are better ways for girls that age to demonstrate their talents.

    If put into a similar situation I would take my daughter out of a program that promoted something like this and find another one that isn't going to subject her to things that are so inappropriate. And I know my wife would be in total agreement with me.

  8. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    Sorry to hear you feel that photo is pornographic. I bought it off a stock photo website for use in this article to make the point.

  9. Rachel - A Southern Fairytale Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly.
    I'm kind of speechless at that video.
    I'm with you, those girls are amazingly talented. I'm in awe of their talent. I'm shocked at the outfits and moves. Those are very sexual moves and I can say without a doubt, that as a parent of a 6 year old girl. Not a chance in this world that I would allow her to wear that outfit or perform those moves.
    I'm disturbed that at this young age, I am already having to monitor the clothes and watch what comes in via hand-me-downs from friends, presents from people and things she wants to purchase at the store.
    I'm seeing conversations on the horizon that I thought would be at least 3 years or more away. Instead, I'm seeing them more like 3 months ahead in our future.
    CC. Thank you for writing this.
    Thank you.

  10. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    I'm with you and I would love to hear from some “comp moms” (a term I also learned at my first dance competition) and how they feel about it.

  11. maxkalehoff Says:

    Here Here! Sexy lingerie is for the bedroom, and certainly not for little girls.

  12. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    For sure, the girls are crazy talented and I was thankful when the camera pulled back to a wide shot so you couldn't tell how young the girls were and you could just appreciate their dancing.

    My daughter just turned 9 and we've had conversations that I was far from ready to have to have, but I'm glad we've had them. Starting early with a wide open line of communication is more critical then ever with our kids.

  13. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    Turns out some of the parents of these girls were on Good Morning America today and had quotes such as:

    “On behalf of the parents, our best interest is for the kids,” he said. “Just know that the kids are doing something that they completely love to do. They compete in dance competitions … in front of family and friends.”

    This makes me scream extra loud since it was from a Dad!!

    You can read the whole thing at http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Parenting/girl-single

  14. woodd00 Says:

    As a father of two little girls I am having trouble forming the words to post here. I had to FF through that video just to get the general idea and get through it. The parents of those girls should be ashamed of themselves. I am FAR from a prude and heck my girls listen and dance to Beyonce, she is a very talented young woman. However, it will be a cold day in Hell before my girls do these move, especially on stage. The thing is I doubt the girls in this video had any clue what they were doing and it was some adult that choreographed the whole thing. Why are we in such a hurry to slut up our kids? They could still have danced to the song, but used other moves. Also, shame on the dance organizations and pageants for condoning this type of routine. The organizations that hold these events should set some standards or at least allow the judges to score them poorly so the parents who are pimping out their kids will have incentive to stop since apparently they don't give a damn otherwise.

  15. Chris_Singer Says:

    I'm with you P.J. – I turned it off. It was very disturbing. I don't understand how parents are letting this happen and I'm with you C.C., it won't go away unless other dads speak up about it. Great post.

  16. Frank Reed Says:

    Wow. That was hard to watch. What is more disturbing is the fact that they get a huge ovation so it tells them that what they're doing is 'normal'.

    Your point is well taken, though. The true control we have is in the house. We have to equip our kids with the tools to make decisions that are based on character rather than what the world calls “cool”.

    Good post and thanks for giving me a reminder to help my kids more.

  17. Frank Reed Says:

    Regardless of any defense, if you do something “just to compete” that puts a young girl in that kind of act it's just bad parenting, straight out. Sure I sound judgmental but in this case there is no GOOD reason to have an innocent (at least at one time) 7 or 8 year old girl doing this. If this is what it takes then don't “compete” is my take. We can't have relative value systems for our kids because they will get very confused very quickly.

  18. Crazy DaddyYo Says:

    Great post! My daughter turns 1 this month. I've seen the evolution of the dress style for younger girls getting worse and worse each year. And it scares me to think what it will be like in 5-10 years as she grows. And everyone is right, more dads will have to speak up if it is ever going to get under control. Thanks for bringing this subject to light!

  19. ronnica Says:

    Actually, I'd say that parents are the FIRST line of defense. Those girls are super talented…but that doesn't mean that they need accentuate their dance with hip thrusts and sexy outfits…those actually distract from their performance.

  20. Boston Mamas Says:

    Holy. Crap. I couldn't watch more than a few seconds of that video. It truly disturbs me.

    My daughter is definitely on the shy side and I have a hard time imagining that she'd ever go for something like this; we can't even get her in a ballet class because she's doesn't like the idea of the big show at the end. But it still troubles me.

    You make an excellent point about involvement re: Emily. And I think it would also be useful to talk to her about this issue and let her know that it is OK to tell you if she is uncomfortable with things going on in class. What I imagine could be hugely confusing for kids is having an adult — the alleged grownup with their best interests in mind — choreographing something like this and telling them to do it. And then the fear of looking like an outcast if you don't go along with all the other girls.

    It makes my heart hurt; it truly does. -Christine

  21. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    EXACTLY my thoughts! Well said!

  22. craig Says:

    As the father of 2 daughters who look like a spitting image of their mother, the alarm just went to defcon 1 after reading this.

  23. carissao Says:

    AMEN. Thanks for this post, C.C. I'm no prude either, and I believe the best form of dancing comes when you let loose and allow your emotions to flow through the dance steps…BUT THESE ARE LITTLE GIRLS. They shouldn't personally know the type of passion or sex appeal that the Beyonce types are displaying on MTV. These girls are crazy talented, and I admire that, but why at 8 and 9 years old does that talent need to be demonstrated along with gyrations and suggestive moves? It just doesn't. Our kids are finding more and more ways to grow up faster than they need to, and in this case, I think it's in their best interest to slow…things…down. So, whether they're picking it up on TV, in the movies, at school or from older siblings, we as parents need to be the gatekeepers that steer them back in the right direction…and not just blindly. I'm a firm believer in talking with our kids and explaining our actions. They need to know WHY this isn't appropriate, rather than just hearing “no.” That's the only way we can hope to influence their behavior as well as their understanding.

    I too was surprised by some of what I saw at a recent dance competition. My daughter is a mere 4 years old. She and her little friends were doing ballet and it was completely appropriate. But what were they doing while waiting for their turn? Watching the older girls doing their routines, whatever they might be. And that's the point…our kids are always watching and learning. Let's be sure we know–and are taking an active role in–those lessons.

  24. Sarah J Says:

    I'm not even watching that video…I can just imagine. I am SO blessed that Josie's dance teacher would never in a million years dress little girls like that. Of the 2 shows she has done, even the older girls were dressed better than the screen shot above. I agree…parents need to say NO more than they do.

  25. Karen Cardoza (aka MrsB) Says:

    My daughter danced for years and thankfully there was nothing like that in her recitals! Yikes!!

  26. Karen Cardoza (aka MrsB) Says:

    Holy Smokes! My daughter danced for years and thankfully there weren't any routines like that in her recitals. There are definitely ways to showcase dance skills without resorting to the “sex sells” route. It was uncomfortable to watch those little girls!

  27. AccuConference Says:

    I was appalled watching this — I'm only 26 and not too long ago I was performing in dances and wearing costumes. 10 or 15 years ago, this was not what we wore to do so. I don't think in the 13 years I was dancing we ever showed our stomachs as part of the outfit. As someone who isn't a parent, I can assure you there are more people in the world who are disturbed by the trend of overly sexy clothing in girls. I have two nieces and things like this make me want to lock them in their homes until they are 21 — I can only imagine how my brother feels.

  28. Meg Fowler Says:

    What it comes down to is an essential lack of creativity. If it sells when the 21 year old girls do it, it must be what's called for when the 8 year olds do it. Sure, the girls want to copy what they see — but when the adults can't think of a way to modify things for kids who aren't quite ready for that kind of telegraphing, then they just default to imitation.

    The video that was created for the Beyonce song involved a take on a Bob Fosse/Gwen Verdon routine, I believe — and if you look at the dancing in the original routine, it's something that little girls could do without screaming underage sexuality. Not only that, but their costumes were adorable and entirely covered.

    A creative teacher with a little consideration for her tiny charges could have reached a bit further back to create something that would have showcased their talent beautifully without exploiting them.

    But if everyone gets stuck on the sexual default in every other area of expression — in media, art, advertising, marketing, etc. — it's no shock to me that we're willing to do it to our kids.

  29. Jennifer Iannolo Says:

    Wow. The most unfortunate piece is that these young girls are being given the impression that gyrating and dressing like a ho make a woman sexy and attractive. They will take this with them through their teenage years (god help them) and then be shocked when boys want things they aren't ready to give. As I've gotten older, I've witnessed what the 22-year-old version of this looks like in a bar — it isn't pretty.

    What a mess.

  30. Todd Defren Says:

    This dad is <gagging>.

    I agree with Meg: those truly remarkable skills could have been just as easily highlighted with far less sexuality on display.

    I was ALMOST as appalled thinking about the level of commitment and practice that must have gone into the routine. Little girls of that age ought to have plenty of time to host tea parties with stuffed animals, and the caliber of dancing in that horror show suggests too much discipline/pressure.

    You'd think that during the insane number of practice sessions that these girls endured that some responsible adult would have said, “WTF is up with the booty-shaking? And don't you DARE put my little girl in that 'New Orleans prostitute' get-up!”

  31. Christopher S. Penn Says:

    Want to slap people in the face with a 2×4? Show them the convict in prison watching the video on YouTube with his buddies, making notes about who he's going to visit when he's paroled.

    If sex sells, so does fear.

  32. Stephanie Chan Says:

    goodness gracious… meg hit it spot on…

    If it can start at this age without the parents' notice, i don't even want to imagine the further possibilities… More of an incentive to start my awareness program

  33. nic @mybottlesup Says:

    1. beyonce had more over her body covered in her own video.
    2. 8 YEARS OLD.
    3. as a former middle school teacher, it scares me to think of what these girls will be taught between now and the time they reach middle school.
    4. this is deplorable.

  34. mike ashworth Says:

    you might want to read the book “living dolls – the return of sexism” by natasha walker when you get a chance. i think you'll agree with what she writes about the hyper-sexualised times we now live in

  35. DCUrbanDad Says:

    That routine right there is my worst nightmare. There is a difference between being puritanical and being just sensible.

  36. clintus Says:

    Maybe it's because I'm not a chile molester and don't even have those thoughts pass through my head but all I see in that video are 5 super talented girls dressed up as dancers in a music video. Did they have to wear that exact outfit? Probably not. I think I would question the dance instructor's choice but ultimately, I signed my daughter up for “performance dance” which is not bound by a school and school's rules.

    I completely understand everyone's arguments, I just don't have those feelings. Having a 5 year old daughter myself who shows a strong interest in dance I can see myself going down this path very soon. Would I let my daughter perform this routine in these outfits? Maybe. What I know for sure is she worked her butt off for many months on that routine and I wouldn't want to rob her of her performance. Again, I may question the instructors choice of clothing but in the end girls will always play dress up and want to emulate those they look up to. Whether it's their mom or their favorite performer.

  37. DaDa Rocks! Says:

    I completely agree – we dont need any of this – we need to redefine the look and feel of little girls to no longer match that of their 18+ year old counter parts.

  38. clintus Says:

    good point Chris, and in that example, yes that bothers me.

  39. Rhonda Shrum Says:

    Exactly. That's all I can think….don't people know that this is the kind of thing pedophiles live for? How can you CHEER for this? I wanted to vomit.

  40. Mark Fidelman Says:

    WTF? I can appreciate the dancing but the outfits were too much. Seemed like they were going for shock value over artistry.

  41. 3girlsrmine Says:

    The point you make is that it's okay for Dad to post slutty stuff if he has a good enough reason. Maybe to the dance troupe, they have a good enough reason too – winning.

  42. clintus Says:

    goes back to the instructor choosing the routine and the outfits. Does she have a history or choosing these types of routines? The girls had to have been working on this for months, did the parents not know. I imagine when signing your kid up for something like this you look at examples of their work or history of the instructor. Maybe not though.

  43. clintus Says:

    great point Gary.

  44. Robert Mendez Says:

    The other side of this coin is the way violence is ported to our young sons. That is not as easily accepted by men as the sexual treatment of girls. As a grandparent who has seen both sides of this coming for the last forty years, parents may be simply helpless. This is also the other side of political correctness that puts a type of peer pressure on parents to not buck the trend. Many have simply given in and don't understand the price tag. Many don't want to hear the cost so they nod and accept it. The throttling power of 24/7 images, reinforced by figures who flaunt the permissive nature, has drawn the darkest parts of our psyche out and left us powerless to the peddlers of smut and violence. The Internet is not the cause; the Internet may have simply exposed a nerve that funds our particular flavor of economics. From citizens to consumers with no holds barred. But if you think for a nanosecond that parents are the ones in shock, just imagine how pre-pubescent children are shocked when confronted with this as their main way of pleasing the people in charge of nurturing them.

  45. princessofsarcasm Says:

    Wow. Such talented little girls. Emphasis on “LITTLE GIRLS”….

    I have two boys, so the dance thing is unfamiliar to me. It seems like unnecessary to parade them around like this. They obviously have the talent to pull off an amazing routine without being pimped out. Is a trophy worth losing their innocence?

  46. Joel Says:

    I saw the video yesterday and had the same reaction. I couldn't watch it. I am a father of a 1 and a 1/2 yo daughter. I couldn't help but think, “this is what is in her future?” It made me sick. I too am not a prude but felt the same way, do they really need to be dressed like this and dancing like this at this young of an age? They hardly even have a choice at this point. Come on parents, what are you thinking?

  47. rojopelo Says:

    Wow. The video is perplexing. While all the the girls are talented dancers, the choice of song, costume and choreography is utterly age inappropriate. The coach and the parents got sucked into the machine mentality that they had to outfit and choreograph this way for the girls to have a shot, that their pure talent as dancers wouldn't be seen without the boyshorts and gyrating.

  48. MarkYoshimotoNemcoff Says:

    I couldn't agree more. There's no reason these girls couldn't have performed their amazingly choreographed routine in more age-appropriate attire but I fear we live in such an era of such hypersexualized marketing to our children–girls in particular–that the cat is way out of the bag already. I'm afraid that the glorification of this video will just lead to seeing more of this kind of thing on the internet. We all know a child's need for attention, especially from adults, makes them desire to appear and act as “grown up” as possible. I'm no psychologist but I believe (and from experience as a dad) that if you can develop and strengthen your own child's sense of security and self-worth within his or her world then the need to emulate will carry much less long-term harm.

  49. Jamie Sandford Says:

    C.C., I'm with you on this. I was a) appalled at the age and attire of the girls and b) impressed with their enthusiasm for dance. Anyone who has a 6-7 year old girl will tell you that there are times it's hard to get them to really get into anything. These girls obviously are into their dancing and have put some significant time into this routine. If they keep up with this dedication, they will enjoy many years of developing and refining their dancing.

    However, it is very concerning on several fronts:

    1) Where are we as a society if we're whooping and hollering as the audience is doing?

    2) Attire — like many have said here — I'm no prude, but this is just ridiculous for this age. There is no way that I would've let my daughter dance in something like that. Which brings me to…

    3) What were the parents of these girls thinking? There had to have been several points along the way to draw attention to what was going to transpire. LOTS of practice was involved (“what song are you dancing to, honey?”) and then the uniform selection and probably a 7 year-old humming and singing the song around the house.

    I think this societal acceptance of little girls as “women” can't get much more apparent than at Halloween. Look at the costumes for girls — with fishnets and short skirts and all of that. Meanwhile, the boys are firefighters, cowboys and superheroes.

    Just like pageant babies with the overbearing parents who are living vicariously through their kids, this is over the top. It's time we stepped back and looked at ourselves every now and then. We're all a part of the acceptance of it unfortunately.

  50. gregcangialosi Says:

    I got 43 seconds in and stopped. As a father of a 16 month old daughter its scary for me to see how far people are going with the “sexing up” of our kids. This is disturbing to say the least and no CC, you are not overreacting a bit. Its disgraceful!

  51. The Open Sourcerer Says:

    That's quite shocking.

    I stopped it after a short time too. I'm a dad and have two young boys (5 & 9) but that performance just isn't right is it?

    I'm very broad-minded generally and I guess that “routine” would not have been so bad had the clothing been a little more tasteful, but I do think we are increasingly taking our kids into adulthood too early. When I was growing up the girls went to ballet class and we played cowboys and indians in the woods.

  52. Ann Handley Says:

    The other day I was driving a car full of tweenagers when Usher came on the radio. I cringed as they all sang along:

    “honey got a booty like pow, pow, pow
    honey got some boobies like wow, oh wow…
    ….oooh she got it all…”

    Really? “She has it 'all'”? Like brains? A keen sense of humor? Warmth and personality? Or just a nice ass?

    I'm no prude, either, CC, but as some of your commenters have pointed out, our girls are picking up this stuff culturally and embracing it as “normal” on the stage and off… like the sing-along in my car the other afternoon.

    I can't say I have all the answers, but awareness and discussion (like this post!) is huge. Also, as you suggest, raising kids with a sense of that same awareness and confidence, too, that transcends the cultural slutty-ness crap. Talking to your girls about how sex is fun and cool, but slutty isn't… (or relaying it in terms of whatever your values happen to be).

    And by the way, this isn't just an issue that affects our daughters.. but our sons, too. I see it in my own teenage boy and his friends, who are obviously steeped in this culture as well. The behavior of teen boys seems sometimes disturbingly consistent with a talk Cindy Gallop gave at TED last year, in which she said that ready access to hardcore porn had influenced the way a generation of young men think about women and sex.

  53. davidsobkowiak Says:

    My daughter turns 9 on Sunday. As long as my wife and I are breathing, she will never (NEVER) be put on public display like this. It's base, disgusting and frightening. One thing that struck me was the expressions of the girls while they were dancing. They have no idea (or at least should not) what those emotional expressions mean and it's frightening to see that level of intensity in someone so young. The hypersexual nature of today's society is something every parent needs to consider whether they have a daughter or a son (I have both). For both of my children, it's a matter of teaching them to view every person as a person, and not an object. It's also a matter of instilling self confidence and self respect, and respect of others.
    Appalling.

  54. MommyBrain Says:

    OK.. i missed Jessica's post, but saw yours come across twitter… All I have to say about that video is wow… just wow… i would NEVER let my girls dress or dance like that… It actually makes me more than glad that they did not end up taking dance this past year… Instead, we put them in Martial Arts classes… WHO in their right mind would let their children go on stage in those clothes and do those dance moves at that age??? really??? I am with you… If my kids came home with “costumes” like those I'd have stood up too.

    Yes… they are talented girls.. but so are the dancers on DWTS and I don't see super slutty dances like that… Well.. even Pam Anderson came on the show and performed cleanly..

    I'm so scared of what my girls are exposed to… They're going to be going to school this coming Fall, and it scares me that I won't be able to control what they watch… and no.. they don't watch music videos… They watch Mythbusters…

  55. phillymac Says:

    Hey CC,

    As dad of four girls, 3 of whom took dance till this year, I completely know what you're talking about. The eldest (14) isn't taking dance anymore because all the classes she would have been in had performance costumes that looked like they were better suited for trollops than a young lady. The 12 year old only takes tap now because the jazz and hip hop routines were headed in the same direction as the 14 year olds.

    Alas, this is becoming a societal standard. I know a lot of people try to make the argument that “parents just need to get more involved” (in fact, you just said that above) or “well, that's your morals” – but there's a point where society has to have an agreed upon moral baseline.

    Even if I am an involved parent (and I am) it's really hard to shield kids from adult content and allow them to be kids. And I'm talking about young teens here as well. Just wait till you have your pre-teen or teen girl saying they want to watch stuff on TV, and all the shows you see are about the girls having boyfriends or the boys they have crushes on or sneaking out behind their idiot parents backs and the like. And then when you try to look beyond teenybopper fare (just described) everything has some kind of sexual content, double entendre or language that you don't routinely use in your home (not saying the kids might not hear it at school – but it's still not accepted language for them at their age). Even worse at the moves. Honestly, I can be involved, but unless I'm a rolling shield wall in front of my kids – there's NO way (other than digging a hole) – to keep them from being exposed to what has become the accepted norm. Having said that, being that I don't believe that digging a hole is a solution, my wife and I continue to move on, teach, edify, instruct and teach our KIDS to address the situation when they encounter it as well. Yes, we're radicals that way!

    In this particular case, I believe there are a couple of things happening (well, maybe more than a couple but these play a big part).

    1.) Sex and the use of sex has become so profligate in our society that many people fail to realize that what they see on TV or commercials now would have caused an outrage even 20 years ago. What Lady Gaga wears and does today without anyone seeming to even take notice got Madonna, and her sponsor Pepsi, boycotted in the 80s.

    2.) Social (as represented by big media and hollywood which shape and create) and peer pressure has intimidated many people that might say something into holding their tongues because they're afraid to be ridiculed (prude, right wing nut job, etc.) and or are afraid of being perceived as politically incorrect. Not that it's an excuse mind you – I don't think it is – but it's what happens. Remember, most people (the temperaments of at least 86% of the population) are non-confrontational. Even if something makes someone uncomfortable, they won't address is, they'll either endure it and/or when the opportunity arrives just move into a different circumstance.

    And yes, name calling is a big intimidator. I know when I was a kid my parents used to say stuff like “sticks and stones and break my bones but names can never hurt me” but in today's environment we are so quick to label people, to use names to polarize a crowd, generate page views and frame a debate in terms we prefer it has taken on new and immense proportion and creates a huge impact on people.

    To sum up, I agree with you that we're the last line of defense, but I don't agree that it's all we can be or have to be. You can only throw up a wall so long. You can only defend against the barbarian hoards until the walls crash in by sheer weight. We, as dads, must instead be a beacon. We instead must insist that that kind of dancing is not appropriate at their ages. Our studio owner didn't agree, so our girls don't take those classes. Our studio owner didn't see it, so now she's lost the custom for our youngest three children.

    We as dads must not just say it's not going to happen in our house, but we need to make people aware that it just isn't right. I'm not saying we need to legislate it, but we do need to continue to let people that can make a difference know.

    I think last year your mention was Transformers – if I recall you were outraged. Others were too, especially some dads that were embarrassed to watch the preview trailer with the motorcycle scene when their girls were with them. Others have mentioned the marketing of Batman to kids (while the movies were far to mature for kids), today it's the girls costumes and dancing. What will it be next?

  56. tishgrier Says:

    came here from a tweet….and even though I don't have children, I care about how they are marketed to, and what our culture is about. One irony to this is that Beyonce Knowles was wearing more clothing in her video for the song than the girls in the video are wearing. There's no reason for that kind of costume on a kid. And while I'm sure there's a reason for teaching those dance moves (those are the ones in vogue right now) it's very disturbing to see kids performing them. Yet this is our culture–one that makes everything into sexual suggestion.

    I also worry about how they might take to their bodies growing up and growing older. Will they have difficulty accepting their bodies as they leave their 20's and enter into their 30's and 40's, when weight gain and skin changes just aren't under one's control the way they are in youth? Will we see more women cutting their bodies with unnecessary surgeries more often? The consequences of such early sexualization are frightening.

  57. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    Thank you for this comment. You hit on some points that I didn't even know how to articulate since I wasn't focused on just the dancing.

  58. startupcfo Says:

    Totally agree with you. Like you I have a daughter and a son. It just seems like society is in a rush to make our kids grow up fast. What's the rush? Let kids be kids.

  59. joezeigler Says:

    I agree that the girls in this video have clearly worked hard on this routine, and are demonstrating exceptional skills, especially considering their age.

    But, considering their age, all the booty-pumping and chest-thrusting maneuvers are totally inappropriate. Their parents should be calling the dance instructors to task for it.

    Makes me glad my 9YO girl is more in tuned to basketball and soccer. (Thought sports come with their own set of teaching opportunities.)

  60. ryanholota Says:

    As much as this disgusts me, and as much as I think allowing your daughters to do this borders on abuse, the fact is that it does not fall within the guidelines of criminal abuse, and the parents are free to let their kids do this if they so choose.

    This is yet another example of why it is so important to think about our roles as parents and to be willing to take a stand on matters of principle as a parent. C.C., you are totally right to say that you would refuse to allow your daughter to participate in something like this if the situation ever arose. If just one of those parents had said no to this dance, perhaps the other parents involved would have been shamed just enough to choose a less suggestive routine.

  61. CuteMonsterDad Says:

    I can't comprehend the lack of oversight by the adults involved in producing this dance routine. The parents, the choreographers and the organization involved in running this particular show are all accountable for this misguided debacle. There's simply nothing age appropriate about it.

  62. JessicaGottlieb Says:

    Thanks for the shout out.

    What I see as a woman is that very young girls are being shown that their currency is sexuality. I cannot imagine a sadder message to give your girl.

  63. Tammi Says:

    I am a dance teacher and I have to be honest, I could never get my 7 and 8 year olds to do any of this, not the triple turns, the sharpness of the moves, the perfect in sync movement…. I think the real problem is, that the same parents who are letting their 7-8 year old dance enough in one week
    to perfect real technique appropriate for 10-15 year olds, don't mind whoring out their daughters. I am ashamed that these teachers are wasting their obvious talent for instruction on such trash… take the same time and teach them ballet, modern, jazz (that was NOT jazz… it was trash) and
    maybe how to be children. They dance better than 90% of my school, but I teach my girls to be self confident… not self depricating. Talk about teaching our children that if they are the sexiest thing out there that they will be “loved”. I absolutely love bob fosse and what he has brought to the
    world of jazz… but if this was suppose to be in his style, they missed some seriously important stylizing. Someone only heard hip thrust… how about particular hands, the inverted legs, etc. Even in Sweet Charity, the moves were less sexual than in this dance and that show was about strippers! He could use one simple hip thrust and it read sexually while not degrading the dancers… in fact… the dances were generally more about mocking this sort of movement… which needs a rather mature and aware dancer to be performing them… these 7-8 year olds should not even know sex exists… so my guess is they can not actually perform a Fosse piece to its full potential. I am absolutely disgusted.

  64. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    Amen to that! No one is saying to be a prude, but there are some lines that should be obvious to parents not to cross.

  65. Christine Sierra Says:

    Great discussion. And a point I think needs more attention is that respect of yourself and others starts at home. Parents raise their children – the teachers, coaches, instructors, clergy, neighbors, family members can all support them in those efforts – but at the end of the day Mom and/or Dad are responsible.

    I haven't had a chance to see the GA interview but I'm not surprised that some parents would allow the exploitation – we live in a fame hungry society. Little Lucy can make it big and be the next Disney star if someone sees her “talent”.

    Keep them close and talk around the table. They grow up so fast.

  66. Trololol Says:

    America Fuck yeah!

  67. John Stahlbaum Says:

    You are definately correct but with the present society and all the things that are publicly allowed now, I believe there is no way that parents can control what goes on in their childrens lives, not because of bad parenting but because of a bad society. After all your kids can watch, see or hear about gay pride parades and such and their outfits are even worse.
    If you want your children to grow up in this kind of society then you must just sit back and let it happen as it may because with the social influence you as a parent does not have a hope in Hell.
    John

  68. Jamie Sandford Says:

    And now the video has made CNN and Dr. Phil.
    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2010/

  69. sherryosborne Says:

    I just wrote about it today too. I wanted to write something yesterday but I was just too shocked and disgusted to formulate words beyond “oh my GOD.”

    It's all kinds of wrong and if one of those girls was my daughter that would have been her LAST time at that particular dance school.

  70. MichelleGillies Says:

    I watched the video. What I thought & felt in order of appearance…
    1st – Shock
    2nd – Horror
    3rd – Then I started to cry
    4th – Shame
    5th – They must have really worked hard & are really talented
    The 5th thing on the list should have been the first and only thing on the list. Such talent being so exploited is inexcusable.

  71. Daniel M. Clark Says:

    I agree on all points, as a father of a four-year-old. I didn't even bother to watch the video because seeing the freeze-frame image of the girls on stage in those outfits was enough. I didn't need to press Play. There is no excuse – none – for girls of that age to be wearing outfits like that.

    When you go to the beach, you can wear a bikini, right? But you can't wear a bra and panties. Why? Same amount of skin covered, right? But it's simply inappropriate. It's not the amount of skin on the girls in the video that I have a problem with, it's the *style of the clothing*. They're dressed like strippers. No 8-year-old should ever… EVER… be dressed like a stripper. I'll be damned if my daughter dresses like that as long as she's pre-adult. Five, eight, sixteen, if she's not an adult, she's a child, and children don't get to dress like strippers if I have anything to say about it.

  72. Laurie Masterson Says:

    As a mother of two beautiful teenage daughters (15,17) I am saddened with you. Parents buy into this by be held prisoner by the culture, the schools and their children. Having seen this early on play out in our community I chose to pull my children out of public school (I know that not everyone can do this). I battled with our school district over extremely explicit sexual material being available to our children. Although there were several parents who stepped forward in support the majority, who felt the same, stayed silent~ Complacency is the breeds all that is happening in our country today. My hope and fervent prayer is that people will step from their comfort zones and become engaged in the facets of life that are eternal~

  73. Laurie Masterson Says:

    Clintus- Open mindedness has nothing at all to do with this. As a woman and a mom of two teenage daughters I can tell you that what you allow, as a parent, your child to be exposed to is tacit approval. So while you are saying no with your words you are saying yes with your actions. Actions speak louder than words. Dress up is one thing, dressing like a hooker is quite another. I would encourage you to be very careful who you allow your daughter to look up to, listen to and read… GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage out)~

  74. bropo Says:

    Excellent discussion but might I recommend that — rather than disappointing your daughter when she comes home with an inappropriate costume — you get involved in the planning stages with the dance instructor re costume choices and dance moves? That way, your daughter's hard work isn't for naught later in the game. And “inappropriate” is a word the dance instructor (many of whom are young and don't have children of their own and find these situations “cute”) needs to learn.

  75. Robert Mendez Says:

    After reading some of the comments here, it seems you have uncovered many of the underlying reasons why this has gone this far. I disagree that this is just inappropriate for “just” such young children, though, since some have said they shut it down, I won't actually view this as I believe it is actually inappropriate to show it. I can imagine what it is just from seeing enough of it in the last couple of decades. Suggestive, provocative and alluring fantasies of adults – it was adults who orchestrated this btw – pushed on children ought to bring the same penalties as people who produce and sell child porn. Furthermore, except for a couple of exceptions, I'm sure most here are solid parents and individuals. However, I am just as sure as there are others, how many I have no idea, who will use this for their own sick enjoyment. I don't think you need to display it to consider it. If you believe it is wrong for this age, are you saying it's fine for a sixteen-year-old? It is not and I would venture to say this sort of rubbish is only good for the lowest common prurient individuals. Would you approve your wife performing this way?

  76. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    While I probably wouldn't approve of my wife doing the same dance number, she is old enough to make her own decisions so it would really be up to her.

    Is there a “right age” is a tough question and one I don't know the answer to. A lot of it depends on the person, the parent and the situation. Each has to decide for themselves. My daughter is only 9 so I can only talk about that age range.

  77. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    It is something that I'm planning on doing. I've never actually met the person that runs the dance academy she goes to and I'm planning on going this weekend to talk to them about this very issue, because I'm curious what their reaction would be.

    I'm happy to see several dance instructors commenting on this post.

  78. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    It is sad that #5 gets lost. I agree with you.

    If the girls can dance as good as they can, just think what a killer routine they could have done without all the sex moves.

  79. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    One point you brought up is a simple one, but one that I think adds to a lot of this happening and that was your reference to talk around the table.

    While schedules now make it harder then ever, we always try to sit down together for dinner. Some of the best discussions happen there and it is something we've always tried to maintain. It gets a LOT harder as they get older, but I wish more families did this.

  80. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    THANK YOU for chiming in and sharing your thoughts. I didn't want to slam the dance community, because this of course is a much bigger issue, but I'm so glad you shared your thoughts from the dance side.

  81. Dominick Says:

    I am not a prude, at all, but I found that video very distasteful. The girls all look like baby prostitutes. It's horrible that parents cheer this on. Let kids be kids and stop trying to make them age before it is their time!

  82. Andrea Meyers Says:

    This is one of those situations where the parents not only need to tell the child it's not appropriate but tell the dance teachers that we don't want this kind of stuff and we'll find other studios that are more in line with our way of raising our children. Money talks.

  83. Linda Says:

    that video made my cry. I had 2 girls in competitive cheering in a group that insisted on uniforms that covered middles and skirts were long enough so that they still looked like little girls. And they were made fun of for their uniforms because they weren't the typical skimpy style. it IS up to the parents to be vigilant and protect.

  84. Jeremy Meyers Says:

    A couple of things here

    1) I would tend to doubt that the girls in the video had any specific ideas as to the meaning we are attaching to it.

    2) The idea that sexuality is pervasive in this society, for me at least, isn't the issue. The issue is that sexuality devoid of human value, devoid of actual confidence, is a currency. I think this traces back to the original puritan values that sex is a shameful taboo, for women especially. The reason there can even BE a “sex=power” dynamic for women is that a woman who enjoys sex and whose sexuality is represented as part of her whole is somehow deviant, as opposed to the norm. It's not a realistic representation of sex, its a pornographic representation (not that there's anything wrong with porn, but it's FANTASY)

    3) Maybe this wasn't the most appropriate choice of outfit, maybe there was a better way to have these children demonstrate their considerable dancing skills, but I think the time to have that discussion is BEFORE the performance. Saying “i was horrified” and “this is digusting” may just reinforce the 'sex is bad, you should be ashamed of your bodies' message that so many commenters are rallying against.

  85. bgavin Says:

    I can't even think about the whole pedophile thing.
    Much more important because it will effect everything single girl involved is what Jessica said – we are teaching these girls that their currency – their value is only their sexuality.

  86. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    Exactly my thought.

  87. LilPecan Says:

    I know exactly who is parenting these girls. They are led by marketing rather than long established morals. If they see it in the media they figure it must be okay. They are sold on the idea that media represents societal norms and rather than think this through, it is easier to believe the times have changed and anyone who doesn't accept this is a backwards prude. They think they are hip and progressive for going along.

    I know it is more comforting to think these parents were not aware what their children were doing after being dropped off at dance but sadly that is not always the case. These are the ones who say my daughter is precocious but what are you going to do because “all children are like that now.” Rather than seeing the behavior in this video as an aberration and pulling their child out of dance class they believe they are encouraging the child's creativity. They think maybe their child could end up on American Idol.

    I am heartened to see the number of parents shouting “Hell, no!” in these comments. I don't agree with John Stahlbaum that parents don't have a chance in hell fighting social influence. Be aware of what your children are doing and speak with them about it. Children are poor at processing cause and effect. There are enough examples of poor judgment out there where a parent can show the consequences of such behavior. Let these examples speak for you and you are less likely to come off as a lecturing nag.

  88. heysenseless Says:

    I'm 20 and I used to dance in recitals like that. I quit dancing when I was around 13 and from what I've seen the entire dance industry has changed. I quite agree with what you're saying. The dances need to be appropriate for the age groups that are dancing it. When I was little, we wore poodle skirts and jumpsuits as costumes. Although the demographic is changing, a lot of it has to do with our culture and the way its represented in the media (movies, music videos, etc) and not only that, but also in schools and yes, in some families. Although I'm not a parent myself, and I never really plan to be, I'm worried about future generations of children who are being prescribed birth control at 13 and learning to slut it up at school and I do believe that self-esteem has something to do with that. Parents do need to take a more active role in their children's lives, especially during the development of themselves and their ideas. While I'm not saying to be a helicopter parent or even be that strict, I think it's important that children are aware of their choices, their options, and themselves. :)

  89. ErinK Says:

    Would those parents still be cheering and hooting if the girls were 13 and had the bodies to fill out outfits like that?

    How are they going to teach them the difference?

  90. Joe Suchy Says:

    Well said! I first typed “great article” but the “slutting up of America” is a disturbing and real issue. I'm glad my three are all in their 20's now!

  91. New York Dad Says:

    Might I add this consideration to Jessica's comment about teaching sex as currency?

    Neither being a prude nor caring if my kid ever becomes the world’s greatest “whatever” (or at least not by my forcing him to do so starting his training at 18 months), I want to explain why sex would not work as currency for these little girls. I figure, at least this way these parents will also have a more pragmatic “clinical” reason to rethink what they are doing.

    Many of the parents who are cheering for their little girl “a-la-Little Miss Sunshine” are the very same ones who enter them in all these kinds of dance competitions hoping that one day their little girl will be a top dancer. To be a top dancer (and excuse me for being a total snob) you need to aspire to enter a top performing arts school or troupe (ballet, modern dance… etc.). If you are think Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders then I am sorry to inform you that you are not really shooting for the stars.

    So here is the bad news. Julliard (to name just one) looks down upon the tasteless garbage and the utter waste of talent seen in this video. Imagine your daughter showing up for auditions with that spectacle in her portfolio (and even if you realize what you have done, Internet is such a powerful intelligence gatherer, good luck trying to bury it). So do yourself a favor, if you are so driven to get her to the top, start by finding her a choreographer who has talent and taste. That would be something to cheer about.

  92. Dave Says:

    As a dance dad, I've seen this too – there are studios that specifically state that they don't do provocative dancing, and the power of the parent (or the parent's pocketbook) is the king of it all – usually talking to the dance teachers will resolve these kinds of issues.

    My daughter has been dancing for 7 years, since the age of 5, and it's been a great experience. We have moved dance studios for different reasons, just remember you are in charge, not them.

  93. sue_anne Says:

    I saw that video that you posted and had very similar thoughts. While the girls are very talented and did a great job on the choreography they were given, the adults are to blame with how they've sexualized the routine.

    It's along the same lines of Miley's little sister creating “lingerie” instead of pajamas. Why does an 8 year old girl need lingerie?

  94. Dan York Says:

    C.C., Thanks for writing this… and yes, as the father of 2 daughters (8 yrs old and 1 yr old), I couldn't watch more than a few seconds of this. I agree with so many of the comments here… and yes, it definitely IS our responsibility as parents to help guide our children in what is appropriate and sensible… and clearly this is NOT. :-(

  95. amyz5 Says:

    I I first saw this on facebook and then on Jessica's eloquent post. As a mom of a daughter who is now 21 but navigated through the days of dance recitals I feel your pain. I too was more appalled at the parental cheering than the misguided ignorance of the dancing school.

    Parenting is all about modeling and setting limits. First part was easy in my house, second part was a struggle. Let's take a look at the moms of those 7 and 8 year olds. How many of them are behaving this way and how many are just going along with it because “everyone is doing it and I can't disappoint my child or single them out?”

    Bottom line, if it feels wrong to you..

    IT IS!

    Thanks for the a dad's point of view and keeping the attention on this nonsense. Perhaps together we can put a stop to it.

  96. Robert Mendez Says:

    The reason such young girls are in this situation is not because they want to be in this situation. I guess that is what I was trying to say. Take for example most of the big “hits” of the last thirty years, from “Dirty Dancing” which is still on the tube constantly, to Dancing with the Stars, which is farcical in the way it sexualizes dance itself. If kids didn't have all of this thrown at them before they have developed an ability to reason, they might develop a better understanding of themselves and the way sex is portrayed. You and others here have said, no one wants to be labeled a prude. As if that is somehow worse than being overly cautious. I doubt many husbands, lovers or parents are keen to gift their loved ones with a stripper pole, yet they are quite the rage. Just looking for a little context to this. I do also wonder how much traffic you would have gotten without the images?

  97. Mur Lafferty Says:

    One of my favorite Chris Rock bits is how he felt when he became the father of a daughter, and his new, all-consuming obsession/responsibility was stopping your daughter from being a stripper.

    “YOU GOT TO KEEP THEM OFF THE POLE.”

    Crude. Funny. But oh so true.

  98. Christine Sierra Says:

    Schedules can be crazy but to me – just like exercise, food shopping, trips to the dentist – time at home with the family around the table is something that may have to be scheduled but can't be overlooked. It's the simple root of communication that I hope stays with my kids so they know at ANY time they can talk to me – and if anything they are asked to do or told to do makes them uncomfortable, they can turn to me (us). I appreciate my calm, family upbringing so much more now that I have children. And you're right – it's simple.

  99. CharmedValerie Says:

    Um wow! I'm the furthest thing from being prudish but this just makes me sick to my stomach. :(

  100. Robert Mendez Says:

    This video, which I still refuse to watch, is all over the Internet and has been pulled from Youtube apparently. The consensus: it constitutes child porn. The descriptions of shock and awe may be a red flag that some might take to follow the lead of those that have removed it. I'm curious to hear your rationale for leaving it up if what you are trying to do is encourage discussion that helps kids? Could you tell us why you have it and other provocative images still showing? The image there now is not a child, so what's the deal?

  101. Kelly Whalen Says:

    Ironically in the GMA piece this morning the mom of one girl said that her daughter never watched the original video. So favorite pop performer? Not so much.

    Why not allow your daughter to work on a routine for many months that showcases her dance skills instead of a copycat of Beyonce? Seems like the choreographer has more to do with it than anyone else involved.

  102. Kelly Whalen Says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm absolutely appalled. I don't know how any parent can think this kind of dancing is at all appropriate. Opt out, people. Seriously.

    I have an 8 year old, and I think the girls have amazing talent, but what happened to their childhoods? I'm guessing they spend every day training while my 8 year old spends her afternoons playing with her siblings and neighbors.

  103. C Kohlzy Says:

    I totally agree…our dance school in Norwood, MA takes great care in being tasteful and appropriate for the age. It is a lot of work for the Director but she takes great pride in teaching dance and dance moves…dance as an art form and something the girls love to do. To add sexuality into it too soon just takes away from the age appropriate experience these young girls should be having. Shop around…there are plenty of dance schools…find a teacher/director who shares the same values that you do and your daughters will all be the better for it!

  104. Kim Says:

    As the mom of a 5 yo boy I am disgusted by this video and even more disappointed in the parents. Since reading this post and watching the video I have seen the parents of these girls on news channels justifying this routine. They never intended on the world seeing their girls – how disconnected are they?

    How do I convince my son that girls are not sexual objects when this is what he sees? Music and movies are bad enough. At least you can try to draw the line between reality & fantasy. This routine is real life. There is no boundary. I am responsible for ensuring my son respects girls, regardless of looks. It is the responsibility of the parents of these girls to build their confidence without having to sell sex to get it done.

    The excuses and justifications I hear from these parents is truly frightening.

  105. Robert Mendez Says:

    Thank you for stating what ought to be obvious. Boys are affected as everyone is affected. I hope sincerely you start talking to him now and don't stop. Boys need to know their feelings are being heard. Too often, they are taught to hide them.

  106. Robert Mendez Says:

    I'm missing something. What is true?

  107. Being a Parent « C.C. Chapman Says:

    [...] PluginYesterday I wrote a post on Digital Dads about how I’m sick of parents allowing our little girls to be sexed up an early age. After watching little girls shake what they didn’t have on stage at Emily’s first [...]

  108. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    The video isn't up any more because the creators of the event and the video had it pulled. It had nothing to do with it being constituted as pornography.

    I used a provocative image on purpose to show that I'm ok with sexy images. I have no problem with them and think they are fine and right. But, not when it comes to kids. I chose the image on purpose.

  109. C.C. C.C. Chapman Says:

    That line has always cracked me up and it is so true. I also like how he talks about hating to hear Dads talking all proud about being an active parent like it is something special and how he yells at them “it is your job!”

    Thanks for bringing a little smile to all this Mur. *hugs*

  110. mjcarrasquillo Says:

    CC, yeah I see what you're saying about the last few seconds…but they're very talented little girls, no doubt. They did kick butt on MANY levels but I can't help to think also that some of the dance moves (and probably the attire) are a little to sexually suggestive for this age group. My worry is this video in the wrong hands may cause further issues we as a society don't particularly like to deal with. That said, I DO see the effort and hard work put in by these young ladies, but I myself would NOT allow that with my little girl out of the safety of her, still developing, self-esteem & self-respect. I do hope the parents understand the flip side of their little girls performance being publicly displayed in this fashion and the criticism they, I'm sure, are receiving in abundance. A rather less adult natured musical number, such as (at a minimum) the removal of some of the suggestive moves, would have been more sensible.

  111. Susan Young Says:

    As a woman, I disagree with your first point. I had a VERY sheltered childhood. However, by the time I was 6 or 7, I knew that men checked out women. I knew that they specifically checked out boobs and butts and that a more revealing cut for the former and a wiggle of the latter was enough to drive a man wild. Cartoons like old Looney Tunes and Disney taught me that. I didn't know why, but I knew that's how it worked. I remember watching boys my age when I was in a bathing suit to see if any of them responded the way the guys in the cartoons did when they saw a woman in a bathing suit.

    Fast forward to the teenage years. A girl remembers all these things. It's been reinforced from the days of those cartoons. At some point, it all clicks when a girl realizes her sexuality, but the messages of earlier childhood tell her that sexuality is what people are looking for in her, and very little else.

    I totally agree that the discussion needed to be held between the parents and children BEFORE the performance. That's why a parent needs to be involved and know what's going on before they're blindsided during something like this.

  112. The hypocrite in the room: Views on female sexuality | fertilefeminism.com Says:

    [...] What Little Sluts bandwagon has disturbed me. In fact, one dad wrote a blog post about it entitled Stop Slutting Up Our Girls [hey, did you know that 'slut' was now a verb as well --neat, eh?!], in which he notes: I have a [...]

  113. ChinWonder Says:

    Since I was a teenager, I dismissed MTV like I dismissed the Jerry Springer Show and the like. The videoes were explicit, and I found them distasteful.

    I think that is the best scenario, that kids become turned-off by the content. I cannot tell you how my parents did it, but they have raised me well. I was an odd duck growing up, they continued to reassure me it was alright and sometimes virtuous to be different, even though it was easier to follow the crowd. One of my my dad's favorite metaphors, “The big cats act alone.”

    As a result, I have had few friends, but I don't have misguided values. To get to my point, as far as “not slutting up our little girls” goes, we have reasons to be hopeful. The keys, perhaps, are to 1) be observant parents; and 2) start reasoning with your children when they are still very young. If my parents could do it, so can we.

  114. Mary Says:

    My daughter is 19 now, but when she was younger and we went clothes shopping, we had a deal – she got one free pass. If there was an outfit that she loved and I hated, then she could get that one, but I had absolute veto power over all of her other choices. This worked well because she felt she had some say, some control. Fortunately, she was a modest kid.
    I've always taught her that her body belongs to her and she can choose how to treat it and how to present it. However, I've also taught her that self-respect is vital to her self-image and safety.
    I don't understand the hyper-sexualizing of children going on today. And I agree that doing something about it starts with parents teaching their children self-respect and how to make good choices.

  115. Rebekah Nutter Says:

    E.mily is fortunate to have you as her father. Thank you

  116. NANCY Says:

    Thanks for addressing this unfortunate “entertainment.”

  117. Dave Delaney Says:

    I agree completely with you C.C. This post reminds me a lot of the pageant scene in Little Miss Sunshine.

    As a father of a three year old girl, I know we're going to have to face these issues soon. It freaks me out just thinking about it.

    “Today, nearly 80 percent of teenage girls are on a diet, 10 percent go on to develop eating disorders and 1,000 young girls die of anorexia.” – https://www.adbusters.org/magazine/77/evolving_

  118. P. Nunn Says:

    Really glad to see a parent speaking out about this. Please don't stop! I cannot believe what little girls are wearing/saying/doing these days. Did the Women's Movement happen for NOTHING??? Looks like it.

  119. P. Nunn Says:

    p.s. – whatever happened to tap and ballet???

  120. Ann Adams Says:

    My online friend Chris of Rude Cactus wrote a post about young girls beauty contests this past week. As a mom, granny, and even great-granny, I couldn't agree more with him and with you.

    I sent Chris the link to your post when I spotted it on Care 2. Well done and thanks. I look forward to receiving your posts in my email.

  121. Rae Says:

    here's a working copy… you know, the dance wouldn't have been bad in a different outfit… it was the combo of lingerie and gyrating that was the issue for me.

  122. Rae Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i11yBX0kBwo – er, the link would help, unless the blog deleted it…

  123. Natalia Says:

    Here's another link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i11yBX0kBwo

  124. Mom of 3 Says:

    I thought clothes were too sexy when I was a kid and teen back in the 80's. I had one sweater that was supposed to be worn without a shirt underneath it and couldn't do it at 12, didn't want to do it at 13 and decided at 14 that I liked the added modesty. Now, the stuff that is out for my girls? OMG. I prefer tshirts and pants for my girls because “girl clothing” is too slutty for them. One thing I was given for the elder one to wear had the word “slut” on the backside. I donated it.
    If I had been a mother of those girls, I would have said “WTF!” during the rehearsals. What happened to cute little animal dances? That's what they should be doing, not stripper training!

  125. Treason Says:

    I know this is the unpopular opinion but I am with clintus on this one. (one of the posters below)
    The girls were cute, the outfits perhaps a bit over the top but the dance moves were what dance moves are, now.
    Unlike in “beauty pageants”, these girls had skills and worked their butts off to become great dancers.
    They didn't just stand there smiling, looking “pretty” and being useless with tons of make-up on. I find beauty pageants much, much more inappropriate than this was.

    I thought this was delightful.

  126. Amy Jussel, ShapingYouth Says:

    Ah, our paths cross again…Hi C.C., I've just come from NYC meeting with a team of heavy hitters in this sphere planning an Oct 22-10 summit to address the sexualization of girls as a public health issue.

    I was invited on behalf of Shaping Youth and our nonprofit's board advisers of Packaging Girlhood.com along with Jean Kilbourne of So Sexy So Soon, the APA Task Force pros, Ms mag, Ford Fnd, etc. so needless to say, we're all ready to do the 'Howard Beale' network shoutout from the windows as I mentioned in a BlogHer comment recently, http://j.mp/duP4Km.

    I'll link to this along w/the hefty dialog about same from the weekend convening which has fueled many a scholar into the stratosphere listening to parents that don't seem to 'get' that it's not a 'context vs. content' issue. (huge diff btwn sexuality & sexualization too; I'll save that for my post tmrw)

    Meanwhile, here's the kidvid that's the antithesis to the provocative/evocative Beyonce bit, a healthy, fun spoof called “All the Scholar Ladies” which is guaranteed to make you smile, C.C.! http://bit.ly/duY79b It was like someone delivered me a direct antidote to a venom bite, to help me fire up my enthusiasm for using the power of media for positive change again. (easy to feel outgunned w/drek)

    Thanks again for adding your voice to the mix, I'm hoping parents like you will be the cavalry coming to support us as agents of change toward some healthier media messaging out there…(Dads will play a HUGE role here, so VERY thankful you're on board, engaged, and peeved ;-)

    Soooooo Save the date…Oct 22, 2010 at Hunter College, NYC. as 'accompanied adults' (that are invited by a girl) join media, policy peeps, thought leaders, and child advocate pros. It should definitely ignite some sparks with the powder keg we're planning! Stay tuned…

  127. Brenda Baietto Says:

    Thanks so much for writing this. Especially coming from a father it meant so much for me to hear it! My daughter (10) is a tomboy. she is so turned off naturally by all the way too sexy clothes geared to girls in every store. She is not ready for boys and is into sports and playing outside, the park, and drawing. She has friends both male and female. She played baseball and now plays basketball. It is amazing how mothers especially react to my daughter including questioning me about her identity. And other girls her age definitely going off the deep end in way too sexy dresses or tight fitting shorts on these little bodies. And their mothers encouraging them. MY daughter also took dance this year and I was shocked at the moves and the costumes. She stuck it out this year but we did not do performances. My daughter was not going to be dressed like that for all the world to see. I really cannot believe it and I thank God everyday my daughter is who she is. I was the same way growing up and so were all my friends. I am a happy, sexy, mom now who definitely has no identity issues and appreciates when it is appropriate for me to give some sexy.

    Again…thanks so much.

  128. Shaping Youth » Sexualization Summit: Save the Date Oct 22, 2010 Says:

    [...] this same weekend, the talented but controversial “Single Ladies” (at age 7)  lit up the digital circuit and quickly segued to mainstream media talk show fodder, with parents and dancing coaches entering [...]

  129. Cindi Says:

    Throw out/turn off your TV..just that simple act will accomplish much..Great article!! Can't see the video but don't need to.

  130. Cindi Says:

    *Great* article. Can't see the video but don't need to. TV is a big culprit, I banished it years ago and do not miss it at all….anyone concerned about our culture would do well to restrict, eliminate or banish it all together..

  131. Jeff McNeill Says:

    This is a cultural difference. In Thailand this kind of behavior is not tolerated. Something has gone horribly wrong with American culture. Sadly it is also through music/movies seen as a culture trend leader.

  132. Tim Allik Says:

    CC, great post. I'm not recommending that people go out and buy their daughters burkas, but this episode makes me ask wonder if we are cloaking our daughters (and sons) in something even worse: a self-image and an image of women in general that's distorted by the market-driven, tarted-up, emaciated, barely clothed images continuously bombarding us on television, print and online. When and why did modesty go out of style?

  133. Molly Fulton Says:

    I don't have time to read ALL the comments (many excellent), so I apologize if this is duplicate info. If you care about this issue – which you should,for Pete's sake – find a screening of Consuming Kids. You will gain a better understanding of the damage being done to our children by the premature sexualization, violence, and consumer culture assault on them. It is more than a matter of values – it is a public health crisis getting ready to explode.

  134. Gina Says:

    NOTHING to do with prudishness…
    People keep excusing themselves by saying “I'm no prude,” or “Not to encourage prudishness…”

    But this has nothing to do with this discussion, because these are children. Whether one is open-minded, uptight, or anything else in terms of adult sexuality is besides the point. When it comes to children, one can't be a prude or open minded in terms of sexuality like this.

    It kills me that women cover their breasts when feeding their children, which is a completely non-sexual act, for fear of offending, but when little girls put on a blatantly sexualized show adults (including likely their own parents) cheer for it. Crazy. And whether the girls knew what these things meant or not is also irrelevant. Thanks for the article.

  135. Weekend Coffee Links Says:

    [...] Stop Slutting Up Our Girls:  In case you missed it, a video circulated the Web this week featuring a dance group of 6- and 7-year old girls rocking more whorish dance moves than I could ever possibly hope to bust out.  Obviously, it ruffled some feathers. In the end, C.C. Chapman offered some great insight about how we maybe shouldn’t sexualize kids still young enough to believe in Santa.  Just a thought. [...]

  136. Weekend Coffee Links Says:

    [...] Stop Slutting Up Our Girls:  In case you missed it, a video circulated the Web this week featuring a dance group of 6- and 7-year old girls rocking more whorish dance moves than I could ever possibly hope to bust out.  Obviously, it ruffled some feathers. In the end, C.C. Chapman offered some great insight about how we maybe shouldn’t sexualize kids still young enough to believe in Santa.  Just a thought. [...]

  137. Joe Says:

    You're right, you do sound like a snob. I couldn't care less about dance or Julliard but the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders is a very hard squad to be accepted by so if you're in to that, it is shooting for the stars. That being said, children should not be sexualized like this in any way though. It's disgusting. These little dance shops are a dime a dozen.

  138. Joe Says:

    I don't have a daughter, but if I did I would discourage her from entering one of these cheesy dance schools. I remember not long ago one of these stupid places had a stage at a local street festival and they had the girls dressed like little hookers. It was disgusting.

The shoe cables a repent reward near the visible.