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.