Saturday, May 29, 2010

Soapbox Saturday

Welcome, peoples, to the first of many Soapbox Saturdays where we take a topic and air our many and varied opinions on topics that have the potential to be smokin' hot.

This week? The sexualisation of our little girls compared to days gone by and how the fashion world, Hollywood and parents play a part. This topic was brought about after reading THIS POST by Emily at Wheels on the Bus, and watching the video (below) that was in that post. I was so shocked that I had to say something more than what I said in her comments section.

So grab a button, link up with Mr. Linky and let us all know how you feel.

Mind of a Mad Woman

My first reaction to that video was one of sadness. Sad that adults had taken girls so young and taught them to move like that. Dressed them in teeny tiny little outfits and taught them to move their hips in a way that would rival the skanks down at your local strip joint.

My next was anger. I was angry that those parents had the audacity to sit and justify it all in the name of dance. Fine, I get that the video was "not intended to be viewed by millions" but isn't that a little beside the point now? It HAS been viewed by millions and those millions all have an opinion on the appropriateness of it all. To say that it was "taken out of context" and it's ok because it wasn't meant to be seen by anyone outside of that room is just silly. When you have video cameras, you have the potential for internet broadcast. But again, it's all beside the point.

So what IS the point?

I guess my point is this. WHY?

The parents said that this was one of the most popular songs of the last year and that is why they were dancing to it. They said that the moves were learned not from the Beyonce music video but from Alvin & the Chipmunks Squeakquel. No! They learned them from a choreographer. An adult who fully understood the sexuality behind the moves. To sit there and tell me that the children don't understand the controversy is pointless because it doesn't matter. The adults in charge DID understand the sexuality and the potential for controversy. I'd be very surprised if they didn't.

You can't possibly tell me that there wasn't another popular song with awesome dance moves that those girls could have learned. And why couldn't they be wearing more clothes? Don't sit and tell me that those costumes allow you to see the body lines and give them freedom of movement. I call bullshit on that! If Beyonce can dance it in a leotard, so can your 8 year old.

What are we teaching our children when we tell them that the best way to win their dance competition is to dress like mini ho bags and waggle their hips for the judges? Why not "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas? Or "Fire Burning" by Sean Kingston? Or about "I Got A Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas...loved by flash mobs everywhere?

I posted the link to this video on Facebook and a guy that went to high school with me had this to say:

I just watched the video as I do have some stong views about parenting. A few years ago people were complaining about Eminem, how it was terrible and wasn't for kids.'re the fucking parent, the so called responsible adult! Do what you can to stop them listening! Back to topic - I nearly swore out loud (I'm at work now) when the Mother condoned it by saying it wasn't meant to be viewed by lots of people. IRRELEVANT. If someone were to attack her daughter, the defence could be - "Well, I never meant for anyone to find out!". You dropped the ball Mr & Mrs Fuckwit.

If I had a daughter that talented, as clearly they are, I guarantee you they wouldn't be doing that.

I had to give him a hand for that. Well said Mr. W, well said.

All my thoughts on the dance routine and its appropriateness aside, I have to give the girls props. They really DID dance it well. It's just a shame that it had to turn out like that. I hope next year their instructor and their parents will think twice.


While we're on the subject though....this is something that weighs heavy on me as I watch my own daughter grow up. I am lucky that so far she has not been much of a girly girl and so not terribly interested in fashion or make up, but it is slowly changing. She has definite opinions on what looks good and what doesn't and I am finding that I have to weigh in far more often on whether what she is wearing is appropriate. The fashion world doesn't make it easy.

Jeans are cut lower, made tighter and shaped differently. Skirts get shorter by the year and shirts are lower cut and more form fitting. And all of it is made for younger and younger girls. There are G Strings for 8 year olds. WHY?! The jeans sit on their non existent hips and shape to their butts while the shirts are cut low in front to show off their non existent boobs....all in the name of sexuality.

Why do we want our 7 and 8 year olds dressed like that? Why do we want our teenagers dressed like that? Why do we conform to the fashion world that insists on dressing women in as sexy a way as possible?

I'm all for dressing sexy ... .when the situation calls for it, when you want to feel good about yourself, when you are old enough. But I see no reason why our children should be clothed in that manner.

In my house, although she's only 8 and it's not a big problem yet, I have a rule of tight jeans must be worn with loose shirt. Tight shirt must be worn with looser pants. I have no problem with short skirts (I'm not talking belt width), but they need to have leggings or tights underneath. Make up? HELL NO. Someone sent Girl Spawn some make up as a gift one time and although I felt like a total Scrooge at the time, I took it away. It's just not necessary. She has earrings, she has hair accessories, she can wear nail polish during the school holidays but make up can wait.

These rules have never been contested until recently. As she gets older, Girl Spawn watches more of the "older" shows and has started to wonder why she can't wear the same things as they do. This is where my problem with Hollywood and the music world comes in. Their influence on our children gets stronger by day and I feel powerless to stop it.

All I can do is set my rules, enforce them and hope for the best.....all while trying to foster good self esteem and body image in both my kids. But that's a post for another time.

So. What are YOUR thoughts on this whole topic? Please grab that cool button and link up. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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  1. While my daughter was never involved in dance, she has been exposed to friends, media, celebrities who constantly reinforce the message that "sexy is better." I'm having a heckuva time getting the message through her skull that she is MORE than a sex object. She is MORE than a pretty face. She should dress modestly. And she should have more self-respect than to let boys USE her for their own sexual gratification. Society is teaching our girls bad things. Somehow we must combat it. If you have a young girl, start now.

  2. Scary times! I just read Laura Ingalls Wilder books and drank Kool-Aid and thought I was living on the edge. I was really bothered by the video. I don't have girls, but I see how they are constantly being urged to be right on the edge of sexy even at young ages.

  3. The Ashinator and I still fight over the appropriateness of her clothes and she's 17. I don't think that her skirts need to be short enough that when she sits down someone across the room can tell if she's shaved her bikini area recently. The good news is that she only puts up a half-hearted fight. She knows she's not going anywhere if she's dressed like a 'ho. The problem with her is that she's got a great body and knows it. The benefit to a great body though is that she can wear *anything* and make it look good, so there's not much of the "this is the only thing that looks good on me" arguement from her.

    I'm gonna get riled up and get on my Soapbox next Saturday - man, I've got a lot of topics I can draw from - I've just already got a post scheduled for today. (I write my posts days in advance and schedule them out - takes away the sponaneity, but I have time to plan them out on Sundays.)

  4. As a parent of three girls, I must say, it is MY responsibility to teach my girls how to act appropriately. In my opinion, that means being LADIES! Sure, my kids dance, and sure...sure, we love Lady Gaga. But, it's up to each parent to decide what's within the realms of appropriate behavior for their kids. My kids don't and WON'T dance like that. Ever! They look more like little fish flopping around! :) We talk about the entertainment value of what these "grown-ups" do on videos, or tv. They understand adults are responsible for their own actions. But, why expose your 7, 8, & 9 year old girls to such vulgar dancing? Do we gasp when we see Beyonce or Lady Gaga shake it, or grab their crotch? Nope. That's media entertainment. When an innocent child does it....well that's a huge parent FAIL somewhere in there. But, hey-some parents don't seem to care much about their teenagers getting pregnant, either. Pssshhhh...and my kids are afraid to bring home a "B." lol ;)

  5. You know, when I saw this it only makes me wonder...

    I mean, not that this is the worst thing I've ever seen or necessarily harmful but really...what's next?

    To me, that question is the scary part.

  6. I too am saddened by the way the clothing industry thinks little girls should dress.
    We have clothing rules at our house that are enforced without trying to make my daughter feel like she should be ashamed of her body.
    I want her to be comfortable with herself, but still realize it is her body and not for everyone else to see - esp. when she is NINE.

  7. The video.. tasteless, tacky, and bad parenting at its finest. Talk about encouraging Sexual Predators... WTF are they thinking. Even if it didn't affect their family directly, what about the little girl that was molested viciously after some perv got off on that video. Can they justify that?

    The dress for kids these days is insane! I live near a High School and I can't believe what I am seeing. Some of these girls look like 21 yr olds. And the Middle School fahgitaboutit!!! I have a son 19 and its really sad that one of my main parenting topics is make sure you card these girls. I tell him constantly. Until your married ask for I.D. Even if you and your friends are going on a innocent double date CARD THE GIRLS!!

    Thank god for Mothers like you!

  8. I wholeheartedly agree! My children are older now, but from pre-school thru high school, we had no regular television in our house. And we watched most all dvds and videos together. Never one to hesitate to communicate, I made my feelings clear. But there is hope. I have college age ladies on my staff who dress appropriately, are attractive, bright and act like young women should act. Not like the hussys the media portrays.

  9. I think kids are bombarded with sexuality from everyplace. When my own daughter was in her teens, she had pretty good taste as far as what she wore. I tended to choose my battles and it usually wasn't over clothing. I think the dance video is frighteningly like Jean Benet Ramsey and totally inappropriate for small girls. The moves are too sexualized to be okay for anyone under the age of 21.

  10. Love your blog ... I swear you say some things exactly they way I would love to say things out loud!!


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