Saturday, September 25, 2010

Junk Sex: Sexualizing Young Girls

Continuing on with the topic of hyper-sexualization of children, particularly young girls, we have this video of little girls dressed in burlesque-style costumes gyrating on stage to the popular (god help us) song ‘Put a Ring on It’. The thousands-strong audience whoops, hollers, and claps like mad.

I hate to even share this, but it's such a clear example of how bad it really is out there:



The video was originally posted at Sociological Images, where most commenters seemed to find it pretty harmless, mesmerized as they were by the young girls' 'dance skills'. Particularly after about 1.45 in the video, and if you're paying attention to the young girls' faces at all, I'm not sure how you can make the argument that it's no big deal. Well, in a society that sexualizes young girls to the extreme that Junkland does, I guess this is the new normal. I find it profoundly sad.

Some will argue that the girls are doing it to themselves. They want attention, they make their own choices about how to get that attention, etc. Sure, kids do want attention and do make choices about how to get it. When I was 10, which I guess to be roughly the age of these young girls, I subjected my mom and any other possibly interested adult to endless hours of "trampoline routines" and "roller skating routines" set, inevitably, to Guns N' Roses songs. I was blissfully unaware of GN'R's misogyny, and I turned flips or skated in circles, in my nerdy hula shorts, with abandon. The young girls in this video are, likewise, doing a "routine" for their parents and any other possibly interested adults, set to the popular music of their time.

Except that these girls are miming strippers in their dance and costuming, dancing to a song the main sentiment of which is "if you liked my piece of ass you should have married me", and doing so in front of a huge, mostly adult audience, who reinforce their sexualized performance with enthusiastic cheering. Not to mention the positive reinforcement from their parents and all other hired hands (choreographers, coaches, costume and makeup people, event runners, etc.), who have invested time, money, and, no doubt, encouragement, in these young girls' sexualized performance. Is this really these young girls' choice? Are they really having fun? Is this what the play of young children looks like now?

Ask yourself a few more questions:

Knowing what we know about sex ed in Junkland, do we think these young girls' parents will properly prepare them for the realities of sexual activity? They can already do a sexy dance, and put on sexy outfits, but do (or will) they have the knowledge to protect themselves against disease and pregnancy? To pick a good sexual partner? To have great sex when they are ready to, with a caring and equitable partner? What does this performance tell adult men in the audience about the sexual availability of young girls? What kind of power and reward do these young girls learn to seek when such a performance garners such acclaim? What does this performance and the audience's reaction teach these young girls about themselves? And ask yourself: would we ever see a troupe of young boys dressed in Chippendale's style gyrating onstage to this song?

5 comments:

  1. Agreed - this is messed up in so many ways! Where was this filmed?

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  2. I'm not sure....I tried googling and the event appears to have both a touring component and a competition component in all major U.S. cities. It is indeed messed up in so many ways!

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  3. Although I haven't read the whole blog yet (I read one or two posts and think about them), I have to say that this is the one that saddens me the most... the sexualization of little girls. That's all this is. The parents may find this "cute" but it isn't. It's weird and it's creepy. I have a whole lot of things to say but I think they can all be boiled down into that one word: Creepy. I would not want to see my daughter dressed this way NOW and she's 23. Sad.

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  4. ...sigh...There are so many beautiful ways in which a human body can move and be expressive. It really cheapens the dance experience to see it reduced to this. The choreographer for this routine must have some strange perceptions.

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Comments welcome! Junk comments will be deleted. While dissent and alternative points of view are welcome, those in which personal attacks are launched upon other commenters or Penny Sociologist are not.