The video linked below is creating a lot of controversy, and sparking off a great deal of discussion. I was on CBS’ The Early Show, Saturday edition, this morning discussing it.
Young girls, between 7 and 9, were filmed at a dance competition dancing to Beyonce’s song “Single Ladies.” They were dressed scantily and dancing provocatively. The video, of course, was posted to YouTube, but whomever posted it, certainly did not expect the backlash that he/she is receiving.
There is no question that these girls have exceptional talent. They are amazing dancers, who nailed the routine wonderfully. The question is, where were the adults? Who thought it was okay to put these girls in very skimpy outfits, while having them dance the way they are? One of the mothers of one of the girls stated that the costumes were necessary because they “ensured that there was no restriction in movement.” Movement would not have been restricted if they were in unitard or full leotard either…Beyonce wore more in her video.
The issue at hand, as I see it, is to figure out the message we are sending to our girls. Are we teaching them that the sexier, cuter and hotter you are, the more attention you will get? Is that what they are aspiring to? Do we get love and adoration only in that way? Or can we teach our children to find their self-esteem in other ways that build positive relationships, feelings of oneself and confidence?
Dancing is a fantastic thing for kids. I was a dancer as a child and think it’s wonderful. What’s disturbing here is the take-home message for these girls, that was, unfortunately, created by their dance instructor and parents. It’s a parent’s job to protect their children at this age (at any age, actually), and this time, these girls were not protected. Saying “no” to things is okay, regardless of your child’s reactions, and sometimes, it needs to be said.
I hope that these girls don’t start to blame themselves for all the press that is happening. They were terrific and should be proud of the job they did. I hope the adults start to think a little bit more in the future, however.