It was bedazzled mayhem last weekend at Disneyland Hotel for the annual Showstopper dance competition. Being a newbie at this sort of event, I had no idea what to expect, though I envisioned it being similar to the big regional competition scenes from Bring it On that I helped cast many moons ago. And yes, it was similar, with the tension and the bumpits and the checking each other out, but, what I was not remotely prepared to see were the young 7-13 year old girls, wearing more make-up on their faces than clothing on their bodies, dancing their way into a Nicki Minaj video.
Oh how I adored watching my kids on that stage, but oh how I wish I could unsee some of the other routines; routines that put the scandalous seven year olds’ Single Ladies dance of 2010 to shame.
If you are not familiar with the scandalous Single Ladies dance of which I speak, then I will fill you in. In 2010, a video was posted to YouTube of 7-9 year olds performing provocative choreography to the Beyonce hit, Single Ladies. It quickly went viral, sending the Interwebs into a heated debate over the scantily clad little ladies shaking what their mama gave them in a very, um, mature manner.
Some responders didn’t see the big deal, being that the girls were supposedly too young to even know that they were being sexy, and particularly since they absolutely ROCKED the dance, and, honestly, back then, I didn’t see the big deal either. I thought, if they can dance like that, then they should go for it.
Fast forward to this past weekend, when I was surrounded by similarly barely-dressed young ladies, twerking it out, and pulling fish-lip faces, and Oh Lawd, my opinion drastically changed.
Seeing it all first hand, up close and WAY too personal, with my 5 and 7 year old daughters in tow, who were of course fascinated by everything they saw, made me realize just what all the fuss was about four years ago. It also made me sad that nothing has changed since then. It also made me want to pack up our Caboodle and skedaddle the hell out of there.
Clearly and rationally, I knew I couldn’t really walk out, so instead, I just sat their in horror, pulling my chin up off the floor and wondered, How does anyone think it’s okay for young girls, 7-14 years old, to wear these skimpy costumes and dance like they’re ready for the pole? Honestly. I need to know. What purpose does it serve?
Who benefits from an inappropriate routine danced by young girls?
The only people it should benefit is the girls themselves, but I am still unclear as to how dance moves taken from a Gentleman’s Club and costumes that can fit in my right hand benefit them.
Not only is it not age appropriate, it’s uncomfortable for others to watch, including the judges (I heard them use the term “age appropriate” several times), and it also puts the girls at risk because there is absolutely no one regulating who is watching these performances and/or recording them for their own private, perverted use.
Regardless of whether or not the girls themselves know they are being sexy (which I think some of them do), there is no reason for their adult instructors to sexify adolescent/tween girls with such suggestive choreography, music and costumes, especially when there are myriad other ways to show off how talented and unique they are without making it a scene out of Cabaret.
Aside from wanting to vomit at the inappropriteness, the entire weekend was otherwise perfect. The kids absolutely LOVED competing. Like, “OMG, it was the best time ever,” according to them. And I did love seeing a lot of the other studios that had creative, clever routines.
So, since they’re hooked and can’t wait for the next one, I’m gonna have to find a way to keep my inner prude in check by reminding myself that I’m there for my girls and their studio, which thankfully chooses age appropriate costumes, songs, and choreography, and that what the other studios choose to do is none of my business.
And? I’m going to bleach my eyeballs.