Los Angeles County has some fallen angels, and they’re not the children. It’s their parents. And their dance company. But, definitely not the children.
Unfortunately, it’s the children we gawk at. Are you one of those who’ve seen the controversial footage of 8- and 9-year-old girls dancing to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies?” At least 2 million of your neighbors have — it’s that big of an uproar.
The videos of the girls on YouTube are from the World of Dance contest in Pomona in April 2010 and feature a dance troupe of children from Precision Dance Company in Lomita, California. Although the skill and strength of these tiny dancers is impressive, what isn’t impressive are the routines and costumes that were specified by adults. The girls grind their little bodies and their red and black outfits leave little to the imagination. Each girl wears thigh-high stockings, red hot pants with mini-tutus, small corseted bras and long mesh gloves. Everything about the costumes highlights the girls’ bare, pumping torsos. It’s simply, and understatedly, hypersexual.
A comparison of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” music video with the girls’ video reveals a better-dressed Beyoncé. Beyoncé not only covers more of her torso than the girls, but she’s in her late 20s. These girls aren’t even 10. Beyoncé intentionally packages her well-marketed moves with her brand of female sexuality. Sex sells albums, after all. What is it these little girls sell, and to whom?
Plenty of young girls win competitions using age appropriate techniques that respect the body and the viewer. Whether ballet, tap-dance, figure skating or tennis, it’s done all the time. But, can you imagine an Olympic gymnast throwing in a booty shake during her best routine? Not only is it inappropriate, it isn’t professional and it’s not necessary to show physical ability.
By contrast, these LA County girls hump, bend over, circle their hips with wide spread legs, and flaunt facial expressions you’d cringe seeing on your drunk girlfriends’ face if she were out celebrating a breakup! No little girl should exude sexual hunger in the name of dance, let alone sport. It’s doubtful the girls realize how sexual their moves and expressions are, but the adults who taught them are old enough to know better.
And yet, on ABC’s Good Morning America, two of the parents justified the girls dance routine by claiming it wasn’t meant to be viewed by the public, but only in the “context” of a dance competition where these types of moves “are normal.” One father, Cory Miller, suggested that seeing the video out of context is what sexualizes it. When is there ever an appropriate context to sexualize children? One mother, Melissa Presch, suggests it would be impossible to “isolate” children from the sexy songs of pop culture. Presch said kids would dance to “Single Ladies” anyway, so why not let them?
The parents are using pop culture as a scapegoat. If pop culture were safe, why isn’t it raising their kids 24/7? How can parents justify sexualizing children because it’s part of pop culture? Why give in to the problem that exists?
In an era where Internet kiddie porn is exploding and human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world, isn’t it time we protect our kids innocence? It’s estimated today that 27 million people are enslaved in human trafficking. The most common trafficked victim is a young female or child and 70 percent of female victims are forced into unpaid prostitution and sex slavery. There’s a demand for little girls by the big boy market and they undoubtedly love this dance video, and the girls in it. We’re warping the public’s view of what is appropriate for children by encouraging children to act like little sexual adults. These aren’t little women in this contest — these are little girls. It isn’t normal for little girls to be hypersexual.
The FBI’s Innocent Images Task Force conducted an investigation that proves that child molesters frequently show sexually provocative images of children to potential child victims as a way to normalize sexual behavior, to break down children’s inhibitions and to “groom” them for more and more intense sexual imagery. Often, the pornographic images are of children posed in suggestive ways, as if asking to be disrobed or touched. They aren’t always naked.
Alarmingly, studies of sex offenders show a direct link between offenders who use child pornography and offenders who molest kids. It’s expected that someone who enjoys images of sexually provocative children will eventually molest children.
In all likelihood, there are countless child porn collectors who are feasting on this video of the dancing girls. Whether taken out of context or viewed privately, there is no excuse for the existence of this dance routine or the lingerie the girls are wearing. It’s incidental, but dangerous, that it turned up on tape.
The adults who could have prevented this catastrophe should be ashamed for creating it. They should be warned that they’re now part of the problem of our hypersexual culture. We should hope these girls don’t meet greater dangers, and that no one attempts to physically harm them. The parents have already put them at risk. We don’t need any more innocence lost.
Tryce Czyczynska is the co-founder of 51%: A Women’s Place Is In Politics and host of “Coffee & Conversation with Cool Women.” She is an SDNN contributor. Follow her on Twitter or email her at Tryce.SDNN@gmail.com
Video footage of the dance group performing...