Sigh. An editorial in today’s NY Times voices concern over “Middle School Girls Gone Wild.” Wild dancing that is.
They writhe and strut, shake their bottoms, splay their legs, thrust their chests out and in and out again. Some straddle empty chairs, like lap dancers without laps. They donâ€™t smile much. Their faces are locked from grim exertion, from all that leaping up and lying down without poles to hold onto. â€œDonâ€™t stop donâ€™t stop,â€? sings Janet Jackson, all whispery. â€œJerk it like youâ€™re making it choke. …Ohh. Iâ€™m so stimulated. Feel so X-rated.â€? The girls spend a lot of time lying on the floor. They are in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
As each routine ends, parents and siblings cheer, whistle and applaud. I just sit there, not fully comprehending.
Vanessa covered this girls-shouldn’t-dance-sexy stuff recently, and I tend to agree with most of her thoughts.
Is it kind of shocking when you’re an adult to see kinds dirty dancing or girls dancing like their grown women? Of course. But it’s nothing new. Lawrence Downes, author of the editorial, seems to think that racy talent shows and dancing are a recent phenomenon brought on by an oversexualized pop culture. But I hate to tell you, kids have been shaking their shit for quite a long time.
A small example. At my seventh grade dance teachers almost lost their mind when we all started dancing to “I Want to Sex You Up” by Color Me Bad. (Don’t give me a hard time, it was a hot song back then.) There was much bumping and grinding and such going on–and it was a lot more innocent than the teachers thought. We were laughing and having fun, but seeing us all up on each other was enough to give adults fainting spells. And you know that teens back in the 50s were doing the same shit, just to different music.
I’m not saying that I think that the current pop culture doesn’t position young women as sexual objects in a disturbing way–it does. But I don’t think the solution is to legislate dance moves or try to implement a no grinding rule at school dances. Cause seriously, the more adults are freaked out by it, the more they’re going to want to do it.
Patti Binder, an advocate for girls, has more.