Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion

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 don’t smile much. Their faces are locked from grim exertion, from all that leaping up and lying down without poles to hold onto. “Don’t stop don’t stop,â€? sings Janet Jackson, all whispery. “Jerk it like you’re making it choke. …Ohh. I’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.

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39 Comments

  1. Posted December 29, 2006 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I’ll never forget when I got my sister’s 8th grade cheerleading squad to use Public Enemy’s “911 is a joke” to structure a routine around. I think it actually worked without interference.
    No relevance at all, naturally. Except remember that it’s Color Me Badd; the second ‘d’ stands for ‘defunct.’

  2. Posted December 29, 2006 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I’ll close that tag now.

  3. Idolworshipper
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Ladies, I’ve long wanted to write a fan letter to your website. Love it. Love the indignation, the insights, makes me feel like I’m 20 something again.
    But I’m not. I’m in my early 40s with two girls,a toddler and a step-daughter, and I have to say, I share Downes’ anger and even sadness at what he saw.
    I’d differ with Jessica on the point she makes that kids have danced sexily for a long time now, much to the shock of adults. I certainly agree about that trend. But it seems that a lot of the horror that our teachers felt about us shaking it 10 or 20 years ago might have had to do with the fact that they had a different approach, more buttoned-down, to sex and sexuality. What gets me now is that I KNOW I’m not prudish about sex and I’m still disturbed by the article and by what girls think is cool, hot, empowered.
    Stuff like the dancing cant be taken in isolation. It’s part of the bigger wave that washes over our girls every day and tells them they are empowered if they show their bellies and shake their thang.
    These days, it all starts so early, and you wonder how, as a parent, you will raise a daughter who will be strong, proud, kind and capable, when NONE of that seems to be valued in girls by pop culture.
    Go to any infant clothing section anywhere. In the girls areas, besides the ubiquitous pink that you certainly would have seen years ago, all you see are shirts stamped “princess”, “diva”, “so cute.” Go to the boys section and you will get athletes, animals, pirates, astronauts. Boys are capable, adventurous, the message goes. Girls should just be pretty, the other half of that same message goes.
    From there, many girls move into Disney princess territory around preschool age(I played with dolls, wanted to be Cinderella, and this Disney stuff still makes me want to vomit.) Then they start taking all the diva, princess stuff seriously after that. It’s all about being Paris Hilton. The dancing is part of that molding that starts when little girls dont have boobs or booties but are told that they way they look is all that matters.
    May I confess something I’ve never told anyone? My 20 month old daughter always gets compliments about how beautiful she is, and she is–and so much more. But deep in my heart, I fear that her obvious beauty now will put her on the track to being that diva who values ONLY her looks, because it’s so easy to in this society. I have to tell you that the oversexualization of young girls makes raising a good person even harder than it would otherwise be. It basically scares the shit out of me as parent.
    Thanks for letting me rant!

  4. Posted December 29, 2006 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    The only thing that would’ve prevented me from writing the same article about my cohort in 1999 was that my English was limited to computer game vocabulary.

  5. Posted December 29, 2006 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    As a single 20-something, I’m finding a lot to agree with in Idolworshipper’s comment. Patti Binder does a good job of playing out the conflicting feminist thoughts warring in my brain (thanks for the link). While it’s true kids have been shocking parents for generations, before it was because they were in fact empowering themselves, expressing themselves sexually in a time when EVERYONE — adults included — was sexually repressed. Thanks to the 70s, today is very different (much better, to my thinking). While it’s true that kids get the ridiculous repression message still in these nutso abstinence-only classes, at the same time, when they watch the television nowadays and hear Ward was hard on the Beaver, I’d venture a full half or more of 6th-graders will look at each other and snicker. That NEVER would’ve happened in the 50s.
    So I guess my point is that nowadays kids AND ADULTS are much more sexually self-aware than before, and I think this is a good thing. But what this means, too, is that when these kids are grinding up against each other, etc., it’s no longer empowering. Instead, they’re just playing out what they see in their friends, their parents, their parents’ friends, their older siblings and cousins, and television. In other words, they’re reinforcing the still-oppressive status quo with their dancing, rather than challenging it like kids did in the 50s. When you have kids on the dance floor ACTING OUT the sexual domination of women, this is a problem any way you slice it. Sure, prudes will be shocked and horrified because they’re anti-sex. But the fact that prudes don’t like it, doesn’t mean that we automatically should.

  6. jer
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    i just thought i’d say that i appreciate the donnie darko reference.

  7. Jessica
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    In other words, they’re reinforcing the still-oppressive status quo with their dancing, rather than challenging it like kids did in the 50s.

    Agreed, TLF. And I’m sure were weren’t trying to battle the dominant paradigm when I was grinding to Color Me Bad. It was just fun. Should we be exploring ways to educate kids about the fuckedupness that is sexism and the way it plays out in music and music videos? Absolutely. I just don’t think freaking out about dance moves is the answer.

    When you have kids on the dance floor ACTING OUT the sexual domination of women, this is a problem any way you slice it.

    See, I don’t know that I agree with this (though truth be told I haven’t been to that many junior high school dances lately). How is dancing in a sexual way acting out the sexual domination of women?

  8. elektrodot
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    “See, I don’t know that I agree with this (though truth be told I haven’t been to that many junior high school dances lately). How is dancing in a sexual way acting out the sexual domination of women?”
    my thoughts exactly. my stance on this is i dont think theres anything wrong with it, as long as the guys respect there dance partners and dont go grabbing them where they dont want them to and such. it weirds me out when people assume anything a girl is doing that is sexual is somehow degrading to her or she doesnt actually want to be doing it. not saying anyone here is specifically saying that, but damn do i hear it alot

  9. biwah
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Agree with idolworshiper, somewhat. Is it a fun pantomime, or is it self-defining sexualization? Clearly, it’s both. Kids are not clueless about what they are doing, but they also lack real experience. The TV and the buzz among peers, is the piecemeal source of information for topics beyond their years, like sex.
    The cat is out of the bag and I am not proposing that teacher and parents can successfully stop it. But I agree with idolwhorshiper that the superficial shit marketed to our daughters (writ large, to all of us, but especially the girls) seems to have landed in Macy’s, Walmart, etc. straight of of the Jonbenet universe. It does not take a prude to make simple distinctions of quality and say from the heart that most of the culture directed at our kids is trash. And they respond to it.
    I’m disheartened by the reflexive shrug at our kids being cheapened while we stand by. Kids do not have full agency. They will almost always choose the quicker easier noisier more colorful pleasure, and the clear implication is that the longer, more worthwhile pleasures will be lost to most of them.
    By the time you have to regulate how kids dance (“legislate” is a strawman – this is about US, not politics), it is too late. My way of dealing with it is not buying the princess crap and not having a TV. In my estimation my daughters’ lives are and will be fuller, not emptier, for it. Maybe that way my daughters will have a tame childhood doing things like, you know, playing and exploring (rather than watching and wanting) – at least until they’re, oh, eleven or so.
    My guess is that you might not be so blaise about it if you were there.

  10. Jessica
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    (“legislate” is a strawman – this is about US, not politics)

    Actually, check the link–a Texas lawmaker did try to legislate dancing:

    Under legislation filed by Rep. Al Edwards, if a school district knowingly permits performances deemed too suggestive, funds from the state would be reduced.

  11. biwah
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    it weirds me out when people assume anything a girl is doing that is sexual is somehow degrading to her or she doesnt actually want to be doing it.
    That comment would make sense if you were talking about adults. Here, the adults were in the audience, applauding. In the face of kids acting sexual, is our only option to encourage, elevate, organize, and applaud it?
    What do you think Donnie Darko was getting at?

  12. biwah
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Jessica, so what? Can you really argue that legislation is the real issue?
    The debate about what is right, or wrong, or at least preferable, has to happen before you can talk about the remedy, and that has to happen before you can legitimately talk about imposing official rules and sanctions. Seems to me we’re still somewhere in phase one.
    In any case, legislation is always too late, ineffectual, and heavy-handed. So why focus an otherwise real discussio on it?

  13. elektrodot
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    “My guess is that you might not be so blaise about it if you were there.”
    being 20, middle school wasnt so far away for me. and from my experiance, the girls werent doing anything they didnt want to do, myself included. bringing up what you want for your kids is well and good, but really, when parents arent around, kids will do what they want. i was raised well, without a t.v (gasp!)and science kits instead of disney crap and read like 3 books a week and i still liked dirty dancing in middle/high school. and i was a virgin until 17! (hey thats late to some people). so upbringing has nothing to do with it id think

  14. Jessica
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m not trying to focus the conversation on it, I just brought it up as an example of how silly people are getting over it.
    I just think that freaking out over kids wanting to rub on each other–dancing or otherwise–is a waste of time in terms of battling sexism in youth culture.

  15. elektrodot
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    “That comment would make sense if you were talking about adults. Here, the adults were in the audience, applauding. In the face of kids acting sexual, is our only option to encourage, elevate, organize, and applaud it?”
    im talking about dirty dancing, not like cheerleading or something where adults would be watching. middle school kids are sexual beings. if that doesnt make you comfortable, well its not going to stop them from doing what they want.

  16. Posted December 29, 2006 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    I remember going to a lot of dance recitals as a kid in the late 80s and early 90s because my little sister was in them. And yeah, the modern dance groups’ routines were somewhat sexualized, and that’s bizarre – but it didn’t strike me as any more bizarre than the ballet, tap and jazz groups. I don’t think it even registered as sexual, though – it’s *so* choreographed, and artificial, that it becomes something totally different.
    Middle school dances are a whole nother story, because there’s *not* formal choreography there, which means that dancers interact in all sorts of ways. But from my experience as an adolescent in the 90s and as a camp counselor in the early 00s, the grinding is rare and done primarily to piss off the authority figures.

  17. biwah
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    i was raised well, without a t.v (gasp!)and science kits instead of disney crap and read like 3 books a week and i still liked dirty dancing in middle/high school. and i was a virgin until 17!
    OK, that seems to support what I’m saying…but anyway that sounds like my upbringing, more or less. I was 17 too, and as far as I can tell that was a good time. 14 or 15 would not have been. Sex is at your door when you’re 12. My question is not whether we should punish any vestige of it, but rather, what are our objectives as older wiser people, and how can we inject caution and discretion and filter (not stop) the flow of sexual knowledge during the limited window of time before it becomes EVERYTHING (or damn near).
    Put another way, can we be helpful without being accomplices? I think yes.
    bringing up what you want for your kids is well and good, but really, when parents arent around, kids will do what they want.
    What you teach your kids matters. Of course they will do what they want, just like we did, but they will value their safety and have pride in themselves – if we teach and model that.

  18. elektrodot
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    we may be arguing the same point a bit.
    “What you teach your kids matters. Of course they will do what they want, just like we did, but they will value their safety and have pride in themselves – if we teach and model that.”
    i know it does. i dont think dirty dancing at a middle school dance is a bad thing. so i was just saying that you can have a good upbringing and have pride in yourself and still dirty dance…since i dont see it as a type of destructive behavior.

  19. biwah
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    e: we probably agree on a lot. but i don’t agree that whether they are doing what they want to do (i.e. no one is literally coercing them) is the determining issue. so, if prohibition is thick-headed and ineffectual, how else can we fight the good fight (culturally) and put forth better things? like maybe real dancing and other things that require skill and sensitivity?
    also, sort of pet theory: i think most of us will be comparably wild when we’re 20 year-old proto-adults (with apologies), regardless of upbringing. but when you are thirty, who you are will reflect your experiences growing up in much sharper relief.

  20. Posted December 29, 2006 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Jessica and others, it’s a fair (and good) point that being sexual does not necessarily equal sexual dominance over women. However, from the little bit of what I’ve read, in this case I think that is in fact what we’re talking about here.
    When you have middle-school girls acting out the sexually suggestive moves from Janet Jackson videos, or pretending to give a lap dance to a chair, in my mind this is something other or “more” than just expressing themselves sexually. I’m not at all trying to say we should tell young girls how to express themselves sexually. I’m just not quite sure that’s what the girls are doing here. It sounds to me that what they’re doing here is imitating adults, without having a one hundred percent grasp on whether or not it’s what THEY want. No matter, though; Mommy and Daddy are in the audience clapping, so it must be good (sending a clear message that THIS is how little girls “should” act).
    I think it’s responsible to at least be worried about this. It doesn’t sound like we have a whole bunch of boys’ dance troupes acting out similar routines, and until we do I absolutely believe there’s a sexist element to this, be it overt or insidious.
    From what I can tell, these moves are designed to sexualize women, not to provide a forum in which women can express their own sexuality. If the girls were acting out in free-form dance, rather than a structured routine likely conjured up by a teacher watching MTV, I’d feel much more comfortable about it.

  21. mirm
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    It seems the important thing is the last sentences of Downes’ editorial that “Boys don’t seem to have such constricted horizons. They wouldn’t stand for it — much less waggle their butts and roll around for applause on the floor.»
    Yes, we all want girls to have choices about expressing their budding sexuality, but I *am* uncomfortable with the ways our culture makes them believe that sexiness is the only way to approval. Boys are indeed not limited to sexiness for approval or power, but girls are pushed towards it — more now it seems. This trend away from feminism troubles me deeply, and I’m not a parent.

  22. Patti Binder
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad to see this issue get so much commentary.
    Boys are as confined in the “boy box” as girls are in the “girl box” and I think it is a point that Downes skips over and the editorial is weaker for it. Yes being male, especially a white male comes with privileges, but those privileges are granted to those who play by the masculine rule set.
    As for girls dancing in sexually explicit ways on stage, I think it is highly problematic. I agree with Jessica, Vanessa, etc with the basic point that girls’ sexuality and sexual dancing is part of growing up as a girl and we don’t need to go around legislating it. Girls sexuality and pleasure does NOT have to equal Super Scary.
    And before Jessica danced around to Color Me Badd, I rolled around on my living room floor in a slip and a wooden crucifix pretending to be Madonna, and that was powerful, and also ridiculous. (and yes dates me)
    I did NOT go on stage and do it, with my parents cheering me on. And I think that is the issue here, as others have identified. How do we (parents, organizers of youth programming, generally concerned folk) help girls (and boys) grow up with positive and healthy senses of sexuality and help them make sense of all the crazy highly gendered and often sexist stuff the mainstream has to offer?

  23. redmenace
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    “Yes, we all want girls to have choices about expressing their budding sexuality, but I *am* uncomfortable with the ways our culture makes them believe that sexiness is the only way to approval.”
    I agree with mirm.
    I feel that grinding is pretty much imitating stripper moves, and this “stripper chic” thing has driven me crazy for a long time. Strippers aren’t “expressing their sexuality” – they are making a buck. So when a girl imitates a stripper, she’s not expressing her individual sexuality, she’s imitating a pre-packaged, single-faceted version of what someone else decided “sexy” is.

  24. mimo92
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    This could be different at other schools, but in my school, last May I believe, we had our eight grade dance. *run-on sentence, w00t* There was this one boy, who shall remain anonymous, who has the geeky look going for him. He is a great friend of my circle of friends (most were girls, but the boys thought he was A OK). At the eight grade dance, about ten of my female friends (I did not include myself– one word: pizza) grinded up on him. Everyone thought it was funny and everyone enjoyed themselves (especially the boy in the middle, I imagine). None of us were delinquents– all of us made honor roll or dean’s list. I agree that kids shouldn’t be imitating Paris Hilton (and a lot of us don’t like her), but I don’t think people should waste their valuable time legislating dance moves instead oh say, working on homeless problem. Just an example. As far as ‘dirty dancing’ goes, I would only regret it if people took notice of it. I think that by everyone making such a huge deal about it, you’re giving it way too much steam.

  25. mimo92
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    PS–
    What the hell are you guys talking about with the Donnie Darko? All I remember from that was a creepy bunny, time travel, and smurf jokes.

  26. donna darko
    Posted December 30, 2006 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    What the hell are you guys talking about with the Donnie Darko?
    u talkin to me? ;) i saw the movie several years ago and told a bf it reminded me of twin peaks and david lynch and he called me donna darko. it stuck. speaking of david lynch, i’m looking forward to inland empire and the second season dvd set which is FINALLY coming out 15 years later.

  27. donna darko
    Posted December 30, 2006 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    i have no idea how it came up on this thread.

  28. Posted December 30, 2006 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Isn’t the sparkle motion quote from the movie? Donnie’s little sister was in sparkle motion right?
    mimo, we’re (or at least I’m) not saying it’s bad for kids to act out sexual dance moves. I’m just worried about the message we’re sending to young girls in particular. I think young girls should learn to express themselves in any way they want — but they shouldn’t feel like the “right” way to express themselves is in a manner that primarily pleases men. I’m worried that when young girls perform choreographed Janet Jackson moves they’re doing it for approval, and not because it’s an actual expression of themselves. When they find that approval they learn that there’s a “right” way for girls to dance. Similarly, they see boys ridiculed if they dance that way. This ingrains sexism into their minds — girls writhing and thrusting on the dance floor=acceptable (or hottt); guys writhing and thrusting on the dance floor=ridiculous (because everyone knows MEN aren’t sex objects).
    So the point isn’t “ohmigod teh kidz are dancing!!” The point is that we’re ingraining sexism into people at younger and younger ages. And yeah, you bet this is as important as homelessness. Subjugation of women? Hell yeah, that’s a big deal.

  29. mimo92
    Posted December 30, 2006 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    No, donna, I wasn’t talking about you.
    I was referring to this: “i just thought i’d say that i appreciate the donnie darko reference.”
    I guess I should reference things, huh? I think the paint fumes from my freshly painted house are getting to me. lol

  30. hdawg
    Posted December 30, 2006 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    what the article is about seems to focus more on choreographed dance styles. yes, they’re hecka-sexual – just look at a music video.
    my uptight super-WASP 56-year-old high-school-teacher mum also happens to have taken on the advisorship of a 9-12 grade school dance team. they’re not cheerleaders, they are mostly minority, they don’t get funding beyond the grants she finds for certain equipment – including knee pads, because the only practice space allotted is on those fun tile floors, and a better boom box.
    the major reason she’s there (aside from the obvious – adult supervision so they can stay after school) is to screen music before it’s mixed into their routines for pep rallys and other full-school events, and to say something when the moves (they do their own choreography) get a little too graphic.
    she’s gone a bit further – asking them to consider how an audience will view them – with respect as artists, or essentially as another kind of dancer. in the past two years, the choreographers have taken this to heart, including attending competitions in NYC, noticing they need to work hard! to be that good, but that they also find teams of 10-year-olds bumping and grinding to be majorly grody.
    ah, perspective. my own wake-up call came as a guest at a wedding where my parents were also invited…apparently i needed to ditch a lot of my “moves” wholesale or get far, far drunker.

  31. Raging Moderate
    Posted December 30, 2006 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m with those who don’t see this type of dancing as a problem.
    The future generation of strippers and lap dancers have to learn the trade somewhere.

  32. DanM
    Posted December 30, 2006 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m a male in my 30s, and I try to be progressive. I’m all in favor of girls and women being comfortable with their sexuality and liking sex, but I have to say that these girls’ behavior troubled me a lot.
    That’s because the girls don’t seem like they are comfortable with their sexuality at all – they seem very, very, very insecure. And their moron parents are out in the audience, cheering it on.
    I think it’s a symptom of the conservative revolution of the past 25 years. We have an insecure, macho president, and pundits who rail about “feminazis,” and kids are listening to songs by insecure, macho men, or songs by women raised by insecure macho men who never recovered from the ordeal (just think of Janet Jackson’s childhood and her ultra-dominating father).
    Sure, consenting people can act out fantasies of sexual domination and submission. But what we’ve seen in the past 25 years in this country has been the rise to cultural and political ascendency of people who can’t tell fantasy from reality. And I have a bad feeling that these girls are growing up very confused, and lacking any interest in outgrowing immature gender roles – in fact lacking any awareness that those roles are even immature.

  33. Posted December 30, 2006 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    RM, am I having an episode of deja vu, or have you made that joke before?
    Anyway, it didn’t make me laugh either time.

  34. Idolworshipper
    Posted December 30, 2006 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Hey All,
    I hope none of you took my concerns as a desire to legislate. I’m even a tad hopeless about educating beyond my immediate kith and kin.
    Sure, kids do stuff to piss off grown-ups and there is the chance that if you come down on this kind of dancing that girls will want to do it more. I dont know how to walk that line. Call me in 10 years, when my daughter’s in middle school.
    What I will say is that being a grown-up with a fairly complex sexual history, I know what it means when you get sexy. And I’m pretty sure that a 10 y o or 12 yo or even a 15 yo kid doesnt really get it. Some of you were raunchy in HS and didnt have sex till later. And there may be a lot of unfounded panic about blow jobs in the backs of school buses. While the age when my daughter or my stepdaughter has sex concerns me some, my concerns are deeper. More about how they see themselves, the world, men.
    My stepdaughter gives me a lot to think about. When she was 10, she wanted to do some karaoke for me (an excuse for her to dress up and raid my make up bag). One time, she put on short-shorts, danced around in an unintentionally goofy imitation of MTV, and then vigously shook her booty, while telling me over her shoulder, “See, you dont have to be 18 to be sexy.”
    All I could say was, “Oh, sweetheart, you’ll have plenty of time to be sexy.”
    The answer isnt legislation of any form. It is the hard work of parenting, of the kind of creativity and patience I’m not sure I have, and the trust, I suppose, in your lovely child that she will turn out okay. All very very hard.

  35. donna darko
    Posted December 30, 2006 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    mimi, i know ppl weren’t talkin about me although i like talkin about myself!
    Isn’t the sparkle motion quote from the movie? Donnie’s little sister was in sparkle motion right?
    law fairy, it’s all coming back to me now. thanks!

  36. donna darko
    Posted December 30, 2006 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m fucking exhausted at the end of the year. More eggnog down the hatch.

  37. mst
    Posted December 31, 2006 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    It’s yucky to see prepubescent girls shaking it, for all the right reasons, but you can’t stop it. Educating the kids isn’t even the answer, the real problem is the parents.
    If it bothers you, your daughters will most likely not dance like that. The oversexualized girls were most likely raised by the parents who applauded. They may be rebellious teenagers, but their personal boundaries were established as children, by the most influential adults in their lives…don’t ever forget that.
    And what everyone is ignoring are all the girls–a majority at every school in the country–who AREN’T dirty dancing, who AREN’T dressing up in skimpy, glittery costumes and wiggling their skinny 12 year old asses for everyone to see.
    All those quietly normal, reasonably healthy girls who don’t crave attention and public notoriety, who are sitting in the stands, rolling their eyes at their butt-shaking counterparts (or maybe they skipped out on the assembly altogether because the spectacle made them sick). These girls, whom no one notices, no one is concerned about, who are not the subject of any hand-wringing NYT articles but go on to do just fine.
    Don’t assume that the most visible girls are the majority…or that they represent the less visible segments of middle school society.

  38. Pickleberry
    Posted December 31, 2006 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I work with a volunteer ambulance company, and one of the few times that we are paid for our work is when we do special details at a large arena/sports center in our area. Last year a youth cheerleading competition came to town, with teams from all over the eastern half of the united states and ranging in age from five to seventeen.
    I was appalled, as were my male colleagues (we were all college age) to see the hypersexualized outfits and routines of the teams as young as 8 or 9. These moves were not organic self expressions on a dance floor, they were choreographed by adults.
    I know that as a young teenager there is a strong need to push everyone’s limits, including your own, but it seems that the bumping and grinding routines are no longer edgy or controversial, especially when little kids are doinging it while being encouraged by their parents and coaches. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that cheerleading=hoochie dancing, many of the teams, the older ones especially, got away from the more sexualized acts and focused more on the athletic aspect and had some amazing routines.
    Sorry for rambling, I guess that what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think that children should be expected or encouraged to dance like the barely clad dancers in hip hop music videos. Let it be something that they find as they get older, and let it be something that pushes limits, not something that is expected of them.

  39. keshmeshi
    Posted January 2, 2007 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really see a problem with schools banning bump-and-grind dancing from school dances. School property = school rules. If kids want to dance that way, they can do it at home, just the same as, if they want to have actual sex, they can do it at home.

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