You’ve probably heard the online outrage over the dance troupe of 8-9 year old girls performing a sexually provocative routine to Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies”. Of course, I agree that this is completely inappropriate, an example of irresponsible parenting, and a tragic exploitation of the innocence of young girls. But I am surprised at, well, the surprise of the blogging community. The idea that this sort of uber-sexualization of children should somehow be unexpected. I mean, seriously? Why is it shocking that little girls would want to emulate one of the biggest pop stars in the world? Why are we appalled at parents choosing to let their daughters perform in provocative outfits when much of women’s fashion capitalizes on our sexuality?
Yes, I agree, the parents should have been more thoughtful, more protective, more aware of their daughters. But the problem is a bigger one, endemic to our culture, and one which we, as women, promote every time we buy into the same marketing, the same advertising, the same promotion that objectifies women.
I’m the mother of boys, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot. How do I want to teach them to view women? How do I accept the reality that they will live in this culture, see some of these same images, have advertising and promotion thrust upon them and yet teach them to respect women, to see beyond bodies, to value all people as persons? It’s a tall order, and one without easy answers.
I thought this group of YA writers did a great job of compiling some resources for further reflection.
One of their links was to this Dove commercial, which you’ve probably seen. It never fails to make me cry a bit at the brokenness of our femininity. But it’s worth another view, because it makes me want to do things differently for my boys – and for all the other children. Check it out, and let me know your thoughts.