My (7-year-old) Boyfriend’s Back??
Okay so here’s a little back story on this (ridiculous) video clip. This was posted on my facebook wall by a good friend as a joke. My reaction–laughter, disgust, disbelief–caused me to post this on the blog.
This sort of over-sexualized dance performance by very young girls is becoming alarmingly common in the competition dance world. Growing up a competition dancer myself, I can tell you that times have most certainly changed. When I was younger, it was unheard of to see 7 and 8-year-olds wearing such revealing costumes and performing movement that is potentially harmful to their bodies. Young dancers were often taught to look “cutesy,” but they were never objectified to this extent. Aside from the fact they they are basically wearing bras and underwear, these girls are grinding with each other, sticking out their flat chests, and shaking their tiny prepubescent asses like women in a music video. It’s out of control. And the craziest part of this whole scenario is that this dance won the top award/highest score at the competition. Now these girls are indeed talented, but what kind of message is that sending to other little girls, their dance teachers, and the general public?
Not to mention, some of the actual steps they are performing are downright unhealthy for growing bodies–pushing flexibility too far can damage the hips and overusing the spine at such a young age is harmful for growth and development. Whoever is training these girls is exploiting their talent to win awards at dance competitions instead of considering their best interests as dancers and training them properly.
Finally, let’s think about the song, “My Boyfriend’s Back.” Some of the lyrics are not only objectifying to women but also suggestive of sexuality way beyond the scope of a 7-year-old’s life (hopefully.) The entire song talks about telling another man to “step off” because he’s going to be in trouble when her boyfriend finds out. “My boyfriend’s back; he’s gonna save my reputation” is one of the lyrics. Of course, the female needs to be saved by the male, and her reputation as a “good girl” has been tarnished in his absence.
I can’t help but wonder about one question: Where are the parents? Are they crazy stage-moms who want to win awards regardless of the damage it can do to the child? Who knows. All I have to say is that while watching this video is certainly entertaining, it really left a bad taste in my mouth. The art form of dance itself has been degraded by such objectification and exploitation of young dancers, and this sends a terrible message about gender roles to society.