Monday, August 23, 2010
Rain, rain, go away, please come back another day! I got SOAKED this morning...and I had an umbrella! Just ridiculous.
I figured I'd check my emails and Facebook while I let the heater under my desk dry off my saturated pants legs. I scroll down to read a FB status that read "I have no words." I click on the video to find a little girl dancing to Ciara's "Ride." Take a look:
I'd beat her ass...but back to that in a sec.
I remember shopping in Old Navy for Baby Sophia for her birthday. There were kids running around crazy in the toddler section, and their parents were seemingly oblivious to their little terrors. One little girl ran right into me and I was forced to give her the stern "Girl, you lucky you not my kid cuz I'd whoop you into next week" look. But my stern look quickly turned into one of wide-eyed disbelief. This little girl had on a bikini top and a mini skirt with flip flops. What the...???
I realized that more and more when I shop in stores like Old Navy and Gap Kids, I see clothes that are more "suggestive" than in the past for little girls. Tube/halter tops, mini skirts, even hot pants - that's what these little girls are wearing now. I don't think I was allowed to wear a mini skirt or a halter top til I was over 16, and even THEN my mom had final say over my wardrobe. The first time I bought a skirt with my own money that was slightly above my knee, my mom and aunts told me my "legs were hanging out" and to go change my clothes - so back to jeans and sweats for me...or the longer skirts I wore for church.
I say all that to say that the hyper-sexualization (is that a word?) of our culture today has made it so that little girls want to be "hot," rather than cute or pretty - and finding a cute top and jeans for a toddler that doesn't have pink glitter all over it is getting a little more difficult. I feel that little girls nowadays are trained to be sexy before they even understand what "sexy" is. And my fear is that they won't have a chance to discover their sexuality in an organic way.
Sure, we've seen videos of little ones dancing to "Single Ladies," and I'm pretty sure the girl dancing to Ciara's "Ride" doesn't know what she's riding exactly (at least I hope not). No matter how disturbing it is to watch at any age, some would argue that it's harmless because they're only emulating what they see, they don't actually "know" what they're doing.
But isn't that the problem?
What happens when they turn 12 and their hormones start raging? Suddenly, the disconnect between a sexual dance move they learned in a music video and their real life desires starts "connecting" really fast. That early awareness of "sexiness" might make them a little more assertive sexually before they're ready to be (thus the term "fast ass little girls") and the consequences could be harmful, even deadly.
Back to the girl in the video: Performing a dance to a song that implies lust without actually "feeling" that lust suggests that the the goal is to be desired. But at that age, you have no idea what that means. At 5 years old, you can't explore what being desired actually feels like. There are some ADULTS who still don't understand their sexuality and haven't explored their desires in order to grow into them naturally. At 16 I didn't know what I wanted. At 22 I didn't know what I wanted. At 37, I feel comfortable enough now to be free with my desires without compromising myself, and no one can dictate that for me. I am in control of my sexual self, and can ask for and receive my own pleasure based on what I want, not what I see or what society tells me I should "be."
It's difficult enough trying to navigate a pre-teen or a teenager's ever changing mood swings, body changes and emerging sexuality without making them feel weird, embarrassed or uncomfortable. It's a confusing time. So introducing "sexy" to them at an early age blurs the lines between "too damn grown too young" and puberty. I don't know who or where this girl's parents are, but there's no way this "dance" should have been recorded and this video should NOT be up on the web to be seen as something "cute." It's NOT cute. This little girl should've never been able to see a Ciara video, let alone be allowed to mimic her moves. It's the parents' job to keep their child off the pole.
If I ever have a little girl, I’d want her to stay a little girl until she's ready to appropriately identify and express her own sexuality and desires. I know she'll have those feelings one day, it's unavoidable. But I'd want my kids - male or female - to grow into a strong, confident sexuality all their own. Grinding to Ciara's "Ride" is not the way to do that.