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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

Little Miss Stripper-in-Training

Wow. This video of a troupe of young dancers competing in a dance competition shocked me — and let me tell you, I am not easily shocked. Girls as young as eight, dressed like strippers and doing overtly sexualized dance moves for a competition? What the hell were their parents thinking?
I loathe — and I mean really loathe — things like beauty pageants and dance competitions of this nature that require young girls to be sexually objectified. I’m not arguing that these girls aren’t talented — the more artistic dance moves they pull off in this video are inarguably impressive, particularly given how young they are. But the sexual gyrations of hips and pelvis, the shaking of asses, the arm movements intended to emphasize boobs that haven’t even sprouted yet? Completely inappropriate, unless your intention is to train your daughter from an early age to have a fabulous career as a stripper, in which case, go ahead and install a hot pink Barbie stripper pole in her bedroom and be done with it.
If these girls were highschoolers, I could maybe — MAYBE — see it. But this young? Hell, no.
Two of the parents can be seen in the video defending this. I don’t blame the girls here; girls who take dance at this level have been pushed and pushed by their parents and teachers to compete and win, and if they’re told this is what they have to do to win it, they’re not going to argue. No doubt they don’t realize there’s anything “wrong” with what they’ve been directed to do. Why? Because they’re little girls, who hopefully don’t yet realize that this kind of ass-wiggling, gyrating dancing, popular though it may be in the music videos, is by its nature sexual and sexualizing. Hip hop moves may look cool and all, but these girls are being completely sexualized and objectified … this is exactly the sort of objectification of young girls that Little Miss Sunshine so astutely targeted.
Let’s look at some quotes from the parental units here:
“The kids are doing something they completely love to do … it’s actually completely normal for dancing.”
Uh, yeah. Completely normal if you’re a stripper, or a stripper-in-training.
“My daughter’s eight years old, she doesn’t watch MTV, she watches kids’ movies … they’re going to be dancing and singing to songs that are popular on the radio right now…”
They’re going to be dancing to the songs the ADULTS in their lives allow them to dance to. See, you are the parent, and it is up to YOU to police not only what your kids are listening to, but also what song your child’s dance instructor chooses for them to dance to. It’s called parenting, and that involves more than writing a check for expensive dance lessons.
“In terms of the costuming, the costumes are designed for movement, and to show body lines … in terms of the costumes being inappropriate, it’s very normal within that context.”
Uh huh. Leotards manage to both allow movement and show body lines quite well for ballet dancers. Your girls couldn’t have had a dance choreographed that showed off their dance moves just as effectively, and been costumed more appropriately, while still being able to move freely and show off body lines? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
“They’re more covered up than they would be if they were swimming.”
Presumably, your daughter isn’t in her bikini at the beach or the swimming pool shaking her money maker in the faces of men in lounge chairs. Context, dude.
Let’s look at this another way. The dad being interviewed in this video tries to make the (LAME) argument that this was never intended to be viewed by millions of people … as if it being limited only to the audience that was there makes it okay because it’s “completely normal.” Riiiiight.
What do you suppose would happen if any one of these parents videotaped their daughter, in this costume, doing these dance moves to this song, and then put it up on a website and charged people (like, say, men with a sexual preference for young girls) a fee to watch it. Would that be okay? I mean, it’s not hurting the girl any, because she’s just doing what she loves, right? Giving it 110%, whoo-hoo! Attagirl. And if she doesn’t KNOW that pervs are out there masturbating to her eight-year-old self gyrating in a stripper outfit, what’s the harm, right? Sorry, Daddy-O. You allowed your daughter to be sexualized and objectified, cheered her on while it was happening, and now you’re rationalizing your bullshit when people call you on it.
What is wrong with parents today? Parents over-schedule their kids with activities, pressure little kids to achieve “elite” levels in sports and dance, push for higher test scores and more homework, pay more in tuition for kindergarten at fancy private schools than I paid for my entire college education … in the name of what? Whatever happened to just letting kids be kids? What’s happened to the innocence of childhood?
But hey, maybe you think I’m completely being a prude here, and that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with girls this age dancing in that manner, to that song, in those costumes. If you have an argument in favor of that, fire away.

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One Response to “Little Miss Stripper-in-Training”

  1. Scott Nye says:

    How’s this for prude? I won’t watch the damn video, given what I’ve heard.
    I sometimes wonder if it’s a by-product of technology. Modern technology has allowed a tremendous amount of convenience, but, as Ethan Hawke said, you never hear somebody say, “With the time I’ve saved by using my word processor, I’m gonna go to a Zen monastery and hang out.”
    Parents become incredibly wrapped up in a work environment they increasingly cannot tear themselves away from. In the past, parents were afforded free time because hey, once you’re out of the office, there’s nothing else to do. Why NOT get involved in your kids’ lives?
    Just a theory, one I’m too young to know for sure, but I do wonder.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon