Where I Get On My Soap Box

13 Jul

Ever since I found out I was having a girl my mind started running wild with all the fun things she would could do. The tea parties, playing dress up, decorating her room and taking her shopping–things moms do with their daughters. Then I started thinking about extra curricular activities. Will we put her in gymnastics, let her play a sport, or will she follow in her mommy’s food steps and take up dance? I was so excited thinking about her as a dancer. The competitions, the costumes and the glitz all sounded fun. But then I stumbled across a couple You Tube videos of dance competition routines.

See: Link 1 and Link 2

I really didn’t know what to think. Those girls are talented dancers. It was an enjoyable routine, but a group of 7 year olds (which is the average. Some could be older, some could be younger) on stage shaking their butts in front of a large audience? Really? And to make matters worse these girls are wearing rather questionable outfits. The hard thing for me is I know the dance world. I know it is ok to wear things that you wouldn’t dare wear on the street. I know that you have to wear certain things to show off the dancers abilities and choreography. I know you have to compliment the song you are dancing to. I understand you can’t wear baggy shirts and loose-fitting pants and expect to see clean lines. But what I do know is that you don’t have to allow little girls to do provocative moves to win competitions. I come from a very competitive, well-trained dance studio where our little girls showed off how good they were without having to wear bedroom attire and dance like a 20-something in a club. You can’t argue with me because I grew up in it. I know what it’s like.

What blows my mind is that these girls don’t understand. They have no idea that what they are wearing is inappropriate for someone their age. They don’t understand that their outfits are near lingerie in nature (be honest with yourself–stockings on a 7 year old?) They look up to their dance teachers and the choreography they give them. They want to dance, make their teachers happy and win competitions.

But the thing that disgusts me the most is the sick perverts that are in this world. People, there are some nasty dudes out there who thrive on little girls. It may seem cute and harmless, but when there is a nasty perv sitting in the audience, just waiting for a chance to take picture, go home and do only God knows what, it bothers the crap out of me to see a parent allow their child to dress and dance like that. It is our job to protect our children from these people as best we can and willingly putting it out there doesn’t help that.

I really am not a prude. I love dancing and the beauty that can come from it—like this dance. It brings me to tears. There is nothing wrong with expressing your emotions through dance, showing off you skills and trying to be the best you can be. Those girls are great dancers, but please let our little girls be little girls. They will grow up, and as much as it pains me to say, they will become adults. Why try to speed up the process? Why try to make them become adults before they even hit puberty? Why give a pedophile all the more reason to attend a dance competition or recital? All to win? All to get a good “wow” from the audience? I don’t think it’s worth it.

So as I continue to think about the future of my own daughter, I can’t help but question my original thoughts of putting her in dance. Maybe we will start with gymnastics. Maybe we will let her dance. I’m not going to stop her if she wants to try it, but the minute I see her doing suggestive moves while wearing next to nothing I am pulling her out. I am the parent. I am the one who needs to protect her. Her dad and I have the final say. I will do what ever I can to keep her out of harms way.

And now I step off my soap box.


6 Responses to “Where I Get On My Soap Box”

  1. angela July 13, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    If it’s a soapbox, I don’t think you’re alone up there. Abbey is just 3 1/2 and dances, but we were careful about where we chose to have her dance and absolutely reserve the right to decide if it’s not the right thing (or she can, obviously!)

    What’s a little crazy to me, though, is what the girls wear just at the studio. Sooooo skimpy (except for their ballet classes), although their competition/recital dances are tasteful, both in movement and costumes. I mean the older girls, by the way; the little ones wear tights/leotards (and lots of little tutus).

    • toriebartee July 13, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

      Yeah it’s crazy. We were not allow to wear any type of belly showing top (sports bra, midriff exposed, etc.) and we did very well at competitions.

      I just fear what things will be like when our daughters are teens.

  2. Holls July 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    I completely agree! I grew up dancing as well and everyone keeps saying how fun it will be when I put my daughter in dance- in my mind I am fearful of the things she would be exposed to with the way things are today. Of course I will let her try if she wants, but I don’t want anything suggestive or “sexy.” I actually just wrote a post similar to this about my daughter not wearing a bikini. Let little girls be little!

  3. Aubrey July 13, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    When i have a daughter( i have a son) there is no way on God’s green earth that her belly, toes, butt, or anything else on your body will be shaking it like that on stage. Dance is amazing, but that’s not just dancing. That’s a sex call to pervs. I’m with you on this Torie and i agree. My baby will be in a full length leotard with shorts.

  4. Crystal July 14, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    Love this post Torie. Thank you for being honest and saying how it is. I went to nationals last week to support Melissa’s kids and they still are like we’re used to, but then when you see some of the other studios and the costumes they wear, it’s pretty amazing… I can’t believe what some parents would allow or that their teachers would think this is okay. There is no doubt in my mind that your little ones will grow up with much better morals and that you will raise them right 🙂 By the way; thanks for sharing the ade and melissa dance; was definitely one of my favorites!

  5. heather lutz July 14, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    Can I get an, AMEN! I am a mom to three, I first had two boys and just had my daughter in April. I grew up dancing as well (and still take class to keep in shape!) and went to a very “conservative” type of studio. I have always been of the opinion that little girls are cute and need be just that. Cute. Not sexy. Not seductive. Just cute and adorable.

    To send some positive vibes your way, I stumbled upon this choreographer about a year ago. ((http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgh5A7Nkp5E&feature=related)) I was going through then what you were today. Totally distraught with how dance competitions are being won these days….but when I found these lovely ladies I knew it was going to (potentially) be ok! They are adorable, modestly dressed, dancing to an appropriate song with appropriate moves. I think the most “risque” it gets is with a dance called ‘Runway’, but even that is no where NEAR as bad as that single ladies shenanigans! Sheesh! And while some of these girls (and guy) are a little older…maybe middle school…I think that’s appropriate for them as well. And I appreciate the choreographer realizing that. And even though it’s a slightly different genre, maybe contemporary jazz as opposed to straight up jazz, these girls are CLEARLY talented and probably win TONS of medals and such…so yay for them!!!

    Sorry for the long comment, just wanted to chime in with you and give a little bit of encouragement as well. 🙂 Love your blog and everything you write about! Thanks for sharing your life!

    Heather ~ hippiesinthesouth.blogspot.com

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