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In Protest of Those Protesting the Preteen “Single Ladies”

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The now-viral video of “Single Ladies” as performed by young girls has created quite the stir. The children put on a show brimming with talent and hard work, but the majority of those on the outside of this production looking in are not happy. Unfortunately for all the children who actually are exploited and abused, those who take issue with the video are only willing to look so far. Never has it been more deftly illustrated just how easy it is to distract oneself from reality with a perception.

In a conversation that comes in as the most average of all the online and televised discussions, The View’s Joy Behar offers up her perception, insisting the video is “a pedophile’s dream.” What Disney version of pedophilia is running around in anyone’s head that an eyebrow-raising dance video is lauded in a sick-bastard world over videos that make even the most jaded criminal investigator vomit or cry?

As a child sex abuse survivor myself, I feel more than a little disturbed that there exist millions of people who can be stopped in their tracks and left gasping for air by what they saw in that dance video. What in the hell would you people do if you came across actual evidence of a child having been molested – or a child being molested? Is that why so much child sex abuse goes unreported – because your brains shut down and rendered you incapable of telling someone in authority? 

It’s bad enough that you don’t know thy enemy, but don’t redefine him to suit your palate. If you really think that video is what a pedophile wants, then you could no sooner protect a child from him than catch a passing train with your hand. Pedophiles come in all shapes and sizes, but mostly they come in “related” or “mom’s boyfriend.”

Don’t wrap your discomfort and indignation around this video expecting to be regarded as some kind of gatekeeper for exploited and abused children when watching a parent-sanctioned and supervised dance and bitching about it is the extent of your effort. You couldn’t be more useless to children who actually are in harm’s way if you just keeled over and died.

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About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.
  • http://viclana.blogspot.com/ Victor Lana

    As a father of a daughter, I agree with you, Diana. There are many more things worse than this video that we should be worried about.

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    The girls were amazingly good. My daughter was in dance, and she never got to that level. I don’t agree with Behar (never do) but there was something about watching that performance that gave me the willies. It was similar to the discomfort I felt when watching Jon Benet pageant video. It’s not just the act that worries me, it’s all the stuff behind it.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/diana_hartman diana hartman

    Joanne,

    I’m not worried about anything negative behind the moves because anything negative is of an adult’s mind, not a child’s. I’m not saying an adult’s willies should be ignored because it’s there (in all of us at some point or another) as a warning. Five sets of parents didn’t feel the willies. The parents of the girls who tried out for positions in that routine didn’t feel it. The parents of the girls who attend the same dance classes didn’t feel it. I’m saying that what causes willies in one person is not necessarily cause for someone else to do anything about it.

    I’m more bothered by comparisons to JonBenet because pageant and dance are two very different things. You can replace every pageant child (and adult for that matter) with a mannequin and a voice recording. The same simply cannot be said of dance.

    One walk down any beach in America should put the issue of dress to rest. Two-pieces on two-year-olds is more common than grains of sand. There’s no outrage because there is first no adult projection of adult sexuality onto a small child. The issue of the moves is only an issue when first there is adult projection of adult sexuality.

    The girls in the video were not part of a cheap dance production, and by “cheap” I mean inexpensive. Every adult – from parents to instructors to competition coordinators – had and still has a reputation to uphold as parents, instructors and competition coordinators. If at any point a child was thought to have been compromised it would have come to light way before now. The classes and the competition are hardly secret. While classroom instruction is not open to anyone who isn’t a paying customer, the children were not instructed behind doors so closed that any state welfare agency could not pass.

    What led up to that content of that video is the same chain of instruction, events and competition with cheerleading competitions and Double Dutch leagues – where the ages of children and modes of dress also often allow for extensive movement of the body. The dance classes and the competition could not have accommodated the enrollments and acts they’ve had over the years without being reputable with every children every step of the way.

    It is not only adult projection fogging so many eyes (of adults), it is also a horribly under-defined version of what pedophiles want that has so many up in arms. Pedophiles have made it abundantly clear what they want – and it sure as hell isn’t a child with an army of adults swarming ‘round who is so fit she could perform little more than her routine and cause another person bodily harm.

    Diana

  • Jill

    I understand your point, this video certainly is not pedophilia and should not be labeled as such.

    What it shows though, is how the adults in those children’s lives have used these girl’s talents to create what they want to see. These moves are not meant for 7 year olds, not only because they were created for their sexual undertone (the moves themselves, I’m not saying the choreographer of the girls’ dance consciously wanted them to be sexual), but because their bodies physically aren’t ready to perform them correctly. They are DEFINITELY talented and must work very hard. I just hope they get to dance for themselves, and for their love of it, not to “be the best” and “perform” for adults.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/diana_hartman diana hartman

    Jill,

    It’s weird to see the word perform in quotes as if every child who ever danced, sang, recited or played an instrument for an audience did not also “perform” and were not also encouraged to “be the best” by parents, coaches and instructors.

    The girls’ bodies are physically ready to perform those moves, which is how they were able to do it – just as elementary aged gymnasts and ballerinas do what they do.

    If those girls were unhappy about what they were doing, it sure didn’t show. I saw strength, energy and joy. I did not see pain, embarrassment, humiliation or anger.

    It might be high time for more people to spend time with children who are in fact victimized by adults so they’re more familiar with what it looks like. Volunteering as a child advocate or even just helping out at a local women’s shelter would go a long way in helping those who are sure they see something in that video that just isn’t there.

    Diana

  • http://viclana.blogspot.com/ Victor Lana

    Diana, my daughter is in dancing school, and they all do these routines. Anyone familiar with the situation would not find it offensive. These girls are actually very good performers.

    The bigger problem, as you mention, is not addressed and it should be. Sadly, it probably will never be as much of a concern to those who are bothered by this video.

  • http://blogcritics.ore/writers/realist Realist

    As the father of two daughters who once took dance lessons which involved similar moves, I am not especially distressed over the video. Neither am I about to connect dancing with pedophilia, as pedophiles do not need any external kinetic stimulation to excite their interest. The fact that a child exists and is vulnerable is about all it takes. The most important thing the adults in these girls lives need to do is to ensure that the girls are protected from any potential predators, and that the girls know what to do if they feel threatened in any way.

    As someone above in this thread brought up, what would these complainers do if confronted with real pedophilia? Do they know about Dan Rather’s reports of sexual exploitation of girls in Oregon not much older than these dancers? Do they care about the impressment of similarly aged children of both genders into militias in some parts of the world? Would they not buy the clothes Walmart sells if they knew how many children spend their lives making them instead of going to school? Do they care about the thousands who starve to death everyday because there are no busy bodies to stick their noses into the affairs of opportunistic exploiters who ensure there is no food?

    I suspect not. Far too easy to object to something relatively harmless like this video, for the parents of these girls aren’t going to affect the personal comfort of the complainers in any meaningful way over the objections to the dance these girls performed. True bully behavior.

  • Leah

    I think you are right about this whole thing with the dancers being overblown. In fact, I suspect that the problem here is not so much concern over pedophilia as much as a subtle rascim. The moves the girls used came from urban and hip-hop dancing. Something with roots in the Latin and Afro-American commuity. I suspect those complaining are really offended that these little white girls are being “polluted” with this urban culture. After all “our” dances are artistic and high-brow. While “theirs” are crass and lewd.

    Think about it. Would there have been a 10th as much complaining about the routine if it had been a group of little girls of color? No, of course not.

    As for pediphiles looking at this, well, do we have to view everything from their viewpoint or be concerned about if they enjoy something? If, so no kid will ever where a bathing suit again!

  • angel

    sexuality is a healthy part of nature even a healthy part of children. Let people express themselves.. even young people. also children have a beauty all their own.. something an adult can’t replicate. why stifle other people for their tastes when they tolerate yours? You must have a reason.. jealousy perhaps? maybe because the child has the best of both worlds and you don’t. f u you’re a selfish asshole.