What is and what is not appropriate regarding teen dance styles has been an issue as long as there have been teens and dancing – that’s why some societies forbid dancing with the opposite sex. What has changed, at least to a certain extent, is the overt reproduction of various sex acts that have come to dominate dancing styles shown on television as being the “normal” way to dance.
Look at the Super Bowl: completely apart from the breastification, performers and backup dancers alike were grinding, thrusting, writhing and clutching in a manner shocking to all good Baptists. It is the very commonplace nature of this kind of overt sexuality in the broadcast media – TV in particular – that has caused such a groundswell against the overall tone of what is broadcast, not the particular act of Janet Jackson.
Administrators at Bend (Oregon) High School decided it was time for someone to put their foot down, and they were just that foot:
- When students kept dancing close enough for their hips to kiss at Bend High School’s Sadie Hawkins dance Saturday night, fed-up school administrators shut the dance down.
It was about 10 p.m. The room was dark, the music pounding. And some of the students were dancing dirty.
“Quite honestly it’s like having sex with your clothes on,” said Mary McDermott, a teacher and the school’s activities director, describing the style of dancing.
The school ended the dance an hour early after giving what they believe was fair warning to the hundreds of students Saturday night. The signs on the doors said it plainly: No freak dancing and no grinding. School officials reminded students about the rules in an announcement during the dance.
….At some point you have to take a stand and send a message to the kids and say this is not OK,” said Marshall Jackson, an assistant principal.
In the last several years, he said, Jackson has seen dancing go “over the edge” in its sexual nature — whether students intend it to be that way or not. Some parents who have glimpsed the behavior have told the school they are shocked, school officials say.
….At the dance itself, Jackson announced that inappropriate dancing wouldn’t be tolerated, people doing it would be asked to leave and that the dance would be shut down if the inappropriate dancing continued.
By the end of the night but before the dance was shut down, about 10 to 15 couples had been asked to leave, Jackson said.
“There were some people who were really gross, really nasty, who they should have kicked out, and they did,” said Christina Case, 17, a junior. “You couldn’t put a toothpick between them.”
….McDermott, the activities director, who has been at Bend High for 19 years, said she’s seen dancing change in the last four to five years. MTV and certain movies have set the tone, and students believe the things they see are acceptable to imitate, she said.
….McDermott agreed that students might be getting mixed messages. But when it comes to inappropriate dancing, it doesn’t matter what students are wearing.
“When they are purposely rubbing their body parts together, that’s where we have to draw the line,” she said. “Because it’s not acceptable.” [Bend Bulletin]
I don’t have any problem with the administration setting standards of what is and is not acceptable at a school dance, and it sounds like they gave plenty of fair warning. It sounds like they were kicking people out all night and just got fed up. I think the cause would have been even better served had they just kept kicking offenders out until the end of the dance: that way those complying would not have been penalized and no one could have been reasonably accused of overreacting. But hindsight is 20/20.