Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Teacher, Author

All the Single 8 year old ladies….What?!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this news story. On YouTube, a video was posted of a bunch of little girls dancing to Single Ladies in what looks like lingerie.The moves they do are very provocative, as are their costumes. From my point of view, this is clear sexualization of children. Your providing them with the moves and clothing of much older women in a function that is clearly sexual.

In this video, the parents of one girl are interviewed. They are arguing that there are several reasons why it was okay for their children to participate in this dance. For one, the song Single Ladies has saturated our culture and appears in a popular children’s movie. They even say, “Of course, we’d never let our children watch the real Beyoncé video.” Um…okay. So, it’s not okay for them to watch it, but it is okay for them to do a very similar dance in a similarly scanty costume? Wow. That doesn’t even make sense.

They also say that the costumes are designed to “show the lines of the body,” and aren’t provocative. Listen, these girls are wearing bras, panties, and thigh high hose. That IS provocative! I don’t care if someone who designs costumes thought it was appropriate to put that in a costume catalogue for kids. As parents, we have to use our brains and make decisions based on what message we send to our children. Teaching your young daughter that it’s okay to wear lingerie on stage is not a good beginning!

Listen, these girls are extremely talented dancers. I feel sorry for them. It is the responsibility of the adults in their lives to stand up and make good choices for them. I love dance! But, I tell my kids’ dance teachers that I expect their costumes and dance moves to be age appropriate. If my kids come home from dance practice and start to bump and grind, those teachers will be hearing from me!

Parents, listen up. You are responsible for helping your child make good choices. Don’t let society pressure you into thinking something is okay that you know in your heart is not. Stand up for your kids and teach them that it’s good and appropriate to say “no” to things that make them uncomfortable. There should be no 8-year-old Single Ladies!

5 comments on “All the Single 8 year old ladies….What?!

  1. Trisha
    January 12, 2011

    This is really scary stuff. I even noticed more of the same thing on YouTube and people were saying the dancing was okay but the outfits were a little provocative. I think there is something wrong with little girls when they begin to, as you say “bump and grind” there is something seriously wrong with the whole thing. I don’t understand how parents can sit back and think this is okay!!! I would not expose my 13-year old son to this and certainly would not allow my girls (now grown) to have participated in such a program.

  2. Matt
    June 25, 2010

    Great post, Jennifer. That ought to be one of the big issues for parents of girls: how to convince them that you don’t have to be 21 and attractive to have value.

    • drshew
      June 25, 2010

      Amen, Matt! I hope so much to help parents pass on the message to their girls that they need to find their value in who God made them to be, rather than in their sexuality.

  3. Janice
    June 24, 2010

    My daughters have participated in a city parade every year they have been involved in YMCA Princesses. The fathers help their daughters make a themed float. Last year there was a group “dancing” to “Low” . It is the song about a girl in “Apple Bottom jeans”. It has a very catchy tune. I was deeply disturbed and as their float passed I was trying to process the situation and could not! It made me ill.

    • drshew
      June 24, 2010

      Janice, that’s a perfect example of how we get lulled into complying with standards that just aren’t acceptable. We have to learn to not be afraid to make people uncomfortable by questioning assumptions about what’s appropriate. That’s how we transform and become agents of change in the world around us!

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