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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

watch it: “Little Girls Goin Hard on Single Ladies”

Ugh:


I feel like I saw this in Little Miss Sunshine, except there it was a parody. Or was it Sparkle Motion in Donnie Darko?

Rachel Simmons at Jezebel echoes my feelings about this:

Thrusting your pelvis, crouching seductively and shaking your butt like a stripper are inherently sexual acts. And if their bodies didn’t make the point, the clothing surely did. This wasn’t just dancing – it was erotic dancing.

When it comes to growing up, sexuality is a sacred part of the developing self. While almost all of us experiment sexually, should seven year old girls’ first experiences be quite so explicit and public? It’s one thing to try on your mom’s heels, and it’s quite another to do it for an audience. As a You Tube commenter wrote in the girls’ defense, the kids don’t even know what they’re doing. Exactly – that’s the point and my concern.

Let me be clear: the sexual part isn’t the problem – girls are sexual creatures from the get-go. The problem is that these girls are adopting an expression of sexuality that isn’t really theirs. It’s not discovered or sought out in response to internal desire or curiosity.

Moreover, the dancing introduces girls to an experience of sexuality that is being defined for them by a media conglomerate. It’s a product sold by the constellation of financial interests that stand behind Beyonce. These are hardly people invested in the safe and healthy development of girls’ sexuality. And the girls are a ways off, cognitively and developmentally speaking, from being able to look critically at the media they’re mimicking.

So I’m thinking about these very talented girls, and what it was like to get up on that stage and do that routine. The roar of crowd approval (and the resulting You Tube frenzy) was no doubt a thrilling rush. Was it only about the dancing? If those girls had done a rip-roaring Balanchine suite, would it be viral You Tube material? The attention teaches them a destructive lesson: be sexy and be valued. All at the age when, speaking to GMA, they have lingering baby talk in their voices.

(There’s much more, and I recommend it strongly.)

Oh, and also: The lyrics to that idiotic song make my blood boil.



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