This morning I became one of the last people on the Internet to watch the video of five young girls dancing to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” at a World of Dance competition. The YouTube video of their performance has sparked outrage among people who think the costumes and choreography were too provocative for nine year olds. Everyone from Inside Edition to Good Morning America is replaying segments of the dance and asking “Won’t someone please think of the children!?”
I’m not fond of the girls’ costumes, which resemble something you’d buy at Trashy Lingerie. Simple leotards would have sufficed. But I am sort of surprised this particular video has caused such a controversy. There are countless videos of little kids dancing to “Single Ladies” out there, and plenty of them involve hip-swiveling and the caressing of non-existent curves. The combination of sexy costumes + adult approval + large audience must be what did it.
Still, I’m far more disturbed by the reactions to the performance than I am by the performance itself. Commenters predict that the dancers will become pregnant very shortly and accuse the girls’ parents of failing to protect their daughters from pedophiles. Many invoke JonBenét Ramsey in their freak-outs. Some are calling for the state of California to press charges. Good grief, people! The performance was risque, but responses like these are indicative of rape culture.
Pedophiles are sexually attracted to children, not little people dressed up like adults. Your child in sneakers and overalls is not less appealing to a pedophile than a child “dressed like a prostitute.” Blaming children’s clothing for child sex abuse may make you feel less vulnerable as a parent but it has no basis in reality.
And the JonBenét thing … I don’t even … Talk about scare-mongering. Authorities don’t even know who killed that girl. But speaking of JonBenét, I have never witnessed such outrage aimed at child beauty pageants, which are 100 times more disturbing than the “Single Ladies” dance. Maybe the folks worrying about pedophiles are just as irrationally worried about predators watching pageant girls, though. I can’t say for sure.