Dirty Dancing at Eisteddfods Dance Contest: Premature Sexualization of Children

Eisteddfods Dance ContestTeachers are being accused of creating raunchy, inappropriate dance routines involving girls as young as seven, in a bid to beat rival schools at the Queensland Eisteddfod Contest, with the blame for prematurely sexualizing girls being placed on “fierce competition between schools”. Marie Schrader, president of the Sunshine Coast Dance Eisteddfodd says, “No one wants to see an eight-year-old come out in a teeny weeny bikini, but it’s become a copy-cat situation between schools, and teachers are trying to outdo each other to win.”

Ms. Schrader went on to say, “They purposely dress the girls in ill-fitting leotards that are creeping up at the back, and then they put them in opening positions on chairs, sitting with their legs apart, facing the audience. Some of the lyrics in the music are also distasteful. One group was dancing provocatively to a song about having a man’s baby. I was appalled.”

What I found equally disturbing was that Les Killion, president of the Rockhampton Eisteddfod Association, says “the youngsters had become easy pickings for pedophiles.” Duh! It seems Mr. Killion doesn’t see any end in sight to the problem by going on to say, “Unfortunately we can’t put any rules in place to prevent it happening in the future”.

What a cop-out! Hey, Mr. Killion? How about establishing and enforcing some rules against child contestants wearing inappropriate, sexy outfits for dance routines, along with rules about the music and song lyrics included in these provocative dances? Perhaps, get a backbone?!

Even Anne Hellen, secretary of Brisbane Eisteddfod Association, gave a pretty lame response to the situation by saying, “Unfortunately, we can’t stop this. All we can do is express our discontent or disappointment, and that doesn’t seem to make much difference with the teachers. They just want to make an impression to win a contest.”

Considering the increased need for greater awareness of the dangers of pedophiles, for teachers to be party to this kind of behavior is appalling and disgusting. Aren’t children under enough pressure from unscrupulous commercial exploitation without being prematurely sexualized in pursuit of passing competitive success? I guess they haven’t gotten around to reading my article, So Sexy So Soon: The Sexualization of Childhood in Commercial Culture, in order to consider the damage being done by sexualizing children, and the role they are playing in it.

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10 Responses to “Dirty Dancing at Eisteddfods Dance Contest: Premature Sexualization of Children”

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  1. Alison says:

    This is such a real issue, and has been for some time. Thanks for bringing it up.
    I think the culture of dance eisteddfods is becoming increasingly damaging for children and young people. Instead of promoting creativity and self confidence, many competitions promote “grown up” and inappropriate tactics in an attempt to win first place. The focus certainly isn’t on children being children, and their safety and well being is being compromised more and more by a misguided concept of winning.
    I used to compete in lots of eisteddfods and it didn’t take much for a new fad to take hold. All it takes is one ‘different’ entry winning first place and pretty soon ‘different’ is all the rage.
    It amazes me that parents and teachers haven’t taken a stand before now. I hope that someone will have the sense to start a new trend soon, and that the people in positions of power have the guts to support it.

  2. Patrick says:

    I would agree that marketing and commercialization has pushed sexuality on a younger and younger crowd these days. I agree it is a disturbing trend, but I don’t see how to fight against it necessarily. For example, my niece is 4 years old and is already passionate about dance, and is heavily involved in it. How can you balance a fine art like dance without associating it with some of the sensuality and passion that inevitably comes along with it?

  3. Lin says:

    Allison, you make a very good point. Dance classes can be an excellent way of building self-esteem in children, but too often those in charge are more interested in winning a trophy than thinking about the effect raunchy or “dirty dancing” has on children.

    Young children have no business dancing to songs that depict or even suggest sexual activity in some way, and certainly should not be dancing in a seductive, inappropriate, “grown up” manner.

  4. Lin says:

    Patrick, not everyone has your niece’s best interests at heart, or anyone else’s children for that matter. Those involved with the Eisteddfod situation seem to want to just point the finger and shrug their shoulders rather than standing up and making a grown up decision to not allow dance routines and competitions to sexualize children.

    The news story linked to at the outset of this post said that presently “there are no rules” about what children can wear or how they can dance.

    There should be rules, clearly stated to avoid confusion and problems, and those rules should include very strong penalties for anyone who attempts to break the rules, including parents and teachers who are having these young girls perform this way.

    Hefty fines for rule breakers. Kicked out of the dance competition entirely, and the person in charge of the event being held accountable for not putting a stop to it before the kids get on the dance floor. It’s called having a backbone and saying No! to sexualizing children, and having the children’s wellbeing in mind over and above winning a trophy.

  5. Bong (JB) says:

    Hi!

    What are the parents doing about it? Heaven forbid that one of ours will come out in a tight leotard gyrating sensuously to music about getting pregnant.

    Our kids are still our responsibilities and we can always say no. Especially to didiots (as Zork calls the stupid specimens of our species) who are supposed to help mold our kids to be happy and productive adults.

    Thanks. 🙂

  6. Lin says:

    JB, the question about what parents are doing is a very good one, and unfortunately too many parents don’t think beyond putting their kids into dance classes in order to build self confidence.

    Saying No and meaning it also appears to be something many parents can’t seem to fathom, whether it be about dance contests and recitals, or clothing styles in general.

    I wonder sometimes about parents who think this sort of thing is “cute” and “adorable” for their young girls to be prancing around and gyrating their hips to inappropriate music and lyrics. All for the sake of winning a trophy to gather dust on a shelf. Now that’s what I call stupid.

  7. adrianroman says:

    I totally agree with Lin. We should ask the children to do that just because we want them to win a trophy. We should try to be more rational!!!

    Being parent of the children, I cant really bear this!

  8. Lin says:

    Adrian, it’s ridiculous the number of emails I’ve received from people that have read this post and simply say they think I’m an idiot. I pity them and their children, ’cause they are the ones being fooled by this sort of thing, not me.

  9. It’s pretty sad how much these little kids learn about sexuality through music & dancing at such a young age. And the lyrics and themes of music are only going to get worse. I see these kids in junior high & middle school dances doing things I never would have done & still wouldn’t do to this day. I worry a little about my kids. My oldest is 4 & youngest is 9 months. What are they going to be introduced to? and at what age?

  10. Lin says:

    Sacramento, the lyrics and themes of music these days is truly scary. I’ve heard a great deal of talk about various well-known artists that kids listen to, and it’s appalling the message in these lyrics. Of course, violence and sexually explicit lyrics have been going on for quite a number of years now, but it really appears as it’s only getting worse.

    TV shows are getting worse too. My husband and I hardly watch television anymore cause there just isn’t much of anything worth watching anymore, and I certainly wouldn’t want my children watching the current shows so many find “popular” with high ratings etc.