This is something that has been in my thoughts for a while. I feel really uncomfortable when I see the dance moves my cute young niece innocently – and, it has to be said, unstoppably – busts out in front of any willing audience.
Anyway, that’s a bit of a heavy topic, so I’m going to find an unrelated picture to post first:
Ok, it wasn’t entirely unrelated, you got me!
My niece is a real girly girl, a pink ‘n’ pretty kind of girl. She’s lovable, sweet and mischievous. I don’t see her that often so I don’t think about her that often, but now I realise that every time I do see her, she sort of shocks me with something I find…discomfiting, or distasteful, I’m not sure exactly how to phrase it. I just kind of have a moment where I want to take her to one side and say ‘Look, I know you like these dances and singing these songs and acting and playing, and you think it’s fun – But, please, for God’s sake, don’t ever do that stuff when there are strangers around.’
Of course I can’t say that as her parents are her guardians (and are always there whenever I’ve seen this kind of play-acting) and I don’t know what they think about it. It’s not as if I have kids of my own to compare with. Maybe they all do it and I’m just being boringly stuffy about an attitude and way of moving, speaking, behaving that Rihanna would happily demonstrate any day of the week.
Perhaps that’s overstating it a little. She doesn’t come to family gatherings dressed only in hosiery and a smile – she wears actual clothes…It’s the attitude, the ”I’m a sexy bitch, ya ha!” attitude that is evident in the mimicry of a raised eyebrow, a roll of the eyes, a hand on a prepubescent hip, a knowingness without knowing anything. How could she know? She’s just doing what the other girls her age are – watching pop stars strut their stuff and seeking out accomplices to encourage her learning of routines (another close family member, nearer my age, has been schooling her in some of the routines – she thinks it’s funny apparently. I’ve heard this second hand, but I can imagine it’s true).
I never thought of myself as narrow minded or stuffy. It’s true I don’t have much of a respect for the pop industry, since it’s a game of who can wear a) the least amount of clothing on stage or b) Rhianna, are you listening? Who can get away with S&M inspired bondage cossies.
I don’t have much of a respect for it – but I still watch it, I still listen to the music if it’s catchy, and don’t turn the channel over just because someone is raunching it out in front of me. I don’t think about it. What is it to me? I see the girls (it’s usually girls) on stage are just doing a job, hopefully being well paid etc etc.
BUT MY NIECE SHOULDN’T BE MIMICKING THE SEXUALITY THAT’S SOLD IN THESE PERFORMANCES.
Sorry, to shout there – don’t know what came over me.
I wish my niece didn’t dance like a ‘ho, want to get outfits to look like a ‘ho and mimic smouldering expressions.
I’m not afraid for her, exactly, because she’s well guarded by her parents and she’s so innocent in other ways (she mentioned santa claus to me over a family meal recently). She’s innocent, but wants to appear knowing.
Generally, I find it depressing the way the children’s exposure to adult ideas is made so early. I find it depressing that it’s okay for them to count X-Factor and Dirty Dancing among their favourite programs.
I know she’s fine while she’s with adults at home, school, dance class, gymnastics (she does the usual little girl activities). When I see her sometimes, I pray to God that she knows not to do/say some of that adult stuff in the company of anyone outside her protective bubble.
I think of pedophiles, maybe just watching kids in the playground, and my stomach lurches. I wish I had the authority to just warn her that she doesn’t know the half of it, the world isn’t as nice as it should be and to please, please just be safe.