Several female dancers wear black and red lingerie-style bikinis with extremely short skirts and black dance shoes with knee socks (with red lace at the top). They are white-skinned with glossy hair, and their bodies are slim. They dance to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” Many of the moves are quite sexually suggestive – gyrating, hip shaking, groin-thrusting, straight-leg bends, faux-self-stroking and shimmies. These are difficult moves, and they exercise them with talent and verve.
I’m not sure why this particular video has stirred a controversy. After all, it was fourteen years ago that six-year-old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey died with the DNA of an unknown man on her underwear – a man who has never been identified, and is believed by police to be her killer. How did Ramsey’s death fail to convince everyone that putting pre-pubescent children on display as sex objects is a bad idea?
And please: I’m not blaming anyone specific. The parents seem to think this is required for dance competitions, so maybe the people behind dance competitions have some responsibility too, or maybe it’s just what I should expect from a culture that teaches young women blow jobs and boob jobs are empowering. Blame doesn’t interest me. I just want to know what I could say that would help people understand: this performance is a reverberating wink-nudge from our allegedly civilized society to all the predators that hide in plain sight within it. Go right ahead, we’re telling them. Just make sure you don’t hurt anyone important, and take care no one finds out, so we won’t have to deal with it.
And what about the rest of us, who aren’t predators? Tell me when you watch the linked video, honestly: don’t you feel like you’re watching women? Women’s slim thighs, women’s hidden breasts, women’s buttocks? After all, women with curves have been out of style for forty years – little girl bodies have long been the ideal for all of us (which may be a whole other topic). If you’re attracted to women, doesn’t this video give you a creepy little hormonal twitch, probably followed by irrational guilt? Sometimes in reviewing media for Hathor, I try to imagine seeing women through white male eyes – it’s so easy, since I grew up in a culture that taught me to look at my own body to see if I had what men wanted or not. I watch this video, and I see what men want. My brain tells me I’m looking at little girls: my eyes tell me I’m looking at grown women.
Isn’t this society confused enough about consensual sex between adults? Must we really drag girls into the muck, too? And if it’ such an okay idea for girls, where are the little eight-year-old Chippendales? Wouldn’t that be cute?
No, people: it would be disturbing. I’m only suggesting it because, like I said, I’m trying to figure out what I could say that would make the people who find this cute shudder and change their minds. This is all disturbing.