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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I wasn't sure where to post this topic...mods feel free to place it wherever it should live!

My DD is 8. We have both performed with our local dance school in years past. I have been very kindly invited to perform this year by one of the choreographers. (My LO will be performing in other numbers and really wants me to be in the show too!) The song the choreographer has chosen for this number I'd be in is Ariana Grande's 'Focus'. I personally find this song too sexually suggestive (the breathy singing, the overall tone, the guy in the background grunting "FUH! FUH!") to be appropriate for performance at a family event. But, it was approved by the school staff.

We live in the Caribbean, so culturally people are extremely conservative M-F 9-5 with a church on every street corner, but then we have carnival parades, where the streets are filled with folks dressed in thongs and pushup bras, partying and dancing in the streets to explicit soca lyrics celebrating the baccanal! I am a creative person and like to think of myself as an accepting person, but I was brought up by extremely conservative parents and I find those old judgements arising in my mind when I decide whether to bring my child to see sexually oriented entertainment, even if culturally traditional.

I love our dance school because they teach traditional cultural dances as well as modern styles but are never what I would consider overly or inappropriately sexual - they are not vamping on the latest popstar moves.

Media in our house is limited to G rated movies for kids and documentaries. Even so, my LO loves to pose like a pop star in the mirror. She is very girly.

So I am waging an inner battle about how much to expose my daughter to, and when, and what example to set, and how to parse the power of feminist owning-your-sexuality-and-flaunting-it vs. respecting yourself, vs. modesty as a means of respecting other cultures, vs. being proud of the culture you live in.... AAAAGGHHH! I grew up in the 80s, when pop culture was relatively innocent and the more overt sexual references were hidden in lyrics and went right over my head...

I don't really know what I think, so not sure how to proceed with my decision to perform to this highly annoying song, and what example to set for my LO when it comes to access to these 'grownup' images and ideas. Pop culture attack!! Help! :shy
 

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I don't think you're wrong, but I don't know what you can do.

A lot of parents will expose their kids to things I can't imagine. There were young toddlers at the VERY dark batman v superman movie. From 4 or 5 different families, at least. It made me very uncomfortable. We're also sexualizing our kids too young.

But I don't know what you can do. Could you ask to do a different song? You shouldn't have to do a song you aren't comfortable with.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I guess I am just not sure where I want to draw the line of "appropriate" for my kid, or how to make choices that are fair for both of us when it comes to sexualized content/clothing/culture/choices, and this dance thing is a springboard to that line of thinking.

I have a hard time explaining WHY I think some pop culture products are "too sexy" - or inappropriate - I know what I am and am not comfortable with - but I think I draw the line a good bit tighter than most moms of kids her age - I'm probably ten years older than most of my mom peers in my community.

I've had cognitive dissonance over Barbie and other fashion dolls, and other cultural girly stuff that I think is too sexualized. I keep it out of the house, but then someone will gift it to her... I'm worried my DD will overcompensate later, like a kid who never eats sugar and then binges on it away from home.

How do you explain (or do you) to your 8yo why a music video is inappropriate? Do you deconstruct it?

I guess I am looking for resources or dialog to help me sort out how I feel about sexualized imagery and the female form, and how to present a cogent argument to help my DD make good choices, and to defend my choices to others (the choreographer)... or must I justify myself? I don't like to come off as a prude, since I don't think of myself that way. But I'm afraid that I am prudish, because of my upbringing, and that might be robbing my kid of some freedom to express her femininity or sexual identity.

So... to Ariana Grande or not!!? :duh:bellydance:broc:puke LOL. Maybe I need to visit a Beyonce forum... or just dance in a broccoli costume.
 

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When I face things that I struggle with and make me uncomfortable as a parent- I try to sit with it and figure out why it makes me uncomfortable. Is it because of an idea I was raised in but no longer agree with, is it fear others will judge me, did I read some expert say I should feel this way, or is does my gut say it's not okay?

For the sexualization of young kids and introducing them to adult themes, my gut says it's not okay.

There's such a thing as "age appropriate", and it's there for a reason. I think that we can introduce the concept of sex to toddlers- but there's a difference between an age appropriate explanation and showing a 4 year old porn.

I haven't had to face how to explain it to kids yet, so I can't really give any advice. I'm sure books upon books have been written on it. It's not an easy conversation, I guess consider what your kid is ready to hear and present it as lovingly and firmly as you can.
 

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We're talking about some of this at some training I'm at for work now. Is its okay to dress sexy if you choose but people objectifying you is wrong.

What strikes me is this isn't how you want to be portrayed. You shouldn't stand up for "women wanting to dress sexy," but you should stand up for "women's wanting to dress in a way that makes them feel good." I don't think you have to be wildly detailed about it- if you feel it doesn't 'speak' to you, there are plenty of other pop songs that would. And you don't have to demonize the song, or thongs, or whatever else in the process, when you approach it that way. You can complement other dancers who may have a sexy song, if you like it, but the biggest positive influence might be just saying you like music that emphasizes other things.
 

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Eh, one the one hand, I think the sexualization of children is a horrid thing. So as a parent, I'd find a way to bow out and have my kid bow out, too.

On the other hand, kids often don't "get it" until they are a little older. I took my kids to Renaissance festivals up and down the east coast and there are a ton of bawdy songs they were exposed to. It was just part of the atmosphere. But it wasn't till my daughter was ten and my son even closer to twelve that they "got it" and exclaimed something along the lines of "they put THAT in a song?"

Good luck in your choice.
 

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So I am waging an inner battle about how much to expose my daughter to, and when, and what example to set, and how to parse the power of feminist owning-your-sexuality-and-flaunting-it vs. respecting yourself, vs. modesty as a means of respecting other cultures, ... :shy
In full agreement with your sentiments.. though I would go a bit further to say: I believe that true feminism is about owning one's own sexuality, and respecting oneself. To me "flaunting it" contradicts true understanding of feminism. When women or girls "flaunt" their sexuality in an overtly sexualized fashion, it often demonstrates a lack of security and lack of confidence in oneself, rather than lots of it. And it can also attracts the attention of a certain type of man, who is less interested in a woman as a complete person. That is something I find worth talking to my daughter and son about, and pointing it out when I see it, so that they can learn from it.

Good luck!
 
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