Friday, May 28, 2010

This week's column

Just let them be kids!
Recently I saw a segment on a morning news show about a dance competition in Los Angeles where 8-year-old girls were, for lack of a better expression, bumping and grinding on stage to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It.”
The girls were dressed in outfits similar to what strippers might wear and performing very adult dance moves.
Before I go any further, I should say the girls were very good dancers. But the outfits and style of dance were completely inappropriate for their age and now, thanks in part to that morning show, the video has gone viral and can be seen all over the world via YouTube.
I intentionally did not include a link to the video because I don’t think these girls need to be further exposed.
Why can’t we just let little girls be little girls?
In what warped world do parents think they have to dress their darling daughters in skimpy outfits and let them dance like they belong on a pole to win a dance competition for 8-year-olds?
Eight-year-olds should be playing with Barbies and dressing up for tea parties or playing ball in the yard.
Which leads me to a second question. If the competition is so stiff that shock value is what makes an 8-year-old dance team win, does an 8-year-old belong in that competition?
Have we completely taken away their childhood? When do they get to be kids?
Parents and others defended the outfits saying they were skimpy so they would not restrict body movement and to allow the judges to better see the movements. Seriously?
I’m sorry, but those types of body movements should be restricted for 8-year-olds. If you are a good dancer, and these girls were, an outfit doesn’t restrict movement. I’ve seen good dancers do amazing dance routines dressed in much more.
I appreciated one comment I read on a Web site that was posted by a 17-year-old who has participated in dance competitions for years. She appreciated the dance skills of the girls but said the outfits and movements to the songs were inappropriate.
Her plea: “They aren’t even teenagers, yet. They are 8. Please keep them innocent.”
And that came from a teenager. I agree with her.
Granted, when I was a little girl, I sang and danced along to all my favorite pop songs. I listened to Olivia Newton John on my mom’s record player. (Yes, I said record player.) But my mom didn’t put me on stage in a skimpy outfit or encourage risque dance moves and later post the video on the Internet. The Internet!
Don’t these parents know that now the whole world can see their little darlings?
Now that the video has gone viral, it is open season for viewing by pedophiles, which grosses me out beyond words.
I beg you, please let your little girls be little girls.
As a former childhood educator, I can't even begin to explain how this type of treatment can negatively affect a young girl’s development and body image.
I think we need to see more little girls in pigtails instead of fishnet stockings. I just don’t know why people are in such a rush for these little ones to grow up so fast and introduce them to such promiscuous ideas so early in their lives.
Treasure these young girls while you can, and protect them.
That’s just my two cents' worth.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This week's Column: Enough, Jonathan Sullivan!

Did you ever notice that the simple utterance of a phrase can make you feel old? While some are words that are intended to show respect, you just don’t want to admit you are at an age that necessitates that respect.
For example, a high school kid at my church in the youth group, Jonathan Sullivan, insists on calling me Ms. Owsley. It makes me want to turn around and see if my mom is behind me. Ms Owsley? When did I become Ms. Owsley?
The first few times he did it I let it pass, understanding his mom probably told him to show respect to adults around him.
After a while I finally told him he could just call me Becca. That is the point when his attempt for respect turned into annoyance. I noticed he would say Ms. Owsley and grin because he knew it bugged me.
He knew it pushed my buttons and, like any teenager, he used the formal utterance of my name as a way to bug me.
It is strange how things like that can bug you. Like when you get ma'ammed. You like it when young people show respect towards someone, but when they say it to you somehow it’s weird. You think “whoa, am I old enough to be called ma’am?”
I want people to call my mom and grandmothers ma’am, but me? I guess I have to come to terms when the fact that I am now a ma’am. When did it happen? Was it when I turned 30 or 35? When?
It’s amazing the things that make us feel old.
Back pain when you’re younger usually means you did something active to injure it. You can at least pinpoint what you did to hurt it. As you get older, you can wake up with back pain and may have no real reason for it. You just got out of bed that way. As I write this, I have a heating pad in my chair to ease my current random back pain.
Everything pops and cracks these days.
And what’s with the music. Why is it suddenly I can’t understand a word they are saying in music today. Sometimes I’m not even sure they are using actual words in their songs.
And when did they start playing '80s music on the oldies stations? Seriously? I don’t think Sting, M.J. and Cyndi Lauper can really be classified as oldies just yet. I hope not at least.
But back to Jonathan and his habit of calling me Ms. Owsley. I asked him what I could do to get him to stop calling me Ms. Owsley. He said if I wrote a column about how it bugged me he would stop.
So here ya go Jonathan, no more Ms. Owsley. It will be one less thing that makes me feel like I’m getting older.