It's been a few weeks since the viral video debut of a dance routine featuring girls as young as 8 gyrating to Beyonce's "Single Ladies." The furor has mostly died down, but I find myself still thinking about it—even though I deliberately chose not to watch the video (still on YouTube for curious readers).
The reaction to the video was almost exclusively negative, with bloggers calling out the girls' parents (what were they thinking?) and lamenting the oversexualization of children. One writer said watching the video left him "feeling the need to sit through a 13-hour marathon of The Lawrence Welk Show to cleanse [my] soul."
When confronted by the media storm, the girls' parents defended their daughters' dance, saying it was being "taken completely out of context." The routine was intended for the audience at the World of Dance competition, the parents insisted; "the girls weren't meant to be viewed by millions of people."
But they were. And most people had something to say. A few souls defended the dance (and the girls' parents), saying the real problem was the viewers: "when Babble.com publishes ridiculous commentary like the girls look 'ready for the boom boom room instead of romper room,' they become the ones who suddenly sexualize the video," the Examiner claimed. Were it not for such sexualized commentary, the video "may have otherwise come and gone fairly harmlessly through viewers' Web-surfing rear-view."
Gyrating 8-year-olds in red and black bra tops and hot pants would never slip through my "Web-surfing rear-view," attached commentary or not. And for that, I've found myself thinking, I'm grateful. As comment after comment joined the collective cry of "What were their parents thinking?" I felt, along with Salon's ...1
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