Archive for May, 2010

Dancing Lolitas; It’s Not Their Fault

Yang Mommy
I’d like to know why we, as a culture, continue to sexualize young children? Then we have the nerve to turn around and complain that they’re “growing up too fast.”

Case in point, the recent dance contest video that went viral, featuring an amazing team dancing to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” number one pop chart hit. If you haven’t seen it by now, or at least heard of it, then stop reading now and check it out, first. Be warned, adult discretion should be advised.

The dancers in this video are 6 & 7 years of age.  To be sure, these particular girls are excellent dancers and some of them probably have a career ahead of them in dancing if they keep up with their training. But why oh why do we continue to see young children, especially girls, in dance competitions, perform raunchy and risqué adult-centric moves and wearing miniature couture outfits a la Victoria’s Secret? Don’t even get me started on some of the so-called beauty pageant contests. How about a brainy contest instead? Or a philanthropist contest for kids?

Back to this video. Let’s get real–the parents, the choreographers, the judges and the dancing community should not be pushing young children to dress like that nor mimic what adult performers do in their videos. I  mean, the parents paid good money to some dance teachers and this is what they came up with? And that’s OK??

And I don’t care if the Chippettes in the latest Alvin movie (whom these girls’ moms apparently got the dance routine from, not the actual video, according to some sources) wore even less than these young girls. I’m not condoning by any means what Hollywood puts forth, but at least the Chippettes are animated characters, not real people.

We as parents make daily–hourly–choices for our children. Encouraging them to dance like that, and allowing them to wear those outfits, is just too grown up. Leave the adult threads and routines to the adults and let the kids be kids. These girls are terrific enough dancers not to need to bare so much skin or perform Lolita hip grinds.

YIN

I first saw the video Yang Mommy is referring to on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.  When they showed the clip I stared at the screen in shock.  Then I started thinking “Shop showing this! Stop showing this!” as I continued to be unable to take my eyes off the spectacle unfolding on the screen.  I couldn’t believe that 5 or more adults had taught these girls moves they shouldn’t have a clue about and had dressed them in outfits I would be ashamed to wear and put makeup on their 7 year old faces.  Then I was even more mortified to realize that not only had someone videotaped it and put it on You Tube for the world to see, but that the audience was excitedly clapping for these girls. 

Yes, the girls are extremely talented and put a lot of hard work into their routine. But why were they dressed like strippers?  Couldn’t they have worn leotards to perform?  Why were those sexual movies, including hip thrusting and booty shaking, included in the routine?  By the audience applauding wildly for the sexual moves and dress, they were teaching these children that being sexual is what gets you attention and is the only way to get people to appreciate their talents. 

In addition, by posting the video on You Tube, not only were they exploiting the girls in the routine but they were also posting an open invitation for any sexual pervert or deviant in the world to view these 7 year olds in the privacy of their own homes.  How convenient for them. 

I’m sure some reading this will think ‘you shouldn’t judge other parents’ – I sorry, I have to disagree.  Yes there are instances we need to judge other parents.  Would you say don’t judge if a parent were abusing their child?  Would you say don’t judge if a parent were neglecting their child?  Adults have a responsibility to stand up for all children and say ‘I’m sorry but that’s just not right’. 

I am truly scared for our daughters if the video of those girls is considered socially acceptable.

Playground Etiquette?

Yang Mommy

I’m actually laughing at myself as I write this; I mean really, is there such a thing as “playground etiquette?” Sure there are rules, like don’t run in front of the swings, but etiquette? I’m not sure.

See, here’s the thing. The other day we were at the playground. It was a gloriously sunny day and the place was busy, but not packed. I was helping my little girl navigate the stairs up to the slide and there were several older kids around us. I’d say they were about 7 yrs old or so.  Anyway, we were next in queue when one of these other kids moved in front of us. Her mom, who was down below and in full sight of what was going on, said, “Wait your turn.” But the child ignored her mom and proceeded to move past us and went down the slide along with her 2 friends/siblings.

For once, I was at a lost for words. I was amazed, actually. I think the mom did the right thing by saying something, but still, her child didn’t listen and cut in front of us. I suppose it’s one thing for a kid to cut in front of a younger child, but an adult too? And once the kids got down, their mom didn’t say  boo about what they’d done (and yes readers, she saw).

So what should I have done? Should I have reinforced their mom’s call and said “Yes, please wait your turn?” Should I have stepped up and pushed them aside so my tot could go? Should I have said, “You may go ahead of us this one time but next time, wait your turn?” Should I have said anything to the mother, or have thrown her “the look?”

Because this was the first time this has happened to us, I did nothing. Again, I was rather amazed. Perhaps it’s because this is my first child and I’m learning the playground ropes myself. But I’m curious, dear readers, what have you encountered on the playground and how have you handled it?

My Mother’s Day Wish

Yang Mommy

For centuries,various civilizations have celebrated mothers.  The  Greeks honored Rhea, mother of the gods, and  Christians began to honor Mary, mother of Christ, on the fourth Sunday of Lent. But it wasn’t until 1872 when Julia Ward Howe organized a specific day for all mothers, dedicated to peace. Then in 1907, Anna M. Jarvis, a schoolteacher in Philadelphia, began a movement for a national Mother’s Day. She petitioned local and state legislatures and by 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May to be (America’s) Mother’s  Day.

Hooray!

Today, Mother’s  Day has come a long way from a day of praise and peace. It’s now one of the most popular holidays in America, with sales of flowers skyrocketing and phone lines jammed with calls to Mom. And this being my third Mother’s Day being a mom, I’d like to take full advantage of all the commercialization!

For starters, I’d love a pair of diamond earrings. The carats need to be larger than a mere fleck of carbon. Then I’d like a luxury cruise in the Mediterranean. And before I go, I’d like a day of pampering with the girls at a spa. 

Wait, who am I kidding! Yes, I’d love all of that, who wouldn’t. But let’s be realistic, shall we?

I’d like a morning to sleep in,  followed by breakfast in bed and being able to watch my favorite shows whilst roaming the web.  Take a long hot bath, eat foods rich in fat and calories, and sip a nice chard as I reflect on my own motherhood and all the moms in my family. No cooking for me, no cleaning for me, no PBS Sprouts or Dr Seuss for me.  No laundry, no yard work, no picking up after menfolk. (That includes no answering of questions if “someone” doesn’t know  how to do all the above, too!)

Am I still dreaming? Maybe, but at least this dream is somewhat more achievable.  Besides, what I really want to do is to spend the day with my crazy family, especially with my little girl. Because she’s the best gift of all.

Just let someone else feed her, change her and hold her hand in the potty on Mother’s Day 🙂

YIN

I am not a big fan of Mother’s Day.  I really never have been.  Only because I wondered, even as a child, why only one day should be set aside for mom.  Not that I treated my mom extra special on the other days, but I didn’t really get it. 

Now I’m a mom and I still am not a big fan of Mother’s Day. But I now get it.  Mother’s Day is a necessity because a majority of moms don’t really get a moment to themselves on a regular basis.  Sure there are times when I can break into a book or enjoy a television show uninterrupted.  But it’s not very often.  Clothes need to be washed, dinner cooked, work done, diapers changed, sippy cups for the next day filled – it’s all on my list.  My husband is a wonderful help but still I think it’s more in the mom’s nature to think of the little things that, if there’s a spare moment, need to be completed. 

The Boston Globe had an article this week about obtaining a work-life balance.  Well it was actually about not obtaining a work-life balance and how although we often strive for it, very few of us actually get there.  My favorite quote in the article was “Who has time for inner peace?”  That made me laugh.  In a demented, maniacal way.  Because in my life that’s true.  How in the world would I have time to actually relax?  And by relax I mean really, really relax where I feel like I don’t have a care in the world and I’ve just won the lottery and am getting a live in maid. 

Maybe that day will come tomorrow which will be my second official Mother’s Day.  I will be giving my daughter and husband a big kiss, making myself a goat cheese-zucchini frittata (yes I’ll make it myself because my husband doesn’t know how to make breakfast and I want one really badly), going into my room and reading the entire New York Times that my husband is picking up for me in the morning and closing the door.  Alone.  In my room.  Sigh.  I feel the relaxation coming on already.