Seriously, stop slut shaming.

This morning one of my best friends sent me a screenshot of a conversation taking place on Facebook about how dance and dance costumes were inappropriate for young girls after they had all seen a video from a dance competition. The oh-so-intelligent commentators were blaming dance for the rise of teen pregnancy and saying the dance teacher must have been a stripper at one point in her life. Basically what they were doing was slut shaming 9-year-old girls and the dance teacher.

I don’t even have to watch the video to know that if it was over the top or inappropriate the competition would have disqualified them, stopped them from performing such a routine. There are rules and as dancers we follow them.

These days we are so quick to judge a girl by what is she wearing or how she dances or how much she cusses or whether or not she has piercings and tattoos that we forget about the people underneath all of that. So what if I want to go outside wearing a dress I can barely sit down in? How does it affect your life if my child wears a crop top and skirt as a dance costume? It’s ridiculous that we are teaching our daughters, friends, co-workers, family that the problem is not society and but their bodies are what needs to be fixed or covered. The way any girl dresses should not be to blame for the inappropriate comments she received or if she is sexually harassed or raped. Here’s a lovely comment from one of these darling people:

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This mom is telling her daughter that if she dresses in a certain way she’s “asking for it.” Why can’t we focus on teaching girls to be themselves and teach boys how to be more respectful. Although, I think guys in general get a bad reputation because they aren’t all the pigs we portray them to be.

I danced for almost 17 years. No one I danced with got pregnant at a young age.

It was my life on weeknights after school and even on the weekends. I had no social life outside of that dance studio, and while at times I resented that it was the best thing my mom could have ever done for me. Dancing gave me confidence, kept me in the best physical shape of my life and gave me a group of friends who I love more than any of you could understand. It taught me teamwork and how we all have to lift each other up to be better in the end.

Not only did I feel better about myself, but my teachers were like second moms. When I was at home my mom kept me in line, when I was at dance you better believe Miss Tiffany or Jana were right there making sure I didn’t screw up. They expected more from me and in turn I expected more from myself.

Young girls today are raised thinking they have to compete with other girls, even their friends, to succeed in life and get what they want. They are raised thinking their bodies are never perfect and that if they want to show them off they will be hurt or punished for it.

Shame on all of you.

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