Imagine my surprise when I found out that the Christian Post released an article about an interview that they conducted with me at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Conference(NCOSE) in September. The focus of the article was on pole dancing. But that’s not the main thrust of what I talked to the reporter about.
Actually, I talked to the reporter about the beauty of dance for everyone to enjoy in the culture. Of course, that included engagement in the church as a portal of embodied faith. I also talked about the importance of using dance in healthy ways-especially for children under 12. Once during the interview, the reporter asked me a question about pole dancing and I answered it the best I could. I’m not an expert on this kind of movement. At that time and now, I think of pole dancing as sexual movement that one might see in a bar. However, I’ve never seen ‘pole dancing’ personally. I didn’t define the term when I was asked about it as it wasn’t the main point of the interview. I thought.
So let’s get back to the main focus of the interview. I did say that “many forms of dance are now pushing young children toward adult-oriented themes and choreography.” I also emphasized that parents “need to carefully evaluate the cultural choices that entice young children to be viewed as adults. [And] we need to produce healthy boundaries in dance so that little girls are protected relationally. The reporter was accurate when he wrote that I was “seeking to reclaim and promote the art of dance for Christian worship within the Church, an objective which she believes is her calling. Bawden suggests Christians should use their whole body during worship, as it connects all parts of us as we worship Jesus. Visually, she thinks it imparts a tremendous truth and impact as people see the whole person.”
Today the culture often departs from the intent of God’s creative design for the body and for movement with its focus on objectified sexuality. This is especially hurtful to our youngest societal members.
“The fallout from the countless sexual images seen in ads, on TV screens, posters and billboards, in MTV clips, movies, video games and sitcoms, on clothing and accessories, and on the internet, is real and impacting. This constant stream of hyper-sexualized imagery and sexual expression that boys and girls are subjected to daily lowers their inhibitions, discourages empathy towards others, and reshapes their sexual aspirations and expression often in risky, violent or unhelpful ways.” [Maggie Hamilton, “Groomed to Consume Porn: How Sexualized Marketing Targets Children,” in Big Porn Inc., edited by Melinda Tankard Reist and Abigail Bray, 16-24. North Melbourne, Australia: Spinifex Press, 2011.]
And this trend is getting worse.
“Earlier and earlier exposure to pornography is just one impact of the growing normalization of sexual harm. One study indicated that when the age of first exposure to pornography was under 11 years old, the adolescent developed sexual sensation-seeking behaviors and demonstrated more sexual risk-taking as a young adult, both male and female. [Sinkovic, Matija; Stulhofer, Aleksandar; Bozi, Jasmina. (2012) Revisiting the Association between Pornography Use and Risky Sexual Behaviors: The Role of Early Exposure to Pornography and Sexual Sensation Seeking. Journal of Sex Research. 50(7): 633-641.]
Please share and sign the online petition on my website with your friends, family, and neighbors:
We need to facilitate healthy choices in dance so we can proactively change the inappropriate sexualized culture we live in and make a difference for the future of young children in movement and in life.