Dance Awareness No Child Exploited
In children’s dance classes around the nation, young children are learning to dance with choreography that hypersexualizes them and their bodies. These children have become covert victims of sexual exploitation in what used to be a safe place – the dance studio. Children’s dance is being distorted and the art form of dance is being hijacked.
As awareness grows, more and more dance educators, parents and concerned citizens are speaking out against this cultural shift toward normalizing the hypersexualization of children in dance.
Girls are becoming increasingly sexualized through dance at younger and younger ages. Studios, dance teachers, and even parents often unknowingly model their movement choices on what they see in the media culture. In many dance classes across the country, children are no longer taught healthy, age-appropriate dance. The ramifications of this are alarming: Recent research shows that most girls – as young as 6-years old – are beginning to think of themselves as sex objects. (Source)
A 2014 study found that children are starting the teenage years four years earlier than they used to. Meaning that girls aged 4 – 10 are engaging with teen culture and exhibiting hyper-sexualized behavior.
(Source: Tiggemann, M. and Slater, A. (2014). Contemporary girlhood: maternal reports on sexualized behavior and appearance concern in 4-10 year-old girls. Elsevier: Body Image, 11(4), pp 396-403.)
Girls’ sexual development is being hijacked. The culture invites them to imitate the porn-style dance moves of their favorite stars. Yet, they do not have the emotional sophistication to understand what they are seeing and doing. (Source)
The effects of the sexualization of girls in dance is widespread:
- Body Dysmorphia
- Eating Disorders
- Poor Academic Performance
- Teen Pregnancy
- Higher Risk of Abusive Relationships
- Higher Risk of Pornography Use
- Unable to Identify Sexual Abuse
- Mismanagement of Social Networking
- Promotes Rape Culture
- Promotes Objectification of Females
- Relationship Wounding due to Constant
(Source: American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. (2007). Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx)
What Can You Do?
There is a solution. First, educate yourself and others. Then, take action and speak out! The following resources have been developed to help you help us share this message. Please educate yourself and those around you and then get involved by talking to dance studios, teachers, and parents. And finally, support dance studios that are committed to teaching healthy, age-appropriate dance to our children.
DA:NCE Mission and Vision
Children deserve to learn and experience the gift of dance in safe environments that do not sexualize them.
Children deserve to love dance, their bodies and themselves.
Children deserve to not be victims of sexual exploitation.
Mission: To bring awareness and education to adults in order to stop the hypersexualization of children in dance
Vision: To promote the art of dance and its benefits to children by creating educational materials that allow for their safety and protection in all dance environments
A. To protect children from hypersexualization in adult costumes, choreography and music, and to protect the art of dance
B. To create free research materials to give adults informed choices about the differences between healthy or harmful dance
C. To engage in respectful conversations about hypersexualization without shaming/demonizing adults or dance studios so that there is a path for reflection and changed perspectives
D. To communicate the hypersexualization of children in dance and its connection to the public health issue of pornography with bipartisan engagement