TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK…

This little girl is 7 years old. Her performance is followed by a 5-year-old boy.

I didn’t know what to think about this.  On the one hand, her dancing ability is quite amazing.  Would I want my daughter, at 7 or even 17 dancing like this in public?   I think not.  But it brought to mind an argument PD and I had early on in our relationship.  One that has never been completely settled between us.  It had to do with nudity depicted as art.  He saw no difference between a centerfold in a men’s magazine and Master’s painting of a nude woman reclining on a brocade settee.

I’m going to leave this open for discussion.  How do you differentiate between what is art and what is not – whether it be the Art of Dance or Painting or Photography or Literature or Music or something else?

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15 responses to “TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK…

  1. I’m with you on this one, Linda, as far as objecting to the little girl’s dancing. I personally don’t believe a 7-year-old girl (or boy) should even listen to a song like that, much less dance this way to it.

    This reminds me of the time I saw a Karaoke stage at a Relay for Life event. Girls who couldn’t have been older than 8 or 9 were singing Britney Spears’ “Hit me Baby One More Time” and “Oops, I Did it Again.” Besides grating on my nerves, it made me feel there was just something wrong about it.

    But, it didn’t stop me from doing my own rendition of “Little Red Corvette” and “Jack and Diane.” I was sweating when I realized they were playing me the extended album version of LRC, but luckily they faded it before the “Girl, you’ve got an ass like I’ve never seen,” part. Because, I was on stage and it was Prince, and I would have belted that part out just as loudly, much to the chagrin of the church youth group leaders in attendance.

    Dishwalla recorded a wonderful song several years ago called “Little Babies,” and a recurring line in it is “Why the need to eroticize our children?”

    We’re exposing young children to too much sex and too much violence.

  2. Ok first, while her dancing ability is great she is too young to be dancing like that or to that for that matter. I recently had a row with my 11 year old over that particular song. She just liked the beat and she had no idea what they were talking about. She probably would have had she actually listened but she hadn’t.

    As for nudes. I was running a photography portal and I had a standard that I called tasteful nudes. It was dependent on upon what I perceived as the artists intent. Was the work showing the grace and beauty of the human form or was it trying to elicit an erotic response? There was a fine line I was walking there for awhile but in the end I had definite ideas on what was pornographic and what was artistic. Most of the stuff in mens magazines I would label as pornographic because the main intent is to elicit an erotic response from the viewer whereas most paintings I have ever seen have been more to show off the human form in a less crude way.

    Thats not to say that I Haven’t seen paintings that I would label as pornographic cause they are out there and I don’t want to see them.

    I could go on and on and even go so far as to get biblical but then even my tasteful nudes take a hit so I will stop here! 🙂

  3. I muted the song so I have no idea what that song was she was dancing to but her dancing was disturbing. But the boy’s dancing was actually very cool. Double standard? Possibly. Of course he wasn’t shaking his nonexistant boobs so… His was much more about athleticism.

    With regards to pornography I’m inclined to agree with Jeff A. Intent. They don’t call it “the money shot” for nothing. Yet I’ve never seen a painting with a girl’s hand anywhere near her money shot.

  4. I can just imagine the search strings I’ll get this week…

    Mark,
    I remember way back when, a time when Britney and Christina first hit the stage and screen and little girls were emulating them. Mommies bought their little girls the make-up and clothes and little skirts and boots so their little girls could “be like” their rock star heroines. Very quickly the repercussions of that started a stir. And in the wink of an eye it seems, the two of them (B & C) were behaving and appearing in ways that any decent parent would be terrified to have their daughters imitate. I remember thinking- Duh, don’t tell me you didn’t see that coming! When are parents going to take control of what their kids are exposed to? Right now Alvin Poussaint and Bill Cosby are publicizing their book addressing this very issue, among others. I think the problem (lack of parental control) has gotten so far out of hand that no one knows how to fix it so they cave and look the other way. No wonder our 14-year-old girls are wanting to have babies so that someone will love them.
    As much a music lover as I am, I have to admit there are tons of objectionable song lyrics that are speaking volumes to our kids. And a lot of parents who are clueless to what their kids are listening to. It can’t be all ignorance, I think there is a good deal of selfishness on the part of parents, sometimes too wrapped up in their own lives and careers to take the time to monitor what their kids are being exposed to.
    I will check out the Dishwalla song, thanks.
    ******************************************
    Jeff, when I first started watching this vid, my immediate reaction was, Wow, that kid can really dance. That faded to Where did that kid learn to dance like that?…. which then turned into What kind of a parent would let their kid dance like that in public? Then I thought, either someone taught her or she learned by watching other girls. The more I thought about it, the more upset I got and I decided to bring it here for discussion with friends, intelligent friends who are also parents.
    I’m very glad you addressed the photographic aspect. We all know and agree that the conception of art is in the eye of the beholder. Which never used to be a big deal. But today, when something like one out of every so many people is a pedophile or a sex offender or whatever, not everything appeals to one person as it does another. Something one person may consider quite innocent might provoke another to sexually assault another. If all artists were to think of all possible repercussions their work might cause, would they be “free” to express themselves even?
    I’m not even going to start talking about the Free Speech issues, that’s a whole nother discussion. But like you said, the intent is the big thing. And yet who has the authority to decide who intends what for whom? If it’s out there, the whole world has access to it unlike years and years ago when a single painting or a single photograph hung in a museum or gallery and the exposure was minimal compared to today.
    Even though I think I have definite standards to help me categorize what I perceive to be pornographic or tasteful, my ideas are not the same as everyone else’s.
    I have more to say but in the interest of time and space…
    ********************************************
    Jo, you came back 🙂 You wouldn’t have needed to hear the song to make the determination you did. It only added to the wrongness of the performance, imo.
    I really hadn’t entertained the idea of a double standard in this instance. Another reader might address that, we’ll see.
    I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the money shot you refer to, so I can’t comment on it. I appreciate your input, thanks.

  5. First off; this little girls parents deserve a spanking…

    I’m another one who believes that the intent of the artist is what differentiates between art and smut. And I believe that goes for all styles of artistic expression. This debate shows up in every form of media, from photography and film to movies and TV. It is unavoidable in a media-saturated culture like ours.

    Does life imitate art or does art imitate life?

    During the Renaissance, artists strived to raise the consciousness and elevate the spirit of those who partook of their art. And when you consider the artistry and invention that came out of that period it’s clear to see that life reflects art.
    Nowadays artists attempt to show how well they relate to their audience. Or they try to demonstrate how relevant they are to contemporary culture. If an artist must appeal to the baser nature of our humanity to sell his/her product, then that’s what they produce – and that’s what our culture begins to reflect.

  6. No child of mine would be dancing like that. And at that age.

    I listened to the words, and was very unsettled. I agree with the first commenter that she shouldn’t be even listening to that music, let alone be dancing to it.

    Cas

  7. While both dancers certainly have talent, the girl’s movements are suggestive and totally inappropriate for her age. The boy just showcases his moves.

    The song the girl danced to is disturbing for youngsters. I can’t believe the parents think this is okay. They’ll wonder why she’s a promiscuous, wild teenager. Duh.

  8. My first make-up application last week was on a 13 year old girl, for homecoming. Her mom and her older sister stood by while I did the make-up. Of course I’m thinking…hmn, 13, so I’m going to be going pretty light here…so when I finish, I am happy that I have done a nice simple-not too much look for her, and her mom actually asks me to put way more “since it was an evening thing”. Before the mom was satisfied, the girl looked like a hooker. The mom and the little girl loved it. If that girl had sex that night, I feel almost partly to blame. BLECK.

  9. Three words: Jon Benet Ramsey. This little girl obviously watches way too much inappropriate TV, with her parents’ consent and encouragement in all likelihood. I suspect there’s a stage mom and/or dad offstage here who is just thrilled at their talented daughter’s performance. And they doubtless have no idea about the questionable nature of either the dance moves or this music choice for a 7-year old. As the congressman said, I know porn when I see it. And hey, I enjoy porn as much as the next guy. But this is child porn, pure and simple. And rather than feel proud for their little girl’s accomplishments, the parents should be appalled . . . although that’s likely the farthest thing from their minds. Remember “Little Miss Sunshine” and the dance number in that movie? The sad thing here, is that this is reality, not Hollywood. And any “childhood innocence” that might remain for this girl has been blasted away by an inappropriate soundtrack.

  10. I did consider just posting, ‘damn, my body can’t do that…’ but due to my (lack of) popularity (or notoriety) on this site I suppose assuming people understand my ‘charming’ or exaggerated sarcastically trivializing humor would be poor.

    So…

    In reference to Little Miss Sunshine, a comical prod at the vanity of society and how it has spilled into all things wholesome, good and green…

    We, the people are interested in appearance, our clothes, our car, our shoes, our coffee mug and now, our children. Displayed for the purpose of admiration – look what my kid can do, bet yours can’t… My boy is an honor student… My girl has slept with more of the football team than your girl… Yadda…

    Gone are the days of putting a days work in. Taking pride in what you’ve got. Replaced by 14% payment plans and disposable lifestyles.

    Sex sells?

    The implication of the aforementioned dance routine, the suggestion of the accompanying sound (some of you have claimed this is music, even this is a song, I’ll try not to grudge it) is of a somewhat degrading nature to men and women, the animalistic nature we once tried so hard to tame with beige and national service now paraded like a prides mane.

    What are we selling? I suppose you could say the purity of the soul, the innocence of youth…

    This (sort of judgmental renegade about the fourth evolution) will go on. And on.

  11. Now, on the subject of Art vs. Porn or tasteful vs. too far as seems to be where people find offence and slander.

    Last night, I went to see a band and their support used a video of a woman ‘enjoying’ her body. Although, I did not fully notice what was being displayed I’m told that it was plain to see. Now, there is going to be this cry of oh my god degrading to women, etc… but this was just a small band of some talent but very little consequence looking for a visual angle to have people notice them. The intent was to be contr- I can’t say that. I was there for the art (the music).

    A few weeks ago, at a family street event here in town, artwork was displayed in stalls all around downtown – one of these stalls featured blunt close-up paintings of eyes, lips, breasts, legs, toes, arms – wait, did I say breasts? Crudely, or at best poorly done and to be honest it seemed that they caused just as much offence as the video aforementioned.

    The intent of the artist does dictate a lot about the atmosphere or intent of a piece of work, but the audience, the interpretation of the piece of work has considerable consequence. Innocent in one eye is demonic in the next…

    Really, common sense – as artists we must consider our audience and what is appropriate for the persons within. As people, we need to reasonably say what is appropriate for who? It’s a shame little girls can’t boogie without causing a stir and its a shame that men at the football can’t show some restraint of their frustrations in a family arena, I think we’re getting into morality and the structure of what little point I was getting to is sinking so I will leave it be…

  12. I can see that addressing each of these comments here may prove to be spacey (meaning “taking up a lot of space”) and time consuming, as I have quite a lot to say. When time permits, instead, I will write a post to follow-up.
    Not today, however. I’ve had a “procedure” (follow-up from some other month, I think June…) and I’m feeling a bit lousy. So bear with me.

    I do, however need to reply to BD and this is private, so don’t read it if you’re not BD. Thanks.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Does it really matter to you how other people interpret your charm here? To the degree that my readers “know” me, I’m guessing they appreciate you because I do, since they love me unconditionally 😉
    If you do feel notorious here, I will take full blame. And for anyone reading this (shame on you!!!) who doesn’t “get” that you and I communicate in an unconventional way, (when we do communicate, that is….) I’m here to say that we do. I used to be way more sarcastic on here than I am these days so I probly maybe should note that.
    At any rate, I would have expected you to write “damn, my body can’t do that” before I would expect you to write all the insightful things you did. I appreciate what you offered, as I always do. Please don’t feel anything but valuable here, ever.
    Sometimes I wonder what other people think about us… Half the time I can’t comprehend what you say… I wonder if they think you just drop in from time to time to shake me up and then leave, laughing. Who knows?
    Not that anyone would understand this but you… You’re my (and my blog’s) own personal Morbid Misanthrope 😉

  13. BD now shook up and confused will scurry off in shame for getting ticked off…

  14. BD, No, come back.

  15. i am not a big fan of kids dancing like this. bratz dolls are definitely not allowed in our home. i have a HUGE problem with kids being dressed up to look older with makeup and dance moves. there is plenty of great dance music in the world without sex involved in the lyrics or in the moves.

    as for this question: “How do you differentiate between what is art and what is not – whether it be the Art of Dance or Painting or Photography or Literature or Music or something else?” – it’s a doozy. personally, art is something that provokes thought, emotion, and inspiration. i see art everyday in the clouds, the cars, people, kids, groceries, whatever. i guess for me it depends on my perspective at the time and what reaction it invokes within me. i would never tell someone that something they consider as art to not be art (unless i was going for the laugh) b/c it’s such a personal thing like politics and religion.

    i wish for my daughter to understand her worth goes way beyond her outside appearance.

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