The ladies of Miami Northwestern Senior High School’s dance team in Florida have drawn controversy after performing at a football game in racy uniforms.
A video of the “Golden Girls” dance team has gone viral, having over 700,000 views. It shows the girls walking ever-so-temptuously onto the field, donning leotards with black, stirrup stockings.
While supporters of the team have affirmed their uniform choice, saying they simply resemble something out of a trendy Beyoncé video, I have to disagree.
I’m a fan of these young ladies. I am. I just don’t think they’re dressed appropriately. But I also don’t think it’s their fault.
Now, before you go assuming I’m about to slut-shame these beautiful performers like some holier-than-thou prude, I’ll have you know I wore something similar (if not worse) when I was a teenage cheerleader.
When I was young, cheerleading was a huge part of my life. It seems a little silly now that I’m a grown-ass woman, but I lived for cheerleading back in the day. And I was good at it. I could do any tumbling pass or stunt, and I even made the college cheer team. I was focused on my back-handsprings and my eight-counts, so I didn’t really pay too much attention to my uniform.
But here’s the thing: I was being sexualized.
We wore mid-drift-bearing tops, and our skirts could be NO LONGER than one inch below our butts. And our dance moves? Puh-Lease. There was more pelvic-thrusting going on than a Backstreet Boys video. We gyrated all over that sideline, and I was too naïve to see it as anything more than a cute routine until about a year into college, when some made-for-TV stripper movie had a scene boasting the same dance moves my little cheerleader booty was doing every Saturday afternoon on that football field.
I was embarrassed.
Should I have known better? Maybe. But that fact is, I simply didn’t understand that I was being sexualized at the time, and perhaps the high school dancers of Miami Northwestern Senior High School don’t either.
Sure, they may look fully-grown, but these girls are just that: girls. They are not old enough to make mature decisions about their sexuality, so when an adult coach puts them in a position of being sexual objects, that is exploitation, plain and simple.
I know it’s a fine line to walk, but in this case, the coach failed. You can’t put a little girl in stirrup stockings and have her prance around in a “come hither” manner. So for any dance teacher out there, I’ll make it easy for you:
Complicated leaps and footwork: Cool
Tumbling and stunts: Amazing
Accoutrements you find in the lingerie section: NO
Coaches and choreographers of the world, let’s use this as an object lesson. Let’s protect our young girls from becoming sexual objects. They are, after all, just little girls.