As a kid, I took ballet jazz classes. I used to love attending class and dancing every week. I loved to practice the choreographed moves at home for the final show. I was really excited about performing on stage and showing what I had learned to my parents. So why did I quit just before the big performance? The costume.

yoga-251108_1920The costume.

Our teacher wanted us to wear leotards that only covered our bodies like sexy underwear with very pointy cones for the breasts if you were a little girl and a cone for the penis if you were a little boy. I refused to wear the costume. It made me feel uncomfortable. It didn’t like it one bit. The teacher explained that it was the type of costume you had to wear if you wanted to dance on stage, so I quit and never looked back.  My parents respected my decision. I was taking the class for enjoyment, not as a pathway to a future career. This particular class wasn’t even involved in competition dancing.

Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:

I understand that the teacher might have thought that she was dressing us like the professional dancers that many of us aspired to be, like Madonna, but we are children and she’s an adult. There’s got to be a limit to mimicking professional dancers.

girls-2266509_1920The show at the end of the dance class year is supposed to be for parents and friends, to show them their kids progress and talent. What does dressing sexily have to do with athletic or artistic ability? What kind of parent want to see their children prancing around with barely anything on and cones highlighting their private parts? How is it okay to bombard the internet with these kinds of videos?

There are plenty of ways costumes could be designed to accentuate movement and form and athletic ability, not impede movement, and not make a pre-pubescent child look like an exotic dancer or a hooker. I don’t understand how it is okay to send children out to dance in public in their underwear. I don’t understand how parents allow their children to do this, even if the dance teacher thinks it okay. Parents shouldn’t be afraid to voice their concerns over immodest attire. Surely, I’m not the only one who thinks this is inappropriate?

An example of appropriate costumes:

Even for parents who aspires for their daughters to become the future Beyonce or Demi Lovato should still feel uncomfortable about sexualizing their children. There’s a limit to dressing for the job you want. Shouldn’t the costumes enhance a dance piece or the story of the dance, not sexualizing the bodies of prepubescent children? Are we actually using the argument that “sex sells” on children now?

We, as a society, talk a pretty good game about how abhorrent child porn is, but then we turn our daughters out to dance like exotic dancers live and on-stage.

We see it everywhere. We see it on television shows such as America’s Got Talent, the little boy is dressed nicely, while the little girl as a tiny costume that barely covers her and Dance Moms. I mean, Dance Moms even have filmed slumber parties and selfie competition of the girls making kissing faces all in the name of getting a dancing career. How is this okay?