I became aware of this video, via a friend’s post on Facebook (thanks EH). It is a video of girls who appear to be between the ages of 8-10 years of age, dancing to Beyonce’s “Put A Ring On It”. Despite the face these girls are great dancers, this video is an exemplar about all that is wrong with girl culture today. It also is a shining example of #FAIL in the parenting department!!
It is not a surprise after seeing this video why a great deal of time and energy is put into helping girls overcome the affects of societal sexualization. In fact, the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls details the many harmful outcomes and consequences of girls’ sexualzation. The work that Rachel Simmons, Jean Kilbourne, Girls on the Run, Team Up For Youth, The Tucker Center, The Girl Scouts Research Institute, and many others are examples of people and organizations who recognize the problem and are trying to help be part of the solution.
This morning a colleague sent me this article from ESPN.com about another ban on head scarves for Muslim female athletes. When I see this and other stories, it makes me recommit to the work I do at The Tucker Center.
It its well documented that females are less physically active than their male peers at all ages, and that girls of color are less physically active than their White counterparts. There are two great reports that summarize the plethora of research on girls, physical activity and health and developmental outcomes–The Tucker Center Research Report: Developing Physically Active Girls (2007), and The Women’s Sport Foundation’s Her Life Depends On It (2009).
Some of the work I do with my graduate student Chelsey Thul, examines the barriers to physical activity of East African girls here in the Twin Cities. We have the largest East African diaspora in the US, and the East African girls in our community find in very challenging to be as physically active as they’d like to be. They talk about wanting to be physically active but also desire to remain true to religious and cultural norms. If you want to see a great film that documents the challenges Iranian Muslim women face who desire to compete in an international soccer match with a German team, be sure to watch Football Under Cover.
The ESPN.com story illustrates exactly how challenging it can be for Muslim girls and women to be physically active. When are leagues and sport organizations going to enact inclusive policies that encourage and facilitate physical activity and sport participation for EVERYONE?
Ok, so school is about to start up and I’m feverishly trying to whittle down the “to do” list, therefore haven’t had as much time to blog. BUT….I saw this over Twitter and had to share it as the most ridiculous, sexualizing, exploitative “shirt” made specifically for infants and preschool girls I’ve seen in a long time—perhaps EV-ER! The maker of Twisted Twee is a woman and the advertising tag line for the shirt is “something for the evening!” I’m speechless.
Note: Imagine a similar trouser concept for boys that would be equally offensive…but I didn’t see that in Suzi Warren’s line.