|While this is an extreme example, I was shocked|
to find this photo online. Do they really make
fishnets for babies?
Saturday, October 13, 2012
You Do Mean the Maypole, right?
A recent controversy making headlines regarding a new
exercise class available to children in Canada has captured my attention. You’re probably wondering how exercise could
be bad for our children. Exercise is good, right? Heck, many of us often
encourage our children to exercise. “Go out and play!” “Go ride your bike.”
“Take a hike!” (Well, the last one might
not necessarily be referring to exercise…)
What I’m talking about here is pole dancing for kids. Yes, you read that correctly - an exercise class to teach pole dancing to kids. What kinds of pictures does that conjure up in your mind? It can’t be good, right?
I know that pole dancing classes for adults have come into popularity over the years, and they claim it’s a great workout to build upper body and core strength. While I don’t doubt this is true, I honestly can’t believe that most women (or men) would take this class simply for that reason (if they are being completely honest).
Let’s keep in mind that I’ve never seen pole dancing in person. The only images I have of pole dancing are the ones I’ve seen in movies and television shows where the guys are hanging out in a strip club. That statement right there shows that I have a skewed view of this activity. To me, pole dancing is overtly sexual in nature; an activity to objectify women for the sexual pleasure of men. So, why, then, would I want to encourage my child to participate in this so-called exercise?
Out of curiosity, I did a Google search for pole dancing. The first link is to Wikipedia where it gives the definition as follows: “Pole dance is a form of performing art, a combination of dance and gymnastics. It involves dancing and performing acrobatic tricks with a vertical pole and is an increasingly popular form of fitness and dance, practiced by many enthusiasts in gyms or dedicated dance studios.” Is this the first vision that pops into your head when you think of pole dancing? Not mine. And it still doesn't convince me it's a child-appropriate activity.
The second link was a little bit more of what I expected… a link to a video of a scantily-clad woman promoting her pole dancing proficiency. While her physical abilities were impressive, her appearance and overall demeanor was anything less than wholesome.
At this point I switched over to the images portion of Google to get quick overview of what the general population will see if they wanted to get a look at pole dancing. Needless to say, the large majority of images were sexual in nature. And even if they weren’t truly meant to be viewed that way, you can’t tell me a guy is going to look at a girl wearing VERY little hanging from a pole and admire her for her physical ability and strength.
OK, here’s the thing...
It seems to me that society in general has bought into the whole idea that objectifying women is OK. We find clothing and undergarments geared toward young girls that are made to draw attention to the rear end or the chest. We find push-up bras for tweens; short shorts with “sassy” scrawled across the booty; shirts shouting “naughty” or other such sayings across the upper body. Now, someone got the "bright" idea that pole dancing is a normal activity in which children should participate.
When our girls actually do start to truly develop into their God-given, womanly shape, we’re surprised when we see them bending over their webcam in their bedroom taking a picture for all to see with their cleavage exposed. Well, there may be parents who aren’t so surprised… or upset.
I actually know parents who encourage their girls to dress in ways that I, personally, would consider provocative (I dare say Jesus wouldn’t find it too savory, either, but I’m just guessing). Short skirts or shorts, tight, low-cut, cleavage-exposing shirts – all for the sake of fitting in or wanting them to look “feminine.” I had one young teen tell me her father actually encourages her to shop at Victoria’s Secret, because he wants her to look feminine. To me this just shouts, “I am an object! I am not to be respected!”
As parents, shouldn’t we want our daughters to be cherished and respected? Admired for their heart and character? Or do we want boys (and men) to look at them with lust?
Fathers – do you want your daughters to be the object of a boy’s physical desire? Hello? Do you remember being a teenage boy? Or would you rather a boy be attracted to her for her character and desire to serve God?
As Christian parents, should we hold our children to a godly standard or to a worldly standard? What eternal sacrifices are we making for the sake of being accepted by the world?
1 Peter 3:2 says “Let them see how pure you are. Let them see that your lives are full of respect for God.” While this is directed to wives, ultimately, shouldn’t we be showing this to our daughters? Should our daughters act one way when they are single and another when they are married? Are we, as mothers, setting the right example for our daughters?
It comes down to this. Whether it is pole dancing, hip-thrusting cheer moves, or low-cut shirts with pushup bras, it all leads to the objectification of women and girls which is then followed by a lack of respect. God created both man and woman in His image. He created woman as a “helpmeet” – a helper and a partner. He did not create women to be the object of many a man’s desire.
I’ll end with this:
1 Peter 3:3-4 says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”