7-Year-Old "Single Ladies"—WMC Takes Action
May 15, 2010
The video that's spun through blogs and YouTube this week – featuring five 7-year-old girls dancing to Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" in an Urban Dance Contest – got attention Thursday night from Anderson Cooper and his guest Dr. Phil, who called it "extremely inappropriate." How did we get here?:Women's Media Center is working with a group of prestigious partners – including the Ms. Foundation, Hardy Girls/Healthy Women, TrueChild, the NoVo Foundation, and Girls, Inc.– to not only find out what's led us here, but what we can do about it. Yesterday the groups held a convening meeting to organize and plan for the Summit to Challenge the Sexualization of Girls, to be held on October 22, 2010, in NYC. A sampling of (pretty brilliant, I thought) insights from the convening: Madeline DiNonno, from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, pointed out that, with one Dora the Explorer, and one Kathryn Bigelow, people seem to think we've achieved gender equity. Jaclyn Friedman, founder of Women, Action, and the Media (WAM!) and a Progressive Women's Voices alumna, argued that if purity wasn't such a selling point for girls, sex wouldn't become such a quick and intuitive rebellion. Author, speaker and filmmaker Jean Kilbourne argued that the trend is less about sex and more about commodification - eroticizing products, and co-opting feminism into products you can touch and feel. "As a society, we don't like to talk about it, but there are many cases of kids being sexualized in pop culture...it kind of boggles the mind." It does, Anderson. But that's part of the problem. Without serious analysis of how our culture sexualizes girls, and what impact it has on their self-worth, we'll be left shrugging our shoulders at more and more of these videos, asking "How did we get here?"