It’s November 2019. Thanksgiving is a wonderful month that allows me to take time to reflect over many blessings for DA:NCE! I am so thankful! We have captured national experts on film with solid information as to why hypersexualized children’s dance is harmful. On the other hand, we have also captured expert thoughts on healthy, educational  dance which they recommend. And now it’s time. Take a sneak peek at the opening of our new resource: ‘Healthy or Harmful Dance: What do the Experts Say?’

“Why are we doing this to children? What is it in our culture that wants to sexualize children not only in dance but in advertising and clothing……..” Kristen Jenson, Founder, Protect Young Minds

“I’ve just kept quiet because I didn’t know that anybody else felt the same thing that I did, maybe this isn’t okay, maybe this is something that is even worse than it looks like.” Gina Sherman, Educator: Chemistry

“Nobody pays attention. We’re so busy.” Jim O’day, Executive Director: Integrity Restored

“I’ve been doing work to prevent child sexual abuse and to prevent it since 1976 and one of the things that happened over those decades that we never saw coming was the normalization of sexual harm in our culture and all the ways that so much of how our children were raised and what they saw and experienced came through a pornified lens. And if we want to prevent child sexual abuse, we have to help people see that children are not sexual commodities.” Cordelia Anderson, Leading Child Advocate, Founder: National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

“I was shocked at the beauty pageants and things like that. What we were doing to children, stripping them of their youth. Now we’re putting them into a public arena and turning them into sex objects which I find very, very destructive.” Dr. Walter DeKeseredy, Professor of Sociology, West Virginia University, Expert on Violence, Director: Research Center on Violence

“How do I keep myself present in that culture so that she can grow in the way that I expect her to grow? And how is this going to impact her in terms of making decisions on how she socializes?” Dr. Celina Pina Shemo, Psy D Psychology, Univ of SF, Founder: VGI Mental Health

Filming Clay Olsen

“What are the implications of young girls doing moves that are extremely sexualized and extremely objectify their bodies, how is this impacting these young girls psychologically, how is it impacting their expectations and how they view themselves and those around them? I think that we have to take a good hard look as a society and culture on the ramifications of our allowing this.” Clay Olsen, President & C0-Founder: Fight the New Drug

“Do we understand the United States is the world’s largest producer of child pornography and it always starts subtle and so when you see youth, barely dressed, 7,8,9 years old, dancing in a way that is erotic, and something that an adult would do, it’s not only harmful to them but it’s harmful to the kids that view them because it absolutely is a hypersexualization of our culture which kind of, is changing the trajectory of how we view innocence in America.” Dr. Brook Parker-Bello, Phd, CEO More too Life

Do you ‘get it’? We need to ‘get it.’ It’s easy to be so busy that we ignore the avalanche of unhealthy messages that we receive from the media. The important point that we need to understand is the link between children’s dance and sexual abuse exploitation as it connects to the public health issue of pornography with a big picture lens. The media and the internet provide the connection points between child sexual abuse, pornography, the sexualization of children, sexting, objectification, prostitution, violence against women, child sexual abuse images, image-based sexual abuse, sex trafficking, sexual assault & violence, and sexual addictions & compulsivity. Those researched connections from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation(NCOSE) allow us to ‘get it’ right. We need to implement education and awareness to stop the sexual exploitation (hypersexualization) of children in dance. “In order to dismantle the tangled web of sexual exploitation, we must understand this intersectionality to create holistic solutions to end exploitation and change our cultural narrative around sexuality and relationships to respect the human dignity of every individual.” Source: NCOSE

Please join DA:NCE, dance awareness: no child exploited, to spread the word about ‘Healthy or Harmful Dance: What Do the Experts Say?’ Look for the completed resource in January 2020.