Dance group owner Traci Young-Byron, owner of the Young Contemporary Dance Theatrein Florida, posted a video of her amazingly talented dancers in action. The video has since gone viral, and many comments have been posted in response to the video.
But, the comments have not been supportive and many of them have been focused on the girls’ attire, rather than their talent. Attire that is standard in the dance world, mind you.
“Look at those fast ass girls”
“If these were my daughters, there’s no way in hell they’d come out looking like these little hoes!”
“They’ll be strippers by the time they’re 19!”
“Fast ass?” “Hoes?” Is this what we truly think of our girls?
Wow. This is heartbreaking and disgusting!
Unfortunately, this attitude towards Black girls runs rampant within our community. Click around social media and you will see dozens of disparaging comments about Black girls’ bodies and attire. Our girls are not allowed to be free and to openly express themselves without being policed, sexualized, and criticized. This greatly contributes to poor body image among Black girls
As I have written previously for “Feminist Wednesday”:
“The harsh and constant policing of Black Girls’ bodies has led us to become ashamed of ourselves- ashamed of our bodies and our sexualities. Our larger hips, ample asses, and breasts are hypersexualized, and as a defense mechanism, we hide our sexual desires in order to repel this hypersexualization and judge others who choose not to. We label other women as “hos” and steer clear of them, still suffering from the fear of being labeled a “fast-tailed girl.” We quickly dismiss victims’ statements about their sexual assaults and instead run to the perpetrator’s defense. (Prime example: R.Kelly. Black women, men, and others STILL support him and his music.) The social acceptance of body-shaming, slut-shaming, and victim-blaming within Black culture has shown that our girls are not valued, with the statistics to prove it.”
Our girls are suffering. Their creativity is being stifled and they are growing up with low self-esteem and sex-negative outlooks. But, we are ALL to blame.
Through our demonizing of our girls and coddling of abusers, we perpetuate rape culture regularly.
If you’ve ever called a girl “fast” or “hot”, you’ve perpetuated rape culture.
If you’ve ever called a girl a “hoe”, a “thot”, or a “hoe in training”, you’ve perpetuated rape culture.
If you’ve ever forced your daughter to change clothes because her outfits “revealed too much”, you’ve perpetuated rape culture.
If you’ve ever told your daughter to change clothes because a “certain” male family member was coming over, “you’ve perpetuated rape culture.
If you’ve ever second-guessed an assault victim’s story or asked them “what they were wearing” when they were assaulted”, you’ve perpetuated rape culture.
If you’ve ever told a young woman to “leave something to the imagination”, you’ve perpetuated rape culture. (This is also a weak excuse because seriously- in most cases, you know basic human anatomy and you KNOW what’s under people’s clothes. How much more is there to imagine?)
Let’s begin to educate ourselves and do better by our girls and our culture.
The black community has so much work to do. Most of these over sexualized minds are stuck in extreme poverty mindsets. Until you change your perspective on life you will be toxic even to talented young girls who have spent hours, months and have dedicated themselves to achieving these dance routines.