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TWERKING IS FOR TWERPS!

Picture this.  A mature-ish woman sits down in a café to enjoy a coffee and a catch-up on social media.  She is confronted with a public Facebook feed showing a variety of a-jiggling and thrusting bottoms in various stages of undress. The participants have mostly hidden their faces, or if they have revealed them, they are smiling with the glazed look of lipsticked idiots.

Twerking is defined as: “A dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.”

Research on the subject suggests that similar moves may have originated as part of ancient cultural dances, including Greek dances.  In the modern context, the movement was imported from West Africa and adapted into African-American culture.  However, the dance was not presented in a sexualized way until the advent of the hip-hop culture in the 1990s.

THE ‘ICK’ FACTOR

What astounds me is how commonplace/mainstream it has become for young people, especially women, to broadcast porn-style images of themselves (‘nudes’, ‘sexting’ etc). These activities have unfortunately been enthusiastically endorsed and modeled by a raft of celebrities, musicians and reality TV ‘stars’. We all remember Miley Cyrus at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards don’t we?

A few year’s back I confiscated a phone that recorded its owner giving a blowjob to a boy in what appeared to be the school toilet. I won’t divulge the school, but I was amazed at the unfazed, nonchalant attitude of the youngster.  It appeared that this sexual maneuver is ‘expected’ and not considered much more serious than ‘snogging’.  “What is the world coming to?” I raged.

The REALLY worrying question this raises is, how far is far enough? And how far is a young girl (or boy) now expected to go?  Since when were youngsters expected to act and look like porn stars?  Time was when the porn industry and mainstream culture were distinctly separate entities, now it seems the lines are well and truly blurred, leaving young people in an unenviable position. (No pun intended.)

VOX POPS

“You want boys to like you.” (Sara, 15)
“It’s cool.  I like the attention it gets.”   (Alyssa, 16)
“I did an experiment, I posted a picture of my face and I got nineteen likes, when I posted my tweaking I got over six hundred…” (Mara, 20)
“I wouldn’t do it, I mean I don’t know what other people think.” (Ava,18)
“Ya gotta be sexy or ya won’t get a boyfriend {sic}” (Danika,17)
“It looks good, I like it…although I wouldn’t want my girlfriend to do it.”  (James, 20)
“I don’t really respect girls who post stuff like that but I like to see it. It’s funny.” (Ben, 22)
“You couldn’t call it classy at all but it gets your attention.”  (Mike, 19)
“Sluts!” (Joe, 14)

WHY?

Women fought hard to gain the vote in the 1800s, we fought to gain further ground and equal rights through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.  Why has the ‘sexual revolution’ allowed us to slide down to a place I’d describe as ‘SLOPE DEGRADATION?’

These images stay out there in cyberspace, and may come back to haunt the ‘poseur’ in years to come.  You can Google the internet for the stories of youngsters who have regretted, and even suicided over the fallout from such incidents.  (Please don’t tell me this is about women, ‘reclaiming their sexuality’.)

The only way to stop this ugly ‘culture’ is to educate young people in the areas of self-respect, self-esteem and morality.  Twerking and other sexualized broadcasts don’t do women (or young men) ANY favours.  These actions devalue, undermine and cheapen what is most sacred, most intimate, most private and most precious in male and female relationships.

And…if you’re wondering what the Oxford Dictionary definition of twerp is, it is ‘a silly, or annoying person’ – which is why twerking is definitely only for TWERPS. #TWERKINGISFORTWERPS!

© Katherine Summers 2015

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