Saving a Child’s Innocence (Rough Draft)

In today’s society, parents are willing to do almost anything to help their child become an “up-and-coming celebrity.” They want to support their children and give them every opportunity they can to be the next Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber, so they sign them up for dance classes, singing lessons, pageants, modeling, and numerous other activities that may lead them to fame. While being involved in an activity is great for a child, when does the strong “encouragement and support” offered by their parents and mentors turn into child exploitation? Children are often encouraged and rewarded for participating in events that are exploiting them and their sexuality. In competitive dance, they are applauded for wearing skimpy costumes and dancing in a manner that is much to old for them; in glitz pageants, they are made over into something they are not and then ranked according to this “false” beauty; and in modeling, many children are asked to pose in some sort of sexual manner to “highlight” their innocence or maturity and take them one step ahead of the competition. These children are forced to grow up way to quickly because of their parents’ dreams. Their parents have taken so strongly to living through their children that they are willing to risk everything, including their child’s innocence, for their own personal gain and success; due to this, children under the age of consent should be prohibited from participating in any sort of activity that makes reference to or exploits their sexuality.

The tragedies of child exploitation can be found everywhere: movies, magazines, and especially, the internet. A prime example of this occurred in May of 2010 when a YouTube video of seven-year olds performing an inappropriate dance to “Single Ladies” was aired on national television. ”Being a competitive dance instructor, I was not shocked to see children of that age performing such a routine; however, the rest of society was. People could not understand how any parent would allow their child to dance so provocatively while wearing such inappropriate clothing. It was something that disturbed them so greatly that many referred to it as child pornography, but this kind of dancing is now accepted in the competitive dance world. Many parents, teachers, and competitions encourage such dancing because they think it’s “too cute” to see their little girls dancing in such a manner, and it helps them to win. In addition to that, those parents who strongly protest against such things are often viewed as being troublesome and sometimes prohibited from participating in the competitive program. How sad is it that such an innocent hobby has turned into one of the main sources of child exploitation? Dance teachers should be more than capable of training their dancers and providing them with routines and costumes that are age appropriate and support a positive message. Dance is supposed to a positive hobby that encourages children to set goals and teaches them self confidence, not one that forces negative attention and mixed messages upon its participants. These girls could be forever scarred because of the attention this dance routine received. Can you imagine them going to school and be interrogated by their fellow classmates about why they were on the news and why they were dancing in such a manner? They would have no idea how to respond. They have been continuously encouraged and rewarded for doing the exact same routine at multiple dance competitions, so why would it become an issue now? In addition to emotional scarring the response to this routine could have caused, it could also have a negative affect on their future. There have been many adults in today’s society who have either been denied a job or fired because of something that took place in their past. This dance video could forever follows these innocent girls, but because their parents and mentors willingly exploited them, they can do nothing about it.

Another female who became a victim of child exploitation was Brooke Shields. In 1975, Teri Shields, Brooke’s mother, signed a contract with photographer Gary Gross and allowed him to take nude photo’s of her ten year old daughter. It was claimed that these photos were only shot for the promotion of Brooke’s up and coming movie, “Pretty Baby” and Gross’s project, The Woman in the Child, but these photos were later published in the magazine Little Women, the Playboy Press publication, Sugar and Spice, and large prints were exhibited on 5th Avenue in New York (Lipscher 6). These photo’s and the movie, “Pretty Baby” created a huge uproar in the 70’s, and according to Filmsite.org, “Pretty Baby” became one of the most controversial films of all time. Due to all of the negative attention and the continued publication of these nude photos, Brooke entered a legal battle against Gross in 1981 and did everything she could to obtain the rights to the photos. She claimed that the photos had caused her “distress and embarrassment,” and that while her mother had signed full rights over to Gross, the photos were only supposed to be used for the single publication of “Pretty Baby” (Lipscher 6). After two years and multiple appeals, the court made the final decision that Brooke had no rights to the photo’s, for her mother’s legally binding signature allowed Gross to exploit them freely. This situation is a prime example of a parent’s actions exploiting their child and taking away their innocence. Because of her mother’s need for fame and success, Brooke is forced to live with the humiliation of having her 10 year old body exposed. As a child, she placed complete trust in her mother and took place in the photo shoot without really knowing what the consequences would be. She, like all children, should have been able to believe that her parents had her best interests at heart and would protect them from the evil ways of the world; however, that did not seem to be the case for Brooke. These nude photos will forever be accessible on the world wide web, and because of her mother’s actions, there is absolutely nothing she can do about it.

(3rd point)

(Conclusion)

(Works Cited)

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~ by camccain on September 21, 2010.

9 Responses to “Saving a Child’s Innocence (Rough Draft)”

  1. (I just wrote a really thorough comment for you, and accidently clicked something that deleted it! So here goes again…)

    I really enjoyed reading your essay! It’s very well stated, and kept my attention. You had a lot of detail and facts, which made it seem much more valid. I found the video very interesting, but in the light of that being purely visual (but helpful), the most interesting part was that about Brooke Shields’ experience. It was very effective for getting readers on your side (although my opinion matched yours from the beginning).

    I would really like to hear you explain more about topics stated early on, like singing lessons and pageants. You mentioned them, and I would like to know more about them and their role in this controversy.

    Also, the way you stated your first sentence “In today’s society, parents are willing to do almost anything to help their child become an “up-and-coming-celebrity.” This makes it seem to a reader that ALL parents are willing, that ALL parents want this for their children (it also seems like the chilren want it and the parents are “helping” them). It seems to me that in actuallity MOST parents are not like this, at leat where I come from… I just think that there could be a better way of phrasing this that’s less judgmental.

    Everything you were saying was very good, but very swayed in your opinion. This is of course as it should be, but the elements of a good argumentative essay are supposed to reveal both sides of the controversy, and I didn’t hear anything about “the good side.” Again, I am for your side too, but in the spirit of a well written essay, I’d suggest explaining the other facets of this problem.

    Reading your essay has helped me to realize the need for strong argument and evidence to back up my own essay. I’ll keep that in mind as I edit!

    It took me about 20-25 minutes to read/review your essay.

    Thanks for reading my comments!

    • Hi Grace,

      Thanks for the comments! I will definitely take everything you said into consideration. And, to compensate you for the trouble you had with the deleted post, I’ll make sure to stop by and comment on your essay :).

      Caitlyn

  2. I like the fact that you used details and seemed passionate about the subject. The most interesting part of your draft are you examples. You used the Brook Shields incident and the infamous dance video which were affective. The Jon Bennet Ramsey murder case comes to mind.

    You contradicted yourself a few times.

    Example:

    In your introduction, you stated
    “In today’s society, parents are willing to do almost anything to help their child become an “up-and-coming celebrity.”

    In your body, you stated
    “Being a competitive dance instructor, I was not shocked to see children of that age performing such a routine; however, the rest of society was. People could not understand how any parent would allow their child to dance so provocatively while wearing such inappropriate clothing.”

    If parents in today’s society are willing to do anything to make their children famous as you stated, why does the majority of society disapprove of the video and that dance routine? This shows that the majority of American society do not support exploiting children for fame.

    As previously mentioned, your choice of words leads one to believe you are arguing that most parents are for child exploitation. If you change the wording around, you should be fine.

    The organization of your essay is fine, but It’s not clear what your exact thesis is.

    Reviewing your essay helped my review my essay because it ade me realize that I needed to present more counterarguments and refute them.

    It took about 25 minutes to read and review your draft

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for reviewing! I definitely agree with your comments and plan on taking them into consideration when writing my final draft.

      Caitlyn

  3. First off I just wanted to say that I think how you included the youtube video was EXCELLENT detail to give the bloggers something to work with. I think that your opinion kinda jumps around and I can’t see which side you are taking on the subject. In the first paragraph it seems as if you are against it but then further on I feel like you support it. I find it most interesting the examples you used including the video. I feel that the examples u used pull the reader in and can convince them that it is in fact child explotation! Very well done! Reading this article along with the recent cheer fued ” which may be a good example to use” of the little girl who’s mother questioned the cheer ” My back is aching my skirts too tight my booty’s shaking from left to right…..” make me wonder why all of a sudden this issue has come up. I have been a cheerleader and dancer practically all of my life and I have never seen so much conflict about the issue! Never were how short the skirts were or which body parts were exposed ever an issue. I never felt like as a child I was exploited in competitions by either parents or coaches. And I feel like a big thing is that the girls are having fun, but I do understand sometimes what cost is coming with that. I think it just depends… sorry for the rant lol… From your essay I have learned to be a little more graphic. Also, I know it won’t appear like this in your final draft, but I couldnt tell where the new paragraphs started. Great job though! Btw I tought the girls were amazing for competitive dance or cheer!

    • Hi 🙂

      Thanks for reviewing! I’ll definitely look into the cheerleading controversy and see if I can use it. I too was in dance and even pageants and never felt like I was being exploited. It was something that was fun for me, and I know that my mother would never push me to do something to gain something for herself. However, for arguments sake, I felt like it would be more persuading to just focus on the negative side of the issue, whether it exists for everyone or not.

      And those girls were PHENOMENAL, and to be honest, I think that that was one of the reasons I was so upset about the video when I first saw it. They had absolutely no need to dance in that manner if they were looking for a win. They should have been able to dominate the competition on skill level and technique alone.

      Thanks again,
      Caitlyn

  4. Sorry it took about 30 minutes to read and review

  5. Hi

    I really enjoyed reading your essay! I was not clear on your thesis for the essay. You have great attention to detail! I agree with you 100% kids just need to be kids. I feel the parents live their lives through their kids, which is not good. Again the most interesting part was about Brooke Shields’ experience.

    “their parents and mentors turn into child exploitation? Children are often encouraged and rewarded for participating in events that are exploiting them and their sexuality” this was a great statement, I would also like to know more regarding this issue.

    Everything seems to be your opinion, which is ok! However argue on the other side, which will create more detail to why those who
    Don’t agree with you should switch sides.

    ” The tragedies of child exploitation can be found everywhere: movies, magazines, and especially, the internet. A prime example of this occurred in May of 2010 when a YouTube video of seven-year olds performing an inappropriate dance to “Single Ladies” was aired on national television. ””
       Helped show the importance of child exploration! The video also was a great touch to your essay!
      You have a great foundation to your essay, and also a very strong argument! Great essay, sorry if we touched on the same issues!

    It took me about 25 minutes to read/review your essay.

    • Hi Kyiandra,

      Thanks for reviewing! I’m really trying to bring in the opposing argument in my last body paragraph, but it’s just so hard lol. I’m trying to figure out a way to present their opinions without making it sound like I’m wavering on mine (for I received a review which said that they, at times, were unsure which side I was arguing for). So hopefully I’ll have it right by midnight :).

      Thanks again,
      Caitlyn

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