Let the people dance
By Sharon Miki, Senior Columnist
High schools are a breeding ground of terribleness: kids hurt each other—physically and emotionally—with increasingly violent bullying; it’s not unusual for high school students to commit crimes ranging from petty theft to serious criminal infractions; sexual abuse and date rape also occur amongst teens. Despite it all, one thing that teenagers do that can never really be terrible (well, I mean, they can do it poorly, but not like, morally terrible) is dance, even if their move of choice is twerking.
The Internet is all atwitter after a Southern California high school issued a ban on the Miley-approved butt-bouncing dance move, with many people applauding the school’s prohibition of what they view as a sexually suggestive dance. In my opinion, this is a reactionary and unjust decision that will have little effect on students’ sexual connections to each other, but might lead to a lot of weird, closeted danced parties.
Sure, twerking is by definition a dance move that highlights a typically sexualized part of the human anatomy (i.e. the butt). However, also by definition, all forms of dancing include some sort of body movement. The body is (almost) always involved in sexual activity, so should we ban ballet recitals because the dancers use their bodies? Twerking might be suggestive to some, but disallowing teens from moving their body in one direction is not going to stop them from knowing about or wanting sex.
Regardless of how you feel about the particular mechanics of twerking, I would argue that it’s a less complicated form of sexual expression than having actual sex. Teenagers have been having intercourse long before the Ying Yang Twins suggested in 2001 to “Whistle While You Twurk,” and they will be having sex with each other long after Miley grows tired of co-opting ratchet culture.
Since I presume that the kids are wearing clothes while they dance on school grounds, it’s unlikely that anyone’s going to contract a STI or conceive an unplanned pregnancy from twerking at a school dance. If the administration is so worried about the teens’ sexual awareness, then perhaps they should focus their energy on teaching safe sex practices and sexual education to students instead of banning a dance move like they’re cartoon villains.
Just like you can’t tell me not to move my right arm up and down (some have told me that I have a very alluring wave), you can’t tell kids how they should or should not dance. Autonomy over what to do with one’s own body should be a basic human right—even if they want to bounce it around in a sort of ridiculous way. Twerk on, kids. Twerk on.