It’s not a surprise, to those of who have been to or heard of school dances, when you walk in the door and in the middle of the dancing you find couples doing some bump ‘n’ grind to the beat of the music. This is a form of dancing that’s been around for a while, popularized through music videos and MTV’s Jersey Shore. While some may like it, some may be disgusted by it, and others may just not care. Grinding, also known as freak dancing, just isn’t an appropriate form of dance for school dances, and therefore, should not be practiced at them.
Grinding is an inappropriate action that should not be tolerated at school dances for more than one reason, one being that it actually hinders gender equality, which is a hot topic nowadays. Now I know that may seem really stupid and far-fetched, but stay with me. Grinding is not just a type of dance like jazz, swing, ballroom, or the regular freestyle we usually see at our dances. It is an extremely sexual dance that leads to the objectification of people. Although I have not done it, it’s pretty safe to assume that if you’re looking for a grinding partner, you’re not looking for a nice guy or girl to do it with; you’ll be looking for the hottest partner you can find. Because of this and the sexuality of the dance, when you’re grinding you are not going to be thinking of the person you’re grinding with as a real human being with friends, family, likes, dislikes, hopes, and dreams. You’re going to be thinking of that person as a collection of parts that can make you feel good. This doesn’t lead to gender equality or anything of the sort; it leads directly away from it! Seeing people as body parts and objectifying them leads to devaluing each other as humans and away from treating each other equally. Also, to any fathers or brothers who may be reading this – how many of you would be comfortable with some guy all over your daughter or sister at a school dance? It’s just something to think about.
Many students in our own school and other high schools across the nation see grinding as an inappropriate and repulsive action that reflects a lack of self-respect on the person who is grinding. On the other point of view, some may point to the huge controversy over Elvis’s dancing and say that our social time reflects a time similar to that, so it’s really not a big deal. However, this is not the case. Grinding is not just some shaking of the hips, instead the definition of grinding by Wikipedia is, “a type of close partner dance where two or more dancers rub or bump their bodies against each other.” For the sake of younger readers, I won’t go into more detail, except for the fact that the definition of grinding is very, very close to the medical definition of sex. Which further means that grinding is basically clothed sex. Just because our generation may be freer with their actions than past ones, should not mean that it is okay to be dry humping in front of everyone. Not only is it worse than PDA (Public Displays of Affection), it is annoying and disgusting to many people.
Also, sexual dancing, such as grinding, is mentioned in the student handbook. It is stated in the handbook that the intent of the dances is to provide “a safe and healthy setting within the school environment to allow the students to enjoy the social atmosphere.” It also states that if any inappropriate dancing goes on (a listed example of this is sexually explicit gestures/contact) the student(s) will be asked to stop, and if they do not, they will be asked to leave the dance. Unfortunately, the administration has not been as successful as they would wish here. Many people are not enjoying or feeling comfortable at the school dances because of the grinding that goes on. Secondly, we can safely put grinding under the category of sexually explicit contact because of the nature of the dance, but unfortunately, action to stop the grinding has not been taken or successful although it is easily visible. However grinding at the dances isn’t just a specific person’s fault, it is the result of many different factors.
So how can this problem be solved? The administration, as we have seen, has not been successful in what they state in the handbook, but we have not been successful in stopping the grinding either. Many don’t care for the grinding that goes on and see it as disgusting and a poor reflection of character. Sometimes the administration and chaperones don’t want to step in because they don’t want to be the bad guys and don’t think much will change. We as students don’t want to say anything because we don’t want to stand out from the crowd, be seen as pious, or we simply don’t know what to say. Some have also voiced the opinion that we should all do our own thing because people will do what they want, so the dances never have the possibility of being grind-free. I disagree. People who stand for what they believe and support each other have a tendency to be successful. Schools across the nations have been doing this, and they’ve come up with some great and successful ideas. One popular idea is to have students wear wristbands or sign agreements signifying that they will not grind or participate in sexual dancing during the dance. Students lose one wristband if they are seen grinding or sexually dancing, and if they lose two, they are asked to leave. If they break their agreement, they are given a warning and then asked to leave. Another idea is to have dance instructors or lessons within the school to open up other ways of dance expression to us. Since grinding and sexual expression is so prevalent in our culture, it is no shock – in fact, it would be expected that we (teenagers) are seen repeating these things. That being said, it does not mean that it is okay or acceptable. If we had agreements and accountable chaperones (possibly students who are taking part in the dance themselves) and maybe even dancing instructors, our dances would create the enjoyable social environment that the staff wishes to create and students want to have. It starts with all of us who agree though; if we want to change it, we have to keep each other accountable and be willing to stand against sexually explicit expression at dances.
In conclusion, grinding just isn’t cool. And don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that if you grind, you are a bad person or should be looked down upon. I do not believe that at all. If you do grind, that is your choice, but during a school dance, it’s just not appropriate. And I am not the only one that has that opinion. In fact, in a recent mass email, I sent out I asked fellow classmates two questions. The first asked about their opinion on grinding at school dances and the second asked them what they thought should be done about it if they did not agree with it. Some students did not answer every question, but most did. Out of the 38 total responses I received, the opinion of 27 people was that grinding was not appropriate for school dances. The other responses I received said that they either liked it or didn’t care about it. When asked what to do about it, nine people said that we should be allowed to live our lives how we want to. I see this point of view and although I understand it, the idea presented here is not to restrict people’s actions but that it’s in the rules, and the only way society works smoothly is if people follow those rules – especially because of the morals behind them. Dancing in whichever way we want to might make sense at other dances, but at a school activity like school dances, there are rules that have to be followed. After those statements, there were some interesting responses. Eight people said that nothing can be done about it but nine other people said things can and should be done, and they followed that claim with ideas. I firmly agree with these people; we can’t claim that a situation is hopeless to change because nothing has been tried to make the change happen! If anyone who is reading this has any ideas, let me know by any way you can! Change can be made, because as I said before, people with a similar mindset who stand up together for what they believe have a way of being successful.
Therefore, since more people disagree with grinding than taking part in it, since it’s against the rules, and because of its negative effect on the dances’ environment and how we view others, grinding shouldn’t be practiced at our school dances.
- Cameron Blom