Friday, October 31, 2008

Putting the Nasty in Nastia

Molly and I went to the Gymnastics Superstars event last night. It featured Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liuken, as well as the entire men’s 2008 Olympic team. Molly was beside herself with excitement, and so was I! I can still remember how enamored I was with Mary Lou Retton in 1984 and how I would have done anything, anything, to meet my loves-- Bart Conner and Mitch Gaylord. Tim Daggett? Yeah, him too.

Last night’s show was put on by Disney, so I expected a little Disneyfication, but I figured for the most part, it would be watching girls and guys in leotards performing amazing feats on the rings, the beam, etc, just like in the Olympics. The sweat of the gym, bright lights, grunts of exertion, some chalk dust in the air.

I hadn’t seen any commercials for it, so I was unprepared for the pseudo-sexual teenybopper rock aspect of last night’s show. Rather than leotards, the women wore sparkly bikini-like costumes or tiny school-girl skirts paired with thigh high stockings. The men’s team was shirtless with blue jeans (made out of very stretchy material, I presume) and cargo shorts. The lights were low and music blared the whole time.

It was weird to see Shawn Johnson, that beautiful little fireplug of muscles and power, tarted up in mesh and sequins flinging her hair around during her floor routine. Check out Shawn in this clip.
It’s funny b/c I’ve always thought that the Olympic leotards should be much more flattering, but after last night, I’ve changed my tune. Even though some leotards look like a sparkly duck died on the shoulder, and the bottoms tend to creep up during strenuous maneuvers, they lend an air of athleticism rather than voyeurism to the whole scene.

These young men and women are world-class athletes who have trained for years and years to be able to do stuff 99.95% of people could never do. I think their get-ups and gyrating dances took away from this. I mean I could dress up in a skanky outfit and dance with a ribbon. You wouldn’t want to watch me, but still.

Wires came down from the ceiling, transporting the gymnasts upward for a Cirque du Soliel effect. There was an all-girl rock band playing, plus Jordan Pruitt, whom I had never heard of, but Jake says is a Disney rocker he saw on a box of Mac and Cheese last year.

There was a whole Hannah Montana send-up and the male gymnasts dressed up like the Jonas Brothers. Good cross promotion, Disney.

Toward the end, Nastia donned a plain white, conservative leotard and did a floor routine set to “Ave Maria.” It was beautiful, albeit jarring after everything else we had seen up until that point. I couldn’t help but think that last night highlighted the Nasty over the Nastia.

I really believe we all would have enjoyed it just as much if it had been a straightforward gymnastics event. Oh well, the tweens ate it up! It was the best night of Molly’s life and Jake is sad he missed it. Nastia and Shawn looked like they were having a blast, too. Now I need to go get Molly into her Hannah Montana Halloween costume. Go figure.


Shana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shana said...

Isn't it FRUSTRATING that everything from gymnastics to clothes to toys has to be totally trampified if our daughters are the target audience? ENOUGH ALREADY. I blame Bratz.

I posted and deleted this comment because I found a horrible grammar error. Anal, much?

L said...

Nice clip. Was there a pole dancing segment?

Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...


I hate Bratz, too. Ugh

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I 50% dread that phase that my daughter will go through (Hannah Montana, Bratz) and 50% look forward to watching my husband squirm. He just dreads that part of having a daughter.

As for lunch - let me figure out a day that my boss won't be around. She's been kind of scary lately (must be the economy) and if she's in the office - I don't want to leave for more than a 1/2 hour for lunch.

Gretchen said...

I was going to comment "unbelievable" but actually, it is pretty believable. Our daughters and sisters are exposed to everything younger and younger. Some parents don't help - letting 5-year-olds have "spa day" and expensive clothes and purses. What is there to look forward to when you're an adult anymore? Why are parents in such a hurry to let their girls become women? Girls won't stop trying but parents need to really put their foot down.

Anonymous said...

As soon as that clip started, I started wondering where the dance pole was (i.e. the strip club pole...). It's sad that our children are being exposed to such trashy entertainment.

Unknown said...

It is so IRRITATING that EVERYTHING is becoming all about sex. I just want to take my daughter and hide her away from all that crap. It's ridiculous!

Maura said...

Yikes! Sounds like quite an evening!

K said...

Too bad it couldn't have been more Olympic competition like. I am a bit weirded out by the thought of male gymnasts in jeans and no shirts, yes, definitely weirded out.

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