Students get on their grind

Abby Goldberg, Opinion Editor

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Homecoming, TWIRP and Prom are some of the events teenagers look forward to the most during their time in high school. Spending hours getting ready with friends, taking photos with your date and dancing are just some of the things that create an enjoyable evening.
However, grind circles and other inappropriate dancing has begun to make people refrain from attending these dances.
Grinding is defined as a type of dance where two or more people rub their bodies against each other in a sexual way.
“A guy has a tie on his head to catch the sweat, his shirt is basically ripped opened and the girl is leaning over 90 degrees,” junior Miya Chiodi said. “That’s horrifying. Do what you want, but that’s just gross.”
Grinding appears so frequently at dances that it has become a cultural norm.
With this new norm comes a high degree of social pressure.
“Part of the reason I’m not going to Homecoming is because I don’t like seeing people grind and I feel like I would have to grind with my boyfriend,” Chiodi said.
Most people grind at dances now because there is nothing else to do. When everyone else does it, other people think they have to do it too.
Seeing their friends and fellow classmates dance inappropriately can make a student think it is okay to act disrespectfully on the dance floor as long as he or she is fitting in.
“I feel like some people would be pressured into it just depending on how confident they are as a person and how much they rely on other people’s approvals,” Chiodi said.
In the school handbook, it states that “students are expected to refrain from displaying inappropriate affection at school.” All students signed the handbook, agreeing to the rules inside. Even though these dances do not take place during school hours, students are still on school grounds at Homecoming and TWIRP. Therefore, sexualized dancing should have no place at school dances and students should be behaving appropriately.
“It’s a symbolization of sex, which we are too young to be doing,” senior Gage Bartel said. “Plus, you’re doing this in school — come on, you’re in public.”
Sexualizing things in school can lead to dangerous situations.
“As a freshman, I was trying to have a good time dancing with my friends near the front of the stage,” said a female GCHS student that prefers to remain anonymous. “Then, out of nowhere, a guy comes up to me and starts to touch me inappropriately. I tried to push him off and I said no, but he just kept going. I ran away, but I was hurt and sad. I left the dance immediately.”
She was not interested in grinding, but bceause others around her were dancin like that, it may have made what happened seem socially acceptable to the male in the situation.
What happened can be considered sexual assault and should have never happened.
“I think it’s sad that people are afraid to go to their own dances,” said the student.
Not only are many students opposed to dancing in such ways, there are teachers on the dance floor that have to watch their students dance inappropriately and disagree with what they are doing.
“I find it to be disrespectful to yourself, your date and everyone else at the dance,” math teacher and Prom planner Lora Ciferri said. “I often ask students if they would dance like that if their parents and grandparents were there, and they say ‘no’ because they respect them. So, why is it okay to dance like that around your friends?”
A girl will typically spend hours doing her hair and makeup to look and feel beautiful for one of these dances.
What’s the point of spending all that time getting ready if all your date isn’t even going to look you in the eyes?
“When a girl takes the time and effort to fancy herself up… and all you do is look at the back of her head the whole time [while you’re dancing], that just doesn’t make sense to me,” special education department chair Joshua Peterson said.
These dances are supposed to provide a romantic night with one’s date, but instead of wanting the personal slow dances, students would rather grind.
“The art of slow dancing is gone,” Peterson said. “At Prom they only play like two to three slow songs. When I was in high school, the slow dances [were] what we looked forward to because it was supposed to be kind of a romantic night.”
Because grinding is an easy way to gain acceptance from peers, students seem to be unaware of other, more respectful ways to dance.
“As a baseball coach, I’ve kind of informally asked the guys [if they make girls dance inappropriately] and they say, ‘Oh no, the girls want us to do that,’” Peterson said. “Well, probably not, but sometimes I wonder if it’s a lack of not knowing what to do. It’s not like they’re going to line dance or something.”
One solution to the grinding problem is having students learn new ways to dance. If they have fun dancing other ways, maybe the desire to grind will lessen.
“I would like to see us teach our students new ways to dance,” Ciferri said. “It’s not about knowing pro hip-hop routines. It’s about having a few cool moves you can share with your friends.”
Many people talk about disliking the dancing that goes on, but no one ever comes forward and tries to do something about it.If students are truly passionate, they should attempt to find other solutions.
“Ultimately, it’s about having kids be leaders and step up to show that there are other ways to do it,” Peterson said.

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Students get on their grind