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15th Apr 2021

Why this ‘navy twerking’ dance has caused outrage in Australia

George McKay

The video has caused some serious naval gazing

A video of dancers twerking in hotpants in front of a newly commissioned naval ship in Australia has gone viral and sparked a national debate.

What was meant to be a celebratory event of a new ship was attacked by conservative voices and lawmakers as ‘inappropriate’.

Discussions were rampant across social media, and stills from the video were splashed across front pages, claiming the dancers’ routine was too sexualised.

This in turn caused the dance troupe to complain of media coverage, which sparked a debate about women’s bodily autonomy.

The video was posted to Twitter, with reportedly spliced shots of the most suggestive parts of the twerking routine alongside the rather muted reactions from military leaders, according to the BBC.

That tweet has since been deleted, but provided the perfect launching pad for a viral storm.

Matters were further complicated when the Navy confirmed that none of the officials present in the original video were actually there to see the dance, which had occurred earlier.

Even with this information, people have claimed it is an inappropriate display at a military event.

One senator, Jacqui Lambie, said; ‘Good on those young ladies for getting out there, but I tell you, being half clothed outside a warship is probably inappropriate.’

However, what started as discussion about whether the dance routine was the best way to mark the occassion, quickly devolved into body shaming and sexualisation of the performers.

On Thursday morning, the scandal was the top billing on Australian TV and radio, and began trending on Aussie Twitter.

Eventually, the 101 Doll Squadron, the troupe involved in the furore, spoke out and blamed the media for amplifying the toxicity in the story for causing the most harm.

Of the now-deleted Twitter edit, the statement read:

We found this very creepy and reflects more on the ABC’s camera operator and their need to sexualise these women and their dance piece for their own gratification

ABC, who’s journalist posted the footage, issued an apology, saying; ‘the video should not have been edited in that way and the ABC apologises to the Governor-General and the Chief of Navy, and to viewers, for this error.’