Outrage Over Little Girls Dressed like Hookers

A YouTube video of a dance class of 8 and 9 year olds in skimpy and suggestive clothing and dancing to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” has been circulating the internet today. Here it is, but be warned … it’s bad.

Following widespread internet outrage, attempts to view the video on the news site I originally found it on were now met with “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by World of Dance Tours.” From that site, WMUR:

The girls, and their teacher, along with many parents, don’t see the controversy.

“This is taken completely out of context,” Cory Miller, father of one of the girls, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday.

Miller said viewers need to understand that the girls’ performance was “completely normal for dancing.”

“Just know that the kids are doing something that they completely love to do. They compete in dance competitions … in front of family and friends,” Miller said.

Uh … riiiiiiiiiiiiight, Mr. Miller. Do you relate to this creepy father?

Okay, so one of my Journalism students came in this afternoon and asked if I’d watched the news this morning. Actually, I hadn’t, so she told me about these little kids dancing like hookers to a Beyonce song. I asked her to find the video so the class could see it and, after a brief delay, we were all grouped around my laptop watching this horribly creepy video. I mean, it was like kiddie porn, I josh you not. My students suggested that I write about it (they have been very supportive of my work here, patiently reading some of my pieces then responding in their daily journals), so here we are. Thank you, wonderful amazing Journalism class, for this great tip.

Back to WMUR:

But some YouTube viewers said the moves and outfits are inappropriate for girls that age.

“They’re extremely talented but some of the moves are way too adult,” one viewer wrote. “They could have chosen better costumes for them. They look like mini strippers … even Beyonce was more covered up.”

That viewer was diplomatic. I was so appalled that I couldn’t watch the entire video—it made my stomach churn. I know this sounds trite, but children grow up so fast these days. Why on earth would you want to have them gyrating around a stage dressed like prostitutes? It’s just sick!

One mother’s excuse explanation?

Another parent, Melissa Presch told GMA that her daughter has never seen Beyonce’s video, only the cartoon performance in the recently released children’s movie “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.”

Yeah, and that makes it completely all right. Let’s just keep on passing the buck. That makes so much sense …

I remember going clothes shopping for my older daughter when she was a baby and being taken aback by the available attire. The lace and the short skirts and the not-so-subtle sexual innuendos on t-shirts. I walked out of one store in a daze because I couldn’t imagine anyone dressing a little girl like that.

Children learn their values primarily from their parents, and this begins at a very young age. Speaking for myself, I would have refused to allow my child to dress in those completely ridiculous costumes. I mean, the dance instructor and I would have had a very long chat. There were quite a few kids there—how was it okay with such a large number of parents that their second- or third-grader looked like a pole dancer? I mean, these little girls could teach Lindsay Lohan a thing or two.

How subjective is the line between appropriate and inappropriate when you’re talking about elementary school kids?



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64 thoughts on “Outrage Over Little Girls Dressed like Hookers

  1. It’s insane how some parents let their daughters dress. I’m constantly shocked when I see 7-year-olds in miniskirts and bikinis.

    Parents–don’t dress your children like baby prostitutes. That is all.

  2. Okay I just watched this and I have to say, I disagree that the moves were inappropriate. If the girls were wearing outfits which covered them then there wouldn’t really be a “controversy”. The performance clothes which girls can get away with today go back to the pageant limits, which yeah, are creepily risque. However, I think it is important to realize that the girls likely aren’t thinking of this as “sexy”, as they are doing some INTENSE dance moves (they are extremely talented for their age). Also, I think we are ready to jump at anything today and claim it is exploitative, which I don’t think was the intent here. This was a serious dance competition which required talent, commitment, and some serious training. I don’t really see any issue except the outfits.
    What is sad is that the girls dancing here will not understand that they were doing anything wrong, will conflate the media explosion with their own transgressions and might either quit dancing or adopt a horrible self-image of themselves. Something like that can effect you for a long time.

    • I wholeheartedly agree. I used to do dance and I did a more risque routine to a Janet Jackson song when I was nine…but my outfit was more covering so no one batted an eye. Give the girls new outfits, keep the media away from them and make sure they get to keep dancing.

  3. Since when do children get to decide to do things because “they completely love to do” it? Or because everyone else is doing it (another excuse that was used)?
    Children don’t get to make decisions like that because they are children. Children would enjoy doing a lot of things that aren’t healthy for them. They don’t have the judgment of an adult.
    And when you let your children do things because everyone else is, you are basically letting other people parent your kids.
    The problem here isn’t the girls who were dancing. They got a lot of attention which I am sure they enjoyed. At that age, they wouldn’t know any better. The problem is the parents not stepping up and putting the brakes on it.
    Yes, the girls are very talented. But you can’t tell me that the instructor couldn’t come up with a more appropriate way to express that talent.

  4. I agree with Gigi, these little girls are just dancing. I also wonder, if you take away the ruffle and the socks, and you saw these girls at the beach, wearing this costume, would you be so appalled? I really don’t think this is much worse than a leotard.

    • I think you’re right, and I think Gigi’s right. I guess it’s the combination of things? The dancing probably wouldn’t have gained controversy if the girls were not sporting bare bellies, and I have certainly seen little girls on the beach in outfits that looked similar, with no one screaming “indecency!” When my husband first told me of this video, I said “so what?” I’m 28, and when I was a little girl, I was in ballet, and jazz and other dance classes- and at the recitals, we wore lycra outfits. Usually a little more covered than these ladies, in that our bottoms came down to our knees, but sometimes mid-drifts were out. Now, I didn’t dance anywhere near as well as these girls, but I don’t remember anyone saying ANYTHING about it. Nor did anyone say anything when I wore my bathing suit around the neighborhood all summer. I think people are freaking out too much about too little (so to speak… hahaha).

  5. The difference between the leotards and other lycra outfits that I wore when I was that age, even those that showed just as much skin, is that they weren’t designed to be overtly sexual. These very obviously are. Its ridiculous to compare a little girl wearing a pink or yellow bikini in the summertime playing with friends to a little girl wearing red and black lace bra, panties and thigh-highs dancing provocatively to “Single Ladies.”
    If a random person on the internet (me) can’t tell the difference between your 8-yr old and a midget extra from the Lady Marmalade video, then…. I don’t know.

  6. The dancing was wrong.
    The outfits were wrong.

    Pedophile heaven.

    What’s more disturbing is how many people don’t think it’s a big deal.

  7. Geez… I hata how the media have influenced childhood so much to the point where a child is more of an “adult” at a very young age: skimpy clothes, mobile phones, provocative dancing.
    I have four nieces, from 4 to 9 years of age, and every time I’m out there looking for some nice clothing for them to wear I end up in shock because the clothes are very much like those grown women wear (no the professional, mom kind of things) too short, too much cleavage, too many see-through things…
    Never in my wildest dreams would i let my nieces or my own child let alone wear something like that, dance to those moves. And reggeaton is not making it any easier here in Latin America!

  8. Who the fuck would be okay with this? Those of you who are referring to this as ‘dancing,’ I ask you, where else do you see dancing like this? In a freaking strip club! You want your eight year olds becoming strippers? If these girls think this is acceptable at age 8, they’re going to think walking around nude is the norm by age thirteen! These girls have talent, I won’t lie. But could they not be performing in the way that eight year olds should, in tutus or leotards?

    • Actually, I have no problem with walking around nude. That’s natural. And far less sexual than this overt getup.

  9. I think this movie made some pedophiles very very happy.

    Holy crap, those kids can dance, but I wouldn’t wear an outfit like that out in public (no, not even on Halloween). Why would you dress kids like that?? The dance moves were, for the most part, not that bad, but the outfits were terrifying. I’m sorry, fishnets and red satin and thigh-highs are nothing but overtly sexual.

  10. what I don’t understand is why this is coming up all of a sudden. This is nothing new.
    I agree that this is pretty appalling. But it’s par for the course. They aren’t doing anything any other dance troupe doesn’t do. Sure, this might be one more little notch up (the costumes are pretty bad), but it’s not really abnormal.
    At the higher levels of competition, all the groups are doing highly sexualized routines.
    I think it’s messed up, but it’s the whole system – not just this one dance, or these few parents.

    Look around youtube:
    some of the same kids a little younger:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXCDv0IorMQ
    others:
    5yrs – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbfesNrcu8s (must watch to 1min)
    <8yrs – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bANk-TE82Q
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfqAAQYtDfs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAsUhXif3CA

    If you're concerned by small girls doing adult moves, you're going to have to look a long way further than just this one.

  11. I was in ballet, tap, and then later jazz from when I was 5 to when I was 14 and honestly we wore clothes for recitals that showed a lot of skin especially for tap for some reason and no one blinked an eye, these girls are amazing dancers and should feel nothing but pride, the only difference in what I did for standard ballet and this is mine wasn’t done to beyonce, personally I see no controversy in this, just amazement at the talent and work this took.

  12. oh, I got pushed into moderation hell. I know I’ll never escape from that, so I’ll try again.

    what I don’t understand is why this is coming up all of a sudden. This is nothing new.
    I agree that this is pretty appalling. But it’s par for the course. They aren’t doing anything any other dance troupe doesn’t do. Sure, this might be one more little notch up (the costumes are pretty bad), but it’s not really abnormal.
    At the higher levels of competition, all the groups are doing highly sexualized routines.
    I think it’s messed up, but it’s the whole system – not just this one dance, or these few parents.

    If you’re concerned by small girls doing adult moves, you’re going to have to look a long way further than just this one.

    Look around youtube for more. I had originally posted some links to other kids between 5 and 11 doing the same moves, some in costumes almost as bad. My links got moderated though, so you’ll have to take a look for yourself. It’s definitely out there.

  13. What ever happened to playing house? The kinda work required to dance that good that young is insane. How can those kids have time to be kids.

    To me its just like those moms (and dads) who take their kids to the tiny tot beauty pageants. Adults living vicariously through their kids

    • My mother back in the sixties wouldn’t buy a Barbie doll for my little sister for that very reason. She maintained it unhealthy for little girls to be dressing a unrealistic,rocket titted woman. They should be playing house and caring for an infant baby doll. My sister grew up to be very centered and well adjusted. Barbie destroyed America.

      • I, on the other hand, had some barbies, and dressed them up on occasion. i didn’t notice her proportions until I was vastly too old to still play with it. I grew up perfectly self-aware and well adjusted.
        Blame people, not things.

    • “Playing House” went out because it was a way to train little girls to be housewives. Learning a performance art opens doors to well-paid and well-respected careers in theater, music, art and dance. I think an Odette has a more rewarding career than a mother of X who is practically chained to the stove.

      • If X’s mother wishes she’d been a ballerina, and Odette doesn’t want children, your point stands. But for women in general, it’s never fair to say that one thing is more rewarding than another. That depends so completely on the individual in reference.

        That said, I agree with your basic point about the value of performance. (Though personally. I’d elevate sport above it.)
        But children training for ballet wear simple leotards, and maybe skirts. And they learn classic moves. Many of us have mentioned support for the skill and the performance of the girls – which makes it all the more awful that they have sexualized it so much that the skill is buried.

        • Ballet I would consider a sport and not just an entertainment, it takes so much physically to be great and it has about the same lifetime as sports, generally your career in it is done by mid 30′s. Personally I would consider a lifetime musical ability a higher priority but hey something for everyone.

        • That’s fair. A lot of serious dance is very athletic. But not all performing arts are, and that’s the phrase to which I was responding.
          I think encouraging musical skills is great if the kid has them. Not everyone is born with musical aptitude, and for those, it’s probably just hell.

          But then, in general, i suggest encouraging children to pursue a variety of activities, and stick with those they enjoy. Everyone’s different, so there is not a lot that I’d say everyone should do.

  14. OK…I saw the video…and I think we need to take a step back for a minute…..
    First…think about these girls….they put what is obviously a LOT of hard work into this dance. And if they didn’t love dancing, they would not be that good at it….What’s happened now is that the work these kids put on is now all over the media, questioning whether or not what they did was awful. These 7 year old girls are now the focal point of scrutiny, and are publicly being tormented by people thinking that they’re “skanks”. There has got to be some sad confused little girls out there now.
    Now, I agree…those costumes are pretty wild….and there could have been a little more discretion used when they dressed them up. But as far as the pedophile aspect of it goes….speaking from a previous childhood experience…scanty outfits do not make a pedophile any more “pedophile-like”.
    We are trying to teach girls to be more comfortable with their self images every day. Telling them to ignore what the media portrays as beautiful, and find their inner selves. Then this happens, and these girls are now left to face a HUGE blow to their self confidence.
    I am a parent as well…granted to a boy, but I took dance….and the costumes were tight when I was a kid, and we were made to wear way too much make up for our age. But I didn’t have an issue with it, because no one made an issue of it. I’m not a hooker, or a slut, or a stripper. It was a costume I put on for the stage, and after…I was in jeans, climbing the trees with the rest of the kids. As a parent, I find the bigger the deal you make of something, the bigger the impact it has….Costume on…costume off….it’s a costume, not what you wear in public….period.

    I know of a time when women were crucified for wearing pants….and when Barbara Eden was told she had to cover up her belly button in the Genie outfit. Things have come a long way since then…..sex, and body image is now everywhere…..I think the best thing we can do is educate the children….because that is what they are….children. Shaming them is not they way to educate….and shaming the parents is just the same as shaming them. The more we publicize this…..the worse the epidemic.

    • Shaming the parents is not the same as shaming the kids. The kids are too young to know any better. We expect the parents to be making appropriate choices for them.

      • I love how you’re assuming that a 9 year old is just as ignorant as a 9 month old. Kids are sharply aware of their surroundings around age 3. Stop pretending that they don’t notice the world around them….that just makes them blatantly smarter than you.

        • I’m not saying they don’t notice anything. I’m saying that a typical nine year old does not yet have a good sense of how some things are interpreted, and doesn’t have a strong sense of actions and consequences.
          Nine year olds cannot yet be expected to think through the issues with presenting themselves to the world in a highly sexualized manner – especially when the people around them (parents, instructors, choreographers) are encouraging it.
          Parents still need to be influential in these things.
          And therefore while it is inappropriate to hold the children responsible, it is entirely justified to tell the parents they should be ashamed of themselves.

  15. The dance moves, I’m cool with. The girls are athletes and it’s pretty clear that they’re taking the dancing seriously. They’re emulating the current pop role models, so if anyone has an issue with the moves, they should be freaking out at Britney/Rihanna/Beyonce/Miley, because the choreography is straight out of their playbooks.

    My issue is with the costumes. They’re totally inappropriate, especially given how much movement is involved in the dancing. Again, I think they’re just trying to be like the entertainers they see on TV. But their parents should have had more common sense than to let their little girls wear outfits like that at their age. Hotpants and a belly-baring croptop are just not acceptable dance recital attire for the under 16 crowd.

    • You’re ok with that bending low and grinding the pelvis move? Because I’ve seen strippers make extra tips with that one. Completely inappropriate for pre-pubescent girls.

    • They could show off their skills and love for dance in a manner that is not as overtly sexual. There *are* dance moves that involve things other than shaking your chest and ass.
      The kids have nothing to do with this. They aren’t emulating anyone – they are wearing the costumes they were given, and dancing the steps they were taught.
      It is parents and dance instructors and choreographers who have decided that it is appropriate for children to show off their skills in moves better used by 25 year olds looking to show off their bodies.

  16. If they weren’t dressed like prostitots, I doubt as many people would be outraged. The dancing is seriously SKILLED…the choice in choreography and costume, not so much.

  17. Waaayyy back in 1982 when I was 11 I took jazz, tap ect. In jazz we did our recital piece to Super Freak by Rick James. And we were dressed fairly skimpily. BUT, the difference was in our dance moves. We didn’t grind and we didn’t grab our non-existant breasts ect. How can everyone be surprised though? All of the women on videos are simply put in the background to represent strippers pop lock n’ droppin’. It’s some of the only dancing that a lot of girls aspire to. Sad.

    • Just had a grandson ask me say I must have been born in the 1980′s since I’m getting soooo old. He also told his friend “see, I told you she was a cool gramma.”

  18. The thing is — if people are okay with this, it will raise the standards for the next group of dancers. It happened with cheerleaders and they had to go skimpier and skimpier just to be noticed. So, what’s the next group of kids going to have to wear? I’ve heard the parents say it’s just like kids wearing a bikini at the pool. Yes. But most little girls don’t have thigh high stockings at the pool. I feel bad for the kids, because they love to dance and simply don’t know better. They’re just doing and wearing what they were told to. As a parent, I thought it was too much. Like one poster said, what ever happened to playing house? Kids are forced to grow up so quick these days. I think that’s sad.

  19. This video is a pedophile’s dream!

    Yes, they’re talented but girls this young shouldn’t be bumping and grinding. And what the parents were thinking when they let there LITTLE girls wear those outfits is beyond me.

  20. This is how paedophiles are made. This is what theyre craving for. Whoever thinks this thing is normal needs to be shot. Paedophilia has been going on for centuries and it is found under various disguises. Modeling and acting are two of them. I wonder when the idiot show TODDLERS&TIARAS will be cancelled. They cancelled HEROES, BETTER OFF TED and other series but that shit is alive and well. Useless to ask urself why. Yeah, so much for freedom, so much for democracy…

    • You can’t MAKE someone a pedophile. They either are attracted to young children or are not. Just like you can not MAKE someone gay or not gay.

      • Let me clarify that I do not not not equate the two though. Primarily because there is nothing wrong with two adults having consensual sex, whereas there is something wrong with a child having sex.

  21. This is all a big load of bollocks by people who have too much spare time in their hands.

    Those girls are KILLING it, they dance like true pros and they are, how old? 6, 7 years old? They are amazing and everybody’s talking about the dance moves as the outfits, completely ignoring the fact that it must have taken them months to put together that amazing choreography. They are truly skilled and nobody’s said it. I wish I could dance like them!

    The dance moves are not creepy, it is us with our “oh my God somebody think of the children” attitude. The dance moves are intense, and maybe, just maybe, they could have got rid off or one or two moves, but the others? Pretty fucking impressive. As for the outfit, they’re more covered than most little girls at the beach. I would like to add that in Europe most girls their age only wear a bikini bottom when at the beach AND NOBODY THROWS A TANTRUM because they are little kids and there is nothing sexual about their bodies, except what we see in them.

    • I agree that the girls are incredibly talented–but I still find the costumes combined with the moves (and the song) completely appalling. Also, a little girl in a bikini bottom making sand castles is hardly comparable to these kids in garters and lace bumping and grinding. It’s overtly sexual in a way that nudity isn’t.

    • Can I add that Katie and at least 9 other repliers mentioned how talented they were? Yeah, before you go on thinking you’re such a skilled arguer, don’t make up complete BS.

      • Go on their youtube video, moron. I wasn’t talking about the comments here, but on the youtube video and the Evil Beet article. Eat shit.

    • they are clearly very talented. all the more unfortunate that their talent is overshadowed by their hypersexuality. They could be doing all sorts of impressive dance moves that would concentrate attention on their skills rather than their bodies.

      They are dressed in a manner to show off sexually. There is nothing sexual about kids running around in swimsuits or nude on the beach.
      There is something extremely sexual about girls in lacy panties, thigh-highs and fishnet.

      Sorta the way nudists aren’t sexual, but negligee is. This is overtly sexual, and completely inappropriate.
      Their choreographer should be creating something that shows off their abilities without turning them into miniwhores.

      • Agreed.

        Heck, I was in dance when I was younger, and we had some really awesome routines that didn’t rely on any kind of sexualized moves or costumes. It’s sad that that’s they way things are going these days.

        • Same here. I was on competitive dance and cheerleading teams from when I was eight until I was fourteen. Our choreographers played down the sex and played up our skills, and they gave us costumes that were appropriate for young girls. Many other teams would focus completely on sexuality with very little real dance moves, and I remember it being off-putting even back then (I am still traumatized by a particular number to Janet Jackson’s “Throb”). And my teams frequently won! So although I don’t think this video is anything out of the ordinary when it comes to dance teams, I wish this were not the case, since one can have a great dance routine with great dance in it without being so sexual.

  22. I hope that someone tells the girls in this video that they aren’t skanky and disgusting and didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just that the adults involved should have made sure their performance was approperate for their age.

  23. When Los Angeles (and Hollywood) are a radioactive sea of glass, I think this sort of thing will become less commonplace. And when there’s mandatory sterilization for everyone with less than an IQ of 135, the problem will decrease further. ;-)

    • An IQ of 100 is average and normal. By killing everyone that scores below the unusually high outlier of 135, you raise the average and all the 135′s that you kept alive are now 100. You’ll have to kill them too. I’m also going to go out on a limb and say that your IQ is probably closer to 100 that 135. If you’re not going to take the time to understand what you are saying, follow your own plan for offing all the non-geniuses and start with yourself.

      • No, you’re not understanding.
        You don’t have to kill any of them. He’s not advocating death. He’s advocating sterilization – lack of reproduction. Everyone gets to live, but only the smartest few get to reproduce. Therefore, the next generation is likely to have a higher average IQ. Then, once again, only the smartest bit is permitted to reproduce, further helping the cycle.

        Then again, whether it gets higher and higher also depends on whether you are scoring the tests as we currently have them, or working only on percentile rankings.

        I’m not advocating this, just explaining it. There are no personal thoughts in this post.

  24. I am just baffled by people who claim that this is the way competitive dance works. I spent a very (VERY) long evening at my little cousin’s dance competition, composed of dancers of various ages, and not one single piece was choreographed like this. Nor were any of the girls wearing outfits even close to as provocative this. Even the 18 year olds were covered up better than the little girls in that video.
    The fact that these little girls are such amazing dancers make the whole event that much sadder. What are we telling our youth when they are encouraged to use genuine talent and hard work in order to create a sexy payoff? The only way anyone is going to appreciate you is if you throw some grinding motions into your otherwise beautiful ballet movements?
    I recently went to the Toronto opening of ‘Rock of Ages’ (a play that originally opened on Broadway, but has just made its way here), and was absolutely disgusted by the show. There were female actors in stage who undoubtedly could sing and dance, but were utilized only as a set of tits and ass to prance about the stage. The opening number was 80% composed of these girls bending over and shaking their thongs into the front row. The lead in the play is an up and coming Canadian actor (she originally found fame as the winner on a Canadian reality TV show which allowed viewers to vote on who they wanted to play Maria in a Toronto production of “The Sound of Music”). Is this really the only work she could get? Is this how she conceived was the best way to get ahead in the theatre business? Surely she must strive for something else. I was so appalled, I would had left had I not been acting as a representative for an organisation.
    It really saddens me that women of talent are required to act in a sexual manner in order to garner attention in our society. It’s just heartbreaking, and even more so to see these young girls are learning that awful lesson so early.

  25. You keep saying they’re dancing like hookers…I’ve seen some hookers in my day, and not a one of them danced.

    That being said, I agree with Gigi. The dancing isn’t bad, but the costumes are over the top. Give them something a little less revealing and the problem is alleviated.

  26. Pingback: Zelda Lily Zingers: The Best of This Week’s Comments — Did You Get a Zinger This Week? | Zelda Lily: Feminism in a Bra

  27. My sister insists on dressing her now 7-year-old daughter to the nines at all times, including sending out a recent photo via an email entitled “7 going on 28″. Brain death may be involved.

    There is no question in my mind that a 7 year old in platform ankle strapped sandals, jewellery, eyepopping funkwear, lipstick (wake up cupcake, lip gloss is lipstick too) and a large handbag is not dressed appropriately for a day at school.

    What concerns me with dressing young girls for a night on the bar trail is the sub-text. That text, which children are adept at reading, says the following things in capital letters:

    1. It is critical to me and my fragile ego that YOU are dressed the way I want at all times. (sub-sub text here is “gee I craved attention so desperately that I wanted to dress like this but my mean old mom wouldn’t let me, so let’s live my frustrated dream for specialness through you, darling!)

    2. It is immaterial to me how you want to dress.

    3. It is a really good thing to over-dress and make yourself the constant object of envy and disapproval.

    4. It is a really good thing to over-dress and make yourself the constant object of sexual interest.

    5. There is no distinction to be made between being shocking and being assertive.

    6. If people really love us, they will be tactful and forbearing when we act out, and this is a great way to test the depth of their love for us.

  28. Wow are you a pervert or what? Do you go to swimming pools and call mothers and fathers “creepy” for watching their kids? Do you go to ballet lessons and do that? How about gymnastics? Sick that you would call a guy creepy for no reason/

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