Moscow Circus – An Open Letter

Have you been to see the Moscow Circus lately? They’re a very talented crew and it’s a highly entertaining show but by the end of it, I was at boiling point. We wanted to have a wholesome, fun, family night out but instead we exposed our children to sexual images we really didn’t want them to be processing yet.

I felt like a prude so didn’t say anything to anyone (except my husband who absolutely agreed with my feelings) but after I saw the reaction Melinda Tankard Reist got after writing to Lovable about their latest Jennifer Hawkins ad campaign, I felt encouraged to do the same.

I rang the circus today to get an email address. They wanted to know the nature of my email so I told them and was told that the circus is a show “for all age groups”.

I need to point out that the photos below are from the Moscow Circus website and that they’re pretty tame compared to some of the outfits (and poses) on the night.

Here’s the letter I emailed today.

Dear Mr Hall

My husband and I recently took our children to see your show in Windsor NSW. We enjoyed most of the performances but as a mother I had one major concern: many of the female performers were dressed in attire more fitting for exotic dancers or strippers than entertainers of young children. My children (aged 6, 4 and 3) were exposed to a level of sexuality much higher than is appropriate for their young minds.

The circus was marketed directly to children. Flyers were handed out at local pre schools and primary schools and well positioned blow-up clowns made sure every child in the Hawkesbury area wanted to attend.

I understand that the female performers’ costumes need to be body-hugging to assist with safety and mobility. What I don’t understand is why the costumes consist of sparkly crop tops, hot pants and sexy boots or black bras and tight, low cut jeans.

While impressed by the bravery and skill of the performers, I was disappointed to have to explain to my six year old daughter during intermission that these clothes were not good to wear.  The children were in awe of the skill of the performers, especially the women. I was frustrated that yet again, my children were being taught that successful women must be sexy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the initial contortionist’s performance. Dressed in a leopard print full bodysuit, we as the audience were allowed to enjoy the performance without being confronted with her sexuality. I cannot say this about most of the other performances. I also took note of the fact that many of the performers outfits featured hand-like motifs on the breasts. Unfortunately, children do not miss these connotations.

The final motorbike performance particularly offended me. The act featured women standing around in sexy, black bras and tight, low cut jeans, cheering on the boys as they did tricks. This is not how I want my children to view womanhood.

Honestly, if I had seen material suggesting that the female performers were to be dressed so inappropriately for a young audience, I wouldn’t have bought the tickets. Accordingly, I won’t buy tickets to a Moscow Circus again, unless I see evidence of a change in the portrayal of the female performers. These are talented, brave women who deserve to be respected and portrayed accordingly.

My challenge to you is this: if you plan to continue advertising your show to children, please ensure performers are dressed appropriately for their viewing.

Please take time to consider my thoughts. I look forward to reading your response.

Kind regards

Joni Leimgruber

I’ll keep you posted.



8 thoughts on “Moscow Circus – An Open Letter

  1. I haven’t seen Moscow Circuis for many years, but I do recognise the issue that you’re highlighting. Funny – the men are in full length (arms and legs) costumes, and the women so scantily clad. If safety really is an issue, I wonder how the men can wear ‘so much’.

    It IS such a shame when our children have sexuality so blatantly flashed in their face. I wouldn’t want my children to be exposed to it either.

    #Note to self: Avoid Great Moscow Circus when it comes to Qld.

    • Thanks for your comment Kat and good point – why DO the men always wear ‘normal’ clothes? Hmm.. food for thought. In other news: I hope everything’s going okay.. xx

  2. Pingback: Writing Letters – is it worth it? « Every (1) Matters

  3. Having older boys, we find we have to constantly protect them from images that would cause them to be prematurely sexually aware. The issue of scantily clad women was not our only concern with the circus. The Ring-Master pretended to be drunk at one stage splashing the crowd with “Vodka” (this was only water, but children are literal & thought he was actually drunk). And so, we found ourselves de-briefing our children on more than one issue on this night. Wholesome family entertainment!

    • Thanks for your comment Rach 🙂 Funny that you guys had to discuss it all with your kids too. Our kids didn’t notice the drunk bit so I didn’t even think about that… it wasn’t all that wholesome was it.

  4. You guys really need to get over yourselves. EVERYTHING is like that nowadays. I’m a 17 year old girl and i don’t find it offensive. Sure, they could wear more clothes and some parts were a little confronting but it didn’t matter. They were talented, you should have been enthralled enough not to care about what they wore. I saw the Great Moscow circus last weekend with my two and eight year old nieces along with my grandmother. If anyone is as posh and believes in covering yourselves up as much as she does, ill be a monkeys uncle or aunt, whatever. But she didn’t say anything, she said she liked their outfits, that they were very pretty, neither did either of my nieces. My baby niece thought the acts and performers were magical, my grandmother said she’d even take them again. That’s all it needs to be. Stop throwing off at a childrens circus, they’ve done more to many different communities then you ever will, as are they more talented then you will ever be. It sounds more like your just trying to find something to through off at them about. Let’s hope you didn’t put your children off seeing circus’, they deserve to have fun every once in a while.

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