Bring back the Tucked in Sweater- A Mother’s take on Pop Culture

  image

Sing- along Fun

There we were.  My three daughters and I. Cruisin’ along in the minivan, radio on high, having a little sing-along:

Me: I may be bad but I’m perfectly good at it.

Take it girls…

Ava (age 9): Sex in the air, you know I love the smell of it.

Zed (age 6): Sticks and stones may break my bones.

Mini: (age 4): But whips and chains excite me.

Together: nana na na na. Come on, come on come on. I like it, like it…

*******

Fret not, this didn’t actually happen. Because when songs, like Rihanna’s S & M, come on the radio, I change the station.

The Bubble Protection Program

I casually switch from one station to the next, trying not to let sex, drug and violent lingo permeate the bubbles of innocence that are around my kids. I work hard to maintain these bubbles.

I know the lyrics would simply go over the heads of Zed and Mini but not Ava.  She loves singing and she hears the words. I don’t want her singing about sex, hickies and drunken Friday nights.

She’s nine.

It should still be about unicorns and rainbows, when you’re nine, shouldn’t it?

Wishful thinking.

I miss the innocence of my own youth when Madonna was the only one hooching it up and songs, like: Me so Horny and Boom, Boom, Boom (Let’s go Back to my Room), could be counted on one hand.

Those were the days, huh?

I’m with Annie Lennox on this one…

Music videos today are a whole other topic of agitation for me, as a mom.  This is why they’re never on in our house. Sure lots of performers have talent, creativity and vision.

Lady Gaga is half-naked in the name of art. Katy Perry adorns her boobs with ice cream sundaes because who doesn’t love a cherry on top? Robin Thicke is pervy, gropey and creepy.

Whenever I give MTV a chance I see women degrading themselves – selling their sexuality all in the name of entertainment because simulating a blow job is artistic expression, not porn, right?

Annie Lennox described such pop stars perfectly when she described them as: “pimp and prostitute at the same time.”  She views their behaviour as: “a glorified and monetised form of self-harm.”

I’m with Annie here and I don’t want my kids looking at this and thinking it’s okay, or worse yet, that it’s something to aspire to.

Long gone are the days of Debbie Gibson and Tiffany with their big hair and tucked in sweaters.

I miss Cyndi Lauper, in her side pony, singing Girls Just Wanna have Fun…

So, you can sing and you’re gorgeous but how’s your finger filacio?

According to the music industry girls have to be slim, beautiful and capable of carrying a basic tune.  This isn’t news; it’s been this way for years. But it now seems that this is no longer enough. It turns out that in order to qualify as a successful female singer you must be willing to set free your inner porn star.

Performers from Britney to J-Lo are giving us a pseudo-glimpse of what they look like when they’re actually having sex. They writhe around solo on a beach or on the ground wrapped in a sheet. They’re basically having sex with themselves while mouthing the words to their songs.

J-Lo wants us to see that she’s still “got it.” Miley wants us to know that Hannah Montana is dead and that she’s been replaced by a twerking, giant-tongue wagging, Mistress of Seduction…

Sex.

Sex.

And more sex.

No, actually, my name isn’t Agnes…

Sometimes, when I share my opinions about current pop culture, I sound like my name is Agnes or Enid. I come across as old, out of touch and closed minded, like the perfect BFF for the pastor in Footloose.

I use words like: appalling, distasteful and disgraceful.

Inappropriate is my favourite descriptive word to use, when referring to that which I deem to be unsuitable.  It’s a versatile word that can be applied to a range of categories from swear words to YouTube.

I use it when Ava comes downstairs while I’m watching Orange is the New Black.

I use it when she tells me that “all” the kids in her class are allowed to watch Walking Dead.

I say it so often that Ava has started using it.  Witnessing her saying it to her sisters has allowed me to see what kind of message it sends out.

When she says it, it sounds closed and final. It makes the topic seem beyond the reach of the recipients. It shuts the conversation down, like a door in the face.

I used it last week when Ava asked about the Wrecking Ball video.

My needle is out and I’m ready to start popping…

Ava was curious about the video. She said that some of the kids at school had seen it. I was about to close the door on the topic but I stopped myself and instead, I said: “Actually, let’s go watch it.”

With a look of shock and bewilderment, she agreed.

We googled Miley’s video. We sat together and we watched it. Ava produced a few scrunched up faces and let out a few “ews” and when the video was finished she said: “I like her music but I don’t like the way she acts.”

We chatted a little more about it and then she went off to play with her sisters.

Pop

Ping

Splooooosh

You hear that?

Those are the sounds of bubbles bursting. I can’t maintain them forever and if I try, I’ll end up creating a barrier between me and my kids instead.

There are plenty of things that I don’t want my kids to watch, learn and hear but I can’t conceal those things forever and when they do watch, learn and hear them I want my girls to feel like they can come to me.

No doors. No barriers. No Agnes

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “Bring back the Tucked in Sweater- A Mother’s take on Pop Culture

  1. Soo. How do you really feel about pop culture?
    Your underlying tone of anger, and probably more importantly fear, are what so many moms experience as their children grow. Being a mom, like growing old, is not for whousies. There just isn’t enough bubble wrap.

  2. I agree totally Shannon…but it pains me to think of ALL the vile things we will have to allow our kids to see, hear and experience in this day and age. Can’t we shield them just a little bit without alienating them? I certainly don’t have the answers. But I do think about things like this even though my son is only two. I think you did the right thing by watching that video with your daughter. It was probably harder on you than it was on her:) Great, thought-provoking post! Sweet dreams;)

    • Thanks Jennifer, It’s not an easy time to raise kids. Technology makes it difficult for us to monitor what they see and the music industry appeals to them (as most kids love music) but it doesn’t consider their well-being, they leave that to us! Thanks so much for commenting!

    • So true. And when my daughter tells me of her plans to become an actress (or a singer, she’s open to either lol) I can’t help but think about how it often ruins peoples lives. Even our own Toronto Mayor has smoked crack and the entire world knows it. The teaching moments do seem to be in endless supply. The mayor lesson is a hard one to spin though… Thanks so much for reading and commenting Sarah.

  3. I think the first time I really thought about this was when my elementary age child was singing along to that song where the woman vandalizes her boyfriends car when she discovers he’s cheating on her. So much of the lyrics in songs nowadays are so inappropriate…honestly I myself wonder why they sing about the things they do. My kids are all teenagers now, and I know they’ve seen plenty of inappropriate things, but we talk about it, and I know they think a lot of it is ridiculous too. I think they’ve got good heads on their shoulders. Not that they won’t ever do something stupid or make a mistake, but I feel pretty comfortable that they’re fairly mindful most of the time.

    • It is absolutley a bigger deal to us than it is to them. They just get on with it while we worry! Sounds like your kids are heading in the right direction and that your relationship with them is nice and open. Thanks so much for commenting!

  4. Love this approach! I SO agree that we can’t keep our kids from the world if we expect them to be able to function in it. Just not looking forward to dealing with those problems. I hear as kids get bigger, so do their problems. I’m not ready!!! Thanks for sharing this with me! #SITSblogging

    • Thanks for reading and commenting! Well, let’s hope that their problems grow gradually (sort of like contractions lol) so that we have the chance to build up our tolerance to them, little by little. Not so certain the labour analogy works here but it came to mind so I went with it…

  5. This is so right on the money. The other day I heard my daughter sing ‘do what you want, what you want with my body’ She’s 4! I was appalled…driving a friend’s car we had access to a new diversion so we switched to a Disney storybook CD and got 3 stories of victimized sweet, lovably helpless women being rescued by a man. Who actually makes the buying decisions for these horrible images? In the case of Disney princesses or pop music, it’s often us, 20, 30 something moms.

    • Hey Lesley, it is disturbing when words like that come out of their mouths. As for who makes the decisions regarding these images, lyrics etc., I like to think it’s not mothers but is instead people without kids who don’t know any better…
      As for princesses , I think it is a cycle that’s hard to break. Our girls are told that they like princesses from such a young age (they are on their sippy cups and their trikes) that its hard to decipher if they even got to make the choice to like them or not. My littlest of the 3 is the most princess obsessed so far. I have to admit, I prefer them any day over the older Disney shows that Ava likes to watch (we just have Netflix now so she can’t😉 ) Princesses are make-believe and I like that category. The characters in Jesse and Shake it up aren’t cartoon and therefore i see their characters as more influential and the girls are more likely to emulate the way they speak, dress and act. Including eye rolling and door slamming. Damn you Disney!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s