Some days its a struggle not to become a big judgemental fuddy-duddy in my old age. I hear that voice in my head and wonder who the hell it is? You know, the one that says shit like:
"WHAT. ON. EARTH. is that girl wearing?" or "Are you serious? THIS is what kids call music these days?" or the ever popular "Well, I never (insert thing you never have/will/or would do in your lifetime)...."
Its hard to look around some days and NOT think that the world is going to "hell in a hand-basket" (that's fancy for really fucked up!) and we had better just hold on for dear life and hope we don't all fall out of our baskets and into the proverbial lake of fire!
I can't help but think that every generation feels this way when they see all the new fan-dangled ways that the younger generation goes about their business. The way they dress, the way they talk, the kind of music they listen to and the way the world (and primarily technology) is changing, which these days is kind of like one of those crazy super exponential math problems that I for one, could never quite figure out!
The kids these days love their Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. I loved Madonna and Billy Idol. They have Edward and Bella and we had Keifer Sutherland in 'The Lost Boys'. Short shorts or leggings are the uniform du jour for most teenage girls right now and in my day, it was mesh crop tops and fluorescent hammer pants. I am sure a lot of "grown ups" thought we were a bunch of crazy kids, listening to our devil music and wearing our clothes backwards (Kris Kross will make you JUMP! JUMP!!) and rolled their eyes at us just as much as my generation does today seeing some of the things the kids do that make us all go, HUH???
Being a parent brings all of this front and centre in your life. You become painfully aware of the world you live in and the influences that exist outside of you and your home on your children. Things that never bothered you before, all of a sudden become the things that keep you up at night wondering how/when or why it may or may not mess up your children's lives.
Ok,I am sorry.
(I am taking full credit for that one, as Urban Dictionary only lists vaguetweeting and vaguebooking as actual things!).
I've got a problem with Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines song. And the YouTube-banned video and the subtext of the lyrics and the fact that the lines may be blurry, but the message (at least to me) is NOT! You can head over to read Julie Green's post at Yummy Mummy Club for a sampling of the lyrics and Thicke's explanation that all three of the contributing artists are "happily married with kids" to justify that it's just a song and they are just having some fun objectifying women, something they don't get to do in real life, because they have "...always respected women".
Here is my issue. These LINES can get VERY blurry for a lot of kids, the primary consumer of this particular brand of pop culture. Oh, I don't know, how about a bunch of drunk boys at a party in Ohio, thinking that it would be fun to just objectify and follow around and subsequently sexually assault a passed out sixteen year old girl. Supposedly "good boys" at that, who didn't realize that what they were doing was a crime. That in the end, what they did, was in fact NOT funny at all, NOT actually that blurry of a line and didn't make any of them, the perpetrators of said crime or the filmers of its extremely offensive and objectifying play-by-play commentary, cool, hip or particularly date-able in any near or far distant future!
I am not saying that THIS particular song has anything to do with that incident, but its hard to deny that there is a theme in a lot of today's music that degrades women, making them seem more like objects to be won, fondled, man-handled or "torn in two". It exists in television and in film as well and the Internet and our easy access to so much media and in so many forms makes these images and these songs lyrics just part of a normal days entertainment for most kids.
It's easy to just brush it all off with a casual, "Oh, it's just a song, he/she is an artist and doesn't mean anything by it." or "That's just a TV show/movie/video game, it's not REAL." And that my friends, is where the lines really start to blur. WE, as the grown-ups may be able to understand or more clearly see those lines between artistic license and reality, but our impressionable young ones? Maybe not so much.
“Adolescent brains don't cement up as fast as we thought they did," observes Gordon Neufeld, a child psychologist in Vancouver. “For a long time we thought that the brain's hard-wiring was finished by the time kids hit their teens, but we now recognize it has a high degree of plasticity, which means that young adults are still highly adaptive creatures that can learn from example and experience."
If the examples that they hear on the radio or on their Songza playlists and see on TV or Netflix on a regular basis are ones of objectification of women, violence, and sexism, this kind of stuff gets stored in their brains and then ALL the LINES start to get really BLURRY! Girls may start believing that their only worth is tied to what they look like or what they are or are not wearing and boys may start to believe that no means maybe, or maybe means yes, or passed out means fair game. If you don't believe me, check out the Instagram feed of anyone under 16 years old.
Look, I am not trying to be all soap-boxy here and saying that Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I. are single-handedly contributing to the perpetuation of rape-culture in our society. I am saying that "I" have a problem with this particular song and its message and it is not something I want my kids to listen to. Kids who, by the way, have somehow become very good at picking up song lyrics these days. The "Mom, what does he mean when he says "I'll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two?" is NOT the conversation that I EVER want to have with my child!
So for now, for this song (and for a few others as well) I flip the station or turn off the radio.
Also, I have convinced them that Daft Punk is not "staying up all night to get lucky", they have actually "grown up with Mexican Monkeys!"
I win at "Parental Controls" and utter fuddy-duddyness this week!!