Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dear Rihanna and Katy,

...and Kesha and Lady GaGa and so many others,

While I respect your talents as artists and performers, I ask that you consider the girls that listen to your songs. You are all young women and, whether you asked for this burden or not, you have influence over the girls listening to your music.

I'm not talking about small children. Their parents can choose to tune in to a more appropriate radio station. I'm talking about the young teens that listen to pop stations and watch You Tube clips on their laptops. I suppose I could still tell them they are not allowed to listen to Top 40 stations, but then I might as well go full Mennonite and I'm choosing to remain more mainstream than that at this time.

I can tell you that one of my worst parenting moments was driving a carful of young teen girls out to the movies one evening. Windows open, girls belting out lyrics along with the radio, everyone having a grand ol' time. Enter Katy Perry singing about Friday night. What could be better? Turn it up a notch.

"Mom? What's a menage-a-tois?"

It was all I could do to keep from driving off a bridge.
Switch the station.

"Can I get some Jack Daniel's toothpaste?"

Switch the station.

"What does sex smell like?"

Oh for God's sake.

Honestly, do you think at ALL about the girls that listen to your music, or is it only about making a buck? Do you think it's possible to still perform a racy, edy song without talking about being someone's love slave or getting some sick satisfaction out of being in an abusive relationship?
Witness: Just gonna stand there and watch me burn
But that's alright because I like the way it hurts

wanna be a victim, ready for abduction

I know you've probably heard the tired cliche that it takes a village to raise a child. And while I don't think anyone's asking you to raise their child, I don't think it's too much to ask that you think about what you're singing to them.

Help me to raise my girls into confident young women that do not think being the victim in a relationship is the norm or something to be glorified. Be a role model.

Help me to raise my sons to have an inkling of what women want. Be a teacher.

Have a little respect for yourselves, and maybe some of that will trickle on down to the young people listening to your music.

I hope that someday I can turn on the radio station with a carful of teenaged girls without cringing and then boring them with a post-song lecture.

I'll keep my fingers crossed.....

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Rooster Inn said...

It sure has come a long way from, "I want to hold your hand", and to think my parents were concerned about that...the power of green unfortunately speaks louder than common sense or decency.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you shouldn't allow your children to listen to that music. The majority of the songs from artists like Rihanna, Ke$ha, or Lady Gaga are intended for the young adult audiences. It's hardly something new considering they are fashioned after Madonna, who has had a long and prosperous career of almost thirty years, relying on controversy and sex appeal. There are alternatives to top 40 radio, such as Radio Disney, which play only clean songs. There are also Christian music stations and artists who have gained popularity over the last decade.

As one parent you can't change the way these artist present themselves. However, you can change what is presented to your children. Become the censor.

Anne Kimball said...

I have thought about not allowing them to listen to it. However, the way I figure, they're going to hear it whether it's on in the car or not. They'll hear it when they're hanging out at a friend's house, or a friend will "share" a link to a clip, etc. I'd rather listen to it WITH them, and then talk about what message that song was sending. I'm also leery of setting up the yearning for the "forbidden fruit".

Miss Meg said...

I love to read your "girl" posts b/c you know they hit close to home. I definately try to sensor the girls' music, but they DO hear it other places...and mine are little! When my 4 year old sang "sexy and I know it," I about died. It led into a whole coversation about being appropriate with your body. I had my husband to thank for that gem b/c apparently he'd left her in the truck and it came on while he was unaware. And wouldn't you know...she's the one that knows a song after hearing it just once. Anyhoo...try as I may, its hard to sensor everything, so we have to make it all "lessons about self-respect."

Anne Kimball said...

I hear ya' Meg. On the whole, it's easier to control what the little ones hear except for the occassional "accidents". Once they hit their teen years it's a whole scary world that they're exposed to and it's so much harder to control.

luckybunny said...

I agree... Since I don't have a daughter I don't have to deal with this normally but I do have nieces and when my 15 year old niece visited me last spring... yikes. I cannot imagine raising a teenage girl, let alone in this day in age with the stuff they watch on T.V. and the songs they listen to - it's just horrible the message it sends. I know the music is not intended for them, but it's what's popular and they will listen to it - as you said, they'd listen to it without you if not with - so I suppose it's all in educating them and hoping for the best!

Sarah said...


Anne Kimball said...

Truth be told? I actually think I have more of a problem with the radio station executives decisions about what to play, where to use the bleeps, etc, than the performers themselves. B/c I do respect the artist's right to create whatever kind of music they want, and I feel it has a place in clubs, etc, b/c everyone there will be an adult. But I think radio stations should be PG. Pretty easy to bleep stuff out, they do it for the curse words all the time. Still, that being said, I do feel that as young women, these artists should keep in mind who is listening, and take some responsibility.

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