This article was originally written in September 2007. I am reposting it now as I will make a brief reference to it in an upcoming blog post. And, I kinda wanted Amy to know she wasn’t totally alone.
Rosa, whom I adore, says there is greatness in “it take a village.” Rosa is right. Except, when the village is corrupt, you have to know when to tell the village to get out of your house.
Now understand I am not going to claim some moral high ground about what I do and don’t allow in my house. I like the Sopranos. I watch it – after the kids go to bed. Understand I am not telling you how to raise your kids. I am telling you that I have four daughters – if you think that’s a walk in the park, I invite you to the beauty of my chaos.
Times have changed. Yes they have. I love hearing people say that things really aren’t that different from when we were growing up. Are you kidding? Lohan, Spears, and Hilton make it different. Why? Because they are not the exception, they are the norm. Madonna was a shocker. Girls wanted to be like her because it was rebellious.
Today this is not rebellion – it is not being different or expressing yourself. Girls understanding their place as sexual beings is the way it is supposed to be. The media no longer objectifies them – we have come so far that we have taught our children to objectify themselves! It has become so common that we don’t even notice it when it happens.
Example: Lead actress from High School Musical decides she’s going to take some bra and panty pictures and send them via email (huh?) to her boyfriend. They become public (shock!). Now, I understand she wasn’t naked, is of legal age, and few people outside of the HSM demographic know who she is. That makes it ok, right? Wrong! The persona that she portrays is that of a high school girl. The HSM soundtrack was the number one selling album last year. Your preteen daughters can dress up like her for Halloween, theme their birthday party, and probably recite the words from the movie. She was set up in the public as the girl that all other girls should want to be like.
Example: Music CD’s marketed for children. These albums take popular songs and have kids singing them. This makes them kid friendly right? Wrong! Just because kids are singing Girlfriend, Irreplaceable, and Lips of an Angel does not make the lyrics any different. They are still the types of songs I can only listen to when my kids aren’t in the car.
Example: Little Mermaid. This fish has been banned from my home and my kids know it. Why? Let me break down the story for you. Little fish Ariel is turning 16 – that’s right 16. On the dawn of her birthday party she flounces off to a place her father has forbidden her to go. During the course of things, she sees this guy (sees not meets) that is obviously not 16. She falls madly in love (remember being 16). But, she’s a mermaid and this guy lives on the land. No problem, evil squid offers to give her legs if Ariel will give up her beautiful singing voice. It’s a good trade according to the evil squid – Ariel can use her “body language” and if the guy kisses her within three days, she can have her voice back. So, little fish runs away from home after giving up all her talents to chase after some older guy she has never even met. The body language thing works, he kisses her, they get married and everybody is okay with this. Are you kidding me?
Could I go on? You bet. Little girls who are dying to own pants with “sweetness” written across the bottom. Clapped for when they nail they latest dance moves that look a whole lot like pole dancing. Giggled at when they cop some attitude and use very grown up phrases to disrespect their parent’s friends. Allowed to use terms like “boyfriend” and “dating” before they even hit middle school. You bet I could go on.
I love the “it takes a village” in theory. The accountability, the diversity, the help is wonderful. But the village has traded it’s one idiot for a marketful and many of us have become so complacent and the methods so common, we don’t even notice it.
I don’t know what the answer is for the village. Maybe you can offer some suggestions. For the moment, all I can do attempt to keep it and its fish off my doorstep.