Saturday, 18 June 2011

Pop v Sex (don't be a numpty)

So, we’re driving down the M5 in the pouring rain en route to Cardiff and Mike Stock is going moralistic on the radio.  He reckons that, "As far as music is concerned, it has been a slow but unmistakable descent into pornography... Put some sexualised dancing and scantily-clad females in the video, and get it on the box.  Job done."
‘Who is this twat?’ I ask Adrian.
‘Mike Stock.  Stock Aitken Waterman? That Stock.’
‘Kylie Minogue?  FFS, you were a rock journalist once.’
Yeah, well, another lifetime.  Anyhow.  He’s blowing a storm of biblical righteous indignation. He being Mike Stock, not Adrian.  Seems those bad broadcasters and record labels should “clean up their act’.  Lady Gaga is “just a pole dancer”. Nicole Scherzinger was a disgrace on Britain’s Got Talent.  Rihanna is a bit of a slut and Katy Perry is just..just…just…beyond.  Or words to that effect. 
"I've always held out for decent pop, which to me is music that can be appreciated by all ages," he rambles on. "The more racy stuff that you see going on nowadays is not something you could put two to ten-year-olds in front of, and you're embarrassed if you sit there with your mum. I find that [style] almost anti-pop because it targets the 18-25 year-olds to the exclusion of everybody else." 

Okay, so he didn’t say that on the radio (and, no, I didn’t take down notes while I was bombing down the outside lane) but I looked it up afterwards because, really, WTF?
Take sex out of pop music?  Don’t be a numpty.  Pop music IS sex.  It always has been.  If you take out the sex you’re left with the Teletubby song or Cliff Richards singing Summer Holiday (and, hey, if you’re ingenious enough, you can even find sex in those).

Okay, so you’re thinking ‘oh gawd, liberal fecking parent rant’ but no, not really.  I don’t like children being exposed to inappropriate sexuality any more than anyone else. 
* Should young girls wear t-shirts with PORN STAR in sequins across their non-existent breasts?  Feck no.
* Should they be given pole dancing kits and taught provocative dances for their stage-school shows?  Not in my book.
* Should they totter round in high heels and go to ‘pamper parties’ to get makeup slathered over their soft perfect faces, when they should be running round with bare feet and mud on their mushes?  Shit no. 

But, see, who chooses those things?  Okay, you can argue that the manufacturers are responsible but seriously guys, you don’t like them?  Don’t bloody buy them.  I listened to Stock whine on about how parents were telling him they didn’t like their children watching sexy videos and I just wanted to shout at him and them and say, well don’t let them!  Be a bit more proactive.  Don't just let your children wander compass-less around cyberspace (yes, there are bandits; yes there are dragons); don't just park them in front of a TV and presume broadcasters will be honourable babysitters.
I had to YouTube Nichole Scherzinger and her BGT “performance” and, yeah, they shouldn’t have shown it.  No way.  Because, let’s be honest, she is a crap singer and can’t move for toffee.  It’s a lame song.  Was it suitable for a ‘family show’ – no, because children should see better quality than that.  But really – the sexual innuendos of the song would go straight over a small child’s head and, hey, don’t you think that it might be interesting and maybe responsible to engage with older children about the messages going on here?   Except we’re all too scared to talk about sex, aren’t we? 

And maybe this is why people get so uptight about all this.  It’s not about protecting children from sexuality; it’s about us as parents protecting ourselves against having to talk to our children about sexuality…

Go on.  Shoot me!


H said...

I know what you mean, and yes Nicole's BGT performance wasn't that bad, it was the song that's inappropriate for a family show.. because lets face it kids have questions.

The again I used to sing spice girls.. when two become one and had NO IDEA what I was singing about!

Nice blog post :)

PS. My blog giveaway this month, is the cutest playsuit if you'd like to enter:

Debbie said...

Couldn't agree more. I've always let my 15 year old watch pretty much what she wants on tv - we just discuss the messages sent out and how she and I feel about them. She's grown up perfectly level-headed and aware of marketing ploys.

Yvonne Johnston said...

Sex sells stuff so sex will be used to sell to anyone - including children, sadly.

Isobel said...

Prefer classical myself - pop these days is just noise (but then I am 70+ and therefore probably past it! Pop in my day was The Beatles, yes, Cliff too, and ... ooo, its late and the old memory is fading!! On the other hand, your comment about proactive parenting is 100% on the ball. Children learn by example: not being allowed to do everything they want to, when they want. Go to it and be hands on ladies (and gents too).

Exmoorjane said...

H: Exactly - you don't know when you're young (hell, I don't always know even now!). Thing is, how much of that show is ever suitable for *family viewing*? People swinging from their hair? Strip teases? Where do you draw the line?

Debbie: Yup, takes effort and I think one has to be careful not to inflict one's own prejudices but...

Yvonne: Yup, true...but has always been thus...Elvis? Madonna? Not sure we need a Mary Whitehouse effect now in particular. But, yes, sad when children are not exempt.

Isobel: I dunno - you should hear the classical my husband listens to - now that IS just noise to me! And couldn't agree more - we can't always get what we want...yet today's children consider it their right, instant gratification. :(

Sam said...

These 'products' are only manufactured because there's a market for them! Why on earth a parent would want their child to be seen in some of the clothing that is out there I do not know!

However, music and sex have gone together well beyond the 20th, even the 19th centuries. This is not a new phenomenon. Nor is responsibile parenting a new thing!

This discussion re the sexualisation of our children will go on and on and on. And nothing will change. Ever.

Perhaps all prospective parents should go through a 2 year social services assessment process [like I had to to become an adoptive mother]in order to see if they are fit to parent? Their whole philosophy of life will be rigorously challeneged and then a decision made after a 45 minute interview in front of 15 representative from society including lawyers, psychologists, social workers, medics...

Just a thought.

Frankie said...

Ugh. The one that irks me is little girl string bikinis. They can't even tie their shoes yet! WTF!

(Of course, your dead on in all points, Jane.)