Are our kids being influenced by the growing sexualisation of pop songs and videos?
OPINION: She was big, bold, brassy and booby, and I couldn't believe what I was watching.
Attired in what anyone over the age of 40 would call about a third of a bikini, she pranced about a desert island set with sand glistening on her skin and sea- spray tousling her alternating bottle-blonde/electric green locks into tangled curls.
Every now and again, her gigantic surgically-enhanced breasts would threaten to escape out of the bottom of her teeny-tiny iddy-biddy bikini top or spill over the top. It was one of those gross yet fascinating possible scenarios that had your eyes glued to the television screen.
Jubey lips smeared with pink lipstick, eyes weighed down by a kilo of black kohl and a backside visible from the moon, she writhed on the sand with some invisible lover - mouth twisted with ecstasy as huge Polynesian warriors worshipped her presence.
"I ain't paying any rent this week," she crooned to the screen. "But f... who you want, and f... who you like. We're higher than a motherf...er." I beg your pardon, I thought to myself. Mother what?!
"Ummm, who is this woman and what the heck is she singing?" I asked Little Weenie 14-year-old, as we lounged in front of the fire watching a music channel in early evening. "If that's the F-word I hear, I personally don't think it's suitable for a girl your age." Rolling her eyes to the ceiling and back, my daughter groaned. "It's Nicki Minaj and yes, she does say a few swear- words, but nothing you don't hear at school every day. Anyway, I'm a teenager and this is a PG-rated channel, so it's perfectly suitable for me." "I'm not sure about that," 17-year-old Quiet Middle Child opined, his eyes literally stuck to the big screen television. "It's one of those things that you really don't want to watch - in fact, you almost feel like you're going to vomit by watching it - but you just can't drag your eyes away. Eh Dad!" My entranced couch-bound hubby agreed. "You just can't drag them away," he repeated breathily, as this hideous yet mesmerising creature beamed down from a spaceship and shook her hips lustily at the camera. Her breasts might not even have bobbled around at the movement, but his arm did, spilling soda all over the couch. I frowned at his inattention.
"But," I continued loftily to the kids," this is not the kind of language, or the kind of clothing, that we condone in this house.
"The woman is wearing almost nothing, and what scraps she is wearing are nearly falling off." "Yeah," said hubby faintly.
"Family," I exploded, smacking my hand down on the side of the couch for effect, "I say we switch to another channel and find a good comedy. This really is crap. This Nicki Minaj can sing, I'll give you that, but this is pornography. That song with those lyrics is never going to do well on the charts." Little Weenie flicked her gaze at me condescendingly. "It's been in the charts here for ages, Mum," she said, matter-of-factly. "You're six months too late." A quick Google search confirmed that. This Nicki Minaj - actually rapper/singer/songwriter Onika Tanya Maraj from Trinidad - has indeed made it all the way to No 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, and No 2 in the Aussie charts with her song Starships. I would have thought they'd have had more sense.
Even more disturbing is that the song, sung by the aforementioned Barbie doll-figured Minaj, is apparently one of the official songs for the London Olympics in July.
I never thought I'd ever understand how Patricia Bartlett's brain worked. For those who've never heard of her, Miss Bartlett (as I think everyone knew her as) was a Kiwi who stood bravely but in vain against the tide of her times, before her death in 2000.
She was a nun and a teacher, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards and the recipient, in 1977, of an OBE for services to the community. Her favourite crusades involved banning sexual intercourse, nudity, bare female breasts and homosexual and lesbian love scenes from films, literature and stage performances.
Against the tide of liberalism, Miss Bartlett waged war on pornography, abortion, sex education and believed that nudity on beaches led to fornication. I remembered Miss Bartlett - and the contempt I'd felt for her as a young person in the 1970s and 80s - as I sat on the couch listening to Nicki Minaj urging me to 'Have a drink, clink, found the Bud Light, bad bitches like me, is hard to come by', and wondered what she'd think of television standards these days.
Turn on any music channel at any time of the day or night in this country and all you'll see is wall- to-wall near-nudity, simulated sex scenes, violence and degrading sexual imagery. Women writhing around in next-to- nothing, smearing themselves all over men, swearing like drunk sailors and dancing like strippers for the camera - is that really stuff we want our young and teenage daughters to watch and absorb? Should we accept artists like Lady Gaga using the "C" and "F" words liberally in concerts crammed with young female fans? Should we accept Flo Rida asking young girls to "blow his whistle"?
Minaj, in an interview, said she'd expected to have to represent sex the way other female rappers had in the past, but had made a decision to tone herself down.
"I want people - especially young girls - to know that in life, nothing is going to be based on sex appeal. You've got to have something else to go with that," she explained.
If that's what you call toned down, Nicki, then call me a modern-day Miss Bartlett, give me a placard saying "No Sex Please We're Mothers of Teenage Girls" and a lift to the Beehive please.
Like you, I'm big, bold, brassy and booby and I'm one mum who's turning off the music.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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