I have a daughter, and she is at that very impressionable age of 7 years. She is inquisitive and she is becoming very interested in music. So much so that she’s trying to learn how to play the piano herself (and not just banging on the keys, she is seeking out books and training from my wife right now).
She came to me two nights ago while I was sorting music for a project I’m working on, and she asked me if I’d heard about “Katy Perry.”
I sorta smiled to myself, and said, “well sure hun, I’ve heard of her, what have you heard of her music?”
And she said the “Last Friday Night song”.
Knowing the content of the song, and really I do not let my children listen to this stuff, I asked her if she’d heard it from her 4th grade friend next door. She said yes.
I asked her if she knew what the song was about, and she of course said no. Then I asked if she knew the words. She’s learning to read, and I searched a lyrics page for her and started the song.
She asked what a hickey was. Thankfully she didn’t ask about menage et tois. After a bit, I asked her if it sounded like a good song anymore. She said no. I said does it sound like the kind of activities a young woman would want to sing a happy song about? She said no and kinda got upset. My wife asked her if she was disappointed in Katy Perry. My daughter said yes. We kept the lesson going. I told her that songs have meaning. Some songs are great, and some songs are terrible. I played her “Pumped Up Kicks” and about half way through I told her it was a song about a terrible crime that was committed by a boy for no reason. I told her that just because the music sounds great, doesn’t mean that it is a nice song. The crux of our discussion was that words and songs have power. They are things that become who we are. Then I played my daughter “Fucking Perfect” by Pink. And although it has a curse in it, I explained to her the message of Pink’s song was much more appropriate to a young girl than Katy Perry’s. We talked about the difference between a classy lady and a trashy lady. My wife even bade me to bring up pictures of the artists in question, as well as pics of Natalie Portman, Megan Fox, Marylin Monroe and Audrey Hepburn to make similar comparisons. (Google Safesearch on!)
As a people, we need to seriously reconsider putting these “artists” in front of our children. We need to monitor what they are feeding the brains of our kids. We don’t have to censor, but we should help our children’s growing minds approach music and entertainment properly. I told my daughter what she was listening to was a story. And in this particular case, it was an advertisement to a lifestyle. I also told her that if we changed the key signature and slowed it down a bit it would be a biting commentary on what is really wrong with our society.
I’m trying to raise a daughter who considers herself to be more important than a dick puppet who gets too drunk to remember what happened on Friday night. She deserves better than that. So do all the women I know.