Friday, May 1, 2009

What Other People Think

Q's solo performance in the school talent show went well. She sang "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" by Selena Gomez (who plays Alex on the Disney Channel's show Wizards of Waverly Place). One person (in my family) questioned the appropriateness of the song. -OK, he didn't question it so much as his eyes popped out and his jaw fell open in shock and disbelief.

Being a proud mama, I thought he was blown away by her talent.

Um...no, not so much.

He thought she was being a hoochimama. An 8-year-old hoochimama.

I wonder how many others (not in my family) shared this concern? (And so what if they did? I dunno...I'm in a weird place today. All paranoid-feeling and whatnot. Meh.)

I struggle to defend the song and Q's choice to sing it. As far as I can tell, it seems pretty basic: stop discouraging me, stop belittling my efforts, start taking me seriously. Well, it seems I'm not the only one with this interpretation. The folks at commonsensemedia.com seem to agree. Which actually made me feel a lot better.

I'm not going to embed the video. I don't like parts of it (okay, I don't like where Selena is singing to the camera through the legs of that other lady...seriously, what is the point of that? who came up with THAT idea?...). Because of those shots (and a few other fleeting poses here and there), the video walks that strange border between straightforward self-expression and the exploitation of the hyper-sexualization of young girls. (pretty fancy-pantsy, eh?) Or maybe it's just me.

What IS the hyper-sexualization of young girls, exactly? I'm trying to sound all edumacated and whatnot (are you buying it?), but that phrase has me perplexed, bemused and bewildered. It brings up images of Jon Benet Ramsey, of 3-year-old Beauty Queens with lipstick and hairspray and heels. THAT I understand as hyper-sexualization of girls. But what about adolescent girls like Selena? What about girls in their tweens? What is considered sexual and what is just basically fashionable?

Well, anyway, what do you guys think? Here are the lyrics.

2 comments:

Hyphen Mama said...

That reminds me of the movie "Little Miss Sunshine" when she sings and does the hoochiemama dance at a pageant and everybody freaked out except her family who thought she was just beautiful.

My 5 year old LOVES anything hoochiemama and I'm pretty sure she'll do her best pole dancing gig at the kindergarten talent show next year. She's been practicing since she was 3... She's very good.

Mama Dawg said...

I honestly think it's a matter of your own perception.

Mine has been dancing since she was 2 (dance lessions, I should emphasize). However, she also free form dances on her own to songs on her iPod and c.d.'s. She has some questionable moves of her own and I am a bit surprised, but they're few and far between.

I don't know what to tell you. I'm a HUGE believer in talking to your kids about what you think is appropriate and what isn't.

Gah.....I know there's more I want to say, but I'm tired.