I’ve been trying to make a playlist of pop music to listen to with Ariella, who just turned eight. She already knows the hooks for a couple Taylor Swift songs and a couple other random pop songs. She recently showed me how to whip…how to nae nae. If she is into music, I want to encourage it, so I’m trying to make a playlist of pop music to listen to with Ariella. My parents did the same for me (early records include MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, The Simpsons Sing the Blues).
I’ve always known, intellectually, that women are under a lot of pressure to be sexy and sexual. It has never been my problem though (it should have been, but blogging is about honesty, right?). Now, I’m making this playlist and thinking about what Ariella might be learning from it. A lot of it is saccharin romance, the staple of pop music since the first caveman made tones by cracking rocks of different sizes together. It’s not my thing, but it is fairly benign.
Some of it bums me out, though. I heard a song on the Pop A-list on Apple Music about how the singer wants to look good for a guy with a skin-tight dress that will end up a mess on the floor (dress/mess rhyme…good one). There isn’t anything wrong with a woman being interested in sex. I don’t think Ariella is ready for that song yet, but I think sex and enjoying sex being a thing for men only is and should be a thing of the past. In a married relationship, both partners should be excited about and enjoy sex. The problem is that the song progresses to a rapper talking about how she submits to his sexual prowess and his irresistibility even if it doesn’t work out for her reputation.
It is just one song of many where a woman is singing about her whole value being found in her partner.
I don’t want Ariella (or Rex) to look for their value in the people they date. I also don’t want them to grow up in a bubble where everything I find questionable is redacted. I know my parenting will have a major impact on their value set, but sometimes when I look at that against the backdrop of pop media, it feels overwhelming. The line between protecting innocence and equipping for reality is critical to walk but feels like the line Philippe Petit walked. The consequences of leaning to far either direction look disastrous.
Which, I guess, is where faith plays a part, and thank God for that. I let my faith guide my steps and I trust that if I misstep, I will get more chances and I have people around me to catch me and my kids and put us back up on that tight rope.
I’m still making that playlist. If you have suggestions for it, leave them in the comments.
Shake it Off – Taylor Swift
Shut Up and Dance – Walk the Moon
We Found Love (ft. Calvin Harris) – Rihanna
Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) – Silento
H.S.K.T. – Sylvan Esso
Ain’t it Fun – Paramore
Pompeii – Bastille
Happy – Pharrell
Never Ending Circles – CHVRCHES
Lay It All On Me (ft. Ed Sheeran) – Rudimental