Let me say this right up front, while I’m dusting off my soapbox . . .
I AM NOT A PRUDE!!
And while I’m at it, although I’m 58+ years old, I am not old – my mind has settled in at about 25 years old. So I am not an “old fogey.” If you’ve read any of my posts before, you know that I am eclectic in interests and liberal in my approach to social justice.
I have attended R-rated movies and comedy shows. I’ve even seen an X-rated movie. I’ve seen some recent music videos.
I do, however, occasionally comment on the clothing that young children wear these days and how adult many parents are allowing/assisting their young children to look. I was horrified that a mother would allegedly inject her grade school aged daughter with Botox.
But NOTHING prepared me for the opening number of the Billboard Awards Show last evening. I hadn’t planned to watch it. But the movie I wanted to watch was not on until 9 EDT, so I decided to check out the music awards. I try to keep current.
The opening number, “S & M“, featured Rhianna in a white patent leather leotard fashioned in dominatrix style. By the end of the first phrasing, “I feel so good being bad,” we were being treated to a full, straight-on shot of Rhianna’s crotch as she sat on a bench and moaned her lyrics. She slinked and slithered around the stage, dancing on a raised platform from which male arms were extended — reaching, of course, for her crotch no matter what position she was in. She gyrated with a pole, as did Britney Spears, who joined her for the second half of the song. Britney was clad in a similar black get-up. Both women were sporting “hand-cuffs” and chains binding their wrists.
Ken Jeong, who was in a popular but tasteless movie recently, was the emcee for the night. He was raunchy and not particularly amusing. The song he “sang” with Nicki Minaj tauting the greatness of the show included lyrics such as “This show won’t suck!” and “This show won’t blow!”. Jeong made suggestive tongue gestures toward Minaj and ended the scene by cupping and shaking his genitals.
The show contained many, many bleeps. And it contained many words that would have been bleeped in the days of my youth (think of George Carlin’s routine about the 7 words you can’t say on television). Some of them would not offend me personally today.
HOWEVER, I am ranting about things that don’t necessarily offend me personally because they were aired by ABC (yeah, not FOX) between 8 PM & 8:30 PM EDT on a LIVE show from Las Vegas. That means it was even earlier in the remainder of the country.
So what??! So kids — young kids — were watching this raunch. I saw kids in the 8 to 10 year old range in the live audience in Vegas. Imagine how many were watching on TV – either with parents who wanted to watch and didn’t think how their kids might be effected or alone in front of their TV, which may have been acting as a baby sitter. Woe to the kids whose “babysitter” presents them with Rhianna’s crotch. What lessons were they learning?
It was already my belief that this society brings “sexiness” into children’s lives far earlier than is healthy for them. The low-cut, skimpy clothes available for little girls are ridiculous. The raunchy gyrations that 5 year old “cheerleaders” and “dancers” are taught should be illegal. If you and I made some of those motions on the street or bus, we’d be arrested for lewd and lascivious conduct in public. But it’s okay to teach them to our young ones.
It astounds me that we allow our kids to wear sexy clothes and make sexy moves in kindergarten, but we refuse to allow them to show genuine loving actions like holding hands or hugging without risk of being accused of sexual harassment. It’s ludicrous!
So what — I hear some of you saying that. So what if kids act sexy too early in life. What difference does that make?
Before I answer, let me ask you one more thing. If you watched the show last night, how many of the men did you see prancing around in clothing that consisted of little more than fringe over underwear? Even the ones who were sexy didn’t show everything they owned. They left something to the imagination. Boys are not treated the same way. The are not dressed in skimpy outfits in grade school. T-shirts and jeans or shorts. Oh, not those short-shorts the girls wear. Old fashioned shorts that cover their butts. They are encouraged to do things, not focus on looking good.
This difference is not new. Neither are the differences that girls and boys experience as the grow into men and women.
- Who makes more money to do the same job?
- Who suffers from more eating disorders from trying to look good?
- Who suffers from more domestic violence?
- Who experiences more sexual assaults?
- Who is expected to contribute to the family income as well as raise the children and maintain the home.
These are just some of the more important inequities that women face.
Why do these inequities still exist after SO many years of trying to right them?!
I would suggest that showing raunchy, relatively explicit sexual moves by scantily clad young women that are idolized as celebrities by children in our society, as occurred in this show, is one of the causes of the difficulty women still find in their lives as adults.
Do I think this is the only cause? Of course not; I realize the world is not that simplistic. However, we need to start thinking about it seriously. There’s an old saying that children “learn what they live.” Pretty scary if you think about what some children are obviously living.
Ranting on the soapbox is great for me. It helps get the steam out of my head. But just ranting or reading the rant is not going to change a things. You need to tell the people responsible that you are not amused; that you are “mad as hell and not going to take it any more.”
You know I am nothing if not helpful! So here are some links to help you express your feelings to the responsible parties. . . . . . You’re welcome!
Billboard.com Editor, Jessica Letkemann, Jessica.Letkemann@billboard.com
Federal Communications Commission commissioners: