I’ve noticed that there are some blogs that start their posts with a disclaimer. A warning of sorts so that unsuspecting readers don’t stumble upon something that offends them. I’m wondering if I need to start doing this. A little note that explains that things are not always as they seem.Even when I try parenting ‘properly’ somehow things slide off the rails. Then again, sometimes it feels like someone has been greasing the track.
Raising kids during a time when the world is being inundated with so much information is tricky. In our household, Santa decided to bestow an ipod to our oldest child when she was 11. This was before Santa really understood that with wifi an iPod was like a key to the city. And by city, I mean the filthy under belly of society and all the perverted miscreants it has to offer. While girls and boys teetering on the onset of puberty are always going to be curious about the changes in their bodies, gone are the days when children smuggled stolen playboys to school to pass around. Today a whole world of disturbing information is often only one innocently worded google search away. ‘Naked girls’ is going to get you more bang for your buck than it did for our forefathers…in fact, buck naked people banging is just the tip of the…well…use your imagination, I’m sure you can come up with something…google sure did!
While Santa could never unsee what he saw that day, he did have to remain fair, so when child number 2 turned 11, she received her iPod under the watchful gaze of parents that were a little street smarter than they were before. Appropriate viewing material was discussed but somehow we still got tripped up. We caught our middle child distracted from the fan fiction of an approved novel by the less legitimate literary work of an aspiring author looking to predict the future of the characters from 50 Shades of Grey. *Spoiler*. It involved graphic anal sex. I’m pretty sure it was written by a guy. The person who said “sticks and stone may break your bones but words can never hurt you”, might not have been familiar with his work.
Still, as much as you want to try to protect your kids, putting them in a bubble is not an option. Trust me, I’ve researched it. All you can do is try to keep the lines of communication open. These days though, it seems like the kids are teaching me more than I teach them.
When Jason Derulo came out with his new hit Swalla, it was obvious that it was catchy and equally obvious that lyrically he wasn’t just pushing sexual boundaries, as much as dry humping them all the way to the bank. Still, keeping the lines of communication open meant that as much as I wanted to hide my head in the sand and hope maybe all that the ‘bad girls gonna swalla-la-la-la’ was shots of alcohol, I had to face the possibility that the message here was probably a little more inappropriate than excessive drinking. As a family we decided to sit down and watch the video for some insight with my hand precariously perched over the pause button just in case.
Obviously it was highly sexualized. We discussed the amount of clothing Jason Derulo was wearing compared to his back up dancers. We noted that although the appearance of smoking on film had drastically declined in the last few decades it appeared to be gaining popularity with the trend of vaping. We talked about how amazing the glittery lipstick looked but how it was probably really sticky and realistically you wouldn’t be able to Swalla anything while wearing it. We wondered about the white stool that appeared throughout the video being sprayed with a water bottle and what it might represent. I admitted that while I was pretty sure it was suppose to be symbolic of something sexual, I was so out of my depth that I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it might be. My oldest daughter consoled me by admitting that it happens to her all the time as well. She explained that just the other day the kids had been talking about snow balling and she was completely oblivious to what they meant until her friend explained. This was actually not a term I was familiar with either, so she blushed and tried to delicately educate me.
“You know, when a girl takes something into her mouth and then takes the, you know, liquid, and passes it from mouth to mouth so that it mixes with saliva and gets bigger and bigger, like, you know, a snow ball.”
The youngest piped up, “that’s disgusting!” and I looked over and asked if he understood what was being mixed with the saliva, but he retorted that he didn’t care. He reminded me that he doesn’t even like his vegetables touching his mashed potatoes on the plate so he wasn’t going to be mixing anything with anything any time soon.
Good to know.
I tried to be fair and commented that on the bright side, what was good for the goose, was good for the gander, and I was actually impressed that a guy was willing to share the responsibility and take one for the team . My daughter burst out laughing and elaborated that it was obviously two girls doing this for a guy.
Now it was my turn to blush. Of course a guy wasn’t going to volunteer to take his own semen into his mouth. That is just ridiculous. Apparently it’s only women that are stupid enough to smile sweetly and say, “you want me to dress up as who and put your what, where now? Well sure baby, anything for you!”
Knowing that my audience was made up of 2 impressionable young women I tried to back track. “Look, I’m not saying that it’s stupid for a consenting adult to sexually experiment with a partner that she trusts but I am saying that millions of women stood up and travelled across the country to march in solidarity. With their hand made signs they marched to protect our rights, our safety and our health and yet your sister still can’t go to work without being told by a middle age man that if she smiled she’d look a lot prettier. Equality can seem impossible and there are times as an individual that you can feel small and out of control but you know what you can do? You can decide that if some guy ever tries to tell you what you should be swalla-la-la-la-ing, that he better be bloody well comfortable swalla-la-la-la-ing whatever fluids come out of your body first!
Now it was middle child’s turn to cringe and moan, “Ew Mum, that’s disgusting!”
but so is inequality!
I’ll just add it to the long list of things that I apparently cannot protect you from. Let’s face it, in the next few years the world is going to come at you swinging and there are going to be times when you’re all alone in the ring reeling because you’ve been hit below the belt. All I can do is remind you to stay sharp, roll with the punches and remember that I’ll always be in your corner if you need advice. Sex sells, but you don’t have to buy in and you certainly don’t ever have to invest in someone who isn’t invested in you.
And that is how a perfectly reasonable lesson on our sex saturated media became a train wreck that I don’t think anybody escaped unscathed. So thanks a lot Jason Derulo. I know I can’t stop my kids from humming along to your ridiculously catchy song, but I hope at least now, when you croon “Shimmy shimmy yay, shimmy yay, shimmy yaw” they’ll think, “you first Jason Derulo…”
Men get laid, but women get screwed. ~Quentin Crisp