I was browsing the BBC’s website the other day, when I stumbled on an article about Annie Lennox. The First Lady of Pop (well, she’s one of them at any rate!) has taken on the music industry in a public challenge suggesting they should consider rating music videos along the same lines as the film industry has to classify new releases and DVDs for their sexually explicit content.
With so many 24-hour music channels available, I agree with her premise that parents should be able to trust the music industry will not bombard their children with such explicit material as Miley Cyrus twerking that guy in the striped suit. Having access to that kind of thing between say, 6am and 9pm, just gives innocent minds a warped view of life. As parents and guardians of these innocent minds, we have access to a system of certificates informing us of appropriate content when watching films or buying DVDs and there is no excuse for the music industry not to follow similar guidelines. I don’t think I am alone in agreeing with Annie here.
In my day, we had Madonna, breaking the boundaries of acceptable “female” behaviour by wearing pointy bras and doing the Madonna/Whore controversy thing. Looking back, as a young teenager, I don’t think I connected what I saw her doing on screen with what I thought might be expected of me by the boys at the school disco. What Madonna did, however, was to bring about an open debate in society and the media about female sexuality for those old enough to have an opinion. Madonna bravely suggested that women could own their sexuality as much as men. I still doubt that left my mother any happier that my 8-year-old sister or 5-year-old brother had access to the “Like A Virgin” video by watching Top of The Pops with their big sister than I was when I found my 3-year-old demonstrating his Gangnam Style moves at a children’s birthday party!
Am I the only one that thinks This.Is.Not.Entirely.Appropriate?
As parents, I think we recognise the dangers of sexually explicit material being so widely available to innocent minds who are growing up on our watch assuming that normal men and women behave this way and I am very glad that Annie has chosen to speak up for us.
I for one think that all artists should have freedom of expression and if they choose to turn their video into a porn-fest they should feel free. The problem comes when they also want it to become a mainstream hit, available to everyone, adults and children alike. There’s a place for everything and everything in its place, my mother always said. There is no place for pornographic music videos on mainstream TV channels targeted at or easily available to children. There’s also the chance that a jaded music industry exploits the innocence of the talented young musicians but that is a whole other debate.
A little more respect from the music industry for their target market would be welcome in our house, I can tell you. Until then, I will not allow Little Chap to have access to any music channels until I consider he is old enough to understand how ridiculous so many of these videos are.
What do you think of artists that behave badly or use sexually explicit behaviour to boost record sales while courting a young audience? Do you think they and their management have a duty of care or should it only be us parents’ who take responsibility for monitoring the musical material viewed by our children and is that actually a reasonable and viable option?
Like Annie Lennox, I consider myself a responsible parent and certainly I don’t advocate less responsibility from parents. I just think we need parents and those choosing when to screen music videos, to be more easily able to understand what musical video/lyrical content we may consider unsuitable for our young audiences.
So come on music industry. Get with the program and give us a little more transparency – and we don’t mean in your young female artists’ underwear!