While we kept the boys to G-rated TV long past the the time when their peers had moved on (Ninja Turtles never even made it passed Mommy censor) – somehow I have been tivo-ing primetime for our four-year old twinkle-toes. She’s hooked on American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, So you Think you can Dance and one other shown on MTV featuring dance groups. She loves the costumes, the choreography and the music.
She has inherited an ear for music that didn’t make it into my DNA. So while singing along to the radio is an exercise in creative word play for me, my four year old has an amazing ability to quickly learn lyrics and name an artist within seconds of hearing a song play on radio, TV, ipod or over the loudspeaker in the supermarket. She is always ready to sign along, loudly.
One night when tucking her into bed, I asked what song she would sing on American Idol. “Twinkle, twinkle little star” or “You are my Sunshine?” I asked. “S&M” she answered. “You know the one with sticks and stones?” Oh boy.
I wasn’t even sure which song she was referring to – music seems to slip in one ear and out my other, but my husband was able to fill me in and I had a moment of mini-mommy horror. Since then, I have listened much more carefully to songs and now know when to change radio stations in the car. (Justin Bieber is in, Brittany Spears is out, J-Lo’s “Dance the Night Away” makes the cut but that alien sex song does not pass muster. As an aside, since when have artists replaced the censorable F-word with the word “sex” which somehow is fine to play over the airwaves any time of day?
Which brings me to Beyoncé. Grammer aside, I did a double take when I heard my little girl melodically asking “Who run the world?” and answering emphatically “Girls!” I hit youtube to find the song and video and was morbidly intrigued by the nail jewels, impressed with the booty wiggles and left pondering the message of girls running the world.
When I was about 8, my six year old brother and his friend told me and mine that we would have to be the secretaries in the game of fireman since girls couldn’t be firemen. We were devastated and approached my supermom single mom who assured us all that both firemen and women could equally effectively save the day. But still, despite my bra-burning, hippy-chick mom’s feminist world view, I don’t think there was room in the collective memory of my generation for an emphatic notion of girls running the world.
So as my daughter fist pumped to the beat of “Who rule the world?” I bit my lip and held out on detailing the percentage of male to female world leaders, the fact that men and women can jointly run the world, the workplace, the household.
“Have me raise a glass for the college grads”
“Strong enough to bear the children, Then get back to business” – I have to admit the lyrics began playing in a loop in my head on my way to meetings, while making dinner or getting into bed at night. “Who rule the world?”
I was exactly my daughter’s age when a different song about “Girl” ambitions was written and later recorded by Cyndi Lauper. Girls Just Want to Have Fun became part of my subconscious musical memory.
Truth be told, I hope none of my children deign to run the world. My hope for them is that they can create little worlds of their own, joyful microcosms, with supportive partners, leaving little bits of the world changed for the better along the way. And I wish the same for each one, male or female.
But for now, I am going to let this Beyoncé booty-bumping, fist-pumping, power-pushing message sink into the subconscious of our little twinkle toes. Double standard and all.
This is an original blog post for Jersey Moms Blog by ItsMeMommy, a New Jersey mom.
Photo credit given to HitFix.