Have you ever noticed how songs seem perfectly innocuous until your child is singing the lyrics? They’re suddenly horribly suggestive and filthy and disgusting. When did the transformation take place? When did everything change?
The same type of logic applies to movies that you’ve seen a dozen times, sometimes even as a kid. Out of nowhere you’re child is watching it and BAM! A scene you didn’t even remember was in there.
This isn’t a new revelation, and I was even told about it from parent friends before Daughter was born. I was told that I would need to start viewing things with “parent eyes” to prepare myself for what Daughter would see and hear. I was explicitly told to watch or listen to things keeping her in mind specifically, even if I had seen them recently. It was a good strategy, and it worked for a while. But Daughter was into things that I didn’t predict and was not afraid of the things I expected. She loved “Labyrinth,” for example, to the point of dressing as David Bowie as the Goblin King for Halloween when she was in kindergarten. So I guess I got lazy.
Recently I was hearing Daughter sing a popular song on the car, and the sexual overtones of the lyrics made me almost gag. What happened? Where were my parent ears? I don’t know how I missed it. And here’s the worst part: I realized that I would have been hyper vigilant about the sexual overtones in the music, but I would have let the violence slide in movies and tv and music. Why is that?
I don’t have an answer yet, I don’t think. I’m not sure why I am more careful to avoid allowing Daughter to see the extreme end of one of two pretty basic things, because really, when it is broken down, sex and violence is really manifested love and hate. Is it because violence is so much easier to explain? Is it because it makes me less uncomfortable? And if so, why? Shouldn’t it be harder to explain the “violence” than the “affection” in, say, “The Hunger Games?”
Like I said, I don’t have an answer yet. But it sure is something to think about.