While heading to drop my children off at school today, my daughter, Aria, was jamming out to All About that Bass by Meghan Trainor, a song she has listened to many times. At first, I was jamming right along with her. Our carefree song and dance sessions make for fantastic mother-daughter moments (even if I don’t care for the song personally) since she and I share a profound passion for music. However, a minute or so into the song, mindfulness heard my eight year old daughter singing, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.” Again, I have heard the lyrics in this song many times; however, this time, as I heard both she and I sing these lyrics, conflicting thoughts entered my mind as I began to contemplate the moral platform of the message contained within the lyrics and whether or not I really want my daughter “jamming out” to them.
I said nothing at the time as not to draw attention to the lyrics if, in fact, she is unaware of them. I am a firm believer that sexuality should not be hidden or brought to light with shameful or overly-restrictive connotations. I am not considering whether or not I should be sheltering my child from learning about healthy human sexuality. The question posed is, first of all, does she realize the meaning of the words she is singing? My daughter is a very intelligent eight year old. Still, with no exposure to sexual discussion or experience, does she realize the nature of the lyrics? More so, even if she does not consciously understand them quite yet, does the message contained within these lyrics stick with her subconsciously, and, most importantly, what is the message?
The third question is perhaps the question that validates the first two. What is the message contained within the lyrics: “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night?” My mind screams objectification, unhealthy reasons to desire a body shape and/or type that may not naturally be your own, besides the blatant fact that this statement, as a blanket statement, is entirely untrue.
The message contained in this song, overall, is not a bad message. The media pushes photo shopped, super-skinny women as a prototype for beauty in every outlet. This is not a new phenomenon. Telling thicker women to love and embrace their bodies is a very positive message to push in our culture. Still, why push that message with objectification or “I’m bringing booty back, go ‘head and tell them skinny bitches that?” In this case, the means do not to justify the ends when millions and millions of children will be subject to a message that takes away one complex by pushing another. I never want my daughter to desire any type of body shape or size or to feel comfortable with her existing shape or size because boys will want to hold her booty at that particular size. The only boy I want holding her booty at night is the boy who loves her heart, her mind and her soul.
Many would say I am entirely overthinking this. Eight year old’s do not listen to lyrics; heck, many adults don’t listen to lyrics. Still, I can’t help but think, even if she does not consciously understand their meaning now, do these messages stick with her subconsciously? I know, first hand, the detrimental effects of unhealthy, auto-pilot behaviors. Even if our children do not consciously understand the meaning of these lyrics, the messages are still entering and being stored in their brains. The media transmits messages to our brains every day, subliminally. Songs, billboards, movies, magazines, all of these outlets influence our behavior and perception, whether we realize it or not. Is this a message I want possibly influencing my daughter’s future behavioral patterns?
Ultimately, I know that my children will be exposed to messages all around them that I am not fond of, that have little moral depth, and that they will have to be strong enough to psychologically overcome, but at this stage in their lives, when I can somewhat filter what they are exposed to, maybe I should exercise a bit more caution or, at the least, not jam out with them to songs with less than moral messages.