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Raising our Children Amid Western Pop-Culture

As the mother of three girls, I have about had it with our American pop-culture. 

Had it with our radio stations up and down the dial laced with lowdown-laden songs; and veiled (barely!) messages of sex, aggression, narcissism and material ecstasy. 

Had it with our myriad of television choices that focus heavily on voyeuristic “reality”; a reality I’ve never seen but the boob-tube bureaucrats purvey as real life. Reality which calls watching people with mental disabilities, murderous tendencies, dissolving marriages, multiple wives (and children for that matter), surgically-altered-bodies, vicious animals, and violent weather “entertainment”.

Had it with our photographic media which parades navel-down shots of muscled-men with their flies open, boxer-briefs riding low or women in thongs, unattainably-airbrushed-rear-cheeks winking back at mall shoppers aged 1 to 100 who walk on by.

Had it with our celebrities who push the envelope with see-thru-gowns and peek-a-boo blouses. Who look as if they just put on their spouse’s (or not) white oxford shirt for a trip to their private bathroom, NOT a very public music award banquet.  And the paparazzi who snap these shots.  And the media moguls who buy them and print them on the yahoo page my child uses to log into her email.

It is everywhere and it is endless; it speaks to our children’s conscious and sub-conscious with every turn of the dial, click of the mouse, flick of the remote, flip of the magazine page and walk down the advertizing aisle of life.

Here I stand trying my best to send my children messages of modesty, monogamy and measured spending and their minds are high-jacked almost daily by the media peddling the opposite message: owning expensive and sexually suggestive clothing makes you someone; sleeping around is cool; it is okay to cheat on your spouse, everyone does; it is okay to make fun of your parents or teachers, it makes you funny and thus, popular; it is okay for men to only want to beat you or have sex with you or both.  The list goes on and on.

If I could I would move our entire family back to our recent home of three years – Singapore. At least there, amid the familial and academically focused Asian culture, my kids were free to be kids without constant bombardment by adult themes and celebrity-driven values. Luckily for the parents attempting to raise their children there the paternalistic government (which interestingly does allow legalized prostitution and gambling in certain areas of the city) feels that there is no need for everyone to endure smut if they do not want it shoved it their eyes and ears.  

But since emigration isn’t in the cards I guess I will continue on with my wicked mother routine, which includes limited “screen time”; no TV except when pre-approved; constant checking (ok, nagging) as to what is being viewed on the computer; repeated dial-downs of the radio to the clean end of the band (i.e. public radio and K-Love) and most importantly, loving instruction on what is “appropriate” (not much) and what is inappropriate (everything else).

So call me a prude, an ‘ole fuddy-duddy, a “mean mom”. I call myself a mom who is just trying to do her job in an increasingly difficult work environment.