Friday, November 28, 2008

Beyonce, Booty Shaking and Child Raising

So I was having this conversation with a friend the other day about Beyonce's new video for Single Ladies. And I was telling her how much the hip rolling, the grinding, or whatever that pelvic action is, was bothering me. And of course the conversation turned to our toddler daughters. While I have nothing against dance (took all kinds for more than 10 years in my youth), I cannot imagine my child dancing like that and it being okay. My friend said that she could not judge how Beyonce was dancing, but of course she wouldn't necessarily desire for her child to be hip rolling in a video.

The conversation got me to thinking about being judgmental. Am I judgmental if I'm disappointed in my child for choosing a career where part of it required her to straight booty-shake (like Beyonce does in Check On It)? Honestly my daughter is a remarkable looking girl. And I can say that because I had nothing to do with her looks. It was all God, of course. I call her the girl with the golden eyes because they literally are. Anyhoo, even though I've been encouraged to enter her into modeling a kazillion times, I've always shied away from this path because I want her to respect herself, command respect, and place more value in her intellect and creativity than her looks.

Is this wrong? Am I short-changing her for not capitalizing on her looks? I mean college ain't cheap and some catalog modeling wouldn't hurt her education fund. She already gets an inordinate amount of attention (which I sincerely appreciate, but keep in perspective). The way she looks is a blessing, but I don't want her to value that more than any other part of her that is not as visible. There are lots of things I like about Beyonce. I think she's one of the hardest-working women in the show business. But its not necessarily the life I'd want for my child because of the overwhelming emphasis on physical appearance.

If my daughter were Beyonce's attorney, the vice president of her record label, or a songwriter, would I still feel the same even though she'd be supporting a career that I feel has a something to do with booty shaking? I probably wouldn't feel the same serious objections. Is that wrong? Am I controlling? Am I a hypocrite? Honestly, I feel like I'm all of those most of the time. I did my time in the clubs (fa real) and in my 20s I certainly wore some things and shook some things sometimes that might have showcased more than my intelligence. But you know what? I can't help how I feel now. And just as my parents steered me to do more with what was inside my head than my appearance (although I can't hold a candle to my striking child), I plan to do the same for my precious gift from God.

Whatever she feels about the decisions her father and I make for her over the next 16 years, I hope she realizes that they come from loving and caring parents who just want her to be able to take advantage of all the positive opportunities available to her. And if she's as pissed as I was for most of my youth, I hope she'll forgive me as I eventually forgave my parents.

Love is hard. JD

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