RENEE ANTONELLI VALENTE
: First, she kissed a girl and made people scream. Now, she’s dressed provocatively in front of a beloved Muppet. Giving new meaning to Tickle Me Elmo, Katy Perry has brought the morals police out in full force. But is it really that big a deal? Or are our censors senseless?
If NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” is spoofing it, with Perry’s help, then shouldn’t others lighten up a bit?
There she was, on a recent SNL skit, wearing a tight, low cut top depicting none other than Elmo. Priceless.
What those opposed to Perry’s ‘revealing’ appearance don’t get is that sexuality is an adult concept. Children don’t have the life experience or influence to look at things the way we do.
As adults, we can’t help but see things through the perverted filter: A low cut dress triggers “sex”, whereas a preschooler will look at her and think: “Wow, what a sparkley dress!”
Granted, there will always be a few who will take it too far. But these are the children who grow up needing directions on shampoo, require disclaimers on hot coffee, or need to be reminded to remove the windshield shades before putting the car in gear.
Read my lips: You cannot plan a society around a small group of buffoons.
And even though I did spend much of my life believing that dogs actually slept on the roofs of their doghouses, I never once sent away for ACME explosives or anvils, and I never painted a black circle on a rock and attempted to drive through it at it full speed.
Parents can breathe a big sigh of relief — with a certain degree of confidence — that their children won’t walk around with the mistaken impression that low-cut, miniskirted dresses are what they should be wearing to pre-K.
What all this alarm ends up doing is force-feeding them an inheritance of our own perversions. By causing a riot over what someone wears, don’t we risk sending a message that our bodies are something to be covered and ashamed of? By causing a fuss over a song that embraced a “non-traditional” relationship, aren’t we instilling an unhealthy attitude about sexuality — or, at the very least, a curiosity as to why the taboo?
Setting your moral persuasions aside for just a moment (yeah, I know it’s tough) do we not run the risk of showing them that the Bill of Rights is ‘flexible’ and can be altered to suit someone else’s opinion of what is socially acceptable?
Don’t get me wrong: We SHOULD NOT expose our kids to imagery that is overtly sexual or mature in nature. But just as it isn‘t damaging to walk in on Mommy and Daddy “wrestling” in the bedroom one night, it’s equally benign to to find Katy Perry’s decolletage on toddler TV for one episode.
And don’t worry, Mom and Dad, little Mary isn’t going to “turn gay” just because Katy Perry sang something they just happened to catch over the airwaves at Walmart. No one who heard Jill Sobule’s own version of a like-named tune years ago suddenly joined the other team, from what we‘ve heard.
Hey, I grew up listening to Ozzy, Black Sabbath, and Iron Maiden, and I have yet to hold a Satanic Black Mass.
In our quest to be so politically correct with everything we see, hear and touch, we lose sight of the fine line between protecting our innocent from growing up too soon and censoring an adult world that, through music, theater, film and the written word, excites, interests and entertains us.
As parents, it is our individual responsibility to create our own moral benchmarks within our families, to determine what is appropriate or not, while we still retain our rights as adults to enjoy whatever degree of entertainment we want when we’re alone.
Other countries regularly display actual nudity on its mainstream airwaves for all to see, and it is both morally and socially acceptable. Their children don’t grow up to be hookers or deviants or serial killers any more than any other population.
Why don’t we worry more about the truly negative images that pollute our environment, war, intolerance, racism, and poverty. THESE are the issues we’ll have to find a way to explain to our kids when they ask, “Why?“
So while Katy Perry looks more like a dedicated employee of Hooters instead of Hoopers General Store, let’s not get our candied panties in a bunch.
Ironic: I’m writing this at 3rd-grade daughters cheerleading practice, and her team just broke out into a verse of “Teenage Dream”:
“….sun-kissed skin so hot will melt your popsicle.”
OK, I know what your thinking. Tell you the truth: So am I.
But guess what?