Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Monday, November 29, 2021

When Creativity and Parenthood Clash


Several years ago, I wrote a blog post in which I shared my negative comments about a band’s songs on their latest album. I had been encouraged to check them out by fans who were just crazy about the band and their music. My comments about the songs were negative because A LOT of those songs were about sex and also viewing females as sex objects. At that time, I was the mother of a young daughter, so I naturally felt compelled to speak out against it. When I reread the blog post many years later, I wanted to kick myself.


Yes, I posted my opinions about the CD on my blog for the benefit of all those people who encouraged me to check them out. But WHY IN THE WORLD did I have to put it on my blog?? I could have just made my comments to them in private.


I know my blogs do not have a huge readership, but they are still in the public domain. Unless I change otherwise, anyone can read them. Including members of that band.


Of course, my reaction to those songs was understandable, given that I was reacting to them as the mother of a girl and not as some teen fan or whatever. But nowadays, I see things like that, and you know what? I DON’T CARE. It doesn’t bother me as much as it used to, because EVERYBODY has the right to express themselves in their own way, use their creativity in their own way, and share their gifts in their own way. That includes every single musician, songwriter, dancer, artist, writer, filmmaker and anyone else who creates art or some form of entertainment for the public.


Here's the thing: When it comes to creativity, there are no bounds. There are no limits and there are no taboos. It can be ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. And if a band chooses to sing songs about sex or sexualizing girls, they have a right to do that. It's not a good thing, but they did make that choice to put out that kind of material. We can take from it what we will but, in the meantime, we can't start demonizing the band or making them out to be "sick" or "bad people" for having those perceptions about girls. It is what it is. They are how they are.


We, the listeners of that kind of music, can either like it or not like it. That’s ok! Not liking it doesn’t make it “bad.” It’s just an opinion! But I feel that opinion shouldn’t be put onto a blog. WHY put it onto a blog? I mean, it’s not like I was paid to review it, or anything. It only makes that band look bad.


But even so, as a parent, I had to think about just how I would respond to things like this, because my kids would see and hear things like this. I was concerned that that kind of music would encourage impressionable young girls to have sex, thereby escalating the rate of teen pregnancy. Or that they might influence my own kids in a negative way. Well, instead of worrying that something like how a SONG would have that kind of impact on a young girl, why not talk to our kids about teen pregnancy instead? Why not let them know the burdens and expenses of teen pregnancy, and all the things early motherhood would make them sacrifice? It’s not a song’s responsibility to make sure teen girls don’t get pregnant; it’s up to us parents to make sure our teen daughters don’t get pregnant.


And, you know, that’s my whole point. It’s up to us parents to do everything we can to guide and lead and protect our children. There are always going to be songs, dance performances, artwork, books, movies, plays, videos and sculptures, etc., promoting sex. There’s no way to get rid of any of that stuff! What we can do is use our kids’ exposure to those kinds of things as a teachable moment. We can use those things as a reminder to check in with our kids on how they felt about that, any questions they might have, and just talk with them about that particular issue. Open those lines of communication with your kids, because if you don’t, they’ll likely get their answers from someone else or the Internet or start thinking about what they were exposed to in the wrong way.


We have to make sure that the music our kids listen to, the movies they watch and the books they read do not have a negative or dangerous influence on our kids, because they CAN. But it’s not the source of that material’s responsibility to make sure our kids our okay; it’s our job as parents to make sure our kids are okay. We the parents have to make sure our kids will not be influenced in ways that are harmful or immoral. It’s not the musician’s responsibility; it’s our responsibility. The musicians, artists, writers and filmmakers are all going to put out the kind of work that they want to. We, the parents, can take care of the kids who are exposed to all of that.


We cannot stifle creative expression. Every single creative out there has the right to put out any kind of work that they want to. They are not babysitters, teachers, preachers, mentors or “big brother/sister” to our kids. They are entertainers. Maybe their kind of entertainment is not appropriate for our kids, but entertainment is meant to be for all kinds of people, and that’s the kind of audience their work is meant for. If we want to ensure that our kids stay on the right path in life, then it’s our job to talk to them about the things that they are exposed to. It’s our job. Nobody else can do it; it's all on us. We’re the parents, and part of being a parent is to protect our kids, guide our kids, and educate them about the things that are in our world. It’s up to us, not the entertainers.


The entertainers are all going to do their own thing and put out their own work. We may like it, we may not. But no matter what our opinion is, they still have the right to their own forms of creative expression. That includes something that might be sexual. In that event, should our kids be exposed to it, then we the parents can take things from there and have an honest conversation with our kids about it.

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