What is wrong with us?
This one is for all you girls out there and I really wonder if you are aware of this or am I just too paranoia or do I have a clear view on this? Some days I am really wondering what is happening to my kids as they learn to live the life with friends, television and Internet. And I can tell you mums and dads it is not all funny what they learn from there. Maybe my youth was a lot less complicated as we had only television during the evening hours and on Wednesday afternoon. The news that we followed was from a local newspaper.
My eight-year-old daughter came down the stairs the other day dressed as "a fairy". She had on a pink frilly tutu kind of skirt, a pink vest that she'd rolled up like a crop top and a tiara. She also had a microphone borrowed from her older sister and a cell phone that played Justin Bieber songs.
She walked down the stairs, wiggling and waggling, and then she turned round, gave me a pout and stuck her bottom in the air. I was shocked. It seemed such a sexualised thing to do and I couldn't understand where my precious little thing had got this action from. I don't behave like that. Neither does anyone else I know.
K3 mighty populair with young girls in the Netherlands and Belgium
An impressive story about slavery
Yet this overt sexualisation of the female sex is inescapable. Officially we are all falling for the hottest woman in the world? Really? Is this what we want our young people to aim for? Is this what success should mean to them?" Just see what happened to a girl called Britney Spears and there are probably a lot more like her.
Women, of course, have always been feted for their looks. I remember watching films with Brigitte Bardot and yes like every healthy young bloke I was glancing at her boobs. I am sure there were loads of young women back then wondering if they could become famous because of their bouncing bristols. Page three girls, glamour models, pin-ups, these have been around since the year dot. The adulation of women for being overtly sexual, or suggesting the promise of sex, has long been with us and is not going away soon. Really it is just a hoax guys.
I think that:"Every woman needs to be self-sufficient .... You hear these yummy mummies talk about being the best possible mother and they put all their effort into their children. I also want to be the best possible dad, but I know that my job as a dad includes bringing my children up so actually they can live without me." And my kids should think up their own dreams and built their own future.
For my generation (I am in my mid-forties), there was no sense of just wanting to be "famous". I wanted to be all sorts of things – a pilot on a commercial airline, an fireman, a circus performer, a silly car mechanic, a soldier, a truck driver, a painter or even a waiter.
My fictitious heroes were people like Johnny Weissmuller who played the role of Tarzan and Superman played by Christopher Reeve. Although the character of Tarzan or Superman does not directly engage in violence against women, feminist scholars have critiqued the presence of other sympathetic male characters that engage in this violence with Tarzan's approval. Reinforcing a notion of gendered hierarchy where patriarchy is portrayed as the natural pinnacle of society.
Christopher Reeve as Superman
The only film stars I was interested in were people like Charley Chaplin, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, even then, they seemed mystical, magical creatures who existed only on screen. I couldn't imagine them having a real life.
Stan and Ollie
As I grew up, my role models changed. As I read more widely, I changed my interest for movies as well. I fell in love with the story of Jane Eyre and later on with Sandra Bullock when she played in While you were sleeping. The stories are odd but somehow realistic.
My mother steered me away from the Disneyised version of heroes, most of whom have been forced in to domestication in order to become lovable. Snow White spent her time cooking and cleaning for seven infantilised men. Cinderella swept the hearth. Beauty in Beauty and the Beast looked after her father then went to look after a Beast who she ended up kissing. All of these women were saved from impoverished drudgery by a prince.
So she introduced me to literature. I read the Anne Frank Story and I started reading the book of Alex Haley called Roots, I also read V.C. Andrews book flowers in the Attic and of course Sophie’s Choice. Furthermore i read some books about the great wars from all over the planet from second world war to the war in Vietnam. I became ambitious, seeing my worth as being about what I achieved rather than how I looked. I was encouraged to be an independent person as no government should hold me back.
I loved my English teacher, Mister Kuijt, who was almost solely responsible for my love of this language and a stiff drink, and my impossibly sophisticated Dutch teacher. He learned me a lot about the dialogue and how to use it instead of fighting physically.
I will encourage my daughter to choose her role models from as wide a range as possible. I shall ask her to look towards a different type of role model.
And there are great role models among us all, women whose lives show real purpose and achievement regardless of what they look like or the money they have. The common feature? They have worked hard, for themselves, and for others.
Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan
So come on, ladies. You're worth more than this. You should be ambitious and driven and you should by all means have realistic role models. But let them be those truly worthy of your respect, rather than someone whose sole claim to fame is an admittedly beautiful bottom. Even though it looks nice.
The Old Sailor,