If you watched last night’s episode of Glee, then you know the music of Ms. Britney Spears was featured. One of the many story lines included cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester warning Mr. Schuester of the dangers of singing Britney songs. She advised him that exposing the students to her music could lead down a slippery slope of debauchery, deviancy, and ultimately a sex riot. And in fact, a semi-sex riot did ensue when the kids sang “Toxic” at the homecoming assembly. So my question for today is: can Britney (or pop music in general) really bring about the kinds of misbehavior of which Sue is warning us?
Not that this is a new question, parents have been accusing popular culture of sullying their kids for generations. But does it really happen? Is there a direct line, as Sue would have us believe, between risqué music and bad behavior?
I’m inclined to say no. I don’t believe that listening to a suggestive – or even explicit – song can cause kids to engage in sexually riotous behavior. And to say that it does minimizes the other, more constant, influences in their lives. Parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, classmates – all these factors have much more influence than one sexy song ever could – even if the singer is Britney.
So, if you’re a parent, don’t underestimate the influence you have with your children – even if it seems like they never listen to a word you say. And be