playlists for the young and impressionable
It’s hard to avoid the influence of mainstream commercial media on young girls. I should know: my seven year old daughter is heavily into princesses and ballerinas, while my six year old daughter loves butterflies and wearing pretty dresses.
One of the ways I try to combat this is to reduce the amount of commercial media they are exposed to. TV viewing is limited to ABC Kids or DVD movies, and not too much in one day. Computer access is easily controlled – they can only visit websites we’ve whitelisted, and the computer automatically logs them out after one hour’s use in a day. And the girls each have an iPod (pink for the princess, at her request) with playlists I’ve created for them. This is where I need your help…
Coming up with suitable playlists to counteract the rest of the mainstream media’s portrayal of women is hard work. Like most primary school children, my daughters’ opinion of a song is automatically higher if they’ve heard it on the radio. And they are way too cool for “kids music” like Justine Clarke. Naturally, female voices resonate with them. And they have personal preferences: Ms Seven likes bubblegum pop tunes and doesn’t like swearing in songs, while Ms Six enjoys a bit of pop-rock and loves hearing her name (Juliet) in the lyrics. I think I regret putting Taylor Swift’s Love Story on her iPod, it’s just reinforcing the Cinderella myth. The only other song I know with her name in it is just plain inappropriate for a six year old – Dire Straits’ Romeo and Juliet.
Their current playlists include some great songs by women to boost a young girl’s self esteem and express a wider range of interests than just boys and fashion:
- ·Beth Orton – Live As You Dream
- ·George – Breathe In Now
- ·The Idea of North (Australian a capella group) – Isn’t She Lovely (cover of the Stevie Wonder song – chosen for her by her grandmother)
- ·Indigo Girls – Galileo
- ·Kylie – Step Back In Time. OK, maybe I’m just trying to get them into the same music I liked as a teenager. There’s nothing wrong with a song that’s just plain fun to dance to, especially in 70’s dress-ups.
- ·Missy Higgins – Steer. The kids think it’s about what happens when Daddy lets them sit in his lap and pretend they’re driving. Hopefully the concept of self-determination is seeping into their still-forming brains.
- ·Pink – Funhouse. They take the lyrics literally – that it’s about a carnival funhouse.
- ·Sarah McLachlan – Blackbird (cover of the Beatles song)
- ·Vanessa Amorosi – Holiday
- ·Katy Perry – Firework. I know it’s a bit sappy, but it’s Song of the Year with the under 8s.
- ·The Waifs – Lighthouse
Got any more suggestions for my daughters’ playlists? They love the voices of Adele, Kasey Chambers, Jewel, Pink, and Gwen Stefani. I’d like them to listen to more Tracy Chapman, Beth Orton, and Ani di Franco. What songs do you recommend?
By Emma Davidson
(Image credit: 1.)