I just stumbled across this video on facebook. Take a look and then we’ll continue this in a moment:
I know, right? In case you’re wondering, yes, that was a real song…about jeans. The video follows young Jenna Rose on a crazed search, friends in tow, for a pair of jeans. In the video we also see Jenna, who is only in the 7th grade by the way (that’s right, you heard me, 7th grade!), brushing her hair (I’m sure she already did her make-up), conflicted over what to wear (big decisions for a 12 year old), flipping through teenybopper gossip magazines (gotta keep up with the Biebs), incessantly exclaiming “o-m-g!” (why the face?), dancing around her room with her friends as she sings about said designer jeans, jumping into a Mini Cooper and driving off (evidently all you need are wealthy parents to get a license in Cali. Plus, there are just way too many kids in that car! Unless there are about 23 seat-belts in the back little Jenna is going to have her first run-in with the law), and running around the mall (‘cuz that’s what girls do, right?!). As she lustfully gazes through the window at the immaculate denim she sings,
“I thought about how cool I’d look if I had them on right now / I’m anxious, and excited , they’re on my mind”.
Enter “Baby Triggy” (who can’t be much older that 13 himself), rapping about jets and his new Blackberry.
Is this what we’ve become?
Frankly, as the father of a soon-to-be-born baby girl this scares the bejeezus out of me. As
Christians human beings we need to recognize the formative power of things like this and see through the bull. Now, surely this is not Jenna Rose’s fault. She’s 12 for crying out loud. I honestly feel for this poor girl. But here’s the really scary thing…kids listen. If this is what our daughters brains are being pumped full of then can we really expect a different outcome? The target demographic of marketing like this are girls as young as 6-8 years old (even younger?) who are not old nor wise enough to think rationally and clearly about these sorts of matters. Our young women are being formed into mindless zombies that a) are utterly consumed and anxious about their appearance (at increasingly younger ages), b) succumb to the powers of a soul-sucking consumerism, c) are influenced and compare themselves to teen celeb’s (someone has to sell those jeans!), d) are sexualized at far too young an age, and e) take up shopping as a hobby.
Well, I say no. I’d like to use stronger language to describe what I really want to say but there could be future employers reading! My daughter will not be swayed by your perverted ways. She will not be weak an unable to stand up to the forces of consumerism. No, she will be strong because she belongs to the Lord and he to her. She will not be anxious about what she looks like. No, she will know that her beauty and worth are far more inherent than the clothes she wears. She will not take up shopping as a hobby. No, she will be far too busy loving and living with the sick and the destitute to hang out at the mall. She will not be made into a sexual object before she even hits puberty. No, she will be entitled to and enjoy her childhood. She will not care about the latest celebrity gossip. No, she will be far too busy listening to the voice of her Father in Heaven.
Am I being to idealistic here to suppose my daughter will be unaffected by the powerful narratives that shape the Western world? I hope not. For I know of a narrative that is more powerful than any story told by clever marketers that sling crack to children. I know of a love that is far stronger than the love for material goods. In the opening verse Jenna sings: “Commercial shows on my t.v. about these cool designer jeans”. Be not deceived: our children are being targeted and sold a lie. The stats on marketing that is targeted towards children are shocking. Kids hardly stand a change these days.
What can we as parents, friends, and concerned citizens do?
May God’s story be more powerful and formative yet. Lord have mercy.