Tall N Curly™

I'm tall. I'm curly. Some days I wish I was invisible. On other days ? Just watch me ! ;)

Every girl is born with a brain

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I found it really interesting and funny to read some of the comments people made ​​about my last comic 30 years of little girls learning dance moves from music videos  around the web, especially on Tumblr, which is known to be a social network used by young or very young people.

First, there were people who could relate to the comic, those – mostly with kids – who felt concerned by the thing, and those who laughed.

Then there were those who summarized my comic by saying “I think it’s funny to see all the parents powerless in the comic when they’re supposed to be the ones in control” and “how did that little girl made these knots anyway, terrible parenting” and “so it was all Shakira ‘s fault right” because the turning point of my comic takes place in 2001 with Shakira. (Believe me when I say I do not think Shakira is the worst example for our girls, far from it. I actually like Shakira a lot.) But this is a comic people, a comic summerizes things. Illustrates things.
And then there were those saying that my comic was too alarmist, putting forward the fact that in the 80s and 90s as well there were singers who showed everything and had sexually explicit attitudes, and that it has always been the parents’ responsability to monitor what their children watch on TV anyway, that people have been complaining about raunchy music since the very beginning of music so that there was nothing new nor smart in my comic. Ouch.

What I found even more interesting is that most of the people who expressed these opinions – I did not say all, I said most, didn’t check them all one by one – were young or very young persons, 15 years old, 16, 19, 20. Like if they were offended that someone would criticize the time they live in. Just like we were offended when our parents and grandparents said “In my time things were different/better.” Am I that old ? Maybe. :)

It reminded me that history repeats itself, again and again. We can only see through our own eyes and teens born in the late 90s or later cannot really conceive the world as it was before their birth, just like people like me, born or raised in the 80s, could not conceive the world of their parents, and our parents before us and so on.

So yes, the point of view of the comic is mine, a person who grew up in the 80′s. A person who also thinks that only because some things were said before doesn’t mean that what is said now is not true. A person who were once a teenager too who also thought she had it all figured out. And also a person of my time, who happens to not think that being of my time means I have to agree to everything that is going on in my time. Where would change come from if everybody agreed to everything?

Rihanna in "Pour it up"

Rihanna in “Pour it up”

Therefore what I will say is addressed to you, today’s young people, who think that seeing mainstream female singers showing their beautiful asses in their music videos is nothing new, to you who think that seeing young women in bikinis shaking their asses in pools next to a male singer or rapper everyday has no effect on you nor on society, to you who see nothing wrong seeing child stars taking a 180 degrees turn, going from the cute little girl with pigtails to the young hottie in a g-string, and especially to you who think that the Internet, laptops and smartphones have always existed.

I’ll start by answering those who said there’s always been sexually explicit music videos, even in the 80s and the 90s, that Lil ‘Kim was there at the same time as TLC, Adina Howard too, and that Janet Jackson also made sexually explicit videos where she was half naked and that she is and I quote “the freakiest of freaks”.
My answer is very simple : that is not true. Not in the way you mean it.

Yes, there was sexuality in music videos before. Not as much as there is today, but there was some. I never said there wasn’t. Again, my comic was made to make a point, so it summarizes. I wasn’t writing a movie or a book, it’s a comic.
Yes Janet Jackson suddenly started to talk about sex in an outrageous way but if you look at my comic closely, you’ll see I picked two songs from the time when she didn’t. And yes singers like Lil’Kim did contribute to the introduction to what was going to happen next. Is that an excuse to let it go further and further and worse and out of control ?

urlI also think it is important to differentiate between a mainstream international big star singer and another one.
When Lil’Kim released Hard Core in 1996, along with her music videos, she was not mainstream. Every little girl in the US and around the world was not listening to Lil’Kim, she was not a role model, she was not THE singer every little girl wanted to be and was trying to emulate her every move.

Again, the problem in my opinion is that the singers we see today half naked, shaking their naked asses, dancing in their underpants showing their crotch, are mainstream artists we see everywhere on TV and magazines and hear all day long on the radio. They’re the ones who serve as models for little girls today. Little girls today simply cannot escape from them. Even though this girl wrote somewhere it’s the parents responsability to choose the music their children are listening too. Oh you mean like our grandparents managed to keep our parents away from Elvis and the Beatles ?

Christina+Aguilera+-+Genie+In+A+Bottle+-+5%22+CD+SINGLE-144515Millions of little girls loved Christina Aguilera – who came out of Disney let’s not forget that – who became famous thanks to Genie in a bottle, a video in which she wore hideous wide orange pants and was almost candidly looking at the camera. She became mainstream. Her fans weren’t much older when three years later, the same Christina, who had meanwhile become Britney’s first rival, appeared in panties, spreading her legs wide and showing her butt in Dirrty. The same young fans, who loved her when she was cute and girly, were still watching.

If Lil Kim shocked in her time, it’s because no one did what she did by then. What she did was different. New. Weird. It was not the NORM. It was not mainstream.

Dirrty-christina-aguilera-22810182-459-459Today, the music industry wants everyone to think that it’s normal for a female singer to show her ass, her crotch, her tongue or to publicly rub her ass against a male singer’s genitals on a show that is known to be watched by millions of teens in the US. They also want us to think it’s normal for female singers to sing songs in which they call themselves and other women “bitches”, and when I read a young girl say “there always was sexuality in music”, I know they have succeeded. But sweetheart, I can remember a time when there was no connection between singing and stripping. And FYI, there are still today some singers who just sing. YES. Singing with no stripping. Some even write some amazingly empowering lyrics.

A little bit of history. The parents of my generation are from what is called the sexual revolution. From the 60s to the late 70s, the face of the Western world changed. Emancipation of women, birth control and right to abortion. Minds were changing. Women had decided they would be the equals of men. They had been fighting for that. They no longer wanted this patriarchal society. They no longer wanted to be “own” by men. They wanted to be free, to be respected, to work, to earn money, to own businesses. Don’t you find strange that the further we get away from these times, the more women go back to being objectified ? The more men are allowed to objectify women again ? Don’t be fooled. If men are allowed and even encouraged to objectify women they see on TV, what do you think they will do in real life with women they meet ?

madonna_open_your_heart_extended_version_1986_the80smanLet’s go back to our parents. Most of our parents did not see music as a danger to morality. They let their parents think that if they wanted to. The only thing bothering our parents wasn’t the music we were listening to, it was how loud we listened to it. Besides that, most of us could listen to whatever we wanted. I can’t remember one little classmate telling me ” My parents do not want me to listen to Madonna”, when, let’s face it, she was one of the most sexualized singers we had at that time. And although some parents didn’t want to hear rap music well… some kids must have been listening to it anyway as it’s now one of the biggest sellers.

We also were living in a time when everything was more controlled and monitored.
Although “absolute freedom” has always been teens first fantasy – I’ve been there – and that you – the youngest – might feel sorry for those of us who didn’t have access to everything through the internet, you will have to grow up to realize that there are pros and cons to everything in life and that in a way we were lucky to not being able to see whatever we wanted.

If parents said ” No, you’re not gonna watch “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3″, you’ll have nightmares.” we simply couldn’t watch it. And if we tried to see it on a VHS at a friend’s place, we were doing so having heart palpitations, hoping our parents wouldn’t find us there. We knew we were watching something we were not allowed to watch, something that was not for children.
If the censorship in 92 said : “No you are not gonna see Madonna’s new music video Erotica, it’s too sexually explicit.” we couldn’t see it and that was it. At that time we couldn’t secretly get on our laptop or our father’s computer to watch it. Wasn’t on TV ? Didn’t see it.

Today, kids own smartphones, ipads, TVs, laptops or computers at a very young age. If they don’t own one, their big sister do. Internet is everywhere, and parental control is not effective enough for my friend’s 8yo NOT to come across last Rihanna’s video, “Pour it up”. With the internet and all its devices, it all got out of control, not to mention that sex is all over the place now, in music videos, song lyrics, movies, commercials, magazines, and of course on the internet… It all got out of control for the parents. For the music industry and all the other industries connected to it, it simply all got easier to do what they wanted to do.

A study shows that each year, 14,000 sexual references are shown on television only. Little girls’ minds have no filtering tools and no firewalls against that. Of course parents must monitor what their children are watching, but again, this is everywhere, everyday and all the time. Parents can’t follow and watch their kids 24/7.
In the 80s and the 90s, they trusted the censorship to help them protect their children’s minds. Now they’re on their own, trying to fight TV, radio and the internet all at the same time. That’s impossible.

Another girl said that parents should request more of what they wanted their kids to listen to. Yes. Agreed. But do you ever take responsibility for yourself ? Being young doesn’t forbid you to think and then to act for your own interest you know. Like some people decide to eat healthy food instead of eating fast food for their own good, you are free to decide to listen to some more inspiring music. There is a lot of music out there besides what you hear on the radio. Who could tell how all of this happened ? Did the media forced us into this ? Didn’t women accepted it and dive into it ? The chicken or the egg ? That simply doesn’t matter. What matters is that individuals decide to change their own habits. “I’m starting with the man in the mirror / I’m asking him to change his ways / And no message could have been clearer / If you wanna make the world a better place” – Michael Jackson.

wod2Some of you try to reassure themselves saying that none of this affects you.
All I can say is that when my friend’s 10yo daughter asked her mom to buy her a thong, my friend almost fainted. When another friend’s 4yo daughter started slapping her own butt in front of everyone at a family reunion, she too almost lost it.
You may think it’s nothing or funny, because you see the world from behind your own eyes and that this is the only version of the world you know and that you see it through your young age, but still being so close to childhood you don’t understand that there is a time for everything and that there is a time for childhood, that childhood is sacred, short and that when it’s gone it never comes back. You’re just too much in a hurry to grow up to understand this yet and it’s perfectly normal.

66822_v2

Tesco’s Toy stripper pole

Childhood needs protection, it’s a time for freedom, frivolity, a time when young minds are shaped to become tomorrow’s great minds. You have to let children be children.

Today’s little girls have not yet finished to construct their own identities that they are already looking for a boyfriend, to then feel depreciated when they don’t find one. Then they feel dumb if they don’t speak about sex or don’t dress in a sexy way and they feel retarded if they don’t have sex in mind by the age of 13. Meanwhile, in stores, they sell child size thongs, child size padded bras, child size high heels, Playboy-branded stationery for teenage girls and toy stripper poles. Yeah. Your read me right.

66806On one hand, women have always been taught that what people think of them defines them. They must be beautiful, thin, dressed in a certain way. They need to know how to be sexy and how to seduce. On the other hand, little girls have always been looking for female role models to imitate, to relate to. With sex taking over movies, music videos, magazines, commercials and songs lyrics,what today’s little girls are learning is that their worth is determined by their sex appeal, nothing else.

The thing is, nature knows best, so young girls are not naturally interested in sex before a certain age. What does this lead to ? A huge gap between young girls’ actual minds and what they think they should be doing or being because of what they see or are being told. This is one of the sources of girls and women’s biggest issue of all times : low self-esteem.

A Canadian study shows that the more a girl lacks of self-confidence, the more she is likely to accept or suffer sexual advances. Whether to please, to feel accepted, to be part of the gang or to not be left out, she accepts. And the vicious circle never ends : boys receive sex signals from girls everywhere on TV and are looking for the same in real life, inspired by their models, girls send sex signals to boys who see girls as sex objects who behave as sex objects to please the boys and so on. And there is the end of childhood.

That’s what happens when looks matter more than personality. Girls have always been caring and will always care about what other people think, especially what men think. But we’re all born different so we can’t all look like what we see on TV (thank God). This leads to having complexes. This leads to unhappy little girls who will become unhappy women.

But while every girl is not born a supermodel or a knockout, every girl is born with a brain, and every brain can be fed with good things, leaving no empty space to be filled with crap. If the singers we see everywhere everyday made lyrics and videos encouraging girls and women to be proud and strong, to love themselves, to educate themselves, to respect themselves, to have ambition and to demand respect from others, to love and respect life, to be optimistic, instead of talking about sex or suicide, or instead of calling other women bitches and hoes, things would be different.

Some singers are trying to send positive and strong messages, you’ve heard them. Maybe. They don’t have half the budget and the means singers like Rihanna or Lady Gaga have. That’s not the messages the music industry and the industries connected to it want you to hear. They want to sell a lot, and they know what sells today. And as whoever shouts the loudest wins, you’re more likely to hear Rihanna talking about S&M sex and suicide like in Russian Roulette everywhere than anything else.

In the end, everything is connected. The music industry is connected to the media industry which is connected to the fashion industry which is connected to the cosmetic industry and so on. They know very well that having sexualized girls shown on TV, they will sell more albums to men and to teenagers. They know very well that having girls and women look up to role models who are obsessed with their looks and sex appeal, they will sell more clothes, more shoes, more cosmetics, more cosmetic surgery, more botox, more more more… starting with always younger girls all around the world.

These are some of the reasons why today, international mainstream music female superstars are the ones we see jiggling and slapping their naked or almost naked asses in the music videos and I’m sorry young ladies but no, this is not normal.

57 Discussions on
“Every girl is born with a brain”
  • Hey tallncurly,
    I just found your site the other day, and i love it. I’m curly as well, though quite short. I like your way of thinking as well. i’m a 22 year old, muslim woman. The more i see whats happening in the world today, the more i understand the wisdom in my religion. Alot of people think islam limits women, but living as a muslim woman the real way islam says, i feel sometimes at a higher level than men. Islam tells women to wear hijab (i’m sure you know what that is, but if you don’t it is the cover a muslim woman wears, not only to cover her head but to dress modestly not showing the shape of her body as much as possible), because in a world with hijab, would these issues that you have mentioned in your post ever come up? if every woman would dress modestly, no one (or at lest much less) would feel bad for not having a sexy body, no four year old girl would ever want to wear a thong! just as the media is doing what you say, trying to make it normal for women to act so low, it tries to make a bad image of islam (a religion that would actually prevent this). it shows muslims as terrorists, when islam is one of the most peaceful religions. If you slap someone, and their skin turns pink, you have to pay them for that injury! (ofcourse, no one would ever ask anyone for that money, but that is the ruling). a religion where even to kill an animal, you have to give it utmost respect, first giving the animal water. if an animal is killed without first being fed water, eating the meat of that animal is not allowed. How could such a religion be as violent as the media today shows?
    you start to see connections to things after a while. the things that the media in the west shows today, they are trying to keep people so busy with their personal lives, so stuck in thinking about being skinny, being beautiful, being sexy, even having sex that they just don’t have time to think about anything more important! they are so lost in themselves that they don’t see the world and whats going on, they can’t tell right from wrong anymore.
    sorry for talking so much, i have so much more to say, but i would have to write for days to say everything thats on my mind. and as a muslim, i ask you not to see the actions of individual muslims, and decide what islam is, based on them.
    Love,
    your muslim fan
    sorry if there are any typos or errors in my text its 12:30 am and i’m dead tired!

    • Hi Fatimah !

      Thank you for your message ! :)

      What you’re talking about is quite touchy because you’re raising issues that feed passions on every sides of the world, so not wanting to see my comics and humor blog become an open forum for more or less enlightened minds and more or less well-intentioned ones, I will try to answer you without leaving too much room for ambiguity but also without creating or encouraging any debate as once again my blog is not made ​​for that.

      Please first note that you preach a converted when speaking about the amalgam the media make between terrorists and Muslims. There are extremists in every religion, and although some Christians and Jews have committed terrible acts in the name of their religion, the shortcut between them and the millions of Christians and Jews around the world is never made as quickly and dangerously.
      I am also fully aware of the role media have in all that. I have in mind the example of a Zack Snyder movie, “Dawn of the dead”, which is a – terrible – zombies movie, where the first image they show to an almost subliminal level, right at the beginning of a montage showing bloodthirsty zombies eating people and killing each other, is a simple image of Muslims praying. Replace this with a ceremony in a church or in a synagogue and in my opinion, someone will definitely see a problem there.

      Now, I can’t agree with you when you say “in a world of hijab, would these issues would even come up?”

      I’m not muslim, but I do believe in God, and I believe God created women in the same way He created men and with the same idea in mind : to create a being who knows, understands, and fight for her happiness and for her freedom.
      I personnally don’t know a muslim woman who wears the hijab but I do know a couple of older muslim women who did fight all their life to have the right to not wear it. It didn’t mean they wanted to act naughty or have a more sexual attitude. It was all about freedom.

      What I think is that men and women were created equal, so they have the same and equal rights and chances to be happy and to be free, therefore they both should have the right to live in peace and respect with and within bodies that were God given and God made.

      There’s a big gap between the problem I depict in my 30 years of little girls dancing cartoons and a “world of hijab” as you said.

      I’ve never thought women should be afraid or ashamed of their bodies and of their beauty. I think God created the most perfect creature when He created woman, and I think a woman should be proud of every single part of her body, that she should love every single part of her body, and that’s why I also believe she should respect every single part of her body and not act like she doesn’t give a damn about it and that it has no value in her own eyes.
      I don’t think women of influence like the ones we see on TV and everywhere else should send a message like the one they’re sending as because of them millions of other women will actually be deprived of their free will, having grown up in a world where that message of raunchiness and sexual outrage is the rule.

      I also think that if a proud woman is walking down the street, aware of her beauty and letting it shine in the world with a clear and conscious mind, and that a man comes by and is so aroused he doesn’t know what to do with himself anymore, I think it’s the man who needs to deal with it, not the woman who should hide just to be sure she doesn’t wake any of the man’s sexual urge. God gave us bodies, but He gave us a conscience and will too, so a man should be able to control himself.

      The problem with “a word of hijab” is that there would be only one option : hijab. In a world of freedom, you have the right to wear what you wish, depending on your religion or personality. Saying this has nothing to do with Islam, but it has everything to do with freedom, which is truly my main religion. :)

    • i’ll just answer short, don’t want to ruin your blog. wearing hijab outside doesn’t mean a muslim woman doesn’t care for her body. i don’t know a muslim woman who doesn’t care for her body. and when the time comes, she can be just as sexy as any other woman, if not sexier. but every thing has a time and place. you shouldn’t need to be sexy in the street, rather in front of your husband. if every person would try to correct their own actions, rather than expecting others to correct theirs, the world would be a better place. and islam actually has a dress code for men too. and the fact is women and men are different. that doesn’t mean either of them are lower or higher than the other. hope i didn’t disturb your blog :)

    • sorry, I just couldn’t help myself, but I just wanted to point out a few things. I didn’t see where tallncury said muslim women that wear hijabs didn’t care for their bodies, maybe I missed it. what I saw her say was that women should love themselves and the bodies they were created in, and not feel afraid because of their beauty. I agree that everything has a time and place and you shouldn’t need to be sexy in the street. but then again, and I understand you grew up with a different religion, what we consider to be sexy are probably very different. are jeans, a t-shirt, hair tied, and no make-up also sexy? the majority of men aren’t so perverted to get turned on from the mere sight of a women in casual clothes. they might think she looks pretty. and that’s fine. I don’t see what’s wrong with others seeing how pretty you are. there’s no danger. wanting to look pretty and wanting to look sexy are different. hijabs can look very pretty. personally, I sometimes don’t see the difference between it and hair. the ones with patterns can look even prettier than hair.

      if everyone would try to correct their own actions, rather that expecting others to correct theirs the world would be better. I completely agree with that, too. but are you referring to men getting aroused when you say that? isn’t that blaming the victim? there was no error so there’s no correction to be made. also, rape is hardly ever caused by arousal, but by the rapist’s wanting to dominate. it’s talked about in many studies.

      from my understanding the dress code for the men are not as strict as the women’s. yes, women and men are different, but that difference isn’t a reason for women to be lower in status to the dominant male.

      sorry if that came out offensive and sorry tallncurly for continuing the debate. I just. couldn’t. control myself. I won’t be making any follow up posts. for my last words, I just wanted to say about the 16-20 year olds that represented my age group and made those comments to you about sexuality in videos… I felt embarrassed. no offense to my generation. some of us can figure out that for there to be a cycle of complaints about the sexuality in music videos throughout the generations means that the sexuality keeps increasing, creating new shock factors. I didn’t even know must of the facts you shared and I was able to figure that one out. I even wrote a short essay about it after wrecking ball.

    • Hi Yahya :)

      Thank you very much for this comment. Like you, reading Fatimah’s second message, I just couldn’t control myself and wrote a long answer saying basically everything that you just said, but I finally decided not to post it and to put my brain in a bowl of ice instead. ;)

      Your comment is not offensive at all and I’m glad somebody else took over to speak my mind so well.

      And about the comments some young people said about the 30 years of little girls (…) comic, don’t fell embarassed ! Every generation has its own vision of the world, and as someone wrote in in an article I’ve read that was talking about the same matter : “Our generation and those younger than us have always been swimming in the waters of objectification and sexualization to the point that they don’t realize when they are soaking wet.”
      It would be pointless to try sending out a message about something I know everybody agrees on wouldn’t it ;)

      On one of the websites that reposted it, it was shared something like 40 000 times, and that website had stats about the likes and unlikes allowing me to see that over 70% of the feedback was actually positive, so I was very happy to see much more good comments and messages than anything else, even from young people of your generation, as I could sit back in my chair and realize this world is still full of hope and light after all ;)

      Take good care of yourself Yahya and thanks again ;)

  • It’s really disgusting what the world is coming to. My husband and I were talking about this the other day. A rap song from the 90′s came on Pandora, and I was singing the radio edit. I was so shocked to actually hear the uncensored version. It was the first time I had heard it, and it was so vulgar! I felt so sheltered! My parents never allowed me to listen to uncensored music. I was a HUGE Eminem fan and was so pissed that they made me buy the edited version of his album! With internet now, I can imagine it would be impossible to keep ANYTHING from your child. But when I was growing up, if mom and dad said no, it usually meant no. And that was good because mom and dad usually know best.
    It frightens me how hard it is becoming to preserve a child’s innocence. You can raise your child with the best values, but I feel like your contribution is so small when you send your child out into a world that is telling them the exact opposite of what you’ve taught them. Worse when they have to mingle with the children who have parents that don’t care and don’t monitor their activities. It truly makes my uterus clench in fear.

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