I love, love, love having a daughter. Right now I am savoring the fact that she has virtually no opinions about clothes so happily wears whatever I dress her in. But I know there will be a good chance that a time will come when she’ll want to dress beyond her age or show skin that I will want covered. The thought makes me go cold.
I have so many parenting missions but one of my biggest is making sure she values herself. This will date me but the first seasons of Real World aired when I was in college– my friends and I were obsessed and as MTV aired the reruns in heavy rotation, I have seen each episode of the first few seasons approximately 580 times. Those early years certainly brought the drama and cringeworthy moments but it mostly stemmed from the ‘fish out of water’ experience of people of various backgrounds forced to live together. Well, I probably stopped watching the show more than a decade ago, I would say because I was too busy ‘adulting’ but that would be a lie. I think there were simply better reality TV options: am looking at you Real Housewives franchise. Well, maybe it was nostalgia or more likely boredom but I decided to watch the current season of RW held in Vegas. It is mortifying! I spend the hour gasping, cringing and sometimes hiding under my blanket. What worries me the most is how casual they are about intimate relations–hooking up with each other or a stranger at a club is ‘no big deal’. They are so casual with their bodies– using the bathroom in front of one another ( including in front of the other gender roommates), one of the female roommates has gone topless for the house’s entertainment on more than one occasion, and in loungey situations where I would opt to wear a pair of pj pants and a big t-shirt they invariably hang out in skimpy lingerie.
It breaks my heart. Self-respect and personal dignity is a far greater reward than fleeting fame. I hate that our reality TV culture ( including my beloved housewives and Bachelor) has glorified bad behavior.
I could say more on this but I fear I sound a bit like the late Andy Rooney. I will get off my curmudgeonly soap box.