Thursday, February 23, 2012
Girl of the Day - Katherine McPhee
My ten year old daughter is watching Smash, with Katherine McPhee. According to the Regular Wife, it's a little too risque for her, but it's about becoming famous, and being a star, and being on Broadway, and being a great singer and dancer, etc. So we can't keep her away from it. (She also is more tech-savvy than the rest of the kids, and so learned, practically in the womb, how to work the DVR. I can't tell you how many Jersey Shore recordings I've had to cancel!)
Anyway, there is occasionally punditry about how feminism and traditional family values are competing ideologically for young girls, with one strand of the culture telling them to value careers and the other to value motherhood and domesticity. I actually think the most pernicious strand of our culture for young girls is what I'll call the "entertainment industry complex" (after the Eisenhower era's "military-industrial complex"). This is the enormously powerful, nearly constant hammering by the media (Disney Channel especially) that a young girl's "dreams" should always be about becoming a "star" and becoming "famous" through gaining entry into the world of the entertainment industry. Sure you have TV shows with women who are police officers and lawyers and doctors. But you never have shows where young girls aspire to those roles (or to be an engineer or a scientist or a businesswoman or an entrepreneur).
This can't help but have bad effects -- in a way, the entertainment industry and becoming a "star" is sort of like the academia industry and becoming a "college professor".... because people fantasize about themselves being in that role, and because the work itself is pleasurable and "intellectual" or "artistic," far too many young people chase far too few jobs. There's an enormous amount of talent out there, but most of it ends up wasted, and could have been put to better use.
Anyway, the Regular Guy tries to offset the culture by talking up being a scientist or a doctor or an engineer to the Regular Daughters. Kind of a losing battle at this point.