Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Teaching My Son to Love Justin Bieber

All of my kids love Justin Bieber - and would gladly tell anyone about it; at least until recently.  Something sad - and certainly not uncommon - has happened to Curious Boy recently.  At his last birthday party, the subject of JB came up.  My daughters, and the one other girl there had no problem saying that they like (or loved) Justin - although the 7 year old friend has "moved on" to One Direction.  The rest of the gang (boys) were quick to say that JB sucked, or to make gross faces.  Curious Boy held his tongue.  I noticed what was going on, and I made point to be vocal about the fact that I like Justin Bieber's music.

Quick aside:  I do like Justin Bieber.  I grew up listening to Doo-Wop, Motown, the Beatles and other melodic pop.  I'm not saying that JB is John Lennon, but I have a soft spot for catchy pop tunes.  On top of that, since I saw the movie "Never Say Never", I have a lot of respect for him and his family.

Now, back to my main point.  Since then, CB has been very anti-Justin.  He makes faces when there's a Bieber song on the radio; he won't watch "Never Say Never" with his sisters.

It's easy to see where these boys get the idea that they've got to hate Justin. I was at a party recently where the subject of music came up, and my friends - all fathers of young boys - were also quick to slam Bieber.  Even going so far as to say that they would "shoot him in the face" if he were standing there.  Admittedly, this conversation was under the influence of a few bottles of wine.  This sentiment, however, is surely expressed at home - and not only about Justin Bieber.

It's time to be brutally honest.   This kind of exaggerated loathing of a pop star (we're not talking about Mahmoud Amedinejad here) is nothing but thinly veiled homophobia.  Justin Bieber exemplifies many qualities that are traditionally considered feminine in our society.  He has a slight build.  He cares about his hair and clothes.  He talks about love and caring.  Many men worry that expressing that side of themselves will make them less of a man - maybe even (gasp) gay.  You don't have to like his music - but that kind of vitriol is unaccptable, and spreads to our children.

Making it acceptable to hate on JB in your house, teaches your kids to dislike people based on appearance and perception - without even knowing them.  Attaching derogatory names objectifies them and makes them less than human.  This is the direct precursor to intolerance.

I hope that CB comes around about Justin Bieber.  I'll be far more concerned if he starts listening to Flo Rida or some other macho crap.

For more information of language and intolerance, check out Barbara Coloroso.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

1 comment:

Cynthia Miller-Lautman said...

Well Said Michael.