I know who Shakira reminds me of

My daughter showed me Shakira’s latest video:

Ignoring the oh-so-modern writhing on a bed, the video looked peculiarly familiar, especially when Shakira is wearing that flashy red outfit.  I finally figured out why:

Some things never change. They just get more glossy.

(It’s easy to forget that Charo was (and is) a very talented guitarist.)

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  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    I watched the first video without the sound…..
     
    I don’t think it’s my age, because it seems to me my reaction would have been much the same when I was a younger adult — I find it appalling that they’re making that kind of stuff for kids.  As a teenager, I’m guessing I’d have been fascinated — very nice-looking ladies — but we had to search pretty hard for anything remotely similar….it wasn’t thrown at us like this.
     
    When we KNOW what produces healthy, happy, and successful people….but we bombard our children with messages that the opposite sorts of things are “cool”, or “with-it”, or whatever the term of the day happens to be…..what do we EXPECT our culture and our society is going to look like in 10 or 20 years?
     
    Depressing.

  • Kevin_B

    I’m not entirely sure I understand what Earl is objecting to in Shakira’s video, and whether it is the content of the video, the music or the lyrics, or any combination therefore. Nonetheless I am going to give some thoughts on this. Given that I’m still fairly young, my perspective might differ. 
     
     
    Shakira’s music (and this goes for most pop music these days) isn’t exactly pleasing to my ears. I can’t really appreciate it. It may be that I’m a metalhead and a rocker by heart and therefore generally not into pop and R&B, it may be that present-day pop music and R&B lack musical quality. I also looked up the lyrics for this particular song and I would say they are at least potentially questionable in a number of areas.
     
     
    I looked at the entire video, although I did not listen to the entire song. Firstly, I have to say that Shakira IS a very nice-looking woman. She’s very pretty, although I like the version with curly or wavy hair more than the one with straight hair – the former just looks more natural and ‘girl next door’ to me. Rihanna’s looks aren’t as appealing in my opinion, but she’s still not too bad. 
     
     
    That being said, that video is quite clearly a fairly sexy video.  As I’ve said before on this site, also recently in my comment to the ‘Nice girls’ post, I don’t necessarily have a problem with sexy or sensual. However, this particular clip I find the sexiness over the top and at times on the border or crossing into the domain of overly sexual and/or vulgar. What’s with all the writhing? Sexy, sure, but exactly in a very classy way. From the little I have seen and heard of and from Shakira before, I get that she seems to have at least some vestiges of real talent, for example in the area of dancing. She’s a Latina and I would expect she’d know a thing or two about dancing. Not really much, if anything of such talent on display in this clip, is there?
     
     
    Sensuality and sexiness have always to an extent been part of Shakira’s work (her hips and hip movements are part of what made her famous) and I don’t per se object to such, but here, it’s just over the top and unclassy. One could perhaps argue that Shakira is vulgar in general, but I’m not entirely certain about that. Being that Shakira is married (to a starr soccer player) and has a son, I think she should know better and tone it down just a bit. On another note  (and this is my final note about the video) : while Shakira is probably wearing make-up in the whole clip, it really stands out in some sections, especially when she has the straight hair. In those sections the make-up also doesn’t look nearly as natural or natural beauty-enhancing as it does elsewhere in the clip. She looks more unnatural and artificial in those sections. I’m not against make-up and so on, but the ‘artificial’ stuff I don’t find nearly as appealing, and I don’t find it a very smart message either.
     
     
    Exposing (young) children to overly sensual, sexual and vulgar images and massages doesn’t sound smart to me. I don’t think that by any means we should require women in anything that is shown to children to be covered head-to-toe in sack-like garments or, Heaven forbid, burqas, and nor do I believe that sensuality, the female body and (female) sexuality are topics we should culturally threat as taboos, but I do think we should be careful with these things, watch what we do with them around children and consider what we teach children about these topics. I do not believe sexy and sensual stuff necessarily has to be cut out of one’s life, or that it is necessarily an impediment to the creation of happy people, but it is something to be careful with. 

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    @Kevin_B:  I’m in agreement with pretty much all that you wrote…. 
     
    To clarify:  a good share of my original comment was a reaction to the fact that BW’s teen daughter brought it to her attention.  This kind of thing TEACHES young girls that this sort of behavior is OK…even expected.  It implants in them a lie about how normally successful women ought to be acting and living their lives.  I’m speaking solely of the visual portions of that clip, as I did not listen to the music or the lyrics.
     
    And if boys are watching these videos – and I’m sure they are, as I can easily imagine searching them out when I was young – it teaches THEM a lie about normal girls/women.  They come to expect that this sort of over-the-top sexual provocation is “normal”….and I think it has devastating effects on our culture and society as a whole.

  • Kevin_B

    Before continuing with the subject at hand, I wish to apologize for a few fairly appalling and totally avoidable grammatical or spelling errors in my previous post. It’s not like making such errors hasn’t happened before in previous posts of mine here at Bookworm Room – in fact, I have to admit proofreading has always been an issue for me. I should work on that.
     
     
    Then, the subject matter, the Shakira video. Earl, I don’t think I was really arguing against you or attacking your opinion. I offered my perspective and it seems to me that we are in agreement to a relatively high degree. You certainly have made valid points and I agree with a number of them. I have added my own perspective to that.
     
     
    I understand why you reacted the way you did to the fact that Bookworm’s daughter brought the video to her attention. The content of videos such as the one above is indeed problematic. I agree  that the over the top sexual  content, the provocative behavior and sexuality and the lack of class and (artistic) refinement is problematic and potentially harmful. I am all for artistic freedom and I am deeply appalled by censorship in pretty much any form. Freedom of speech is something which I hold very high. However, that doesn’t mean artists and industries should be totally absolved from responsibility. How to install that, is a whole other and difficult matter. I would add to this that parents and other people involved with children and young people also have a role to play in informing children and countering certain messages. I would think that Bookworm’s daughter is quite lucky to have Bookworm as a mother. From what she has written on this site, I take it that she does a pretty good job of informing and steering her children, without being anywhere near a controlling or overbearing parent. She did mention on the ‘Nice girl’ post that her daughter is one.  I don’t think we should be too worried about Bookworm’s daughter, but I don’t say that to diminish the point that, yes, certain content can be harmful for young people, only to say that parents, I think, can play an important role.
     
     
    I will conclude by saying that the toning down and/or change of certain content would be a good thing. However, what kind of a standard should be used for cultural content, I do not know. For example, what constistutes ‘sexy’, ‘classy’ or ‘vulgar’ may very well be a ‘I know it when I see it’ kind of deal and totally in the eye of the beholder. The perception of what is acceptably sexy or sensual, but still classy/ok and what is vulgar or slutty may depend greatly on the person. The specifics could probably be argued endlessly and there is quite a bit of room for vagueness and debate here. It could very well be that my positions are highly subjective and my standards not that high – again, I don’t think sexy or sensual in a classy way is necessarily bad, but I do not like vulgar, slutty and unclassy.
     
     
    The video clip Bookworm posted was just over the top and for me tipped the scale towards vulgar. While I’m not a fan of Shakira, I do think she has some real talent, and sadly, be making clips like this one, she isn’t making use of that.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Kevin_B and Earl, I agree with both of you.  The key word, of course, is vulgar.  We live in such a terribly vulgar culture.  At least back in Carol Burnett’s time, vulgarity was a joke.  Now it’s the standard and you’d better not complain.

    As the parent of teens, it’s very difficult to look out and see this culture staring you back in the face.  I do my best to mount a rearguard, home-based attack on standards that tell high school girls that sexual writhing in public places is appropriate behavior, but it’s hard to counter culture. 

    So far, my kids continue to have disdain for the “slut” girls at school, but I can’t tell if that’s real or just what they tell me.  As for the “slut” girls, I remind my children to remember that they’re more to be pity than censured.  Only young women with a terrible sense of self would essentially sell their bodies to the first pimple-faced boy they see.

    • Kevin_B

      Your video doesn’t seem to be working, Bookworm. 
       
       
      I agree that there is a lot of vulgarity in culture today. As I have said before, I do not believe that sexy or sensual equals vulgar, not do I think that ‘total coverage’ or, Heaven forbid, some kind of insane Middle Eastern desert garment is required to avoid vulgar. It may not always be clear what is or is not vulgar, but this sexual writhing for example has in my opinion little artistic value and is probably only appropriate in the bedroom and vulgar elsewhere.
       
       
      As for ‘slutty’ girls: I don’t think you could pick out every single one of them, but when I was in high school and college not that long ago, I could actually pick out some. It is difficult to say why I perceived them as sluts, and yet they just seemed to scream ‘slut’.  It was always a combination of things like clothes, make-up, behavior, speech, general appearance et cetera. Specifically with regards to the clothes, I definitely do perceive as slutty every girl that wears say a short(er) skirt, high heels, shorts and a tank top or a bikini at the beach or the pool. I do not think such clothes are inherently ‘slutty’, but slutty girls may wear them in a, well, slutty way. Nice girls, even if they wear things like that, appear to retain some degree of class. I would argue that class (or lack thereof) and vulgarity (or lack thereof) are factors in the difference between ‘nice’, ‘classy sexy’ and ‘slutty’. By the way, I never liked slut girls much and generally prefered to interact with nicer and more classy girls. It also seems to me that in the circle of the people I really knew and spoke to when I was in school, the number of sluts was appreciably low.

    • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

      Culture’s not a problem when you can transcend human social limitations.

  • Ron19

    A vulgar dance from the late 60’s:
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdQfv8RgZ6c

  • Ron19
  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The Left has destroyed the systematic classification of class and good, so people can only say that they know it when they see it. Philosophically, beauty is no longer a concrete form that people can speak of using politics and ethics. So they are led around the nose by the Left’s deconstruction process, rebelling forever against the status quo but with no concrete replacement.
     
    While it isn’t necessary to have a concrete replacement to destroy the pretenders to the throne, it is necessary to have a concrete alternative when convincing the legion of… American fans that they are settling for third rate at best.