Dear Disney Pop
Tarts, ahem, Stars,
I like you. I honestly do. I think you are cute. I think you have talent. I think you are doing a great job. There is nothing like watching your previously non-verbal daughter belt out the chorus of Come & Get It by the former princess of Waverly Place. It’s even nicer when your older daughter learns about dyslexia because you are willing to be outspoken about how you succeed with a learning disabilty.
But when you 10-year old who thinks Selena Gomez is the BEST SINGER EVER quickly followed by Zendaya, Bella Thorne and the rest of the Disney pop stars asks to buy a poster of her favorite singers, it is a tad alarming.
The posters and videos? They make me feel like an old curmudgeon. Like Oscar the Grouch, Oscar the Roommate (yes, I’m that old) or worse my mother.
Now, before you think I am being harsh I want to defend myself. I actually like some of the music. Last week stuck in traffic Abby and I amused Boo acting out the parts of the Frozen soundtrack. I got to be Elsa (because she doesn’t sing much according to Abby) and all the men (because I shouldn’t sing according to Abby).
Not only did I amuse Boo. I horrified a carload of teenagers in the next lane over. I think their mom’s should be thankful for me to making sure they utilized any form of birth control that day.
I’ve written before about the mixed messages Disney seems to send to our daughters. But now, well, as a mom of two young girls I’m asking you, the pop star, to realize the responsibility you inadvertently took on when you became a star.
You thought when your parents signed you up for that cute little show you were just acting and/or singing. But with the genre you chose it is more than fulfilling your dream. You see you are sparking little girls that were once like you. You make them believe. You provide the basis of the pretend play. You become their hero.
Then you grow up. You outgrow the show that made you. You outgrown you fan base. This is understandable. All kids grow up and go to college or in your case, the next stage of your career. Except you forget the date that brought you to the dance.
The kids that still idolize you haven’t grown up as fast or as much. They think you are your character. They are the reason you can afford that gown, that car, that vacation with your boyfriend.
I know you want to be seen as a serious actor/singer. I get it. But our children don’t understand. They don’t understand why your belly button is showing on a tween magazine. They think it is gross when the see a headline with you and your boyfriend on a crazy magazine at the check-out stand.
As parents we try to limit the outside influences. But when we are checking out our groceries it is impossible to to answer the question on why so-and-so is dating him because he isn’t nice and is a boy and is gross.
It becomes even more difficult when you are on the cover of an adult magazine, topless bar the hands covering your breasts. This magazine isn’t behind the counter, but right next to the Kit Kats.
I ask you to find a way to stay true to what brought you the fame. Be the star, the hero of millions. You are not Barbara Streisand or Adele or Jennifer Lawrence. You are a pop star who would have been in public high school if not for the millions of preschoolers and tweens that made you a household name.
You don’t have to stay the tween star. Be the Taylor Swift who has learned to bridge both audiences. Don’t be one of the million one hit wonders who faded when they became more interested in shocking us than making quality films and music. Don’t forget who brought you to the dance in your quest to become the next big thing. Become the artist who has the mom and the daughter rocking out at your performance. Your greatest gift as a performer is reaching all audiences.
And cover up the breasts with more than your hands, you’ll catch a chill.