by WENDY HANKS
2001 was a year of many awakenings for me. The world embraced a culture of fear after 9/11. Wikipedia was launched on the internet. The first ipod was introduced by Apple, and Bratz dolls were being marketed to little girls. 2001 was also the year I bought my little girl into the world at the ripe old age of 18.
Becoming a teenage mum was never part of my plan. I had completed high school with straight A’s lining my report card and a full scholarship to university. My plan was to change the world. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, but took it for granted, that change the world – I would.
Babies, dare I say, especially baby girls, have a way of changing your perspective on the world, and for an 18 year old, my coming of age was both a shock and a joy I could never have conceived. There is something about little girls that evokes a protective instinct in mothers that we don’t even afford ourselves.
Why is it that we want our little girls to be “little princesses”, even though we know that it will never happen for them? They are never going to be princesses, and if we dig a little deeper, what we really want for them is that they reach their full potential, unencumbered by sexist stereotypes.
The increasing awareness of the sexualised wallpaper that surrounds our children probably had its genesis with the advent of pop culture at our fingertips. Bratz dolls; born the same year as my daughter, epitomise the insidious way that pop culture is influencing the way we view our little girls and the way they view themselves. Protecting our girls from this culture is near-on impossible. Every step of the way, with my own daughter, I have endeavoured to shield her as much as possible from the sexualised culture, but I realise that with all the clever marketing and peer pressure she is subjected to, my role is probably more fruitful through open communication and education. If she really wanted a Bratz doll, (which by the way she did), we discussed at an age appropriate level, the pros and cons of owning a Bratz doll. Funnily enough, once she owned the Bratz doll, it was relegated to the bottom of the toy box, proving how insidious marketing and peer pressure is.
When discussing with my daughter who she sees as a popular positive role model for girls, it was difficult to sort the wood from the trees. Eventually, Bindi Irwin’s name was at the top of our very small list, along with Taylor Swift.
From my experience as a primary school teacher and mother, pop stars have a huge reach when it comes to kids. Much of the music, lyrics and accompanying music videos clips accessible by school aged children are highly sexualised and are causing our children to have a skewed view of the world.
I see a definite “gap” in the commercialised music industry that doesn’t cater to school aged children (ages 6-12). I think I can change the world, one song at a time.
Justine Clark and The Wiggles are available for the bubs and tots; teenagers have an array of pop, hip hop and rock to listen to from the charts, but the school aged children who fit in this gap don’t have much available that is appropriate or meaningful, that children of this age bracket can relate to.
Project Clarity was born! Clarity being my stage-name, represents a performer stuck between girlhood and womanhood. She’s fun, but not a bimbo. She’s smart, but not a geek. She’s a tomboy, with a streak of femininity. She breaks the mould. She is ready to fill the gap with her songs catering to primary school aged children. All songs deliver healthy messages for kids and steer away from the sexualised content that many children are being exposed to in pop culture.
Clarity’s debut album is suitably titled “The Gap”. It contains 15 original songs, ranging from topics such as friends, bullying, family, the environment, the internet and more. Her songs have a deliberate hiphop/pop sound, to appeal to the target age group. Parents of primary school aged children will find this approach refreshing and appropriate.
Creative people very often are the ones least able to finance their ideas and talents. Me being no exception. Thank goodness for Crowdfunding – a fast-paced emerging phenomenon that is allowing artists to find like-minded people who love their ideas, and the masses can then help to get a worthwhile project off the ground, via social networking helping to spread the word.
Clarity needs $15,000 to professionally record, produce and master her album in the studio. Please help Clarity record her first album in Perth, to get her on the road to reaching Australian children and spreading the positivity. Please donate $10 at www.pozible.com/clarity. It is an “all or nothing” campaign. In return, local Perth supporters will receive free concert tickets and interstate supporters will receive a signed Clarity poster.
You can have a listen to Clarity’s rough demo tracks (‘rough’ meaning ‘low budget with time constraints’) at www.reverbnation.com/clarityoz
The track ‘Bystander’ is a song about bullying and how significant the role of the bystander can be.
The track ‘Family’ reminds us of our important loved ones and how all families (no matter what size or shape) are special.