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Kristen

Sesame Street, Katy Perry and What's Appropriate

Posted by Kristen on September 27, 2010 at 6:47 AM in PBS Values
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One of my favorite things about Sesame Street is that it's relatively watchable by parents too. Sesame Street was one of the original shows to bring in the greats in a way that connects with children and parents alike. My rock-free childhood was saved by The Beetles "Letter B." So when I heard that Katy Perry's Hot N Cold duet with Elmo wasn't going to air because it was deemed too sexy, I was shocked. Okay, at first I laughed. I've met some of the Sesame Street people and the thought of them letting anything through that did not meet high standards was craziness. Craziness, I say.

According to US Magazine, a Sesame Street representative gave the following statement.

"Sesame Street has a long history of working with celebrities across all genres, including athletes, actors, musicians and artists. Sesame Street has always been written on two levels, for the child and adult. We use parodies and celebrity segments to interest adults in the show because we know that a child learns best when co-viewing with a parent or care-giver. We also value our viewer's opinions and particularly those of parents. In light of the feedback we've received on the Katy Perry music video which was released on You Tube only, we have decided we will not air the segment on the television broadcast of Sesame Street, which is aimed at preschoolers. Katy Perry fans will still be able to view the video on You Tube."

I'm torn. I think it was awesome that Sesame Street listened to their viewers, or should I say, their viewers' mothers. The thing is, I don't get what the big deal is. I watched the video. If I'm going to be honest, the first thing I thought when I saw the video was that I didn't think Katy's outfit was flattering for her. Cleavage? Hmm, not so much. Upon consultation with my better half, he agreed that our 1, 3 and 5 year olds would never have even noticed. Maybe it's the years of breast feeding that has reduced our children's focus on breasts as functional. What with the fact that they are functional.

One of my favorite comments was the author's comment about Katy Perry cleaning up her lyrics so they could be acceptable for Sesame Street. Um, that's how it works. The excitement as a parent is wondering how your favorite pop song is going to turn into something rated G by the great minds at Sesame Street.

So maybe Katy Perry shouldn't have been wearing an ice skating outfit with her duet with Elmo. Maybe her dress up outfit could have been less conical. I guess I'm just a little desensitized by all the elementary school dance teams on YouTube wearing tassel tube tops to trashy pop songs. I guess if you are a parent who doesn't take your child to the beach or the pool or out in public at all, you may have a point. But for the rest if us, maybe it's time to take ourselves a little less seriously.

I leave you now with my all-time favorite Sesame Street/Elmo song, accompanied by the Goo Goo Dolls. The song? Slide. For those of you who don't know, it's about a teenage girl who gets pregnant. After being Sesame Streeted, it's a song about Pride. It's one of the best Sesame Street songs ever. Hands down. I mean, other than Letter B.

10 Comments

Manic Mommy writes...

Much ado about nothing.

Was it the greatest wardrobe choice? No. Was it Lady Gaga in her Meat Dress? No.

Renee writes...

I think it's interesting that you state that you are "desensitized" by all the elementary kids who are already being sexualized in cheer and dance teams. But does that make it okay to continue to present girls as sex objects to a younger and younger audience?

Instead of just accepting that girls are taught (often by their parents) to be sex objects before they hit puberty, I'd rather fight against the trend.

Jennifer writes...

Hunh, I also do not get why they didn't air it. I could agree it wasn't the greatest wardrobe choice, but nothing close to making it "too sexy". And that GooGoo Dolls song was terrific!!!

Ed writes...

It was a poor wardrobe choice. She should have worn something that covered her up a lot more. I didn't like it one bit. Normally, I'm all for a scantily clad woman but when children are involved, it just takes a turn towards inappropriate.

Shame on you Katy. Where is your self-respect? Sesame Street producers should have instructed her to change or hit the road.

Jenn writes...

Our society considers itself so free, and yet it is so ridiculously repressed when it comes to this kind of thing. There is nothing about that video that would stop me from letting my kids (3yrs & 6yrs) watch it. In fact, I see parents picking up their kids from school in less appropriate outfits than the one she has on.

Stephanie writes...

How is that outfit any different or worse than the outfit Ariel wears (or any female Disney character for that matter)? I'll bet some of the same people raising a stink pop their kids in front of those movies for hours on end. I think it is fine.

anna writes...

Umm, isn't she just dressed up like Tinker Bell??? All kids see more than this at the beach or the pool. It should be on Sesame Street no problem!

Liz writes...

Children grow up with icons. My childhood is marked by the muppets and Dr. Seuss which I still very much enjoy today. Our children however, are growing up with the likes of Katy Perry, I-Carly, and Zach and Cody. My step-daughter visited the other day and proceeded to sing Katy Perry's hit where she sings about kissing a girl and liking it and hoping that her boyfriend didn't mind! To put her on Sesame Street would be like putting a cigarette in Elmo's mouth and expecting the parents to ensure the child had no desire to smoke in their later years. I say we don't PURPOSEFULLY expose our children anyone or anything that will encourage undesirable behavior in the future. Kids are exposed to enough by accident!

Geekoid writes...

Seriously? people are upset by this?
You people need to focus. There isn't anything at all sexual about her outfit. I guess some people think women should only wear long gray dresses, be ashamed of there body parts. Whey not make them cover up their faces while we're at it?

I don't now why people think this is 'worse' and sesame street is 'going down hill'. They have always had famous people on, and many of them became famous for doing stuff we would be appalled if our kids did it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_guest_stars_on_Sesame_Street

I wonder if anyone complianed when Gene Simons was on? Some parents are far to sheltering.

Roman writes...

I can't believe PBS pulled this skit...ridiculous. I played for my four year old son and he loved it…kept having me replay it, was more interested in Elmo then Katy, doubt he even noticed Katy. I have always been a PBS supporter, grew up with Sesame Street and I do not see anything wrong with this. I am now Katy Perry fan, but the idea PBS would pull a skit based the voice of a few it appalling. I sincerely hope PBS head caution in the future, what’s next, no documentaries…goodness knows someone out there will be opposed.

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