Mayim Bialik and I are roughly the same age, and we have a lot in common. She was on a show called Blossom. I watched a show called Blossom. She had an advanced degree in neuroscience. I think brains are cool! She has a Jewish parenting blog. I send my children to Jewish schools! She doesn’t know who Ariana Grande is, and I don’t know who Ariana Grande is!
But here is where we part: Bialik thinks that Grande billboard ads overly sexualize Grande. I think that Grande is 22 and she can do whatever the f**k she wants.
Which is why a few billboards I have seen lately really bug me. There is one for Ariana Grande, and I will go ahead and admit I have no idea who she is or what she does. Based on the billboard, she sells lingerie. Or stiletto heels. Or plastic surgery because every woman over 22 wishes she has that body, I’m sure. Why is she in her underwear on this billboard though? And if she has a talent (is she a singer?), then why does she have to sell herself in lingerie? I mean, I know that society is patriarchal and women are expected to be sexy and sexually available no matter what we do in society, but I guess now I need to explain that to my sons?
Then there are the “Masters of Sex” ads. Seriously? How am I supposed to explain those to my kids? Especially my older son who can read?
Oh, I get it, Mayim. And in the company of other parents, I’d say the same thing, too. But on the Internet? I’m going to try and better understand the realities of our popular culture and acknowledge that living in Los Angeles means being exposed to ads of a sexualized nature. And yes, it is a largely patriarchal society, but there’s seriously no shortage of half-naked dudes on billboard ads for underwear in Los Angeles.
Here’s my advice: Use it as a teaching moment. Think of all the things you can teach your home-schooled kids about human anatomy! Or about the sexualized nature of pop culture as a whole. And if you think an Ariana Grande billboard is bad. Wait until you see Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” video. You probably should get ahead of that before your kids see it.
I’m afraid it just doesn’t do much good to swim against the tide here. You can rant about it on your blog, but it’s just going to make you sound out of touch, especially when you say, “Am I a crotchety old lady? I guess so.” By saying so, you’ve basically broken any connection you might be able to make with anyone under 25.
And remember, too, that your co-star, Kaley Cuoco, has been guilty of some of this in the past, too. What does this do, if not reduce intelligence down to something men want to bang?
That said, I am a fan of Bialik, and misguided as it may be, I love her defense of The Big Bang Theory.