The Web is in a tizzy over a remake of Lady Gaga's "Telephone" for the preschool set. It stars 3-year-old Keira, now popularly known as Baby Gaga, in silly costumes and clownish makeup. It's mostly benign dress-up, save for a couple of scenes where she dances with handcuffs dangling from her wrists and sits in front of a crew of scantily clad grown-up dancers. It's those bits that landed Baby Gaga's Mama on CBS' "The Early Show." There's nothing quite like a"bad mom" interrogation to start off your morning right!
In an "exclusive interview," Heidi Ladrow was cross-examined by reporter Maggie Rodriguez and posed against a disapproving psychotherapist. Rodriguez expressed concern that the video could be watched by "a sicko or a pedophile" (which is, frankly, a possibility with any photos or videos parents post online). Psychotherapist Heide Banks suggested that the video could end up haunting her daughter later in life. However, the more reasonable and commonly held objection to the video is that it exposed little Keira to all those sexy dancers -- and, right, the handcuffs. The thinking seems to be that all this sexual imagery will have a corrupting influence. Maybe it will, maybe it won't, but it seems certain that this isn't the first, nor will it be the last, time the 3-year-old is exposed to it, regardless.
Children are crazy funhouse mirrors; they reflect our culture back to us, sometimes in horrifying ways. Let a little girl play in mommy's closet and she comes out looking like a parody of modern femininity. Oh, the absurdity of makeup, stilettos and glitzy accessories! It tends to make adults look rather immature -- especially when it's the adults who are projecting this aspirational sexiness onto little kids. So, when I see parents dress up their 3-year-olds as Lady Gaga or send their diapered offspring onto the beauty pageant stage, I don't find it horrifying or offensive so much as saddening. There are such better things for little girls to make believe.