Maybe Exploiting Your Kid on YouTube Isn't Such a Great Idea After All

What Women Really Think
April 28 2010 1:09 PM

Maybe Exploiting Your Kid on YouTube Isn't Such a Great Idea After All

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The title has an unfortunate, somewhat bigoted insinuation-" Should Baby Boys Be Singing Beyonce? " (OMG, what if it turns them gay!)-but the meat of Jacob Bernstein’s Daily Beast article about the slew of toddler-tainment videos on YouTube raises some interesting points. Perhaps that innocuous-seeming video that has almost definitely landed in your inbox by now of Timmy, the chunky, redheaded boy tarting it up and swinging his hips to Lady Gaga, isn’t as harmless as it seems. The video ’s garnered almost 2 million views and mentions on blogs like Jezebel , but growing hand-in-hand with the video’s popularity are the predictable hate comments calling Timmy, who looks like he’s maybe 4 or 5, a "disgusting faggot," a "pathetic gay," and worse. One commenter callously states: "Kill him."

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Personally, I find the videos of toddlers revolving their baby butts in the fashion of a sexualized pop star pretty creepy-like Toddlers & Tiaras -level creepy. Some argue, however, that all the prepubescent gender-bending is good for us. Michael Musto of the Village Voice writes, "In the past, the kid would have been given a G.I. Joe doll and sent off to military school." And Kevin Hertzog, a stylist Bernstein interviews for the piece, says, "It doesn't matter if the kids are gay, some of them probably won't be. They're mimicking what's on television. But if you don't give them the space to do that, then how will they become the people they truly are?"

But the thought that mimicking what’s on television is really a necessary step towards self-actualization seems painfully ironic. And my big question, which the article doesn’t address, is: Do these toddlers really want to be performing pop hits for millions in the first place? Or are their eager performances the results of encouraging parents seeking Internet fame and glory, training their children how to do the "Single Ladies" dance for kicks, and then uploading it for the anonymous masses and expecting them to have the same reaction as their family and friends would during a living room performance?

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