My kids were a little older – probably 9 and 7, which was not long before I started this blog, now that I think about it – when I first encountered “Kidz Bop”, an endless series of current pop songs, sung by a rotating but always identical-sounding group of pre-teens, bowdlerized for a pre-teen audience.
It always annoyed me – and made sure I never got any for the kids. I figured that’d come early enough.
Now that my kids are in their twenties, it’s really not .an issue for me; the loathsome nature of modern pop music became one of the lesser problems, although the laothsome pop music of the day was the soundtrack to the worst of the teenage years.
But others did buy them – enough to put several of the compilations on the Billboard Hot 100 Albums over the past decade and a half.
This piece in Vox (motto: “The WaPo Libsplains America!) has issues with the series – for similar reasons to mine, but not at all the same.
A 2017 study on the effects of censorship in Kidz Bop found that replacing phrases does not actually wipe lyrical recognition from children’s minds if they have already heard the original song.
I’m trying to imagine anyone who thought it might. Given the way kids – and kidz – pass on information they;re not supposed to know about the grownup world, it’s pretty inevitable, at least among people who have, or have been, actual kids.
Even if it did, what Kidz Bop is enforcing is also not kid-appropriate: The study says the music perpetuates the sociological phenomenon of “kids getting older younger” (KGOY), which claims that marketing is pushing kids out of their childhood earlier and earlier. The study says that repackaging adult music as kids’ music doesn’t eliminate the adult messages, even though some words and phrases are changed.
One source quoted in the study is Christopher Bell, an associate professor of media studies at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs who is an expert on how race, class, and gender intersect with children’s media.
Of courses he is. Else, he wouldn’t have been in Vox.
He has hosted a TED talk on female superheroes, is currently consulting on an upcoming Pixar movie (which he cannot talk about because of a very long NDA), and is an avowed Kidz Bop hater.
He sees the product as both lazy and emblematic of our mistaken views on what censorship accomplishes. Kids’ media may take out “bad words,” but it doesn’t fix the problem of violence and oversexualization of women in media and pop culture.
They – the author and Mr. Belll – come periliously close to an insight in the rest of the article (which is worth a read, sort of);
Censorship doesn’t fix the problem of “over-sexualization of women in media” – because children themselves are over-sexualized. Eight is the new thirteen…
…thanks, largely, to the popular culture that Vox (and the WaPo, which holds Vox’s leash) have been promoting and profiting off of.