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P!nk's Latest Music Video - Perfect, or Not?

By Cathy Corcoran - 9th February 2011

P!nk (Alecia Moore) has just released her latest music video for her current song, “Fkin Perfect”. I must confess I'm partial to P!nk and her music. This is because of what she represents and stands for, and the tunes of course.

As I was playing the footage on my computer my 6 and 3 year old wanted to look. I do let them listen to P!nk.  I know some of her lyrics contain explicit language so I either sing loudly for those songs and cover the swearing, or I don’t let them listen to those but I don’t believe that she should be censored.

So when my children approached I wouldn’t let them watch the video because of the graphic themes of self harm depicted in it.  I didn’t feel the video was appropriate for their age group to watch. I had tears from the 3 year old but Mr 6 understood that he was not big enough to be watching it and could watch it when he was older.

It got me thinking, I don’t remember my parents overtly censoring any music videos I could watch. I don’t think my parents were being inattentive. I know this as they refused to let me buy Madonna’s S*x book when it was released in my early teens. Were the themes not as explicit as they are today?

Statements have already been made about P!nk’s latest video related to the inappropriateness of the content and suggesting it “could be highly distressing and triggering regarding suicide and self harm”.  This was tweeted by @Headspace_aus, Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation. (A Government established Foundation, providing mental and health wellbeing support, information and services to young people and their carers) In fairness to them they have a very conservative stance to represent.

P!nk has been mindful of the potential backlash she may receive for this song’s music clip and composed a message on her website in clarification.  She explains, “I want art to make me think.  In order to do that, it may p*ss me off, or make me uncomfortable. That promotes awareness and change, or at least some discussion.
That is my intention. You can't move mountains by whispering at them.


She explains “Cutting, and suicide, two very different symptoms of the same problem, are gaining on us.” and alluded certain celebrities making their sefl harm scars clearly visible at media populated events. She says “I don't support or encourage suicide or cutting. I support the kids out there that feel so desperate/numb/powerless, that feel unseen and unheard, and can't see another way. I want them to know I'm aware. I have been there.

As a mental health professional, I know that the topics covered in this recording are nothing new to adolescents in our population.  Unfortunately although self harm is not a "common occurrence" , it is certainly not jaw-dropping information among teens.  Unless they have been very protected from peers and popular media, many teens may have been exposed to this type of behaviour or spoken word within their school or social settings or via television for example.  The Centre for Suicide Prevention Studies affirms after a study of adolescents (aged 13-18 years) “Self-injury without conscious suicidal intent is an increasingly prevalent phenomenon particularly among adolescent populations.” (2009).  In my experience the reasons for self harm are wide and varied from numbing internal pain to a form of people trying to understand their pain.

This is not appropriate for viewing for my children at the ages of 6 and 3.  But when is it an appropriate age? Parental discretion is paramount especially with the ease of access to music video via the internet. On this issue, each parent has to decide for themselves. From a professional point of view, considering the themes and content in P!nk's video, I believe it would be inappropriate to recommend anything less than a Year 10 child be permitted to view the video. At an age less than this, I would have concerns regarding the processing of this serious issue.  My concerns are not necessarily about ideas being "put into" children's heads but rather the graphic content. Words and pictures are definitely different. On a personal level I ask myself, why do children have to know about this any earlier than is necessary - childhood is limited and information is forever.

What do you believe is appropriate? Do you have certain rules about music videos or certain artists?  Should Pink be censored because of the sensitivity of the issue or the accessibility of her music video when she is highlighting issues, behaviours and problems that are prevalent in our society? P!nk finishes in her statement saying “It's a problem, and its something we should talk about. We can choose to ignore the problem, and therefore ignore this video, but that won't make it go away.”

NB: If young children are exposed to viewing this music video and questions are asked then some sort of explanation by a responsible adult is always appropriate. I do not believe in ignoring the truth but the amount and description of the information provided must always be age appropriate.

Editor's Note: We are not able to provide advice or guidance about the appropriate viewing age for children of the video discussed in this blogpost - parents must use their own discretion or consult a mental health professional for advice if they think it is required. However, we'd love to hear your views.

image freedigitalphotos.net Rawich

Comments (6)

CathyCorcoran's picture

In Response to Anon

I believe she stands for being true to yourself, speaking out about what is important to you. She is about conveying themes and issues that many throughout the population go through and gaining strength and insight from the experiences and expressing them. Although it may be her personal journey and reflection many are able to relate to what she sings about.

CathyCorcoran's picture

Fine Balance

Thank you jade. It's a fine balance between promoting independence and choice and parental responsibility isn't it.

CathyCorcoran's picture

Thank you

So true Kerri regarding the point of finding out from friends. Thank you for highlighting. As you said and what I hoped this piece did was talk about an issue that is regularly hidden and avoided. Thanks for the comment

Pink

I'm curious....what do you think Pink represents and stands for??

Great post Cath. I haven't

Great post Cath.
I haven't seen the video myself and I am not comfortable with music shows on in the house for my 4 yr old to watch because the themes are too confusing for her, but the music itself isn't censored in our home. Interesting that you speak about when and what to censor though because I was just discussing this morning with a friend my concerns of different literature and the appropriate age groups for particular stories - who decides on what kind of story is or is not suitable? The child or the adult? I want my daughter exposed to all kinds of writing styles and stories and reference books but still feel the parental pull to guide her to more gentle stories. Not that any of Hans Christian Anderson's tales were anything short of 'in-your-face' (so therefore awesome!) when I was growing up.

I saw this video for the

I saw this video for the first time last week and I LOVED it. I've played the (clean) version of the song to my kids and I want them to memorise it.
The theme of 'Perfect' is all abut freeing yourself from self-hatred. It shows a girl on a journey, from disturbed to self-confident (to put it simplistically) and it is beautifully done.
I'd be happy to watch the video with my kids and explain to them what cutting is, and the tragic reasons people do it, than for them to find out from friends. As Pink says, these dark issues need to be brought out in the open. The more discussion, and the less secrecy, the more help available to those in need.

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