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home : columns : dear harriette May 24, 2016

3/7/2014 10:45:00 AM
Sexy performance surprises mom

DEAR HARRIETTE: I took my two daughters to a concert to see their favorite television star perform. When it came time for the star's performance, it was not what I expected. The image she portrayed on television was a clean and positive image; however, that was not the case when my family and I saw her on stage. The concert was vulgar and inappropriate for children under 17 years old. My children were confused, and I was shocked and embarrassed because I had to explain the performance to my girls. I work hard, and I wanted to have a good time with them.  

I wish there were a ratings system for concerts -- something similar to the way they rate movies. That way, you will know in advance what kind of concert you are planning to see. Do you think that is a good idea? -- Ratings System, Atlanta

DEAR RATINGS SYSTEM: That is a great idea. I don't know that it will happen, but it makes perfect sense for there to be information, at least, that can guide concert attendees on what they can expect at a show. This is especially true for artists who may have started out appealing to young people through wholesome content only to transform into something more sexualized.  

For example, when Disney star Miley Cyrus began to make provocative musical content and wardrobe choices, my elementary school-aged daughter who watched her religiously on the Disney Channel did not know what to think. She and I were shocked at the flashes we saw of Miley across the media. As an adult, I understand that this was a media strategy to catapult her career. As a mom, I had to explain to my daughter that sometimes when children grow up they make these kinds of choices, and I trust that she will NOT decide to be inappropriately provocative. That is a heady conversation to have with a 9- or 10-year-old, yet it is part of life in today's culture. Do I wish I didn't have to have that talk at that time? Yes. I imagine I would have been doubly mortified to have to do such translation at an expensive concert where we might feel like we were being held hostage. Yes to a ratings system!

DEAR HARRIETTE: My upstairs neighbor is a lonely busybody. She does not work, and it seems like she listens to hear when I get home so that she can call and bother me. She does this to her next-door neighbor, too. She often lures us with food. She will pop down with a tasty stew or other dish and then stay for hours talking about nothing. Sometimes that's OK, but my schedule is not as free as hers. I often want to be in my house without anybody stopping by. What can I do? -- Need Space, Richmond, Va.

DEAR NEED SPACE: You have to tell her when she can't stay and visit. Tell her you have something to do. Don't open the door when you don't want to have company. Put on the brakes. She will get the message eventually.

(Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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