When you are the mother of three young children, you have plenty to worry about. All mothers have their internal list of risks and bad influences for their children to avoid. Mine is about nine million items long. Here’s two names that do not appear, though: Mary Kate and Ashley.
I’m not ashamed to say it–in fact, I’ll put it in writing: God bless the Olsen twins. As my daughter nears her tenth birthday, we spend more and more time navigating the stormy waters of mass media and pop culture so that she will not go where she is not ready to go and I will not be forced to yank out my rapidly graying hair more often than usual.
The pint-sized moguls have a new movie coming out for Mother’s Day. I have no idea what it’s about but it’s nice to be able to say, “Sure, you can see that movie. It looks fine.”
Double digits mean that girls move on from childish things to those that target growing young ladies. My daughter has developed a more mature attitude toward reading materials, movies, and television. It is not enough for me to turn on Nick Jr. or hand her a copy of Highlights for Children.
She is very caught up in her approaching ‘tween years (or have they already arrived?). She accepts increasing responsibilities for her little brothers and enjoys new privileges like slumber parties and her own pink Girl Power CD player (she closes her door to her room so she can sing along with Avril Lavigne and Hillary Duff in privacy). And she is strongly attracted by things that she believes are made especially for her.
At the wise old age of 17, it appears that the Olsen twins have somehow captured the hearts and minds of American girls without a) posing for Maxim, Stuff, Playboy or Gynecological Quarterly; b) releasing their own direct-to-the-Internet home sex movies; or c) generally running around in public with their pants around their ankles. (Note to Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Paris Hilton: Mary Kate and Ashley, those poster girls of good, clean fun, are billionaires.)
My daughter reads books like Terriers in the Tinsel and doesn’t yet know about CosmoGirl. She likes puppies and Christmas but wants to know what happened with Janet Jackson at the Superbowl and why her strange looking brother Michael is always in the news.
When New York Minute comes out this weekend, I will be more than happy to take my kids so we can enjoy some wholesome entertainment and forget all about Janet’s strange-looking brother and Paris’s home movies and Britney and Christina’s underwear for 90 minutes.
–Susan Konig, a journalist, has just written a book, Why Animals Sleep So Close to the Road (And Other Lies I Tell My Children), which will be published later this year.