SEXY: sexually suggestive or stimulating; erotic
Son came home from school singing “wap-gunda-sigh” today. After a little digging, it became clear that he was singing the Kindergarten version of “Gangnam Style.” I’ve seen posts referencing this song but had not heard the song or seen the music video before today.
When Son and Daughter began singing “Hey, sexy lady….wap-gunda-sigh” at the dinner table I knew I had a problem – and a research project. Thanks to Wikipedia, I soon learned that “Gangnam Style” is a song by a Korean singer PSY and also a Korean term that refers to a lifestyle associated with the Gangnam District of Seol which is known for being classy, hip and lavish. I lost four minutes that I will never get back watching a You Tube music video with a series of outlandishly dressed people doing awkward dances in which the charades version of horseback riding was the go-to move and “Hey, sexy lady” was the only English phrase muttered.
After all that research, I was better educated but not necessarily better off. I still had two children singing “Hey, sexy lady…” over and over again followed by “wap-gunda-sigh” (their butchered version of the song’s refrain “Oppan Gangnam style”(오빤 강남 스타일)).
I reminded myself that this is one of the benefits of public school. Our kids rub shoulders – and share lyrics – with other kids. They pick up words and behaviors. And they bring them home. Where, I believe, it is my job to help them sift those words and behaviors through the filter of our family values.
So I thought about the values that mattered to me in this situation:
I value joy
I value silliness
I value belonging
I value innocence
Clearly, part of the appeal of the whole song had been doing crazy dance moves with his buddies at recess. Frankly, from what I’ve seen Son could have been an extra in PSY’s music video. I didn’t want to squash Son’s joy in being silly, dancing like a maniac, and laughing with his buddies.
But, the “sexy lady” lyrics were not okay with me. I explained to Son that “sexy” means that something makes you want to have sex. It’s not appropriate for kids to sing about something being sexy. Sex is something for grown-ups.
Son is welcome to dance crazy and butcher Korean. He can sing about crazy ladies, silly ladies or dancing ladies. He can choose nearly any adjective he likes. But sexy is off the table.
He’s in Kindergarten. I’d like to stick with “E is for elephant” rather than introduce “E is for erotic.”