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Demi Lovato: Shame on You for Turning a Song About Body Confidence Into Torture Porn

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Dear Demi,

We need to talk about my 5-year-old daughter. I realize she’s not your target demographic. Like Britney and Miley before you, you’re working hard to shake off that squeaky clean Disney image and be a grown-up who makes grown-up music for grown-ups. But I can’t help it if my kid worships you. 

Your song “Confident” is her anthem. She first heard it during ballet/tap/jazz and she’s been demanding it on a constant loop ever since. Each time she hears the opening notes, her eyes gleam, her body poses, and her lips sneer. Though she’s only 5, I think her confident strut would make you smile.

But we have a problem, Demi. The other day, I had my hands full with my 10-month-old, who had just bonked her head on a bookcase. The 5-year-old was trying to get my attention. All I could hear over baby wails was, “Could I please, please, please watch the ‘Confident’ music video on your iPad?”

Now, I do not usually just hand this child my iPad. For one thing, it always comes back sticky. For another, I believe in previewing whatever content she’s going to watch, or at least watching it with her so I can answer questions. But I decided to make an exception, because I was dealing with a screaming baby. It was a calculated risk. The kid’s really into music videos lately, from the cartoonish fun of Katy Perry to the slick moves of Beyonce and her backup dancers. I figured your “Confident” video would fall somewhere on that PG spectrum. At worst, it would be too sexy. There might be tight clothes and suggestive thrusting. I could manage that later. 

For a minute, I nursed the baby in peace while my kid zoned out to your video. Then she started shrieking. Not the baby, the 5-year-old. I looked up and tears were streaming down her face. She wailed, begging me to put ice on her brain to somehow destroy the memory of what she’d just seen. I have literally never seen her look so scared. 

A million worst case scenarios flashed through my mind. Had she seen a murder? An autopsy? Cannibalism? No, thank God, but what she did see when she watched your video shocked me. First of all, it takes place in prison and features scenes with guns and beatings.  But that wasn’t the part that made my 5-year-old scream. It was when she saw the guards grab your arms, hold you down, and cattle brand you until sizzling pink welts raised on your flesh. It looked graphic and painful, complete with smoke coming out of the wound. Demi Lovato, I was not expecting that. 

Letting my daughter watch your video without pre-screening it?  My bad. That’s on me. But taking a song that appears to be about body confidence and girl power and turning it into torture porn? That’s on you. 

Maybe you could put a warning at the head of the video: Rated No Way Jose–not for kids and their distracted but well-meaning moms.  Or maybe just roll some opening credits, because had I known it was directed by Robert Rodriguez (Machete, From Dusk Til Dawn) I might have had a clue.

We’re still going to listen to you in the car, Demi Lovato, but no more videos for us, and that’s a shame. Because were it not for all the over the top violence, your confident singing and dancing might have really inspired my daughter.

Sincerely,

A Mom

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Photo: Getty