Carrie Underwood
Lady Gaga
Katy Perry
This is a great time to be a parent of impressionable youngsters.  Historically, female pop stars have been stereotyped as untalented, slutty and delivering all the wrong messages. The current crop is brimming with positivity, self-empowerment and appreciation of others.  The most maligned artist is Katy Perry. As demonstrated in her movie, Part of Me, she worked tirelessly to achieve success, enduring several label drops, finding an identity separate from her strict Pentecostal Christian upbringing and going through a very messy, public divorce. Her shows are the embodiment of the F Word. As in F-U-N. Clad in a candy cane dress or one that looks like a Lite Brite, she moves underneath pink cotton candy clouds among ice cream sundaes and lollipops. She unabashedly belts out her unique brand of bubble gum pop.  Generally not taken seriously by the music press, she has nonetheless matched Michael Jackson’s record of five No. 1 singles off of one album. Instead of playing into the diva pop star role, she is an incredible flake, flaunting garish costumes and multicolored wigs.  She proudly professes it to the world, saying, “How can anybody be ‘too cartoonish.” Not every child can be part of the “cool” group of kids at school. For awkward, impressionable teens, quirky and weird has become the new cool thanks to the queen of quirk, who also happens to be the biggest pop star in the world.
Country stars are most benign of the group. Taylor Swift is so appreciative of her fan base that she has stayed for up to 14 hours after a show so that all waiting fans receive autographs. She developed her early appeal as a gawky 16-year old writing about crushes, breakups and general teenage angst. As a maturing  songwriter, she can be heard across all radio formats.   Her 2011 tour was second in total revenue behind only U2, one of the biggest bands in history.  Fellow country star Carrie Underwood is scandal free, out of the tabloids and the Oil of Olay spokesperson. Martina Mcbride’s tour sponsor was Sunny Delight and she lit the Empire State building pink in honor of breast cancer awareness. All three are beautiful women that only do clothed photo shoots. In this genre, their value to parents is what they don’t do.
Pop music hasn’t seen a talent package like Lady Gaga in well, ever. Her skills as a singer/songwriter and multi -instrumentalist outshine her bizarre antics and wild costumes. Even those are cartoonish and harmless. Her concerts are safe havens for anyone that feels like a misfit. She insists that “all the freaks are outside and I’ve locked the doors.” Her standard plea to her devoted audience…
“Forget your insecurities tonight
I want you to reject anyone who ever made you feel like you didn’t belong, or don’t fit in or weren’t pretty enough or thin enough or smart enough…
May tonight be your liberation of all those things.  Just remember you’re a superstar and you were born this way.
Most interesting are the all-encompassing demographics of the audiences.  Seeing middle aged men belting out the words to Martina Mcbride’s This One’s For the Girls or Perry’s Teenage Dream alongside enthusiastic teeny boppers is a regular occurrence. Fear not parents, your child’s CD collection is rife with positive messages from some of the most talented performers in years. While Diddy endorses Ciroc vodka and Eminem is Nike’s unofficial hoodie clad spokesperson, these ladies all have their own signature Barbie dolls. What’s more wholesome than that?