If you haven't seen High School Musical, you probably won't know who Sharpay is. Lucky you!
She's the spoilt, selfish, mean girl (with a great fashion sense and pretty blond hair) who is the "bad girl" in the popular Disney movie.
It's a sweet movie, innocent, no kissing, nothing suggestive, just lots of singing and dancing... and Sharpay.
Miss Fab (age four) loves High School Musical. And I thought it was fine, no problems... until I woke up and realised I had Sharpay living in my house!
A certain little miss had been displaying rather horrible attitudes: smart-mouthed, talking back, selfish, spoilt, demanding, mean to friends and family, being extremely unhelpful with volatile moods - not to mention show-offy, wanting to wear tons of jewellery and honestly acting like a snotty teenager.
Mr G and I were racking our brains, where had our sweet, lovable, kind-hearted, generous (if somewhat feisty and spirited) daughter disappeared to? And where was this attitude coming from???
Then one day about a month a go, I suddenly saw it... She was copying Sharpay! It was all there in the stance, the attitude, the tone of voice - even the body language. Not the role-model I was wanting for my daughter at all!
I sat down with Miss Fab and had a little chat about it... "Oh but I love Sharpay; I want to be like her..." she shocked me by saying. "Sharpay is so beautiful mummy; she has such pretty hair and nice clothes...!"
I was horrified! Didn't she realise Sharpay was the one nobody liked? It's no good being pretty if you're horrible. You won't have any friends left! They won't care how pretty you are if you are mean and selfish, I tried to explain to her...
Like talking to a brick wall.
I mean, I don't know if I can blame all her bad attitude on Sharpay... but what to do?? How on earth to make it clear that this attitude and behaviour were not going to be tolerated??
Sharpay does not belong here!
We tried bribery, threats, confiscating jewellery, banning High School Musical, time-out, missing out on treats, praying (help!)... you name it. Even Dash was saying to her, "Stop being a Sharpay!"
It felt like nothing was working. We were worried. We wanted our lovely daughter back!
Then, overnight, for no obvious reason, Sharpay disappeared.
It's been nearly a week now and no sign of her. Is it safe to say she's gone?? I hope so.
I am completely mystified as to what we have to thank for this turn-around. A combination of everything? Was it hormonal?? A growth surge? A developmental blip? Seems that lots of mums had been having problems with their 4-year-olds.
Then I came across this article, in the Washington Post online. Interesting. Seems there's a few of us out there who are worried about the influence High School Musical is having on our wee ones.
"The pressure to succeed, materialism, an emphasis on outer beauty, narcissism, romance trouble and other issues faced by high schoolers may not be what draw young children in, but the issues are there nonetheless," the article states.
"Any hint of parody or sarcastic nuance is most likely lost on the very young... Consider Sharpay, the brash and popular HSM schemer who wants heartthrob Troy to herself and makes dark-haired, brainy Gabriella miserable in the process. While Sharpay may learn some life lessons on the way, her journey might be difficult for the very young to process."
Hmmm. It's sweet, it's fun, it's innocent in lots of ways... but it's probably just too much too soon. Let the teenagers keep their angst, their drama, their back-stabbing and cliquey groups. I think my 4-year-old will stick to Barbie and Dora.