Dr. Ruth Westheimer was on ‘Scarborough Country’ on Tuesday (November 6) to discuss Britney Spears’ shock wedding on Saturday morning with childhood pal Jason Alexander, which was quickly annuled. Dr. Ruth told Joe, “Parents should say to their girls and boys, this is not a proper way of dressing. This is not a proper way of taking some boyfriend and saying, let‘s get married. I do think that the outrage—that‘s why I came on television with you—is appropriate. I think it has to be taken seriously.” Read on for a transcript.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, by now, I‘m sure you know that Britney Spears
started the year off with a bang.
And Dr. Ruth Westheimer is here to tell us how Britney‘s downward spiral
can affect our kids and pop culture.
Dr. Ruth, thanks, as always, for being with us.
SCARBOROUGH: And let me begin by asking you, what do you make
of Britney Spears‘ wedding stunt?
DR. RUTH WESTHEIMER, SEX THERAPIST: I‘m very upset.
I think that it is really a shame. Here is a young woman, talented,
who lots of young people, boys and girls, adore and love, doing an awful,
stupid thing. First of all, the institution of marriage has to be
taken seriously. We know that some families prepare for a whole lifetime
for that event that their children are going to find a partner and going
to get married.
So, to take something that is sacred, that is serious, and do such a
stupid thing—I don‘t know if it‘s a publicity stunt. If it is, it‘s
even worse. If it‘s something that she just didn‘t think about, then
I want her to do some serious thinking next time.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Dr. Ruth, for me and you, I‘m sure, as
an adult, we can pass this off as a bad P.R. joke. But the part about
this that concerns me is, how is it going to affect the world that my baby
daughter is going to be growing up in? Should I be worried?
Should parents of sixth, seventh, eighth-grade girls be worried about the
type of lifestyle that one of their idols is living?
And not only that. Parents should say to their girls and boys,
this is not a proper way of dressing. This is not a proper way of
taking some boyfriend and saying, let‘s get married. I do think that
the outrage—that‘s why I came on television with you—is appropriate.
I think it has to be taken seriously. I don‘t know what we can do
about it, except, you can…
SCARBOROUGH: Well, we can talk to our kids, first of all, right?
And you can tell her that—and you can quote me—that to make sure that,
from now on, she behaves like a star, and not only that. She has
a responsibility to be responsible and not to do stupid, idiotic things
like that that everybody, you and me, me for my children and grandchildren
and you for your children…
WESTHEIMER: … are rightfully upset about.
SCARBOROUGH: The $64,000 question here is, do pop stars that appear
on magazine covers half-dressed, and appear in Pepsi ads, and appear in
videos half-dressed promoting this very sexual attitude, does that actually
lead kids—is there any evidence out there that that leads younger kids
to get involved in sexual relationships earlier that they‘re not ready
for? Any evidence out there?
WESTHEIMER: The one evidence that I see is that they‘re all mimicking
that kind of dress.
And I know and you know that this is sexually arousing. I don‘t
have any scientific statistically validated statistical data to say that
it would lead to any irresponsible behavior. But I can say we as
a society have to stand up and be counted and say, cut it out.
SCARBOROUGH: Britney Spears has evolved from a Mouseketeer to
a pony-tailed schoolgirl, now to an exhibitionist who makes out with other
women on stage. And the question is, not only for Britney Spears,
but for these other pop stores, where does it all end? Obviously,
they wouldn‘t be doing it if it didn‘t help them sell albums, right?
But, you see, by you and I talking so seriously, I hope that, as of
tomorrow or maybe the day after, people in our society who have some power,
who don‘t only think about selling their magazines, are going to say, hold
it, people. This is going too far. We have to do something
to—not to not to have fun. Of course we should have fun. But
we have to do something to realize this is sexually arousing. This
is not the image that I want my granddaughters to have in their mind as
they grow up.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Dr. Ruth, in the 15 seconds we have left,
what do you tell a single parent if they want to talk to their kids about
what Britney Spears has done or what they see on MTV? What advice
do you give to a parent to tell their child about this?
WESTHEIMER: I tell any parent, single, not single, to stand up
and to say, not appropriate. I don‘t want you to dress like this.
I would like the schools to say—not permit it. And I would like
to say to those pop stars and the people surrounding them that it is just
not going to lead to a good, healthy sexual attitude, unless they do some
SCARBOROUGH: All right, well, thank you so much, as always, Dr.
Ruth Westheimer, for being here.
WESTHEIMER: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: We love having you on. And, hopefully, by the
time my girl Kate (ph) begins school, they‘ll have dress codes that will
consist of like turtlenecks and parkas.