(I’m going to try to keep this from getting too lengthy but if you’re a regular here, you probably know that’s near impossible for me so I’ll just apologize in advance for any long-windedness.)
The topic at hand today is Bratz dolls. Well, no. It really isn’t Bratz dolls so much. It’s more about how our society has become so numb to the constant sexualization of girls that it’s hard for some to even recognize it anymore. And it’s about one small thing we can do to stem the proverbial tide.
So what am I carrying on about now? Well, for starters, I was recently vindicated by the American Psychological Association who ALSO sees a problem with society projecting sexuality onto younger and younger girls. While many insist that it’s all in good fun and that people like me are perverts for thinking otherwise, all I can say is “Ha! My instincts were spot on!” Padded bras for six year olds and toddler dolls in thongs and dolls dressed like hookers being marketed to little girls are NOT harmless.
See, the thing is, Bratz dolls are not going to make your daughters become prostitutes. But they are one very visible component of a culture of which the resultant cumulative effect is a loud and clear message that a girl’s worth lies with her sexuality. The dolls, simply put, are just a small part of something much larger; a general but very perceptible shift in how women are regarded in the world at large and it’s starting with our preschool age daughters.
So what do I want? I want something better. I want to change the world from place where a young girl’s worth is in her willingness to shed her clothes or trade basic human dignity for a few minutes of fleeting fame or infamy; a culture where girls don’t seem to mind trading themselves for things that are worthless.
I’m not talking about adults here. Adults can make as many stupid decisions on how to live their lives as they want. I’m talking about children and self-worth and I just can’t figure out where the disconnect is. I can’t find that corner we turned where respecting yourself stopped being as important as flashing for a free Girls Gone Wild hat, or giving a blowjob because it’s just oral sex and it makes you popular; or being “hot” completely displaced being accomplished or intelligent.
When did self-respect become so uncool? I’m not even sure I can effectively articulate what I mean to say here but if one single person considers leaving a comment lecturing me about how I can’t stop progress or the world is the way it is and I should just “educate” my child to be better or whatever, don’t bother. I refuse to accept that.
Additionally, everyone knows a child’s peers have infinitely more influence over them than their parents do after a certain point. My words will only go so far and frankly, I’m not just talking about my own kids. I’m talking about an entire culture of hypersexual skankiness that seems to be accepted as fine by nearly everyone. I just don’t get it. Don’t people want better for their kids? Doesn’t everyone want their child to aspire to something more than being a Hooters girl or a Penthouse Pet?
If you do, then maybe you’ll consider taking a minute to send a letter to Scholastic Books asking them to please remove Bratz books from the collections that they sell in schools.
The books promote precocious sexuality and shouldn’t be marketed to a captive audience of impressionable young girls at school.
“Any product marketed in the school carries that school’s endorsement. That’s one of the reasons marketers like to market in schools. They have a captive audience of kids, says Susan Linn, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School”
The author of Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood, added, “Commercially driven sexual stereotypes have no place in schools. By joining with Scholastic to market the Bratz brand, schools are undermining their own efforts to educate girls to nurture themselves and nurture their own academic development.”
Linn’s message is bolstered by a new report of American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls, which singles out the Bratz brand.
“The objectified sexuality presented by these dolls, as opposed to the healthy sexuality that develops as a normal part of adolescence, is limiting for adolescent girls, and even more so for the very young girls who represent the market for these dolls,” the task force report notes.
~ CanWest News Service, February 28, 2007
“The Bratz send a host of harmful messages about play, appearance, sexuality, and what it means to be a young girl,” said Dr. Diane Levin, professor of education at Wheelock College and co-author of the upcoming So Sexy, So Soon. “They teach girls to focus on appearance and fashion, to aspire to an eating-disordered body, and to play at being sexy before they’re even capable of understanding what sexy means.”
~ Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood
Earlier this year, Scholastic responded to one parent’s concerns with this response, which represents an attitude seen over again with corporations who refuse to accept any social responsibility for their actions. If that doesn’t chap your ass and get you primed for action…
I know you’re all busy but seriously, this will only take ONE minute of your time… Here’s where to go and send a message to Scholastic that parents (who also control the purse strings) want Bratz out of schools.
It’s just a baby step but you CAN make a difference. You know…power to the people and all that :)
- Everyday Images: APA Reports Details Consequences of our Sexualized Culture
- Speaking Frankly With Girls
Related posts on IzzyMom:
Other Bloggers Discussing This Topic or Linking to This Post:
- Mrs. Flinger
- Did You Ever Get the Feeling…
- I Should Be Folding Laundry
- Surrender, Dorothy
- A Mom, a Blog and the Life in Between
- Don’t Take the Repeats
- Two Knives
- Triple Venti
Finally, a little tidbit of news that made my day…
Girls Gone Wild creator/douchebag Joe Francis now faces sexual assault charges (I’m not happy about the assault part, just happy that he’s finally getting his reward for being such a piece of shit), in addition to previous charges for contempt of court, tax evasion and bribery. I hope he’s found guilty on all counts.
Thank you to Rita of Surrender Dorothy for bringing the Scholastic issue to my attention.