While I’m pretty easygoing about a lot of things, anyone who has read my blog for a while knows I have a few, uh, issues that consistently raise my hackles. One of them is how the world has no regard for the fact that I am raising a CHILD. A child that I want to REMAIN a child for a little longer. I mean she’s barely six, for chrissakes. I’m not ready for her to to be assimilated into the hypermature world of slutty celebrities, hoochie skank clothing at Limited, Too (which, incidentally, is owned by Victoria’s Secret) and oral sex in the back of the school bus. I want her to have a childhood. Is that SO MUCH to ask???
I’m not 100% sure if I’m premenstrual or what but feeling like a raw nerve on a windy day has made today a little difficult. Things are really…pissing me off. More than they should. But I think I was well within my rights to get angry today and the store manager on duty at my local Publix grocery store agreed.
It all started in the hated snacks aisle. I mean the snacks are fine. It’s the magazine rack across from the snacks that always bothers me. Maybe it’s just me, but strolling down the aisle having my daughter at eye level with FHM, Lowrider, Maximand other publications of that ilk really pisses me off. This is a grocery store, not Barnes & Noble or Borders. This is a place where people and their children shop day in and day out. I just feel like I shouldn’t have to worry about crap like that. I reiterate…she’s not quite six years old. Does she really need to be exposed to what basically amounts to softcore porn at the GROCERY STORE???? It just seems like there was a time when people cared that something might be inappropriate for children but seriously, nobody gives a shit anymore and if you’re raising kids, girls in particular, and you’re not in a coma, you know it’s true.
Not only are girls conditioned to believe that being a human toothpick will make them better, more desirable people (eating disorder anyone?), but they’re also being conditioned to believe that their worth is in their body and sexuality and this saddens me in addition to really chafing my ass because it’s the absolute antithesis of everything I want for her. And today was the day I (and my PMS) decided I’d had enough.
While walking down the snack aisle and trying, as usual, to get my daughter to focus on the junk food instead of the sleazy magazines, I took note of this (it wasn’t this exact cover but one similar) and I just lost it. I grabbed a copy, rolled it up, stuck it down in the cart where TQ couldn’t see it and stormed up to the service desk. I asked for a manager and tried to remain calm while I waited. A woman manager emerged from the office and a torrent of words came rushing out of my mouth as I held up the magazine for her to see.
I basically said that I was sick and tired of dealing with this and how am I supposed to explain this kind of stuff to my 5 yr old and why should I have to when all I want to do is grocery shop and who generates more revenue in this store? Families with children or the random guys who stand around and read magazines?
She said she was going to show the magazines to the head honcho manager and relay my complaints and I was sure to ask her to ask him for me how he would feel for his wife and kids to have to shop with that shit right in their faces. The manager agreed wholeheartedly and dispatched someone to remove all the magazines. I didn’t expect or ask her to remove the magazines. I just wanted my voice to be heard. But still, that small victory felt good and frankly, I don’t know why I waited so long. I hope they follow through and do the right thing and that this wasn’t just lip service because I don’t intend to forget about this. (And Publix should take note that Wild Oats is just as close to my house and doesn’t stock that kind of stuff)
And if my daughter ever sounds like this, I’ll probably just throw in the towel and step in front of a bus.
“But when we go out, we do everything together – drinking, dancing, going to the bathroom, even vomiting.”
7/17/2006 EDITED TO ADD:
I feel I should clarify for anyone who should happen along that I do not advocate censorship but with the power to create media comes a responsibility. To just send it out into the world with no regard for who is on the receiving end is socially irresponsible. Yes, you have the RIGHT to put anything out there that you want but stores and publishers need to realize that whether the law mandates it or not, they have a responsibility to society.
The law is sympathetic to the right to free speech but in practice, there are so many other considerations and though I hardly expect corporations to give a crap about those considerations, I also cannot see the harm in taking some voluntary responsibility for what is and isn’t appropriate for younger eyes when they choose what to openly display in their stores.
It’s not about denying anyone their right to non-kid friendly material. You can have it. I don’t care. But when it comes to young kids, I have to draw a line.
It may be hard to imagine but I used to not see the world this way. When I had no kids, the world, to me, was an adult place and everyone should just adapt to our adult preferences. But as a parent, I realize that an adult-centric view of the world simply doesn’t work. Adults aren’t the only inhabitants of the universe and thus they shouldn’t be the sole centers of it any more than children should be. We’re all in it together…