Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thank Heaven for overly protective mothers of little girls

Sadly, this reaction to new Nair Pretty will be very much in the minority. "Today’s society is more obsessed than ever with looking perfect. Pre-teen girls are especially susceptible to this kind of marketing ploy because it plays upon their insecurities. It makes them look at their legs, probably covered with peach fuzz and think, 'Yuck, that needs to go.'" And I'll bet it does all that in a faux empowering "girls rule" sort of way. It's worse! "Chill. You're growing up... it's all good." See? Girls are even expected to talk like grownups.

We just don't let girls be girls for very long, do we? I mean, look at the clothes: "I don't understand what mother wants to advertise her child's sexuality by letting her proclaim she's juicy. If I have to choose between Baby Phat and Juicy Couture, I choose mandatory school uniforms."

This must be why things like American Girl, VeggieTales and -- until Vanessa ruined everything -- High School Musical films are so very huge. Even the popularity of The Dangerous Book For Boys seems to spring, in part, from a desire to preserve the fun and innocence of pre-teen years.

Is it a backlash?


Ingrid said...

Yes, it is a backlash. It's ridiculous, all the things they push at our kids. I consider myself fairly progressive, but there is no way in hell my 9 year-old is going to walk around in short-shorts with words across the back. Lots of the girls in her volleyball league wear them and I cring every time I see them.

Irene Done said...

Ingrid -- I'm really glad you commented. I don't have kids so I feel a little weird having an opinion about these things. I just like it when little girls idolize their aunts or their moms or their teachers and not Lauren Conrad.

And -- I really enjoyed reading your blog.

Suniverse said...

I'm glad you posted this, even though you don't have kids.

I can't tell you how skeeved I get trying to by my now 10 year old daughter school clothes. She doesn't want to look like a whore, but it's nearly impossible to find non-low rise pants and skirts that won't show her underpants. I used to just get her boys' pants, and sometimes still do.

Whenever I find something appropriate in the girls' section, we end up getting that item in 3 different colors, because I know we won't find it anywhere else.

I wouldn't care if she decided to dress goth or punk rock or even like a little republican, but I have to draw the line and emphasizing her sexuality.

I hadn't realized that Bratz outsold Barbie. I'm not a Barbie fan, but again, at least she doesn't look like a whore.

Strong language? Sure. But what are these people trying to tell my kid? And who buys this crap?

Yeesh. Sorry for the long rant.


Irene Done said...

Long rants are always welcomed and encouraged here. "I wouldn't care if she decided to dress...like a little republican..." made me snort-laugh.

This is really interesting to me. Part of what's so galling about those clothes is that they make me feel like I’ve become the Church Lady way before my time. You know? I always expected to end up saying things like “those jeans leave NOTHING to the imagination” but not until I was in a rest home somewhere. Some of that stuff is not only hyper-sexualized – it’s unflattering too. It’s like it’s being designed and marketing by people who hate girls.

The Slate article was both horrifying (objectifying, sexist messages on children's underwear?) and hopeful (it's nice to see some girls instinctively reject whorishness.)

"Whenever I find something appropriate in the girls' section, we end up getting that item in 3 different colors" -- maybe that same principle applies to movies and TV shows for some parents? Every time an animated movie comes out -- even if it's not good -- it leads the box office for that first weekend because families must be so desperate for kid-friendly options. That has to be part of the appeal of American Idol – the whole family can watch it without worrying about what Charlie Sheen might say next.

Suniverse said...

I hate that I feel like the Church lady, particularly when I used to dress like such a punk rocker. Of course, I was 16 and up, and didn't get even remotely slutty until I moved out and went to college.

That my mother would have ever purchased message underwear boggles the mind.

Glad I can rant - and that you enjoyed the republican quip!