The sexualization of childhood

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by primroselane, Nov 26, 2006.

  1. primroselane

    primroselane Well-Known Member

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    Part of it, experts say, is marketing — and tweens are much-sought-after consumers.

    Advertisers have found that, increasingly, children and teens are influencing the buying decisions in their households — from cars to computers and family vacations. According to 360 Youth, an umbrella organization for various youth marketing groups, tweens represent $51 billion worth of annual spending power on their own from gifts and allowance, and also have a great deal of say about the additional $170 billion spent directly on them each year.

    Toymakers also have picked up on tweens' interest in older themes and developed toy lines to meet the demand — from dolls known as Bratz to video games with more violence.

    Diane Levin, a professor of human development and early childhood at Wheelock College in Boston, is among those who've taken aim at toys deemed too violent or sexual.

    "We've crossed a line. We can no longer avoid it — it's just so in our face," says Levin, author of the upcoming book "So Sexy So Soon: The Sexualization of Childhood."

    Earlier this year, she and others from a group known as the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood successfully pressured toy maker Hasbro to drop plans for a line of children's toys modeled after the singing group kittycat Dolls.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061125/ap_on_re_us/teen_tweens

    What kids are allowed to see and hear on a lot of mainstream television seems to be child sexual abuse. It gives them role models and accepted behavior that is way ahead of their development. I would love to know the percentage of the Desperate Housewives audience that is preteen. I think all the entertainment gossip shows must be written for the eleven year old mind.
     
  2. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hey, my sister graduated from Wheelock!
    I totally agree with this. It is one of the major reasons that I pulled my 11 year old daughter out of school and home school her. It wasn't as bad when my now 18 year old was her age, but I still was the ogre Mom who wouldn't let her get a Spice Girls CD. Both of my girls had/have a passion (Irish StepDance and Horses). I think that is an important thing to distract them from the popular culture. Horses in particular. If you have a Tween and she is interested in horses and you can financially swing it, get her involved with them.
    These toy makers should be ashamed. As should the grocers who parade Cosmopolitan and Glamour Magazines in front of our daughters whenever we check ou of the grocery store.
     

  3. FiddleKat

    FiddleKat Mother,Artist, Author Supporter

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    They (toymakers, etc.) are not looking for the moral aspects but how much money they can make off the consumers. Sad to say.
    Bratz dolls are a perfect example of trash toys.
    I will not let my 8 yr old daughter play with those.
    Even clothing is getting to be too much. Some of the clothing looks as though it should be on a twenty five year old instead of girls 6-12.
     
  4. FiddleKat

    FiddleKat Mother,Artist, Author Supporter

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    So true! Growing up I was OBSESSED with horses, and although my parents couldn't afford it. They did what they could. Got me a position at a boarding stable as a working student to help pay for my lessons. Mom sewed my riding clothes. Got into a 4-H horse club, and the leader let me show her horse. Never got into trouble.
     
  5. country_wife

    country_wife Evil Poptart

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    I feel the same way. My 9yo dd is not allowed to have Bratz dolls. I wouldn't even let her watch 'Barbie Diaries' since from what I saw it was all about preteen angst.

    Most girls in the 8-12 yo range are dressing like tiny streetwalkers and are boy obsessed. I am so grateful that we homeschool our daughters. Our oldest dd won't even let little sis glance at the magazines at the checkout counter, and she's a great helper when they are with grandma to make sure that pop culture stays in the background.
     
  6. FarmGoddess

    FarmGoddess Well-Known Member

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    I hate those Bratz dolls! Have you ever seen the cartoon? OMG! In every last one of the stupid things the Bratz end up looking like geniuses and the adults like a bunch of dolts. Could this be why the little darlings are getting so out of control? My neice asked for more Bratz stuff for Xmas. I sent her a set of Little House books instead. Hope she won't be too disappointed.

    Also, whoever draws/writes/creates (and I use those terms hesitantly) The Family Guy, should have his pencils, word processor, and crayons taken away and banned from ever attempting to 'create' anything else as long as he lives...

    :hobbyhors :hobbyhors :hobbyhors
     
  7. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    The widespread abdication of parental responsibility is at the core of this phenomenon. Kids would have NO money and NO way to get to the store without parents' complicity ... in addition to the fact parents could simply refuse to allow this crap in their house. If they cared ... many, apparently, don't.

    Don't blame the kids! Children naturally see 'growing up' and 'being grown-up' as desirable. Unfortunately, marketers (especially those aimed at girls) frequently portray this in terms of being sexually provocative.

    Cigarette manufacturers used to target kids pretty blatantly, too (remember Joe Camel?) although I think public outcry has shut some of that stuff down ... thank goodness!

    The thing that troubles me is that outside of religion, we don't offer much in the way of moral guidance to teens, especially young girls, who are so often the target of this insidious marketing.

    Where are the positive role models for our youth, and who will teach our girls a measure of their worth outside of their attractiveness to boys?!
     
  8. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Willow Girl!

    It takes a whole lot of effort to protect from this media phenomenon. I consider it an all out war. Removing tv is a huge help. Homeschooling helps too.

    DH and I were JUST talking about this - I held up a Seventeen magazine with Paris Hilton on the cover, and asked him - "Would you let your daughter read this?" He told me not only would she not read that, but that if we had a daughter, he'd go amish......(we have three sons) :rolleyes:

    I'd love to go 'amish', which personally refers not to the religion, more the homesteading lifestyle. I supposed amish would call us 'english', lol. So I told DH he was sexist....lovingly of course, since he's not willing/interested in making the break now with our three boys. I think boys are just as affected by the 'sexualization of childhood'. After all - if guys are visual - wouldn't boys be? I've seen my son's (ten yrs old) head jerk the opposite direction, in embarassment, when driving down the road, while a woman jogger was running along the side of the road in nothing but short spandex and a sport's bra on.

    niki
     
  9. ~*~Sunflower~*~

    ~*~Sunflower~*~ New Member

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    This is such an important topic to me! I want my children to be *children* for as long as possible - why are people trying so hard to rob children of that? We get criticized for how protective we are of our kids - but in the end I see such a difference in my kids than the other kids that it is so worth it to me.

    I also wonder why some parents dont see what a contradictory message they are sending their kids when they expose their kids to all this, then tell them not to cuss,not to have sex,etc.... your children are emulating what they are exposed to!

    I have found that homeschooling has been invaluable it keeping my children sheilded from those influences.
     
  10. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

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    I agree, Sunflower. Thank God for homeschooling. I'm raising four boys to NOT be over-sexed, disrespectful, macho men.

    I can't tell you how many women I "know" on a homeschooling message board I frequent ask where they can buy decent clothing for their daughters. They have to shop online at Lands End, LL Bean, or Hanna Andersen's. Why won't the stores listen to them?

    RedTartan
     
  11. nodak3

    nodak3 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    DGD isn't yet 3, and we find hooker wear abounds in her size range in the stores. It takes some doing, but we dress her modestly.

    However, we cannot blame the stores or the manufacturer's or the magazines or the tv or whatever. We buy it, or let'em buy it. So the bad guys are us as a society, I guess.

    But then again, how do we teach children modesty and chastity when the adults in this society scream for their "right" to have sex with whomever, whenever, they choose and the matching "right" not to be insulted if someone expresses a negative opinion of it?

    This grandma wants to be an old fashioned granny, unafraid to speak up or walk away when presented with gross, lewd behavior and fashions. I pray for many more people to do the same.
     
  12. roadless

    roadless Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I work at a high school and I was asked by a male teacher to escort a female student to the office due to being dressed inappropriate. She had a white halter top on(braless), along with a skin tight white skirt. She asked me what I honestly thought about her outfit. I told her I never would have allowed my daughters to dress that way for school or any other time for that matter. I also said that when you wear a white skirt you really should wear white undies. ( It appeared she had dark ones on ) to which she replied that she wasn't wearing any! Good Grief!! When her mother came to the school dressed from head to toe in skin tight pleather (shiney leather like stuff)it all became clear as to why this was allowed!
     
  13. sullen

    sullen Question Answerer

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    Honey......... Religion ( in any form) is the source of all morals.......what do you expect?
    I am sending my kids to a religious high school when they get old enough.
     
  14. Cashs Cowgirl

    Cashs Cowgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    These days it is so much easier (lazier) to not "parent". People work, they play, they take their kids to all those activities every single day, they come home tired and all they want to do is 'relax'...everyone plops in front of his/her separate TV and soak it all up...then they run out and are bombarded by their kids wants and feel guilty for not spending enough time for them. So they buy them what they want, to supposedly make themselves and their kids feel better about the whole thing....it's crazy really. There are a lot of reasons why I will not have cable...I wouldn't let my kids read smut magazines/books...why would I let them watch it on TV or on cartoons?

    I too am glad that I homeschool our 2 kids. My 9 year old is not above saying that the Brat's dolls are immodest...that some particular Barbie needs more clothes on her. She plays with 'Calico Critters/Sylvanian Families' dolls and houses...it's amazing what she likes to pick out to play with and the good choices that I see her making. I am glad that I am raising more wholesome kids. I hope it will continue in their later years...
     
  15. RLMS

    RLMS Well-Known Member

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    We took our daughter out of public school and put her in an all-girl prep school.

    I spent a weekend at the school and it had an air of Paris Island about it. No, not Paris Hilton's hideaway, rather Marine Boot Camp.

    She has been there since the start of school this year. A positive change already. She was home for Thanksgiving, spent the time with her horses and chickens, watched Little House on the Prairie and Mash on TV, even engaged us, her lowly parents, in thoughtful discussions. :dance: :dance: :dance:

    Praise be!
     
  16. Beaners

    Beaners Incubator Addict

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    This is an adult show, and when the show is playing they do say the material is not appropriate for children. Just because something is a cartoon it doesn't mean it is there to babysit children. We have plenty of programming in place for that already. The humor on Family Guy should be well over the heads of most children, and it's pretty easy to see that's not who it is designed for.


    As far as clothes go, most clothing available for young children at your local Wal-Mart would not pass the dress codes at high schools. If I was trying to encourage a child to read, I wouldn't do it by putting suggestive words on their clothing.

    And the entertainment children are exposed to is mostly (in my opinion) due to parents not wanting to inconvenience themselves. How do you explain to little Johnny and Susie that it's okay for Mom to sing that song with the explicit lyrics but they can't hear it? And how likely are parents to change the tv channel when their favorite show is on, whether or not the kiddies should be watching? The parents trying to do something right are the ones that lose out here because they are outvoted by popular opinion.

    Kayleigh
     
  17. countryheart

    countryheart Well-Known Member

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    Some parents just want their daughters to be popular and will let them do anything to reach this goal. I think that it is much more difficult now to raise a child than when I was growing up. If I were raising children now, I would want to homeschool them.

    Countryheart
     
  18. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Clearly, this is not true ... if it were, we would expect all atheists to be profoundly immoral, which of course is not the case!
     
  19. Cashs Cowgirl

    Cashs Cowgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sullen, you may have a large eye opening at what goes on in many religious schools...research and visit...then talk to some kids or ask around...you'll be surprised at what you may hear...
     
  20. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oh yeah...my girls went to an Episcopal day School in Phoenix and while the kids were by and large nice, well-behaved kids, the teachers could be quite eye-opening. Not what you would expect from a "religious" school.