Monday, June 16, 2008

Baby-Ho's are a No-No

After spending some time roaming around the internet on this one, I'm not sure that I have much to add. However, I recently picked up a book at the library called "The Lolita Effect: the Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It." I'm only a couple of chapters in, but so far, it's a fairly interesting read. (I can't wait to get to the part on what we can do about it - lock them in the basement? Poke their eyes and ears out? Subscribe only to Highlights?)

If you haven't seen a magazine cover, television show - or even the morning cartoons - in the past ten years, then you probably won't understand the premise. But for the rest of you, it's pretty cut and dried: the media sends mixed messages. Young girls wear hip-huggers, lipstick and tube-tops at younger and younger ages. Pre-pubescence is the new hotness.

I'm on board with the messages in this book, especially since I was in Pamida this weekend, wasting time (god bless small towns and their thriving five-and-dimes..) and I wandered down the toy aisle to come face-to-navel with THIS:

Yes, that is an enormous "baby" doll, wearing a string bikini and a BJ face. I can't find the photo at the moment, but there was another doll that advertised having "designer diapers."


If you're curious, there's already alot of angry mom vomit all over the internet about these things, which is why I say I really don't have anything more to add. (If you're really interested, check out these postings: Is it Just Me, Or is Everything SHIT?, Her Bad Mother, and this is the best one because it's an open letter to Target and it made my laugh till my sides hurt: Mama Drama)

One thing I like about the book I'm reading, is that it doesn't deny that everyone - yes, even children - have sexuality. While admittedly, the idea of putting the words of child and sexuality together in the same sentence makes me feel gross, I do agree with this premise. However, (and admittedly, I'm only a few chapters in), I'd argue that a child's sexuality is just that - childlike. Underdeveloped. So densely fogged that these seemingly overt messages are blunted by their own minds.

Sigh. There are so many things to be afraid of for my (future) daughter. So many things I'd like to tell her to watch out for, to be strong for and laugh at. I want her to know right off the bat - something that took me years to understand - that no matter what you use on your face, you'll never look like Alicia Silverstone, and that's ok.

Also, I want her to know that sex is not a toy.

But, while I would argue that letting kids play with sexy babies is not the _best_ way to encourage their personal growth, it also isn't the end of the world. So rather than get up in arms, I'm going to have faith in the literalness of my (yet forthcoming) children:

Sometimes a doll is just a doll.

......Here's hoping.

1 comment:

Evie's mom said...

I was standing in line to buy a father's day card at Hallmark last week. Ahead of me was a little girl, and her adult (mom or aunt, I wasn't sure) was buying her a doll. It was a Bratz look-a-like, with a short skirt and midriff baring top. But what got me was the belly button ring. I'm not against body piercing, but it was a conversation I was hoping to have with my daughter when she was 17, not 7. Who are the idiots that think skanky dolls are appropriate for children? I'm asking about both the toy creators and the parents that buy them! Oof.