Tag Archives: children

Female desire and the princess culture (via ReelGirl)

Some factoids from Peggy Orenstein’s book Cinderella Ate My Daughter, summarized by ReelGirl:

Pink – Children were not color-coded until early twentieth century. Before that, babies wore all white, because to get clothing clean, it had to be boiled. Boys and girls also used to all wear dresses. When nursery colors were introduced, pink was more masculine, a pastel version of the red, which was associated with strength. Blue was like the Virgin Mary and symbolized innocence, thus the girl color. When the color switched is vague. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Alice in Wonderland all wear blue. Sleeping Beauty’s gown was switched to pink to differentiate her from Cinderella.

Baby doll – In an 1898 survey, less than 25% of girls said dolls were their favorite toy. “President Theodore Roosevelt… obsessed with declining birth rates among white, Anglo-Saxon women, began waging a campaign against ‘race-suicide.’ When women ‘feared motherhood,” he warned, our nation trembled on the ‘brink of doom.’ Baby dolls were seen as a way to revive the flagging maternal instinct of girls, to remind them of their patriotic duty to conceive; within a few years, dolls were ubiquitous, synonymous with girlhood itself. Miniature brooms, dustpans, and stoves tutored these same young ladies in the skills of homemaking…”

“It’s not that pink is intrinsically bad, it is such a tiny slice of the rainbow,” Orenstein writes. To grow brains, kids need more, varied experiences, not fewer.

Female desire and the princess culture Thank you Peggy Orenstein for writing the brilliant book Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Every parent should read this new, excellent analysis of the ubiquitous princess kid-culture and its various mutations in the world of grown-up women.   Orenstein, a NY Times journalist, mom, and writer takes on and deconstructs two (so annoying!) messages every parent hears if she dares to challenge the monarchy of these frothy creatures. Myth number one: w … Read More

via ReelGirl

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No Veggies, No Happy Meal Toy

Information from Time Magazine and Reuters.

While the rest of San Francisco was preoccupied with the just-ended election campaign, the city’s Board of Supervisors agreed more quietly on a measure intended to help curb childhood obesity: banning the toy giveaways that are so often a part of fast food fare like Happy Meals.

Under the legislation, a packaged fast food meal aimed at children would have to meet guidelines for sodium, fat and calorie content — and contain at least half a cup of fruit or three-quarters of a cup of vegetables. Only if it does that, could it — like its intended consumers — qualify for a toy.  The criteria are very specific: Anything over 600 calories total would be disqualified, as would a meal with more than 640 mg of sodium or more than 35% of its calories from fat (with the exception of egg, nut or low-fat cheese sources).

“We’re part of a movement that is moving forward an agenda of food justice,” the bill’s main sponsor, Supervisor Eric Mar told the Los Angeles Times. “From San Francisco to New York City, the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country is making our kids sick, particularly kids from low-income neighborhoods, at an alarming rate. It’s a survival issue and a day-to-day issue.”

Not everyone is a fan of the idea. Mayor Gavin Newsom vowed to veto the measure on economic grounds, but the 8-to-3 vote in favor makes it veto-proof.  McDonald’s franchise owners worry that families will simply drive outside of city limits to get their Happy Meal fix, rather than opt for the healthier option closer to home.

“We are extremely disappointed with today’s decision. It’s not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Danya Proud said in a statement.”Getting a toy with a kid’s meal is just one part of a fun, family experience at McDonald’s,” Proud said.

Fifteen percent of American children are overweight or obese — which puts them at risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In some states, the childhood obesity rate is over 30 percent.The Center for Science in the Public Interest this summer threatened to sue McDonald’s if it did not stop using Happy Meal toys to lure children into its restaurants. A lawyer for that group said it is on track to file the lawsuit in the next several weeks.

McDonald’s debuted the Happy Meal in the United States in 1979 with toys like the “McDoodler” stencil and the “McWrist” wallet. Modern offerings have included themed items from popular films like “Shrek” or sought-after toys like Transformers, Legos or miniature Ty Beanie Babies.

In 2006, the latest year for which data is available, fast-food companies led by McDonald’s spent more than $520 million on advertising and toys to promote meals for children, according to a U.S. Federal Trade Commission report.

When the efforts of other food and beverage companies were included, promotional spending aimed at children topped $1.6 billion.

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Strawberry Shortcake and Dora the Explorer Sexed Up

So I babysit a lot.  Which means I normally have to watch a lot of children’s television.  However, a fate worse than death is being forced to watch commercials during children’s shows.  It’s sensory overload: your eyes glaze over with colors abounding, really excited children, quick-moving toys.  And it’s all over in about 15 seconds, meaning you watch about twice as many children’s toy advertisements than normal commercials.  Don’t look up that fact.  I made it up.

But either way, I’ve always noticed that children’s commercials use noticeably older children than the age group at which the toy is marketed.  And I always assumed the reason was because older children equated Awesometown on the coolness Richter scale.  Who knew self-esteem issues started so young?

After reading this blog post on Marge’s Playboy cover which mentions the new sexualized Strawberry Shortcake doll and Dora the Explorer, I began doing some exploring of my own.  Could this be true?  Could Dora have traded in her awkward bowl-shaped do for layers and makeup?  Her map for a Cosmo?

Now a poster-child for the immigration debate, Dora the Explorer has inadvertently fostered pride among Latino children and familiarized English speakers with Latino culture while exploring with her monkey friend Boots.

Take a gander at the new Dora:

How much exploring can she do in ballet slippers?

How much exploring can she do in a dress and ballet slippers?  On an obviously slow news day, ABC News interviewed Mattel and Nickelodeon who stated, “As tweenage Dora, our heroine has moved to the big city, attends middle school and has a whole new fashionable look.” (Is she really going to go exploring in the “big city”?)

“Girls really identify with Dora and we knew that girls would love to have their friend Dora grow up with them, and experience the new things that they were going through themselves,” wrote Gina Sirard, vice president of marketing for Mattel.

In searching for a photo of the new Dora I stumbled across this madness – Dora perfume.

To which Mom-101 blogger responded, “Because evidently, if there is one problem three-year-olds have, it’s that they just don’t smell like bergamot orange.”

So I remember this Strawberry Shortcake from the 90s.  She was fun.  She played outside.  She wore jeans.  You can tell that the 90s were a good time for feminism.

But now look at her!  She’s one hot babe!

Is this even a marked improvement from her frumpy origins?  I’m undecided.

Here’s a description of her Shortcake’s new makeover from StrawberryCentral.com:

“So her owner, American Greetings Properties, worked for a year on what it calls a “fruit-forward” makeover.  Strawberry shortcake, part of a line of scented dolls, now prefers fresh fruit to gumdrops, appears to wear just a dab of lipstick (but no rouge), and spends her time chatting on a cellphone instead of brushing her calico cat, Custard.”

It’s like trying to escape from a batting cage.  Just when you think you couldn’t take any more, here’s another, now more mature, 80’s favorite: Rainbow Brite!

Do you remember what they used to look like?

At least they’re still rainbow-tastic.  Just you wait.   The little infant glow worm that used to keep you company in the crib will soon be adorning fake eyelashes.

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