I’m going to take August off of blogging and (if I can control myself) all electronic media. But before I go I wanted to direct you to someone else’s blog–that of the excellent organization About Face, which “…equips women and girls with tools to understand and resist harmful media messages that affect their self-esteem and body image. We do this through our three programs: Education Into Action media-literacy workshops; Take Action, which enables girls and women to develop and execute their own actions; and About-Face.org, our web site.” What’s not to love? In her latest blog post, inspired by the banning in Britain of two adds by L’Oreal for an anti-aging foundation which depicted heavily airbrushed portraits of Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington, Jennifer Berger, the Exec Director of About-Face, discusses how “we — everyday women and girls — can help ourselves out of this body-hatred spiral without totally disconnecting from culture [...]
Archive for July 2011
Final word on the loathsome pedophiliac ad for Kia cars that I’ve blogged about several times. It has taken awhile, but the Cannes Festival stripped the agency that created it of both its Silver Lion Award for that iteration and the Bronze Lion for the Princess version. The upside: folks like us kicked up enough of a ruckus that KIA (which apparently never approved the ads) and Cannes had to act. The downside: they’re not so much protesting the ads’ content as that the Brazillian company that created them broke the rules: the ad was never approved by the company it purported to represent and never ran. Meanwhile, it turns out that that same company was responsible for an earlier scandal–this 9-11 themed ad for the WWF: So their tastelessness apparently transcends gender. The people responsible for the ad are banned from next year’s competition as well, though then they can [...]
Oh my goodness! More good news! The next Studio Ghibli movie, Arietty, will open in the U.S. in February. Ghibli the Japanese company founded by the visionary auteur Hiyao Miyazaki is responsible for the fight-fun-with-fun screen gems My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away, Ponyo, Castle in the Sky, Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke (not for little ones), all of which feature spectacular, wonderful, natural female protagonists. I could not have gotten through my daughter’s childhood without him. Plus, Miyazaki totally blows out of the water the old chestnut that female protagonists can’t be universal or hold boys’ attention. His creativity puts Pixar to shame. In fact, John Lassiter idolizes Miyazaki. According to an article in the UK Guardian: Ghibli is often lazily dubbed Japan’s answer to Disney, but the comparison only holds true in terms of box-office sales (Spirited Away is still Japan’s all-time top-grossing film – three other Ghibli films are [...]
Let’s take a break from chronicling the problems today and–hey. in honor of women’s soccer (woot!)–be a little solution-oriented. I just spoke with the magnificent Diane Levin and she mentioned an organization she’s founded: TRUCE, which stands for Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment. Our mission is to raise public awareness about the harmful influence of unhealthy children’s entertainment and to provide information about toys and activities that promote healthy play. We are working to eliminate marketing aimed at exploiting children and to reduce the sale of toys and entertainment that promotes violence. This is not specifically about girls–it’s about the unhealthy messages beamed at both sexes. On their web site they have a fabulous set of action guides teachers and parents can download on play, toys and media for infants, toddlers and young children. They’re totally grass roots, so if you do it and like it PASS THE INFORMATION ALONG! I’ll [...]
A stay-at-home Dad from Juneau, Alaska weighs in on how Princess happens, even to the best of us. I like this guy. He’s funny. And he lives in Alaska–what could be cooler (get it?).
Girls Dominate Google’s Science Fair With Projects On Cancer And Asthma Treatment Need I say more?
I used to sort of enjoy Polly Pockets when Daisy was into them. I think it was their size. And they had some cool gear. And sometimes I’m a hypocrite, so sue me. Of course, Pollys, like most toys for girls, had aged down: initially, for instance, Barbie was aimed at a 9-12 demographic, but little girls, trying to be cool like their older sisters, start wanting them too and then they became anathema to the older girls. So now rather than starting with Barbies at 9, girls are done with them by 6. I write a lot about age compression in Cinderella Ate My Daughter and also how it’s affected the nature of the Barbie fantasy. Anyway, the thing with the Pollys is that they are now marketed (according to Amazon) to girls ages 2-5. And those little rubber clothes and shoes are really impossible for girls that age [...]
People always ask me what girls could pretend if they weren’t playing princess. That lack of imagination saddens me. How about some historic American girls or women (preferably with cool costumes)? Of course, we don’t learn much about them ourselves, so why don’t you tell readers: who ELSE could our girls pretend to be besides a princess (preferably with a cool costume…)? How about Laura Ingalls? Or Sacagawea? Or Marian Anderson? This is the age of the internet–it’s easy to educate yourself and expand your daughter’s imagination. And what could be more American than fighting for independence from (Disney) royalty? “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.”
I love this article about Princess culture and patriotism from the El Paso Times by Kate Feuille. It starts with the author mulling over her abandoned application for the Daughters of the American Revolution after spying a t-shirt on a girl that said, “”Remember, remember always that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” Turns out the quote is from a speech Franklin Delano Roosevelt made before the DAR in 1938 (though the First Lady resigned her membership from the group a year later when it refused to allow Marian Anderson, who is African American, to sing at Constitution Hall). Feuille goes on to write that she was struck not only by the t-shirt but by how odd it was to see it at all: I’ve grown so used to seeing girls in head-to-toe glitter that seeing one bearing a political message startled me. [...]