Time again for a roundup of interesting reading I have found and posted on Twitter with a focus on the topic of selling our kids to the highest bidder.
(Do you follow me on Twitter? If you are interested in the topics we talk about here, then please follow me @mktgchildhood. Every day I scan through the Twitterverse, blogs and news sources to find the most thoughtful, well-researched and thought-provoking writing, images and videos on the topic of harmful media messages to children. I only tweet links that I have read or looked at, and that I think are worth your time.)
Advertising in schools, on school buses
1. On School Buses, Ad Space for Rent (New York Times)
“I have a 5-year-old who doesn’t understand what ads are,” says Megan Keller, 30, of Provo, Utah, who says her son Collin, a kindergartner, sees seductive posters for sugary cereals every day in the lunchroom of his public school. “I don’t like that he thinks, ‘Oh, this is good because it comes from my school,’ and I’m having to explain to him why that’s not true.”
Because Utah will soon start selling ads on the sides of school buses, Ms. Keller has decided to transfer Collin to a nearby charter school that has sworn off commercialism.
Go to the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood campaign to see what you can do to oppose school bus advertising in your state.
2. “If Corporate advertisers don’t help fund schools, who will?” asks Lisa Ray, at Corporate Babysitter (with a list of sources of funding that don’t require advertising to children at school).
The Media Literacy Lineup:
3. “Is Your Armpit Unattractive? Dove Can Help” at Sociological Images:
Putting the lie to how much Dove (parent company Unilever) cares about your positive body image.
According to research cited on Dove’s website, 93% of women think their underarms are unattractive and thus may refuse to wear sleeveless clothing.
Libby Copeland at Slate sums up what’s going on here: “Dove’s empowerment-via-shame marketing approach for Go Sleeveless has its roots in advertising techniques that gained popularity in the 1920s: a) pinpoint a problem, perhaps one consumers didn’t even know they had; b) exacerbate anxiety around the problem; c) sell the cure.”
Ladies, it’s not enough to shave and deodorize your underarms. They need even more prettification than they’ve been getting. How this deodorant does that, I don’t know. But it does. You’re welcome.
4. At Jezebel, How To Manufacture The “Career Women Love Housework” Story
In short, a PR project for a cleaning products company issued a press release with dubious methodology which was then recycled into a pseudo-news item for a news wire, which was then sexed up into a convenient report on how you can’t pry the broom away from working women’s hands. If it’s any consolation, so far no U.S. news organizations appear to have picked up on the “news,” though Internet chatter knows no borders. It’s a rather convenient conclusion, no matter how sketchily achieved, so set your clocks until someone tries to use it in an argument about women’s progress.
5. “Gender Imbalance in Media, Geena Davis, Broken Models of Masculinity & Femininity,” at Thompson on Hollywood at IndieWire.
What disturbs Davis the most is that in G-rated films, female characters wear the same amount of revealing clothing as in R-rated films. The most common occupation or aspiration of female characters is to be royalty, and their goal is to find romance.
6. Yoni Freedhoff, MD, at Weighty Matters, points out negative messages in a children’s TV show that teaches kids to make fun of the overweight.
7. At Beauty Redefined: “Porn and Pop culture, a deadly combination”
This is not just a feminist argument calling out all the harmfully objectifying messages we are exposed to every day in the name of female equality. This is a fight for male and female mental and physical health, for safety, for meaningful relationships, for women’s worth, for the power to recognize and reject these proven harmful influences if we want to. The power of pornographic images — presented to us as normal and natural in the last decade of our lives – is REAL and is worth fighting against.