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Monday, July 14, 2008

Guest Post: Jeanne

40754130-91F6-48B8-BCAB-BDA090F2D05E.jpg
Please welcome Jeanne from Jeanne's Endo Blog as today's guest blogger. Jeanne is the mother of one daughter and lives on the East Coast. She is also a women's health advocate, running a support group and a blog about endometriosis. Visit Blog Fabulous today to find out how endometriosis has affected Jeanne's own body image.


Body image is affected by so many outside forces.

The magazines, TV shows (and other forms of media our children are exposed to nowadays) truly affect their own perceived self-worth, body image, and overall self-image.

As a society we need to help our daughters (and sons) by protecting them from damaging media influences whenever we possibly can. I’m not talking about censorship here. I’m talking about PARENTING! In my mind, parenting includes subcategory job titles like, “a strong force that reckons with ‘bad media’ and keeps my child from being exposed to it”. That’s just one of my philosophies on childrearing. It is crucial that our young girls are not exposed to sexualized images like the ones Tracee has written about so often on her blog.

I do not allow Bratz dolls in my house. Like Tracee, I don’t care for these dolls on so many levels. To me, merchandise like this is harmful to children. Like Tracee, I do not agree with the Abercrombie & Fitch ads showing semi-nude models posed in provocative positions to sell A&F clothing. 942403E7-ED44-4ADF-9B56-665FFAFEDE75.jpg

Ironically, their models wear very little clothing while trying to sell clothing! In my mind, they are simply selling sex. Some of their provocative T-shirts are offensive to me and reinforce negative body image ideas in those viewing the ads. I think they actually encourage self image concerns with their airbrushed ads of ‘too-skinny girls’ and ‘6-pack ab young guys’.

I believe parents have the “power of the pocketbook”… the power to say NO to what they perceive as inappropriate merchandise marketed towards impressionable young children.

Girls are bombarded with these images and so are the young boys who they may someday date or even marry. These media images (think of the controversial Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana shots for Vanity Fair) are not healthy for our children, in my humble opinion.

No one wants their young daughter to wind up like the Hollywood starlets and singers who are in and out of rehab --- when such suffering can be prevented by building GOOD SELF ESTEEM in our children/loved ones now!!

We who are parents, aunts, uncles, neighbors… WE have an obligation to be good role models for the children around us! Children are little sponges and just about EVERYTHING registers in their uncluttered brains, whether they voice it or not. They pick up on so much more than many people realize. Honestly, children are generally far smarter than many adults give them credit for!

Let’s build our girls (and boys) up and increase their self esteem while they are still very young! In this way we will be vaccinating them against certain dangers, self-destructive behaviors, and emotional pain… as the Naomi Wolf quote on Tracee’s homepage suggests we should.

We CAN empower girls and women if we simply take a step back and analyze what media we expose our children (and ourselves) to. It matters!

11 comments:

candeelady - Mom and Tween Bonding said...

When the media can't be avoided,Moms have to use the media to open discussions with their kids.In regards to the recent magazine cover of Jamie Lynn Spears and her new baby and How it's "the best feeling she has ever experienced". A perfect example of a story that girls will see (at the register check out)and get a warped impression of how teen Moms are having great fun. Moms need to seriously discuss this misinterpretation with their daughters. The media glamorizes teen pregnancy of the rich and famous

'That Girl' said...

This is so true. But I don't know how parents should handle it. I know that sometimes if teens sense a parent's disapproval for something it makes it all the more enticing. I dread facing issues like this.

Tracee said...

My apologies for the typo in the title of this post yesterday. Fixed.

Jeanne said...

Hi! I'm sorry I just got online after a day at the doctors' offices (plural)...

DITTO (!) to candeelady & that girl!!

THANK YOU (!) to Tracee!!

:)

Jeanne

Jeanne said...

Dear Tracee Sioux Readers,

Please see the Blog Fabulous post from yesterday, July 14th 2008, for a related post:

"Endo & Body Image, Jeanne"

at

http://www.blogfabulous.com/endo-body-image-jeanne/

Thank you,

Jeanne

Yaya said...

Jeanne,
When did you find time to guest-blog?! Lol!
I agree, and since we had our discussion on webkinz I've been thinking more and more about what on earth these ploys for marketing young children are doing.
Alicia

Anonymous said...

I love buying stuff for my godsons because it's all colourful tshirts and cooly designed toys, consumerism aside. I'm always glad they're not girls because the clothes aren't fun, they're objectifying and terrifying. The toys are bratz babies in designer underwear.
I would like someone to make a tshirt that says "Who needs these when you have brains." That'd be good.

Jeanne said...

Alicia,

Well, I have been pretty busy lately... that's for sure. If I never saw the inside of a doctor's office again, it would be fine by me!!

Yeah, as I had told you... I'm not really a big Webkinz fan either.

My niece got one (Webkinz) and my husband & I vetoed my daughter using the one given to her. She was allowed to keep it as a regular stuffed animal but she never went and used it online, as it designed to be used by the kind folks at Webkinz.

My hubby and I went online and looked at the Webkinz site and agreed that we weren't going to have her use her Webkinz kitty cat as anything but a plain old stuffed animal kitty cat. No computer. No marketing bombardment. No begging for accessories. No fights over computer usage/time. No discussion. The end.

Her cousin has friends she uses Webkinz with and the (mutual) grandparents heard about it & bought one for our daughter. They didn't really understand what our objection was to it but we stood by our beliefs. Just a regular stuffed animal. No Webkinz computer usage.

If our daughter wants to talk to her cousin, she can use our free long distance minutes and talk over the phone state to state.

She doesn't need Webkinz to communicate with her cousin.

Heck, she could even practice her writing skills by writing a letter and snail mailing it. No Webkinz for our house and for a young child. That's just what we believe is best for her.

An EXCELLENT book that covers many things (including marketing to children) is: Fast Food Nation. The movie of it isn't so good. The book is engrossing, disturbing, fascinating, gross, interesting, sad... It is about far more than just "fast food". It analyzes the American way from an unflattering angle.

The obesity epidemic, the way things are marketed to children, the way things have changed (I mean for the worse) since we were younger... It's sad. Fast Food Nation (the book, not the movie) is very well-written and changed the way I look at many things: DISNEY INCLUDED!

Some of the insidious marketing practices corporations use to prey on children (and their parents) are covered in Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser.

If his name sounds familiar, he was on the special features section of the Super Size Me/Morgan Spurlock DVD. The two of them talked about some of this stuff on the special features.

Jeanne

Jeanne said...

Alicia.

Oh, I forgot to mention... I don't like the letter "Z" used to make "Brat" or "Webkin" or anything plural.

I also don't like the letter R being backwards in "Toys R Us" or "Babies R Us" either!

In addition, I dislike ads in "fake kids' writing" full of backwards letters. (Do you know the ads I mean? The ones made to look like a child wrote them?)

Maybe fewer children would write backwards and mix up letters if these ads weren't out there.

I really dislike when products use the letter "z" to make something plural. This is especially true for products targeted and marketed to young children who are still learning how to read, write, and spell. It just annoys me!

Jeanne

Jeanne said...

Dear Anonymous,

That T-shirt you referenced with the slogan across the chest was really troublesome to me... so DIS-empowering for any female to wear the shirt pictured in the story. The notion that a well-endowed chest is a substitute for intelligence is scary indeed! That Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt REALLY bothered me! When I see stuff like that I just CRINGE!

I can see why you'd find it easier to make purchases for male children than female children! It is getting hard to find clothes for my 7 year old for warm weather! Just because it's a "skort" rather than a "skirt" does not mean it needs to be up to her bottom, for example. Yet a size bigger would fall off of her at the waist while still being too short!

So how about girls' shorts, then? (Granted, my daughter is on the petite side). However, even if she were morbidly obese her thighs would never fill out the massive leg holes in most girls' shorts nowadays.

I swear I have to keep her in jeans or leggings under summer dresses year round for when we’re going out in public UNLESS I want her displaying her underwear! It's getting worse and worse.

Summer is the worst because she's hot and wants shorts or skorts but they NEVER fit her properly no matter what size or brand we try. It is a real problem.

I won’t let her wear half-shirts. If you walk into a girls' department in many stores now, most of the shirts displayed are these "belly shirts". Why? I don't get it.

Don’t get me wrong. I don't dress her in Little House on the Prairie outfits with petticoats under ankle-length dresses (ha ha)… but I don't let her wear what many girls do nowadays either.

Half-shirts... No.

Miniskirts... No.

Skorts that still show underwear... No (...at home but not OUT if underwear shows) …

Shorts with huge leg holes that show underwear... No (...at home but not OUT if underwear shows) …

I don't want to have to dress my daughter for winter when it's 80 degrees out but I WON’T have her displaying her underwear either!

If I had the money, I'd start a clothing company that targets young girls and sells appropriate clothing like what I wore as a child! Shorts that actually fit properly would be an example of what I’d sell.

I know there are other moms out there like me who'd throw plenty of business to a company like that!!

Jeanne

Jeanne said...

candeelady,

I know I already said "ditto" to your great comment but I want to emphasize how much I really AGREE with you that Hollywood glamorizes pregnant teens/new mom teens such as Jamie Lynn Spears... and that this is not the message we should be sending our youth.

I agree with you about such magazine cover stories instilling a warped impression into the heads of our children.

YES, discussion is important to counteract the media's tragic glamour covers of 'Jamie Lynn the new mother/teenager who is having "the best feeling she has ever experienced".'

Jeanne

Monday, July 14, 2008

Guest Post: Jeanne

40754130-91F6-48B8-BCAB-BDA090F2D05E.jpg
Please welcome Jeanne from Jeanne's Endo Blog as today's guest blogger. Jeanne is the mother of one daughter and lives on the East Coast. She is also a women's health advocate, running a support group and a blog about endometriosis. Visit Blog Fabulous today to find out how endometriosis has affected Jeanne's own body image.


Body image is affected by so many outside forces.

The magazines, TV shows (and other forms of media our children are exposed to nowadays) truly affect their own perceived self-worth, body image, and overall self-image.

As a society we need to help our daughters (and sons) by protecting them from damaging media influences whenever we possibly can. I’m not talking about censorship here. I’m talking about PARENTING! In my mind, parenting includes subcategory job titles like, “a strong force that reckons with ‘bad media’ and keeps my child from being exposed to it”. That’s just one of my philosophies on childrearing. It is crucial that our young girls are not exposed to sexualized images like the ones Tracee has written about so often on her blog.

I do not allow Bratz dolls in my house. Like Tracee, I don’t care for these dolls on so many levels. To me, merchandise like this is harmful to children. Like Tracee, I do not agree with the Abercrombie & Fitch ads showing semi-nude models posed in provocative positions to sell A&F clothing. 942403E7-ED44-4ADF-9B56-665FFAFEDE75.jpg

Ironically, their models wear very little clothing while trying to sell clothing! In my mind, they are simply selling sex. Some of their provocative T-shirts are offensive to me and reinforce negative body image ideas in those viewing the ads. I think they actually encourage self image concerns with their airbrushed ads of ‘too-skinny girls’ and ‘6-pack ab young guys’.

I believe parents have the “power of the pocketbook”… the power to say NO to what they perceive as inappropriate merchandise marketed towards impressionable young children.

Girls are bombarded with these images and so are the young boys who they may someday date or even marry. These media images (think of the controversial Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana shots for Vanity Fair) are not healthy for our children, in my humble opinion.

No one wants their young daughter to wind up like the Hollywood starlets and singers who are in and out of rehab --- when such suffering can be prevented by building GOOD SELF ESTEEM in our children/loved ones now!!

We who are parents, aunts, uncles, neighbors… WE have an obligation to be good role models for the children around us! Children are little sponges and just about EVERYTHING registers in their uncluttered brains, whether they voice it or not. They pick up on so much more than many people realize. Honestly, children are generally far smarter than many adults give them credit for!

Let’s build our girls (and boys) up and increase their self esteem while they are still very young! In this way we will be vaccinating them against certain dangers, self-destructive behaviors, and emotional pain… as the Naomi Wolf quote on Tracee’s homepage suggests we should.

We CAN empower girls and women if we simply take a step back and analyze what media we expose our children (and ourselves) to. It matters!

11 comments:

candeelady - Mom and Tween Bonding said...

When the media can't be avoided,Moms have to use the media to open discussions with their kids.In regards to the recent magazine cover of Jamie Lynn Spears and her new baby and How it's "the best feeling she has ever experienced". A perfect example of a story that girls will see (at the register check out)and get a warped impression of how teen Moms are having great fun. Moms need to seriously discuss this misinterpretation with their daughters. The media glamorizes teen pregnancy of the rich and famous

'That Girl' said...

This is so true. But I don't know how parents should handle it. I know that sometimes if teens sense a parent's disapproval for something it makes it all the more enticing. I dread facing issues like this.

Tracee said...

My apologies for the typo in the title of this post yesterday. Fixed.

Jeanne said...

Hi! I'm sorry I just got online after a day at the doctors' offices (plural)...

DITTO (!) to candeelady & that girl!!

THANK YOU (!) to Tracee!!

:)

Jeanne

Jeanne said...

Dear Tracee Sioux Readers,

Please see the Blog Fabulous post from yesterday, July 14th 2008, for a related post:

"Endo & Body Image, Jeanne"

at

http://www.blogfabulous.com/endo-body-image-jeanne/

Thank you,

Jeanne

Yaya said...

Jeanne,
When did you find time to guest-blog?! Lol!
I agree, and since we had our discussion on webkinz I've been thinking more and more about what on earth these ploys for marketing young children are doing.
Alicia

Anonymous said...

I love buying stuff for my godsons because it's all colourful tshirts and cooly designed toys, consumerism aside. I'm always glad they're not girls because the clothes aren't fun, they're objectifying and terrifying. The toys are bratz babies in designer underwear.
I would like someone to make a tshirt that says "Who needs these when you have brains." That'd be good.

Jeanne said...

Alicia,

Well, I have been pretty busy lately... that's for sure. If I never saw the inside of a doctor's office again, it would be fine by me!!

Yeah, as I had told you... I'm not really a big Webkinz fan either.

My niece got one (Webkinz) and my husband & I vetoed my daughter using the one given to her. She was allowed to keep it as a regular stuffed animal but she never went and used it online, as it designed to be used by the kind folks at Webkinz.

My hubby and I went online and looked at the Webkinz site and agreed that we weren't going to have her use her Webkinz kitty cat as anything but a plain old stuffed animal kitty cat. No computer. No marketing bombardment. No begging for accessories. No fights over computer usage/time. No discussion. The end.

Her cousin has friends she uses Webkinz with and the (mutual) grandparents heard about it & bought one for our daughter. They didn't really understand what our objection was to it but we stood by our beliefs. Just a regular stuffed animal. No Webkinz computer usage.

If our daughter wants to talk to her cousin, she can use our free long distance minutes and talk over the phone state to state.

She doesn't need Webkinz to communicate with her cousin.

Heck, she could even practice her writing skills by writing a letter and snail mailing it. No Webkinz for our house and for a young child. That's just what we believe is best for her.

An EXCELLENT book that covers many things (including marketing to children) is: Fast Food Nation. The movie of it isn't so good. The book is engrossing, disturbing, fascinating, gross, interesting, sad... It is about far more than just "fast food". It analyzes the American way from an unflattering angle.

The obesity epidemic, the way things are marketed to children, the way things have changed (I mean for the worse) since we were younger... It's sad. Fast Food Nation (the book, not the movie) is very well-written and changed the way I look at many things: DISNEY INCLUDED!

Some of the insidious marketing practices corporations use to prey on children (and their parents) are covered in Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser.

If his name sounds familiar, he was on the special features section of the Super Size Me/Morgan Spurlock DVD. The two of them talked about some of this stuff on the special features.

Jeanne

Jeanne said...

Alicia.

Oh, I forgot to mention... I don't like the letter "Z" used to make "Brat" or "Webkin" or anything plural.

I also don't like the letter R being backwards in "Toys R Us" or "Babies R Us" either!

In addition, I dislike ads in "fake kids' writing" full of backwards letters. (Do you know the ads I mean? The ones made to look like a child wrote them?)

Maybe fewer children would write backwards and mix up letters if these ads weren't out there.

I really dislike when products use the letter "z" to make something plural. This is especially true for products targeted and marketed to young children who are still learning how to read, write, and spell. It just annoys me!

Jeanne

Jeanne said...

Dear Anonymous,

That T-shirt you referenced with the slogan across the chest was really troublesome to me... so DIS-empowering for any female to wear the shirt pictured in the story. The notion that a well-endowed chest is a substitute for intelligence is scary indeed! That Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt REALLY bothered me! When I see stuff like that I just CRINGE!

I can see why you'd find it easier to make purchases for male children than female children! It is getting hard to find clothes for my 7 year old for warm weather! Just because it's a "skort" rather than a "skirt" does not mean it needs to be up to her bottom, for example. Yet a size bigger would fall off of her at the waist while still being too short!

So how about girls' shorts, then? (Granted, my daughter is on the petite side). However, even if she were morbidly obese her thighs would never fill out the massive leg holes in most girls' shorts nowadays.

I swear I have to keep her in jeans or leggings under summer dresses year round for when we’re going out in public UNLESS I want her displaying her underwear! It's getting worse and worse.

Summer is the worst because she's hot and wants shorts or skorts but they NEVER fit her properly no matter what size or brand we try. It is a real problem.

I won’t let her wear half-shirts. If you walk into a girls' department in many stores now, most of the shirts displayed are these "belly shirts". Why? I don't get it.

Don’t get me wrong. I don't dress her in Little House on the Prairie outfits with petticoats under ankle-length dresses (ha ha)… but I don't let her wear what many girls do nowadays either.

Half-shirts... No.

Miniskirts... No.

Skorts that still show underwear... No (...at home but not OUT if underwear shows) …

Shorts with huge leg holes that show underwear... No (...at home but not OUT if underwear shows) …

I don't want to have to dress my daughter for winter when it's 80 degrees out but I WON’T have her displaying her underwear either!

If I had the money, I'd start a clothing company that targets young girls and sells appropriate clothing like what I wore as a child! Shorts that actually fit properly would be an example of what I’d sell.

I know there are other moms out there like me who'd throw plenty of business to a company like that!!

Jeanne

Jeanne said...

candeelady,

I know I already said "ditto" to your great comment but I want to emphasize how much I really AGREE with you that Hollywood glamorizes pregnant teens/new mom teens such as Jamie Lynn Spears... and that this is not the message we should be sending our youth.

I agree with you about such magazine cover stories instilling a warped impression into the heads of our children.

YES, discussion is important to counteract the media's tragic glamour covers of 'Jamie Lynn the new mother/teenager who is having "the best feeling she has ever experienced".'

Jeanne