As a parent, would you sit back and allow these things to happen without a murmur of dissent? Or would you protest, pull your child from the system, go to the media and make your voice heard?
If you’d sit back and let this happen, don’t bother reading the rest of this; it doesn’t apply to you.
To the rest of you: do you let your child watch TV? Do they regularly watch DVDs? Do you intently watch everything with them? If not, you may be surprised at what your child has already been exposed to.
I know I got quite a shock when watching Barbie and the Diamond Castle with my daughter one day. They had been showing it at our son’s school so I assumed it was okay. I even went to Common-Sense Media to check the ratings and special information provided by experts and other parents. I had watched most of it with her before, but had been sidetracked occasionally by the needs of another child, or the call of the laundry machine.
I had talked with my daughter about the commercialization in the movie and alerted her to the fact that the movies are in part made to sell the toys. She was aware that watching the movie did not mean she would get the toys. I had even taken extra-special attention to balance her viewing of the “quest for a prince and a palace” style of movie with extra readings of The Tough Princess and Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots.
I felt I was an in-tune and savvy mom, allowing her exposure but tempering it with extra information and discussion. But strangely enough I didn’t think I had to discuss the topic of casual sex with my daughter to prepare her for watching a Barbie movie aimed at three-to-seven-year-old children. And yet, imagine my shock when I saw a buxomly waitress dump a pitcher of water (?) over a cad/minstrels head and declare “that’s for leaving without a goodbye.”
|Click here to see the whole scene on Youtube.|
They see more than we know, as Angela, a savvy mom of two, discovered when watching My Little Pony: Twinklewish Adventure with her daughter. The super-slimmed down and sexed up ponies are not happy enough to be sparkly pink and slender, some are still watching their weight. In the movie, an adult pony is offered a cookie which she declines by saying “I’m watching my figure.”
|Check out time-mark 7:23 in this Youtube vid.|
Angela’s five-year-old daughter, who had viewed that scene a few times already, turned to her mother and said “Mommy, what’s a figure?” Nothing escapes her attention. She’s a brilliant, beautiful girl suddenly exposed to the idea that some people are not happy with their bodies.
And for what? What purpose did either of those scenes serve in the movies they were in? Why does the Lego Clutch Power movie feature only one female lego character and why did they need to paint on cleavage and have her use sexpot charms to get her way with the rest of the team? Is that the lesson we want our sons and daughters seeing?
If these things happened in our schools or daycares we wouldn’t sit idly by. But because they are considered “entertainment” and not “education,” TV shows, movies, websites and toys get away with more than we can imagine in terms of questionable content. And because they are entertainment, we parents have the tendancy to view them as “harmless” fun.
By the time a girl reaches her teens she will have been exposed to hours of images and talk that show her that her body is not her temple but her torment. By the time a young man starts dating he will have been exposed to a multitude of images of young girls as sex figures and men as powerful. He will already have been introduced to the concept of female manipulation and passive-aggressive behavior.He will have started distrusting girls already.
Companies like Zoobles create special interactive websites for children featuring a prominent link to their Facebook page. Sure if a child clicks on the link they show a warning saying that you’re about to leave the page and to “please make sure you have a parent’s permission.” In my mind, if they have to post a warning, they know it’s wrong.
And that’s the thing. Didn’t the script-writers or producers of the My Little Pony video know it was wrong to encourage young girls to “watch” their figures. Didn’t the Lego team realize that having one female character – and I neglected to mention the black skeleton dude who supplied comedy – and making that character out to be a sexy, manipulative and insecure team member would teach young boys something ?
Or have we slipped so far that these things are considered appropriate and I’m a lone voice yelling into the wind?