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American Girlhood Lost to Marketers
Townhall.com ^ | August 26, 2009 | Marybeth Hicks

Posted on 08/26/2009 4:34:06 AM PDT by Kaslin

I finally had to sit down with my 11-year-old daughter for “the talk.” Despite my best efforts to preserve her innocence and protect her from growing up too quickly, I simply had to tell her some important facts of life.

No, we didn’t have a talk about how babies are born. This talk was about America’s assault on girlhood. The time finally came for me to explain to my daughter the relationship between media and marketing and money, and why some people think nothing of exploiting girls if it increases their ratings, sells advertising and beefs up the bottom line.

It’s a conversation I wish I could have avoided, but unfortunately Miley Cyrus’ recent performance at the “Teen Choice Awards” forced my parental hand. And anyway, I’m not one to waste a teachable moment.

If you don’t know, Ms. Cyrus made headlines for her performance of a poll dance during the telecast of the “Teen Choice Awards,” one of those faux awards shows designed to sell commercials to corporate sponsors who want more opportunities to reach America’s children. The awards themselves are simply popularity contests to determine teenager’s favorite singers, movie stars, athletes, deranged, drug-addicted celebrities… you get the drift.

So with her mom and dad proudly smiling from the first row, Ms. Cyrus slithered and slinked her way onto the stage followed by a gyrating band of back-up dancers and then bumped and grinded her way through a forgettable pop tune.

Ah, Miley Cyrus – poster child for the assault on American girlhood.

Sadly, Ms. Cyrus thinks she was exerting her adulthood and simply exuding the natural sexuality that emerges when one reaches the ripe old age of 16.

In truth, Ms. Cyrus is a pawn in a high stakes game of manipulation in which a bunch of rich, middle-aged men (read: Disney) reap the financial rewards of exploitation. After all, it’s her Disney job starring in the hit series “Hannah Montana” that creates the platform for the rest of her burgeoning career.

This is not an anti-corporate rant. I don’t believe morality in capitalism is the responsibility of the seller. In a free society, it is we buyers who hold the power of our purse strings. The only reason Miley and her ilk make money and headlines is because we’re out there as a culture buying all the “Hannah Montana” hype we can fit into a shopping cart full of school supplies.

Still, it’s a only determined parent who can preserve her daughter’s innocence in a media saturated world where people like Ms. Cyrus are idolized. If only she were the only issue.

Sadly, girls hear a drumbeat of vapid, shallow, hyper-sexual messages at every turn. Worse, marketers are skilled at finding ways to instill these values in our young girls because face it, insecurity sells product.

For example, this fall Nintendo will release a new game for its DS system called “The Clique: Diss and Make Up” based on the pathetically popular “Clique” books by Lisi Harrison. According to a press release for the game, “players assume the role of the new girl at school, taking on the challenges of climbing the social ladder to join the ultimate clique, the Pretty Committee… [it] is a game of social maneuvering where the player attempts to survive in one of the most harsh and unforgiving environments on Earth - Octavian Country Day School (OCD).”

From stiletto crib shoes to padded trainer bras, our culture is steadily eliminating a wholesome, innocent girlhood in favor of a perpetual state of “tween” -- a term that refers to the years between 8 and 13 (a period of time formerly known as “childhood.”)

America’s girls deserve better.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: childhood; culture; disney; marketing; mileycyrus; moralabsolutes; traditionalvalues; tramp

1 posted on 08/26/2009 4:34:07 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

you should have made it into an anti-media, anti-hollywood, anti-celebrity rant, not anti-corporate


2 posted on 08/26/2009 4:38:07 AM PDT by 4rcane
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To: Kaslin

Jeez Marybeth, what took you so long? I am teaching my seven and four year old sons the evils of advertising now so they don’t fall into the trap.


3 posted on 08/26/2009 4:38:58 AM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: 4rcane
you should have made it into an anti-media, anti-hollywood, anti-celebrity rant, not anti-corporate

Uh, maybe it's because the corporations are behind the advertising and product development that she refers to.

4 posted on 08/26/2009 4:41:32 AM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: Kaslin

Yes, but are you making sure she never sees anyone smoking?!


5 posted on 08/26/2009 4:41:47 AM PDT by Just A Nobody (Better Dead than RED! NEVER AGAIN...Support our Troops! Beware the ENEMEDIA)
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To: Kaslin

Well said, very well said. My daughter is now 16. I had to have similar talks with her at age 9 or 10. I feel for these kids. Between vulgar rap lyrics, MTV and the ever earlier sexualization of our children via the Britneys, Lindseys and now Mileys, having an innocent childhood becomes a greater and greater challenge.

I do recall a ouple years ago seeing the ‘fashions’ that were supposed to be the latst schoolwear. Trampy, cheap duds. I also remember most parents boycotting these and putting pressure on the schools to enforce dress codes. This is a fight we can’t afford to lose.


6 posted on 08/26/2009 4:41:50 AM PDT by SueRae
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To: Kaslin

blame the media and corporations all you want, crappy parenting is the problem. Saying “NO” to children won’t damage them.


7 posted on 08/26/2009 4:43:22 AM PDT by cdcdawg
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To: Kaslin

Homeschool and chuck the tv out. Get them involved in your churches youth group. Provide good information for them to read, like lives of the saints, and founding fathers, as well as info about their heritage. Do this from a very young age and it becomes the norm.

It will take an entire generation of a boatload of conservatives to right the ship, don’t squander the opportunity. If my kids were little today, this is the path I would choose.

I did ok with mine, youngest is homeschooled (15), oldest is a conservative practicing catholic, and middle is going to seminary next fall, but I don’t know if I would have had the same result in todays school system with the influences in society that are out there now. Dont take chances folks, homeschool those kids, and make sure they get the information needed to make good decisions. The schools and society are battling for the hearts and minds of your kids, it is up to YOU to keep them.......


8 posted on 08/26/2009 4:43:26 AM PDT by wombtotomb (Equal opportunity does NOT mean equal outcome!!)
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To: Kaslin

Uh, “poll dance?”


9 posted on 08/26/2009 4:43:47 AM PDT by Trailerpark Badass (Happiness is a choice!)
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To: Trailerpark Badass
Uh, “poll dance?”

What is "How conservatives react when they see obozo's plummeting job approval ratings"?
I'll take Political Movement for $300, Alex.
10 posted on 08/26/2009 4:50:49 AM PDT by Canedawg (FUBO)
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To: Kaslin

BTTT


11 posted on 08/26/2009 4:51:58 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Kaslin

I saw a girl in the super market the other night in total hooker wear. I know, it’s old news by now, but it still amazes me. I mean, it might as well have been a streetwalker halloween costume. Extreme short skirt, boots, belly shirt. I did a double take. And yep, the girl looked to be 11 or 12.


12 posted on 08/26/2009 4:53:23 AM PDT by Huck ("He that lives on hope will die fasting"- Ben Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac)
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To: Kaslin
Did you notice the term "poll dance." Is she being too clever for me or did she write this quickly and/or without the aid of an editor?

OTOH, B.O. will need to perform one of these for the state media if his numbers keeping trending south.

13 posted on 08/26/2009 4:56:02 AM PDT by Dysart (It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong--Voltaire)
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To: Dysart

LOL! I was about to post that she meant “pole dance” then it occurred to me that perhaps poll dance worked almost as well. Sigh.


14 posted on 08/26/2009 5:09:14 AM PDT by livius
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To: cdcdawg

“blame the media and corporations all you want, crappy parenting is the problem. Saying “NO” to children won’t damage them.”

Your attitude is non-traditional. Shepherds are responsible for the sheep but it is easier to watch the sheep in a field that is not so crowded with wolves. Shepherds should band together to chase off the wolves.


15 posted on 08/26/2009 5:09:18 AM PDT by Kells
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To: Kaslin

My DD and I had the same discussion. She’s building a “time capsule” had already decided to ditch the Miley posters on her wall. “She’s not a good role model for my kids”..LOL!


16 posted on 08/26/2009 5:42:38 AM PDT by silverleaf (If we are astroturf, why are the democrats trying to mow us?)
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To: raybbr

Have you had them watch Veggie Tales’ “Madam Blueberry”?

It’s a great lesson on not coveting and the way that advertisers and marketers prey on that sin.

Be sure to watch it with them and talk to them afterwards.


17 posted on 08/26/2009 5:45:42 AM PDT by MrB (Go Galt now, save Bowman for later)
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To: Canedawg

LOL! Help yourself to a Guinness!


18 posted on 08/26/2009 5:48:55 AM PDT by Tax-chick (If you've ever discovered your cow eating a guest in the barn, you'll understand.)
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To: wombtotomb

The discussion on this issue made me think of Pope Benedict’s recent encyclical. Yes, people have the legal and moral freedom to sell and buy, to advertise and entertain. No system other than a free market is as successful at meeting people’s legitimate needs and reasonable wants.

However, the better, more moral, choice by sellers would to NOT sell sex to children, or use “sexy” children to sell products. The better, more moral, choice by consumers would be to reject this type of commercial activity. The better choice by parents would be to practice virtue themselves and train their children to do the same.


19 posted on 08/26/2009 5:53:02 AM PDT by Tax-chick (If you've ever discovered your cow eating a guest in the barn, you'll understand.)
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To: MrB
Have you had them watch Veggie Tales’ “Madam Blueberry”?

We love "Veggie Tales". "Lyle the Kindly Viking" is one of our favorites. I'll have to see if we have "Madam Blueberry". Thanks.

20 posted on 08/26/2009 5:53:07 AM PDT by raybbr (It's going to get a lot worse now that the anchor babies are voting!)
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To: raybbr

We should have listened to our mothers, and married more judiciously ...


21 posted on 08/26/2009 5:56:58 AM PDT by Tax-chick (If you've ever discovered your cow eating a guest in the barn, you'll understand.)
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To: Tax-chick
Photobucket
22 posted on 08/26/2009 6:04:18 AM PDT by Canedawg (FUBO)
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To: Kells

that’s all well and good, but I see too many households run by children. Not a week goes by that I am not astounded by what a parent will let a child get away with. Maybe it’s different raising girls, I wouldn’t know. The sheep are not in charge of my pasture (to continue the metaphor).


23 posted on 08/26/2009 6:22:54 AM PDT by cdcdawg
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To: cdcdawg

Even more than boys, girls are powerfully influenced by what they think “everybody” is doing. Keeping daughters pure as they grow older requires striking the balance of militant watchfulness without going overboard to provoke rebellion. Strong religious faith, parental unity, and setting a good example are essential. Strengths and weaknesses of individual children vary greatly, even within the same family.


24 posted on 08/26/2009 7:38:33 AM PDT by Kells
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To: Tax-chick

“We should have listened to our mothers, and married more judiciously ...”

Parents should prepare daughters to attract the best prospects by encouraging them to be feminine, well-mannered, chaste, and skinny (but not too glamorous).


25 posted on 08/26/2009 7:45:32 AM PDT by Kells
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To: Kaslin
From stiletto crib shoes to padded trainer bras, our culture is steadily eliminating a wholesome, innocent girlhood


I thought she was joking. But no.

Babies in Stilettos? It's Heelarious!

26 posted on 08/26/2009 7:53:15 AM PDT by Albion Wilde ("A cultural problem cannot be solved with a political solution." -- Selwyn Duke)
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To: SueRae
Between vulgar rap lyrics, MTV and the ever earlier sexualization of our children via the Britneys, Lindseys and now Mileys, having an innocent childhood becomes a greater and greater challenge.

The answer is simple. Don't allow cultural sewage into your house. Have only one TV which the kids aren't allowed to touch without your permission. In the mean time, fill their heads with good things and surround them with good role models.

It's gotten to the point with my kids that when they hear someone go by blasting loud pop music out of their car, they cover their ears and yell, "Yuck, that's awful!"
27 posted on 08/26/2009 7:55:17 AM PDT by Antoninus (Sarah Palin will soon have more fans on Facebook than most major newspapers have readers.)
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To: Kells

If a man thinks “skinny” is important, he’s not good enough for my daughters, irrespective of what my daughters actually look like.


28 posted on 08/26/2009 8:03:11 AM PDT by Tax-chick (If you've ever discovered your cow eating a guest in the barn, you'll understand.)
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To: LadyPilgrim

ping


29 posted on 08/26/2009 8:11:34 AM PDT by del4hope (There are no surprises today because commies are predictable.)
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To: 4rcane

Good point. She stressed the corporate. But not the driving forces behind the corporate movement. It seems lost on her, but without Hollywood driving it, no amount of marketing could make Miley so lucrative if Hollywood celebrity weren't part of it, if she were just Miley, ordinary girl.

30 posted on 08/26/2009 8:13:05 AM PDT by fortunecookie (Please pray for Anna, age 7, who waits for a new kidney.)
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To: Antoninus

“The answer is simple. Don’t allow cultural sewage into your house. Have only one TV”

Better to have no TV but human society does not operate in such a way that cultural sewage can be kept out of one’s house. The best you can do is try to filter and wash off what inevitably seeps in. That is why parents are obligated to expose and resist the intentional pollution of our culture with sewage.


31 posted on 08/26/2009 8:15:50 AM PDT by Kells
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To: Tax-chick

“If a man thinks “skinny” is important, he’s not good enough for my daughters, irrespective of what my daughters actually look like.”

“Well proportioned” is a better expression. All men are wired that way just as all women are attracted to certain qualities in men, whether they choose to be or not.


32 posted on 08/26/2009 8:23:09 AM PDT by Kells
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To: Kaslin; 185JHP; 230FMJ; 50mm; 69ConvertibleFirebird; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee or DirtyHarryY2K to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

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[ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]


33 posted on 08/26/2009 8:30:48 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Kells

“Achieving a reasonably attractive appearance given what she naturally has to work with.”

A woman’s physical appearance is, indeed, a key quality in attracting men. However, a man who focuses on this quality to excess is demonstrating a shallow character. Note the adverbial phrase, “to excess.” An attractive hairstyle, flattering and appropriate clothes, and a healthy form can reasonably be expected of anyone trying to appeal to a potential spouse.


34 posted on 08/26/2009 9:03:11 AM PDT by Tax-chick (If you've ever discovered your cow eating a guest in the barn, you'll understand.)
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To: Kaslin

What is a Miley?


35 posted on 08/26/2009 9:53:36 AM PDT by MichiganConservative (ObamaCare is socialism. It will do nothing but increase premature, unnecessary death.)
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To: Kaslin
there's far more money in american sluthood.

which ought to tell you volumes about money.

36 posted on 08/26/2009 10:28:28 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (the revolution has happened; the revolution will happen; the revolution is happening.)
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To: Cailleach

ping


37 posted on 08/26/2009 10:36:15 AM PDT by kalee (01/20/13 The end of an error.... Obama even worse than Carter.)
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To: Tax-chick

Yup. Just because they “can”, doesn’t mean they should.


38 posted on 08/26/2009 1:57:53 PM PDT by wombtotomb (Equal opportunity does NOT mean equal outcome!!)
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To: Huck

Some of the student interns wore that kind of thing,
even some leather(ette). The old lefties who are
in the administration didn’t know what to do.


39 posted on 08/26/2009 3:55:39 PM PDT by cycjec
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To: MichiganConservative
What is a Miley?

I thought it was what you re-name your daughter when you realize her given name of Destiny was too stripperella. But I see now that they have no objection to the stripper scene, so I must be mistaken.

40 posted on 08/27/2009 7:07:00 AM PDT by ReagansShinyHair
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To: ReagansShinyHair

At least they spelled “Destiny” right. My daughter (Eleanor) had a “Destanee” in her dance class one year.


41 posted on 08/27/2009 10:02:14 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Remember the Bibi Picture Rule!)
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