Skip to comments.American Girlhood Lost to Marketers
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 didnt have a talk about how babies are born. This talk was about Americas 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.
Its 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, Im not one to waste a teachable moment.
If you dont 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 Americas children. The awards themselves are simply popularity contests to determine teenagers 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, its 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 dont 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 were out there as a culture buying all the Hannah Montana hype we can fit into a shopping cart full of school supplies.
Still, its a only determined parent who can preserve her daughters 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.)
Americas girls deserve better.
We should have listened to our mothers, and married more judiciously ...
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).
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.
“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).
I thought she was joking. But no.
If a man thinks “skinny” is important, he’s not good enough for my daughters, irrespective of what my daughters actually look like.
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.
“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.
“If a man thinks skinny is important, hes 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.
“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.
What is a Miley?
which ought to tell you volumes about money.
Yup. Just because they “can”, doesn’t mean they should.
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.
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.