t r u t h o u t | Commodifying Kids: The Forgotten Crisis

t r u t h o u t | Commodifying Kids: The Forgotten Crisis

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Henry Giroux writes so strongly about how our financial markets are using our children to make their profits at the expense of the moral, ethical, and educational development of our future generations. I recommend you read his entire post and the links he has in his end notes. Below is one paragraph especially about young girls. Though I saw this market behavior when my now 23 year old daughter was young, it has continued to expand and is now at an absolutely outrageous level for young girls. After you read it, think about what can be done and start at your local level. Talk to girls, get rid of your TV, talk more about values. And, please, post more ideas for all of us.

Some of these identities are on full display in advertising aimed at young girls. Market strategists are increasingly using sexually charged images to sell commodities, often representing the fantasies of an adult version of sexuality. For instance, Abercrombie & Fitch, a clothing franchise for young people, has earned a reputation for its risque catalogues filled with promotional ads of scantily clad kids and its over-the-top sexual advice columns for teens and preteens; one catalogue featured an ad for thongs for ten-year-olds with the words “eye candy” and “wink wink” written on them.(18) Another clothing store sold underwear geared toward teens with “Who needs Credit Cards …?” written across the crotch.(19) Children as young as six years old are being sold lacy underwear, push-up bras and “date night accessories” for their various doll collections. In 2006, the Tesco department store chain sold a pole dancing kit designed for young girls to unleash the sex kitten inside . Encouraging five- to ten-year-old children to model themselves after sex workers suggests the degree to which matters of ethics and propriety have been decoupled from the world of marketing and advertising, even when the target audience is young children. The representational politics at work in these marketing and advertising strategies connect children’s bodies to a reductive notion of sexuality, pleasure and commodification, while depicting children’s sexuality and bodies as nothing more than objects for voyeuristic adult consumption and crude financial profit.

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