Last Friday there was a segment on 20/20 on the sexualization of children. The segment provided some good information about why sexualization is a problem. What was missing were any solutions. Mainstream media seems very interested in using the shock factor of little girls all tarted up to get viewers interested in a story, but often times no actual solutions or suggestions for response are provided. So viewers are left thinking, “That’s terrible!” but also feeling that they have no power to make a difference.
This isn’t true! As consumers we do have power. As the Australian group, Collective Shout, has shown recently with their campaign against the store Diva carrying Playboy accessories for young girls and Kmart’s thong underwear for young girls with saying like, “I love Rich Boys,” retailers do eventually respond when there is enough consumer pressure. They also compiled a “Cross ‘em off your list” list that provides consumers with the names of companies that have shown a pattern of sexualizing children so that the customer can avoid purchasing any items from these companies. Groups here in the US such as SPARK Summit and Powered By Girl provide regular updates on companies that are sexualizing children and lead the charge for response with things like PBG’s regular ad contest which spoofs the most sexualizing ads.
What I want you to know is that consumers do have power, it’s called our money. We can choose not to support any companies that promote an idea about girls and women that we don’t like. We also have the freedom to call out organizations that are sexualizing children. We are not powerless! Want some ideas for things that you can do? Here’s a list to get you started:
It’s time for all of us to work together to say, “no more” to companies who want to make a buck off of the bodies of little girls. It’s not appropriate and it doesn’t promote healthy development. We are not powerless, let’s stand together and let our voices be heard.