Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Educator, Author

Baby Bratz: Sexualized Toddlers and Other Misplaced Sexiness

This week I’m reposting some of my reader’s favorites with new tips and ideas. I also think that this recent article Has raised awareness not just about the inappropriate sexualized products that are being marketed to children, but the fact that parents have to take a stand against them.

This post got a lot of attention when I first shared it back in September 2010, so I thought it would be fun to revisit the Baby Bratz.

As I was browsing in a resale shop today, I came across these dolls. They are Baby Bratz dolls, describe on the company website as “in-style toddlers.” So here we have a version of sexuality marketed directly to our young children, with belly showing shirts, low slung skirts, and full make-up. Apparently, it’s not enough to simply infantilize grown women so we begin to blur the line between girls and women and their sexual availability. Now we actually promote full-blown sexuality in a child and to a child. THIS IS NOT OKAY!!!

I read some reviews of these dolls where one mother said, “Well, I don’t really like them, but I’ve learned to tolerate them because my child wanted one so badly.” Listen, we have to stop letting children and advertisers tell us what is good for our kids! It’s time for us as adults to say “No more.” We set the rules in the house, we work to make the money, we get to make those decisions.

At the same resale store, my oldest daughter wanted to buy a t-shirt with the name of a brand that is infamous for using highly sexualized images to sell their clothing to adolescents. She kept pushing and pushing, “Come on mom, it’s just a shirt.” It’s not always easy to say “no” to your kids when they want something, I understand that. My kids can be very persuasive themselves. But I said no, and I will continue to do so. I will not support that company in any way, shape, or form. No way, no how.

Please, allow yourselves and those you care about to be voices of transformation in the world around you. If plenty of us are saying no, the old argument, “But everyone is doing it” won’t hold much sway. Let’s stand together and refuse to conform. Use your systems of influence to make a difference:

1. Refuse to buy these types of products

2. Talk with your friends, family, and children about why you believe these products send the wrong message to children.

3. Advocate for change through online or off-line petitions.

4. Want to have some fun? See my post Fight the Power: Children and Adolescents as Consumer Activists for some creative ideas to challenge inappropriate products and messages.


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This entry was posted on April 22, 2011 by in Acting, Cooperating and tagged , , , .
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