Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Teacher, Author

Stick it to ’em! Fun Ideas for Kids as Consumer Activists

Today I want to share another creative and active way to get our message that we don’t want our kids sexualized across to marketers, store managers, and corporate leaders. This is an activity that involves making a public statement about products that both promote sexualization to children and those that are appropriate in their marketing campaigns.

You can think of this activity as The Great Sticky Note Campaign. There are several pre-made sticky notes that you can use, or you can make your own. This link will take you to New Moon Girls “Girl-Caught” pdf that you can print out on sticker paper. The stickers say, “This is GIRL-CAUGHT! It disrespects girls & women. STOP IT!” or “This is GIRL-CAUGHT! It RESPECTS girls & women. THANK YOU!”  Beauty Redefined also has post-it notes that they’ve made that say, “You are beautiful. Now repeat it and believe it!” that they encourage people to use to share their message. While not specifically made to target products, something like this can be used to highlight marketing messages or products that share the message or that focus on promoting unrealistic or sexualized beauty standards. For example, Lindsay Kite posted a picture on Beauty Redefined’s Facebook page of her putting a post-it on the naked behind on a Victoria’s Secret ad.

You can also make your own post its or stickers with your kids. Research tells us that children and adolescents learn more from media literacy lessons when they’re actively involved in creating something, not just analyzing it. So, get your kids working to help you create a sticker that shares a message that you want to send. Brainstorm together and come up with a message and design that you all like. This can be as complicated or easy as you want it to be. You can buy some small post its and use markers and scissors to make your sticky notes, or you can use a computer to create something more complex. Either way, you and your children will have fun and you’ll all become consumer activists, sharing your own viewpoints.

So what do you do with the stickers in the Great Sticky Note Campaign? You can use these in a couple of different ways.

  1. The easiest and simplest is just to put the stickers on items in a store or ads that you see in public places. Make sure that the notes or stickers you use won’t ruin the product. I’m not advocating defacing products and ads, just making your point known.
  2.  To go a little further in sharing your message, collect a group of products, boxes, print ads, etc. from one company that have caught your eye. Put your sticky notes on all of them and mail it to the head of Public Relations or Community Relations or the President’s office for that company. You can include a note to let them know what you do or do not like about the messages that they’re sending to children.
  3. Encourage your friends to make notes too, and if there is a particular store/product/etc. that you all feel needs to get a message, then make it a point to get everyone sharing. For example, our local seasonal Halloween costume stores sells some horribly inappropriate costumes for kids. When October rolls around, I’ll be encouraging my friends to go by and share their thoughts.

The Great Sticky Note Campaign is a simple way to share an important message, and it gets children and adolescents involved in promoting their own voices, rather than seeing themselves as passive consumers. Get out there and let your voice be heard!

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