One of our major concerns at KidsTerrain is that children develop healthy self-esteem. So, when in less than a week’s time these new products marketed to young children came across our radar, we felt compelled to raise the battle cry, “Let them be children, please….”
First up, Bebe Gloton, a controversial new doll that comes with a special halter-top that young "mothers" wear as they pretend to breast-feed their "babies." The halter-top has daisies that cover the little girls’ nipples and comes undone just as easily as the flaps of a nursing bra would.
The Spanish toymaker Berjuan developed Bebe Gloton, which translates as “gluttonous baby.” Bebe Gloton cries, signaling she wants more milk, and makes sucking noises as it "feeds."
Despite some outrage, many moms said they support the product. In a story reported on Fox News, one mother was quoted as saying, "I think that it’s great that people want to have a doll that promotes breast-feeding…. Most dolls that are purchased come with a bottle. That is the norm in society, an artificial way to feed your baby.”
This Straw Man response shifts the focus away from the concern at hand: Is introducing breast-feeding to girls young enough to play with dolls inappropriate? What’s next? A special, padded swimsuit-like garment that enables five-year-old "mothers" to “experience” childbirth?
Next up on our “Let Them Be Children, Please….” radar: Meet Clawdeen Wolf, the doll who comes complete with a “thigh-skimming skirt, sky-high boots and heavy makeup, and spends her days waxing, plucking and shaving.” You read that right…waxing, plucking, and shaving. Mattel’s target demographic for this doll? Girls aged 6 and up.
Human behavior expert Dr. Patrick Wanis, in an article by Diane Montgomery said, “These dolls are training girls to feel ashamed of their bodies, to focus on being sexually appealing and sexually attractive from a pre-pubescent age. By sexualizing these young girls, corporations also create another avenue to market and sell more products to a younger demographic.”
And speaking of marketing to a younger demographic, enter Abercrombie & Fitch into the debate. Last week A &B launched a padded bikini for girls as young as 7. The “Ashley” bikini gained attention after a professor at Occidental College posted a blog item calling it “another example of the sexualization of young girls,” The Columbus Dispatch reported.
Abercrombie Kids addressed this on Monday, March 28 in a statement on their Facebook page: “We agree with those who say it is best ‘suited’ for girls age 12 and older.”
As reported by the Dispatch, this wasn’t the first time Abercrombie targeted this market. In 2002, Abercrombie & Fitch offered a children’s-size thong underwear with the words “eye candy” and “wink wink” printed on the front.
It’s time we step up and step back…. Let our children be children, please….
Written for KidsTerrain, Inc. Reprinted here with permission.