Girls to Women: All Too Soon?
By: Beth McHugh 2009
A major British retailer is now selling Pole Dancing kits complete with an instructional DVD and garter. The catch: the market is aimed at 4 and 5-year olds.
There is no end of toys and apparel targeted to very young girls that mimic the clothing of much older teenagers and women. While the latter may choose to wear these outfits based on their own minds, little girls of young school age do not have the informed mind of an adult even though they think they know want they want very well!
Childhood lasts for a relatively short period in the span of a complete adult lifetime and to encourage young girls to be older than they really are robs them of something they can never retrieve. Children need to be children, not miniature adults, but the marketing gurus and the advertising magnates are making it harder for parents who want to let their kids just be kids while they can.
Between the corporations and the power of peer group pressure, our little girls are growing up faster than ever before and it’s not to their benefit. Unfortunately they cannot see the damage as they are too young, and those who buy such toys and outfits in the hope of making their offspring happy may be blissfully unaware of the effect of adultifying their child.
We now have 14 year olds wanting liposuction for Christmas because they are not happy with their bodies. Who can be when no human body conforms to that of Bratz dolls and Barbies who are held up as the norm for young impressionable girls.
Fortunately not all girls fall under the spell of manufacturers, advertisers and peer pressure, but it is hard to resist, even for parents, the lure and the pressure. However, there is a backlash beginning against this type of marketing which strives to turn infants to adults in the flash of a credit card. Parents are beginning to realize that childhood is precious and to take it away borders on child abuse. Parents also need to be confident in their parenting skills and their ability to say “no”. We will talk more about this in coming blogs.