Monday, November 21, 2005

House of Hootchie Mama

The nurse’s office at my kids’ elementary school keeps some extra clothes on hand in case the younger children have accidents. It recently came to my attention that they had very few girls underpants (don’t ask me how I know this). Next time I was in a store that carried them I bought some to give to the school. It was hard to find regular briefs. There were plenty of bikinis and low cut styles, but very few briefs. Fortunately no thongs.

This past summer just about your only choices for fall girls’ sleepwear were character related (Dora, Disney Princess, etc.) and things like looked like Gaborwear, feather boas, opaque negligees, and so on. So much for flowered flannel nighties.

This spring look at the shorts being marketed for little girls and little boys. Boys’ shorts are nearly knee length with lots of pockets for rocks, dead chipmunk parts, cards (Pokemon, YuGi’Oh, baseball), and so on. Girls’ shorts have inseams about 2 inches long, made of spandex, often with side slits and with no pockets. What message does this send? It might as well all be made by the House of Hootchie Mama.

Look at toys. The hot new items for girls are Bratz Dolls. They are big eyed, curvy, thin, dressed in clothes with most midriffs showing, and usually stand hipshot. If you look hard enough you can find Ello’s (sort of like Legos for girls), and computer games like Barbie as Rapunzel where Barbie has to redecorate the castle, and find the missing jewels in order to rescue Prince Stefan. In the great majority of games and movies aimed at girls there is a love interest. Games and movies aimed at boys tend not to. What is this teaching? That girls are incomplete without a boyfriend?

I wonder how much of this attitude is created by marketers and how much is responding to research on what girls want. I only know that I don’t like it very much.

(PSOTD is away for a few days and I'm one of the guest bloggers filling in. This is cross-posted there.)


Anonymous said...

I agree regarding clothing styles for females. It is hard to find something that does not look as if it belongs on a street walker. The bottom of the shirt seldom meets the top of the skirt or pants. Little girls are getting the message that they should look provacative. Please let the little ones enjoy their innocent years in innocence and look the part.

ACM said...

just the doll/truck thing already makes me apoplectic. this fashion aspect is enough to make my head explode!

LVDem said...

My best friend as a little boy was a girl. When we played at her house, we played with her Barbies. When we played at my house, we played with my matchbox cars. Playing house, legos and building forts were game anywhere. Looking back at it all, at no point did either of our parents question or remark about our choice of play for the day.

Having experience working in the after school industry, one of the biggest concerns I took away from it was the infussion of the MTV fads into the day to day life of the children. 6 year olds bumping and grinding. 8 year olds bragging about being a pimp. As a non-parent I was horrified that my generation was allowing their children to act this way. It's one thing for me to joke with my friends at a bar about this stuff, but I'm an adult with life-experience and the ability to draw the line. 6 year olds don't even understand what they are doing when they are tracing the letter "T".

Great post. Just another reason for me to stave off the thought of having children.

Anonymous said...

And this is just what we see - there's a whole world out there with regards to children that we don't see (what goes on at school when the teacher's not looking, what happens on the school bus..) that terrifies me for my kids in the future.

The attitude is symptomatic of a larger problem.

AboveAvgJane said...

It does make parenting a challenge. Mr. Jane and I don't get to watch tv until after the kids are asleep, unless we want to sit through Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. Radio is tricky, too. If I have it on in the car when they are there it's on an oldies station. I know one mom who would only listen to classical while her kids were around. This is another area where I'd like to see more public involvement -- asking for higher quality stuff.