Let Girls Be Girls
This Mumsnet campaign offers retailers and manufacturers a positive course of action - to take the lead in ending the premature sexualisation of children through their products and marketing.
STOP PRESS: WHO’S BACKING LET GIRLS BE GIRLS – AND WHO ISN’T
Yes: Boots, Clarks, Debenhams, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Fat Face, George at Asda, Boden, House of Fraser, TK Maxx, Mothercare, Pumpkin Patch, Start-rite, Hush Puppies.
No: WH Smith
Still considering: Next, Barratts, Boots, Bhs, Claire’s Accessories, Deichmann, Ethel Austin, GAP, Mackays, Monsoon, Littlewoods, Matalan, New Look, No Added Sugar, Primark, River Island, Sainsbury’s, Selfridges, Tesco, Zara.
It’s hardly new s that the worlds of entertainment and celebrity encourage girls to believe their sexual attractiveness is paramount. But, increasingly, this same trend is visible in products marketed at young children.
s that the worlds of entertainment and celebrity encourage girls to believe their sexual attractiveness is paramount. But, increasingly, this same trend is visible in products marketed at young children.
A growing number of toys, clothes (‘sexy’ slogans on young girls’ clothing) and accessories (Playboy-branded stationery sets, anyone?) encourage children to enter the world of adult sexuality.
There are plenty of reasons to be worried by this trend:
- It introduces children to the world of adult sexuality, when elsewhere we are rightly encouraging them to resist the pressure to become sexually active at a young age
- It tells girls that the most important quality they need is ‘sexiness’ and that female sexuality is all about pleasing others
- It encourages a culture in which children are viewed as sexually available
- Authorities as varied as the NSPCC, the NUT and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams have all weighed in on this issue, calling for a halt to the premature sexualisation trend
Message of support from the Prime Minister
I’m proud to back Mumsnet’s Let Girls be Girls campaign because all of us as parents can recognise there’s something wrong when companies are pushing our kids into acting like little grown ups when they should be enjoying being children.
Parent power has successfully persuaded retailers to withdraw inappropriate products in the past and this campaign, backed no doubt by the many loyal MNers, will send an important message about our determination to set boundaries around childhood.
I don’t agree with those people who argue the market should always decide and that’s why we have taken a number of steps in recent years to better support parents and children themselves to ensure a safe, happy and healthy up-bringing for our children and young people, including introducing the first ever child internet safety strategy, and introducing a duty on schools to support pupils’ emotional and physical wellbeing through a range of programmes.
We commissioned Linda Papadopoulos to produce her report into the sexualisation of childhood because so many parents were raising this issue with me on my trips around the country, and because as a parent myself I know how careful we need to be about protecting our kids from pressure.
I welcome her report, and MN’s campaign, and will be backing the NSPCC in its work to make the industry more responsible in what it sells. Good luck with the campaign - you have my full support.
- In 2007, a study by the American Psychological Association found that: “Sexualisation has negative effects in a variety of domains, including physical and mental health, and healthy sexual development.” Possible ongoing effects identified by the research include: low self-esteem, poor academic performance, depression, and eating disorders such as anorexia. The report also warned that sexualisation may contribute to the prevalence of paedophilia.
- A 2008 study by Girlguiding UK and the Mental Health Foundation found that premature sexualisation and pressure to grow up too quickly are two “key influences” in the anxiety felt by girls.
- The Mental Health Foundation said: ”Girls and young women are being forced to grow up at an unnatural pace in a society that we, as adults, have created and it’s damaging their emotional well-being. We are creating a generation under stress.”
people doing strange things with electricity
dorkbot-nyc is a monthly meeting of artists (sound/image/movement/whatever), designers, engineers, students, scientists, and other interested parties from the new york area who are involved in the creative use of electricity. dorkbot meetings are free and open to the public. Since we started dorkbot-nyc in 2000 many other dorkbots have sprung up around the world. See them all at: http://dorkbot.org
the purpose of dorkbot-nyc is to:
- give people doing strange things an opportunity for informal peer review
- establish a forum for the presentation of new art works/technology/software/hardware
- help establish relationships and foster collaboration between people with various backgrounds and interests
- give us all a chance to see the cool things that our neighbors are working on
imaginary presentation topics:
- a demo of the new motion tracking software you’re writing
- playing a video you made
- an explanation of how you hacked your game boy to get it to make cool bleeping noises
- trouble shooting/brainstorming your remote-controlled sandwich making robot
- bringing in some dancers you’re working with and having them demonstrate the interface used in your new mind-control ballet
- discussing your approach to electronic sculpture
demos of commercial software are not appropriate, unless you wrote the software or you are making it do something particularly novel or interesting. on the other hand, presenting a piece that was created using commercial software is fine.
dorkbot-nyc meetings are free and open to the public. space at some events may be limited, so you are encouraged to rsvp to help us make adequate arrangements for each event. rsvp at: firstname.lastname@example.org:
dorkbot-nyc meetings take place the first wednesday of each month from 7pm to ???. the dorkbotnyc-announce mailing list is used to send out meeting announcement reminders and other pertinent information. please subscribe to the list if you’d like to receive such information.where:
dorkbot-nyc meetings have gone mobile. Sometimes we’re at the Computer Music Center, sometimes at Location One in SoHo, sometimes in some other strange place for a one-shot. See the front page for the current month’s location.
Directions to Location One: http://www.location1.org/gallery.html
Directions to the CMC: we’re located next to the lovely hudson river on the edge of harlem and morningside heights in new york city.
computer music center
prentis hall, 3rd floor
632 w. 125th street
new york, ny 10027
to get to the CMC via subway, just take the 1/9 train to 125th street. walk 1/2 block on 125th street towards the river. the CMC is on the left side of the street, in prentis hall. you’ll have to be buzzed in. press the buzzer that says “electronic music.”
to get the the CMC via car, take the west side highway and get off on 125th street. then drive around for a few hours looking for a parking spot. then drive back to where you started and take the subway, following the directions above.how:
to attend a dorkbot-nyc meeting, let us know you’re coming via email or just show up and hope there’s room.
to give a presentation at a future dorkbot just send an email or talk to douglas at a meeting.
dorkbot presentations are meant to be fun, friendly, informal chats. They’re short, just 20-30 minutes, including questions. The standard “artist talk” format (my life history in slides + narration) does not work very well at dorkbot. What does work well is a casual talk about something you’re currently interested in. Pretend you’re at a dinner party and someone has just asked you, “so what are you working on?” We encourage people to ask questions during the presentations, rather than always waiting until the end. The audience is quite diverse, with a mix of arty/techy/dorky folks, so presentations with a good balance between why and how tend to work best. You’re having a friendly conversation with some nice, interested people, so enjoy it!meeting format:
dorkbot-nyc meetings are largely informal, but to save everyone time and energy a certain amount of planning goes into each meeting. the current structure is:
- brief intros, announcements, administrative details
- 3 x 20-30 minute presentations
- final comments/debate/etc.
which means that each meeting is about 2 hours long and features three presentations.resources
you are encouraged to provide most of the resources needed for your presentation. however, some CMC equipment will be available for your use. available resources include:
- a mac osx laptop
- a video projector
- a wireless network connection
- a small mixer and powered speakers
all materials on this website copyright 2000-2010 douglas irving repetto and the individual artists