would like to say this has gone too far, or this crowns the end
of civilization, or this marks the decline of society, but I’m afraid
that would be too tepid in the face of such sense-suspending stupidity.
what can only be seen as the specific targeting of little girls
under the age of 6, a toy is being sold by an unconfirmed company
which features a female doll moving around a plastic stripper poll.
Those who’ve seen it in action describe it this way: “The doll begins dancing when the music
is turned on, and she goes ‘up and down’ and ‘round and round’.”
“doll” is being marketed to innocent kids - kids without the wherewithal
to decipher the insidious suggestions being transmitted. These kids
are being sold an idea, early on, of the stripper lifestyle as fun
and chic - the thing to be. (Talk
to ‘em, T-Pain.)
1: “I want to be a Doctor.”
2: “I want to be a Lawyer.”
3: “I want to be a Teacher.”
4: “I want to be a Stripper.”
scenario is but the inevitable outcome of ruthless marketing run
amok. But this trend of selling spiritual death to children is hardly
new. For many years, corporations have found toddlers the most vulnerable
demographic worth exploiting to enlarge their coffers.
Henry Giroux, Global Television Network Chair at McMaster University, has written voluminously
about the commodification of children which, he argues, brings with
it an end to innocence. In “Commodifying Kids: A Forgotten
Crisis,” Giroux writes: “Subject to an advertising and marketing
industry that spends over $17 billion a year on shaping children's
identities and desires, American youth are commercially carpet-bombed
through a never-ending proliferation of market strategies that colonize
their consciousness and daily lives.”
this comes courtesy what Giroux calls “the sovereignty of the market”
- a state in which corporations are held in higher regard than even
government, rendered supreme in the estate of public affairs. And
with that is granted the license to sell whatever is deemed profitable,
and to whomever deemed vulnerable - even fetuses.
accounts several incidents that should alarm anyone concerned about
the future being built for an unprepared generation of kids:
… Abercrombie & Fitch, a clothing franchise for young
people, has earned a reputation for its risqué catalogues filled
with promotional ads of scantily clad kids and its over-the-top
sexual advice columns for teens and preteens; one catalogue featured
an ad for thongs for ten-year-olds with the words “eye candy” and
“wink wink” written on them. … Children as young as six years old
are being sold lacy underwear, push-up bras and “date night accessories”
for their various doll collections.
there’s more. Turn on Disney and watch in horror.
Mouse that Roared, Updated and Expanded Edition: Disney and the
End of Innocence, Dr. Giroux took to task the mega-corporation
for its promotion of unsavory ideals to kids. He contended in his
wonderful text that kids who watch Disney are raised on a number
of values that, often, are detrimental to their emotional well-being.
The values being imparted upon them, Giroux wrote, are constructed
through a Eurocentric Male Supremacist prism. Thus, young Black
girls, whose TV schedule might be entirely devoted to Disney, luck
out on all counts.
the deconstruction of blockbuster successes like Aladin and
Beauty and the Beast, Giroux concluded that “Disney is not
merely about peddling entertainment; it is also about politics,
economics, and education.” There’s another side to it, he informed;
and that’s the “commercial blitzkrieg aimed at excessive consumerism,
selflessness, and individualism” that comes with all Disney motion
Eisner, former CEO of The Walt Disney Co.,
once revealed in an internal memo: “We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective.”
who’ve watched Disney with a constructive eye can tell that it is
anything but innocent in message and meaning. Disney, since its
inception, has always targeted young girls vigorously, assuming
them the most impressionable of all social sectors. And they may
be right. For more, see the excellent documentary: “Mickey
Mouse Monopoly: Disney, Childhood & Corporate Power.”
Disney’s excessive promotion of boy-band groups such as The
Jonas Brothers, aimed at unsuspecting teenage girls. In “The Ring,”
the popular animated TV show eviscerated the concept that these
groups are innocent or, as they would argue, avowed Christians,
simply because they were “purity rings” and proselytize, upon every
solemn opportunity, their love for “God.” The episode was met with
much controversy, but, as Henry Giroux would tell you, so is everything
remotely critical of Disney.
Park explained that the aim, above all, is to “sell sex
to the little girls” - without being faulted for doing so. Thus,
The Jonas Brothers are honored as holy and harmless, but, at their
concerts, the band routinely
sprays what appears to be white foam on the faces of adoring,
however oblivious, teenage female fans.
yet, nothing more compliments the stripper doll toy concept than
16-year-old Disney pop sensation Miley Cyrus dancing
around a pole at the most recent Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards
ceremony - the same Cyrus who had, shortly before that, posed
provocatively in a spread for Elle magazine. You get
the sense Ms. Cyrus is in good hands, with Fathers like Billy Ray
Cyrus, who, asked last week about his daughter’s antics, replied:
“You know what? I just think that Miley loves entertaining people.”
entertaining people - even it means selling sex to fans too young
number of lessons are available from this ordeal - that society
is officially morally bankrupt, that common sense is as useful
in modern-age as George W. Bush For President bumper stickers, that
many corporations are willing to go down whatever road required
to make profit. No one is safe anymore. Not even children. Not even
Commercialisation of Childhood,” a report filed by UK-based
group Direction for the Democratic Left, it was revealed that kids
living in the U.S. and U.K. are, on an average, exposed to up to
40,000 Television ads a year.
we’ve arrived here, and we can no longer deny the reality that kids
are at risk, more than they’ve ever been, to the reaching claws
of authoritarian companies and complexes. But we’ve also been awoken
to conscience about the infested minds of those whom many parents
trust enough to live their kids with - unaware of the inestimable
effects these media machines have on the minds of young ones.
once wrote: “… [I]n this business the only persons deceived are
the poor unfortunate girls.” And this business is not likely
to halt production any time soon. Why, the revenue has been nothing
short of record-breaking.
me this: Are you a customer?
BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Tolu Olorunda, is an
18-year-old local activist/writer and a Nigerian immigrant. Click
to reach Mr. Olorunda.
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3 , 2009
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Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Est. April 5, 2002
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