Sunday, 19 May 2013

Advertising on children's TV

Recently Jellybean has been telling us that he's too old for Cbeebies and thinks that the shows on it are for babies. 

Instead he's been asking to watch things on Pop - not even tiny Pop, actual Pop, where Oggy hangs out with his cockroaches and a squirrel is scaredy. 

As well as being a little sad that he's decided he's too grown up for Mr Bloom CBeebies I now have to contend with adverts aimed at children. 

All. The. Time. 

Well, not all the time, obviously, because they don't watch TV all the time - and most of the time when they ARE it's supervised. 

But if I said I never popped it on to keep them quiet and still for a while so I could get some housework done, or take a sneaky nap, or do some work when I have a deadline then I'd be telling a massive lie. 

So sometimes they're watching TV without me being in the room or paying too much attention. 

I'm generally quite careful - fussy even - about what they're allowed to watch. People laugh at my refusal to allow certain shows - Rastamouse for one - but I want to be sure I know what's going into their little minds as much as I care about what goes in to their little bodies. 

But now Jellybean has started to ask for certain things. 

"I want to go to Disneyland Mummy, it is MAGICAL."

"I want to go to Legoland Mummy, it looks BRILLIANT."

"I want hot wheels toys Mummy"

"I need a Thomas the Tank play set"

"I need slippers that RAR!"

and so on...and so on...and so on...

I think I expected some degree of pester power, and I'm not stupid, I know the power of "I want" from a child is incredible, and of course companies are going to advertise directly to our children - but when it's things that are harmful to a child's self image, self worth, gender identity, well-being? That is NOT ok. 

So why, in the name of all that is holy, are Lelli Kelly allowed to advertise to our children?

WHY are they allowed to market shoes to preschool girls that come with lip gloss and hair extensions? Why? 

Why is there a company in existence whose marketing team thought "Let's teach tiny little girls that they're only cute when they clip in some acrylic hair in bright novelty colours, and shine up their lips with sexy gloss" and why oh why oh WHY are they STILL doing it? 

Why have TV execs not said "that's just not ok" and why have WE not got up in ARMS about this and put a god damn stop to it?!

I can handle talking to my kids about why we can't go to Disneyland this year, but maybe one day...I can handle telling my child that hotwheels tracks are a pile of crap that will fall apart before you've even had your first go. 

I cannot handle explaining to my four year old boy whilst he cries that Lelli Kelly shoes are trying to turn little girls into sluts before they've had time to learn anything about self esteem.

My little boy's favourite colour is pink. He doesn't care that people think it's for girls, he just likes it because it's bright and makes him happy. 

He wanted a pair of those shoes and is upset that he can't have some - but you know what? It's not because they're for girls - not at all. If he wants pink sandals then I'd get him them. I might not let him wear them to school, because he'd be teased - but he could HAVE them, if they made him happy. 

But not these ones. Not now, not ever, never. Because they make little girls feel like they need to BE more to be cute. 

To be cute you need make up, fake hair, fake lips, glittery shoes, glitzy spangly little butterflies strapped to you. You can't just be smart, and wear pink shoes to kick balls around a field, and jump around in the garden, or climb a tree. 

What the hell?


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