Entries from October 2008 ↓

Real Girls’ Costumes

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Dalmatian made from thrift Store finds and a black marker and creativity.

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Miranda (10) is Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hell in mythology. Ivy, (5) wanted to be a Murloc. That’s a fish-like creature from the World of Warcraft game. Handmade by mom.

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A Fire Truck coming to put out her brother, the fire. (Very Clever)

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11-year old Joanna wearing her “Hungry Toilet” costume. (LOL!)

Leave a comment voting on your favorites.

I’ll run the contest through the weekend allowing parents to email their Trick-or-Treating photos (traceesioux@yahoo.com). I’ll give away the $150 Seagate FreeAgent GO Portable Hard Drive on Monday morning.

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Empowering Girls Halloween Costume Extension

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Tonight is Halloween so I’m extending the Halloween Costume Contest through the weekend (Winner announced Monday morning) to give parents a chance to email me (traceesioux@yahoo.com) their girls’ Trick-or-Treating costumes.

I’ll publish the costumes I’ve received so far over the next few days so you can enjoy them. If there is one you think is particularly awesome leave a comment voting for that costume to win the $150 Seagate FreeAgent GO Portable Hard Drive.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far. Parents, in general, are not dressing their daughters in a provocative way for Halloween.

Parents are angry, bewildered and shocked by the marketing.

Some people believe that girls and parents somehow created the demand for these products.

I disagree with that premise.

After reading the research in So Sexy So Soon I do not believe that marketers and advertisers responded to a demand for ever-sexier products for children.

I believe marketers intentionally created the demand.

Marketers perceived a “vulnerability” that they could exploit and profit from and CREATED the demand for provocative products. That vulnerability includes the fact that all humans are naturally drawn to sex – including children. Where before there was government regulation protecting children from sexually provocative marketing and content when we grew up – now there is not. Parent’s haven’t necessarily been educated or informed about their lack of protection resulting from deregulation of the media. Marketers are also exploiting a general lack of discussion and lack of comfort between parent and child about issues of sex and sexuality.

Parents who buy these products are not trying to sexualize their children, they simply haven’t regrouped from the same bewildered shock you feel and purchase the products out of naiveté and “busyness.”

Parents who buy these costumes are wrong in blindly trusting companies – but that’s their big crime - Trusting Companies.

Girls – little girls - are not hootchies, whores, Lolitas, sluts, street walkers or any other sexually derogatory word you might be tempted to apply to them tonight.

Girls are unsophisticated consumers because they are children and it takes practice, experience, education and persistence to become an educated consumer. They are subjected to an onslaught of exaggeratedly “feminine” and hyper-sexual marketing from dozens of sources. I’ve been writing this website for a while now and it wasn’t until reading So Sexy So Soon that I fully understood all the pieces to the puzzle.

I knew something was up – but I couldn’t articulate exactly what was causing it. Most parents – I estimate an overwhelming majority – know something is up, but they can’t quite put their finger on what.

Girls’ sexuality is being exploited with this type of hyper-sexual marketing and I INSIST that it is inappropriate to further exploit them by referring to them in sexually derogatory manner no matter what costume they wear on Halloween.

Read more about that in Hootchy Clothes.

Anger is appropriate. But, I believe it belongs squarely on the companies creating and marketing these products.

I urge you to look at real girls tonight and their overly-busy, naive and misinformed parents – however inappropriately dressed they might be tonight and consider them at worst – UNSOPHISTICATED CONSUMERS.

Also keep these 2 things in mind:

* Halloween is the one night when millions of parents allow their children to break normal rules. I, myself, will allow Ainsley to wear all the make-up she wants tonight. Just for fun. I will probably put some on Zack. I would also let my daughter wear shorter skirts than normal, high heeled shoes, brightly colored hair, etc. Last year, Ainsley declared herself a Princess at the last minute and I let her though I try to avoid the Disney Princess Culture as a rule (pictured – I was a Runner-up Dairy Queen.)

* Packaging for a costume might be more intentionally provocative than the actual costume. Just because the photograph in the marketing is overtly sexual doesn’t mean that a 3 year old wearing that costume is in any way sexual at all.

Be safe tonight. Have fun with your children.

Be compassionate toward other families who just don’t know what you know about the sexualization of girls. You can help educate and them by forwarding them this article or telling them about this website.

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Meaningfully Frugal Christmas Tip #2

You will have many choices this Christmas.

Some of them suck.

They come with bells and whistles and have fancy price tags. Many come down to a choice between lazy and expense or economy and real value.

Let’s practice:

Choice 1
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The Fisher-Price Smart Cycle, $74.48.

For the really paranoid parent who deems the actual joy of bike riding as “too dangerous.” This parent watches too much news and thinks the boogie man or a life-threatening boo boo is around every corner.

Come on folks – did exercise become a burdensome chore when you were on your bike as a 7 year old feeling the wind in your hair wondering just how fast you could go? Or when you started forcing yourself to exercise indoors – going no where? Just think – you won’t even have to take the training wheels off. It’s like that old saying,

It’s like learning to ride a bike – wait, kids don’t do that anymore.

There’s a childhood obesity epidemic so exercise is a big deal – or haven’t you heard? You think more television and video games is the solution?

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I chose real bikes. It comes with all sorts of experiences and joys your child will remember forever.

Ainsley got a new bike for her recent birthday because she had outgrown her old one.

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Zack is getting this used bike we got at a garage sale for $5.

Because he’s 2 years old and he’s not addicted to new packaging. He just wants a bike like his big sister. Five dollars people.

I’m asking Santa for a $15 padded bike seat. Because my $7 garage sale bike is awesome – except evidently adults get “bike ass.” Bike riding is fantastic family time and you know what – it is Fun Exercise.

Choice 2

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LeapFrog® Tag Reading System, $49.99.

A pen that actually reads FOR your kid.

You know cause actually learning to read has been deemed technologically obsolete.

It will also alleviate any obligation you have of sitting down and teaching your child to read – or more importantly sitting down and teaching them the value of reading as a way to learn, entertain one’s self, explore the world, relax,

do well in school or perform in a job.

It’s no biggy – just buy this pen. It will do all the work for you.

Myself? I’m going to get my kids some well-cared for used books. Do you know how many used books I can get for $50? Heck at some garage sales and thrift stores they go for 50 cents a piece. I’ll get them 5-10 to share for a mere $5 and they will be so happy and grateful!

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Ainsley was the first kid in her class to become a Read-a-Saurus this week. She was proud. I was proud. But, best of all she loves reading. Cause it’s freaking fun that’s why and books are our prized possessions not expensive pens that read FOR us.

More on bikes:

B-R-A-V-E

Girl Hero

Empowering Girls: Bike Riding

More on Meaningfully Frugal Christmas Gifts

Steal This Christmas Gift Please!

Pro-Girl Book, The Perfect You

Meaningfully Frugal Christmas Tip # 1

Meaningfully Frugal Christmas Tip #2

Meaningfully Frugal Christmas Tip #3

Meaningfully Frugal Christmas Tip #4

Meaningfully Frugal Christmas Tip #5

Meaningfully Frugal Christmas Tip #6

Meaningfully Frugal Christmas Tip #7

Meaningfully Frugal Christmas Tip #8

Meaningfully Frugal Christmas Tip #9

Meaningfully Frugal Christmas Tip #10

Steal This Christmas Gift Please!

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Great Father/Husband

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This is Zack, Ainsley’s 2 year old brother.

Playing house and taking care of baby dolls serves the same purpose in boys as it does in girls. It teaches nurturing, compassion and parenting skills.

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Out there – maybe in your house – there is a girl whom Zack will marry.

For that empowered girl, I teach Zack nurturing and compassion, empathy, dishes, cooking and laundry. Yes, already.

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I like to think that somewhere out there is a mother who is also teaching her son how to do housework, cook and take care of children, so he’ll make a good boyfriend, a great husband for my daughter and a fantastic father for her children.

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Empowering Girls Halloween Costume Contest

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If you’re new here allow me to introduce myself. I’m Tracee Sioux and this is a website about girls. We are growing powerful girls here.

We challenge hyper-sexual marketing and advertising and confront mean girl behavior and find tools to instill great self esteem and body image.

Have you seen the stories about the Pornification of Halloween with alarming photos of girls who look more like porn fantasies than girls playing dress up?

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I wrote one of them last year.

That was before I read So Sexy So Soon by Diane E. Levin, Ph.D. and Jean Kilbourne Ed.D. which clearly explained that girls haven’t become hyper-sexualized at all. Marketers and Advertisers have become hyper-sexualized in an attempt to exploit children’s inherent innocent sexuality for profit.

This year when I went to Amazon Associates to look at their Halloween Widgets I saw the hyper-sexual photos of girls’ costumes and instead of being angry that girls have become too sexualized . . .

This year, I thought this has nothing to do with our GIRLS.

This is MARKETING.

The girls did not become sexier – the marketing started encouraging girls to buy sexier products. There is a huge difference.

Girls had nothing to do with this.

Parents had nothing to do with this.

* My daughter didn’t make the costume. The Costume company did.

* Your daughter didn’t dress another little girl in the costume and put her photo on Amazon for everyone to freak out over. The Marketer did.

* Parents didn’t pose the girl model provocatively for the photograph on the packaging that resembles child pornography.The photographer did.

* I, as a mother, am not marketing provocative costumes for my child to wear. I’m not even buying those costumes and if I could convince other parents to wake up to bad marketing intentions other parents wouldn’t buy it either.

All the hype is marketing.

This type of marketing is incredibly disrespectful to all girls. It’s incredibly disrespectful to parents.

It’s intentionally closer and closer to pornography because of the fundamental marketing premise “sex sells.” Even innocent children are attracted to sexual imagery. That doesn’t make them less innocent, it makes them human.

Girls and their parents should be so angry that marketers would stoop to this level that we should STARVE them out. Do. Not. Buy. These. Costumes!

This is exploitation of girls in marketing for profit.

What are girls REALLY wearing on Halloween?

Are they all in touch with their “inner Lolita” as this marketing, and the inflammatory news reporting about the marketing, suggests?

I don’t know. I suspect not. Let’s find out.

Email me (traceesioux@yahoo.com) a photo of your daughter’s Halloween Costume by Nov. 2 and you are entered to win.

I’ll publish them on The Girl Revolution and we’ll just see –

- Have our daughters really become hyper-sexual or are we allowing marketers to project that identity on them and sully their reputations?

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Seagate has offered to give one The Girl Revolution reader a FreeAgent GO sleek portable hard drives worth $150.

I’ll choose the best costume and that person will win the prize.

Oh and make sure you subscribe to The Girl Revolution (up there on the right) because we’re going to focus on how to create a meaningful and joyful holiday season without touching a credit card or giving our hard-earned money to companies who disrespect girls.

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