Labels and Kids
|August 12, 2008||Posted by The Informal Matriarch under stay at home mom, toddlers|
There’s something I believe strongly in that I want to perhaps start some discussion on. Perhaps put a bug in your ear about. I know I’ll stick my foot in my mouth at some point so I’ll do a disclaimer at the beginning. When in need, refer back to the disclaimer: I’m not judging anyone who does what I’m against, our culture and society hardly teaches us to question these things ever. Don’t feel bad or whatever, just take a few nuggets of what I have to say and perhaps apply it to your life if it suits you.
Ok, so Leanne and I were chatting yesterday on our way back from our spur of the moment trip to see Mama Mia (AMAZING). I was telling her how I have really big problems letting my kids wear clothes with characters on them or with brand names. Or having a bunch of toys that are characters from the media (we have a few but only because they’re good toys).
I think my massive problem with it is that a character or a name brand isn’t going to make you happy, it has nothing to do with who you really are. People so often define themselves by the brand of clothes they wear. Kids feel “cooler” if they have the newest latest greatest toy. Isn’t there something very wrong about that?? What does a name have to do with what’s inside of you? Why does a little girl need to have Disney Princess EVERYTHING to be “happy”? What are those princesses teaching our little girls about being a real woman in the real world? That if you’re beautiful you’ll live happily ever after??
I seriously think if I had a daughter and she asked for something like that I’d tell her she doesn’t need it to feel beautiful or to be her own princess. Barbies?? Not a chance! Dolls that are correctly proportioned with normal non-sexual clothes?? For sure!!
What are the super heroes telling our little boys about being men and dealing with issues? Super heroes solve problems with violence and they don’t have anyone to hold them accountable. It’s all about violence and being a MAN. If my son wants superheroes I’ll tell him that if he treats everyone with respect he’ll be his own hero and a hero to the people he loves. There is no way on earth I’ll let any violent toys in my house, ever. No questions.
It just makes me sad to see so many kids effected so greatly by the media. If they keep hearing what the media is telling them to do, how to play and who to be then how can they possibly grow up to be their own unique selves? Wouldn’t they grow up to be who the TV is telling them to be? That they need the new wicked awesome toy from Mattel to feel like they belong on this earth? What does that translate into when they become adults?
I will let my kids have some of that, if they save their money and buy it themselves or if they beg for that Gap hoodie all year and we decide to give it to them for Christmas, for sure. I just can’t promote slapping labels all over my kids.
Labels are nothing, they’re dust, they’re not eternal nor are they important for any aspect of life. I think they cheapen who we are on the inside, they’re a mask. They make followers, not leaders. They’re something that some smart guy put on a T-shirt that’s usually made by some underpaid child worker in China. This guy was rich enough to hire smart people to make a commercial that’ll make you feel like you need this. All of it comes from someone at the top who is making you feel like you need this item to feel like you belong. What a lie!! You wear the item, label proudly displayed thinking you’re cool but you’re just advertising for the man at the top who’s getting richer and richer off you. He’s saying “SUCKERS” as he counts his cash and watches his little sheep on the street from the top of his building. He’s a business man, he’s a liar, he’s greedy and you love him…because he told you to.
I just cannot promote my kids to be sheep. I want them to be comfortable in their own skin no matter what they own. I want my boys to feel like real men, not men that cover themselves in Axe to try and get laid because the commercial told them it would work. If I have a daughter I want her to know she’s beautiful no matter what and that her power and beauty is within her.
I truly believe this starts with their toys and with what we let them watch. That very first barbie doll that she sees totally nude, without genitals (which I think is odd like she’s a woman because of what she’s wearing and her shape…not because of the genitals). Just a perfect lump of plastic that she dresses to look beautiful. That’s what she’s seeing a woman as. That very first super hero with rippling muscles. It comes with real weapons that really shoot. That’s what they think men are. Muscles and violence.
Thing is, with really young kids, they don’t care that much. I see parents forcing Dora on their kids in the toy store when they just want a simple doll. I even saw a thing on youtube of this mom who got her kids all Wiggles toys for Christmas, she was freaking out and the kids we’re mildly happy. Are you buying these things for your kids or for yourself? Do you feel like you’re fitting in better with the mom’s because your daughter is clad in Disney Princess like all the other little girls?
A BIG beef of mine that goes along with this is how these things completely gender our kids. Girls wear pink, boys cannot. Girls need the pink plates and boys need the blue ones, heaven knows what would happen if the boys used a pink one!! Girls play with dolls, boys cannot. I saw a mom the other day telling her son to pick out a toy. He picked out a MASSIVE pink car and she said no because it was pink. Good for that boy for seeing beyond the color. He liked the car. The mom was mortified…why???? I purposely dress my boys in pink to make a statement…Silas has a doll whom he loves. Who cares? What will happen? He’ll end up being a more tender person who doesn’t give a crap what people think?? OH NO!!! GOD FORBID!! Sorry…I’m getting all fired up. Ha ha.
Anyway, topic is open for discussion. I hope I challenged your views a little. Let me know 🙂
A big thank you to Jill. I was already aware of some of this stuff on my own but she really opens my eyes further all of the time.
Edit: There’s a glitch in here. If you’re needing to shop thrift stores (or choosing) and you find a piece of clothing for cheap or whatever…or a good quality elmo toy…you know what I mean. Do what you need to do for your family. Like I said before, I’m not judging, I have no idea what’s going on if your lives 🙂
all images were taken from Adbusters