The Sexy Side of Sears?

As a side effect of my work with Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland to promote healthy media images for girls (which you can read about here) I’ve become more sensitive and aware of just how far advertisers are willing to go to sell their products to young girls.

Take this ad from Sears, for example. It clearly states who the intended target audience is: girls who wear “junior” sized clothing. Now some may argue that girls in their late teens and early twenties (and beyond, but that’s another issue) wear junior clothing, so this ad may not be inappropriate.

But for those of you with tween daughters, you know that this is the image they look up to. While you’re browsing through the children’s section, they’re stealing glances at the juniors section, with the low-cut, painted on jeans and t-shirts emblazoned with “Flirt” and “Delicious.” (By the way, I’m putting my daughter in a bubble, so we’ll never have to deal with this.) Suzanne Tobias wrote a great article about this for the Wichita Eagle. You can read it here.

And who is this model, by the way? Audrina Patridge. Who? Ok, ok I am out of the loop. She made her acting debut on the MTV reality show, The Hills, and has recently posed on the cover of Maxim, which you can see here (warning, this is Maxim we’re talking about here people, so be warned!).

So, Mr. or Mrs. advertiser, you’re showcasing a reality TV star and Maxim cover model to sell our young daughters your jeans? And if you have any doubt about who their target audience is, check out the next page, where they show their “5 fab fits” on a young (maybe 15?), fresh-faced model.

We all know that “sex sells,” but are we really ok with that? Especially when it’s being pushed at our children?

I recommend checking out this documentary by former super model Nicole Clark, called “Cover Girl Culture.” It was a real eye-opener.


The Cool Kid

Here’s my cool kid, always wanting to wear momma’s shades.

The question is, do I want her to be “the cool kid” when she’s older? I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately. We always want our children to be better off than we were, but I have to admit, I kind of hope she’s a nerd.

Although I got along with nearly everyone in school, I was a tall, goofy-looking nerd (and no, you can’t see the pictures to prove it). And you know what? I think I’m better off because of it. I have more compassion for people who don’t fit in, and I endured many “character-building” situations.

So, what is your hope for your children? That they’re a popular member of the in-crowd or their own unique person, whether that makes them a nerd or not?

So Long Self

A group of lovely young ladies and I meet every Tuesday night for a book study centered around “The Worn Out Woman,” by Dr. Steve Stevens and Alice Gray. We laugh, we cry (well, we will eventually) and together we try to find ways to cope with the whirlwind of life while growing closer to Christ.

We’re all moms, all married, and all yearning to regain our joie de vivre–to be more peaceful, patient and put a little pep back in our step.

One common theme is our perceived lack of “self.” Once you’re a frantic, frazzled momma, what happens to the woman who used to take long bubble baths, spend hours chatting with her best friend or get completely lost in an addictive piece of fiction?

I catch glimpses of her every now and then. When a few precious uninterrupted hours (or minutes) magically appear, I might catch her idly thumbing through a glossy magazine, or giggling on the couch while watching episode after episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.  

I begrudgingly approach her, and remind her in my best tough-love tone: “You really shouldn’t be doing this. There are three baskets full of dirty laundry, crusty dishes on the kitchen counter, and a stinky kitty litter box in the closet.”

Most of the time, she’ll pretend not to hear me at first, and then let out a long sigh as she hoists herself up off the couch. Sometimes, though, she pulls a pillow up over her head and closes her eyes. I like those days.