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.