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Diet books for little girls, lingerie for four year-olds and moms giving seven year-olds plastic surgery for birthday gifts…you tell me, what’s savvy about that?
There is all kinds of talk these days about the yet-to-be-released book, Maggie Goes on a Diet. The book features 14 year-old Maggie who, by going on a diet, is transformed from being overweight and insecure into a normal sized teen who goes on to become the school soccer star. It’s written for a much younger audience—girls five and up—which is why mothers are understandably infuriated (though we can’t help wonder how many of those moms have been on a diet themselves in the last year).
A diet book for five year-olds that warns them of the perils of being a fat teen? As you can imagine, the mommy blogs are not in favour. It seems to me that if the writer had simply omitted the words ‘Goes on a Diet’, and replaced them with ‘Eats Healthy and Exercises’, things could have gone a lot more smoothly. Perhaps there is more of that kind of language in the book, though we won’t know until it’s released in October. I’ll wait for my final decision on whether this is savvy or not until then, but in the meantime, it’s not looking good for Maggie and her diet book.
What do you think? Savvy or not so savvy?
Apparently things are worse in Europe for young girls. According to a Globe and Mail article last week, a marketing campaign in France has girls as young as four posing for ads in tank tops (designed for girls aged 4-12) and pearls, wearing make-up, and sporting Brigitte Bardot-style (read: sexy) hairstyles. It’s disturbing to see the images but there’s more to it than that. This is multi-layered disturbing. For one, companies are manufacturing lingerie for young girls. Why? Little girls have not asked for this product, so does that mean their mothers have? Or have clothing manufacturers decided there is a need? I’m not sure which is worse. Who makes the decision to run this kind of a campaign? And what kind of parent would allow their daughter to be photographed this way?
It’s not just me who thinks this is not savvy. The fashion world outside of Europe was quick to condemn the campaign, calling it ‘creepy and exploitive’. Clearly I’m not impressed, but I will ask you a final question: how much worse are these shots than the ones of Hollywood moms dressing their kids up like mini-me’s for the red carpet photo op? Maybe they’re less creepy but, arguably, no less exploitive.
The frosting on the cake has to go to Sarah Burge, a.k.a. the ‘Human Barbie’. This self-confessed plastic surgery addict gave her daughter a voucher for breast enhancements for her seventh birthday. Yes, you read that right. A seven year-old girl received a voucher for plastic surgery which she can redeem at age 16 when it’s legal for her to have this kind of procedure. Apparently this gift trumps the pole dancing lessons she received last year upon turning six. In an article from the Daily Mail, Burge’s daughter, Poppy, was quoted as saying, ‘I can’t wait to be like Mummy with big boobs. They’re pretty.’
I think I got a skipping rope and some sidewalk chalk when I turned seven. Who knows? All I can tell you is that I have nothing more to say about the human Barbie. It hurts me to include her on this blog…I just thought our readers might have something to say.
Here’s what caught my attention this week:
Another interesting week. There is no end to the editorial fun around here at Savvy HQ. This is what caught my attention this week.
1. I’m not a crazy cosmetics person, but I do have my favourites and one of them is a new company called Mereadesso. Started by Toronto-born, former Estee Lauder professional, Linda Stephenson, the brand is all about style, simplicity and quality. In an industry where packaging is 50% of the product (I’m not saying that’s right, I’m just sayin’), she nailed it off the bat. As for the product, I’m addicted to the face and neck toning gel but my new favourite is the line of lip treats. Try the sheer pink lip for a summer treat. It’s better than a gelato.
2. I hate adding to moms’ list of things-to-be-worried-about, but I agree with this story about the new laundry PODS being dangerous for kids. They do look fun and colourful and shiny. There’s no question kids might want to play with them. So keep them out of reach, along with all the other cleaners or items that are sharp and dangerous for children. Keep them out of the toy box and everyone is safe and worry free.
3. I’m 100% sure that my mother would not have agreed in a million years to let me wear these boots to my wedding—even if we were in the arctic. In fact, I still don’t think my mother would let me wear these boots. Some things just aren’t worth the fight—and these certainly are not. Seriously people, who would do this? More importantly, what is UGG thinking? Is this an example of a great brand gone bad?
4. The thrill of cross border shopping is becoming much less attractive now that all the big US retail names are here. We’ve got Brooks Brothers, Anthro and the Crew already, Target is on the way for 2013 and now another one of my fave US retailers, Ann Taylor, is coming to Canada with its first store opening in TO next fall. It’s all good news. We have all the choices now, all the selection that we always wanted, finally. But I wonder if I’ll like them all as much now that the we-can’t-get-this-at-home factor is gone?
5. In an age when competitive parenting often manifests itself on the soccer field and hockey arena (or in my case, the baseball diamond), and with childhood obesity on the rise, many parents worry that they should be doing more to encourage their children to be active—especially if the child doesn’t show interest. Should you push your children into sports? I was relived to see this sage counsel from our SavvyMom experts, who weighed in this week with some strategies for helping your kids find the right sports for them—not you.
I have a few interesting things to report after a nice long break and a short week. The new site manteresting.com, family narratives, more on Apple innovation, an old-school video and a new face cream all caught my attention.
1. In breaking news, I learned from Twitter and some of the mommy blogs about manteresting.com. It’s basically Pinterest, but for dudes (their words, not mine). For those of you who are Pinterest lovers, you’ll understand. Instead of ‘pinning’ a favourite image (of an attractive woman, for example), you ‘nail it’ to your Manterest page. The mom blogs aren’t loving manteresting.com. Why can’t the dudes just use Pinterest, they ask? Well firstly, you can’t post the same kind of images on Pinterest. This site is pure entertainment for men. Manteresting is funny, sexist and sometime practical—but even with the practical images of men hanging pictures or shelves, you get the feeling they’re just ripping on Pinterest. Pinterest, with all of its beautiful aesthetic, is inspirational, pretty and practical. I’m sure someone will write a paper on how these two sites visually depict and support the apparent gender differences in Western society today. But in the meantime, I’m still interested in some of the stuff dudes find that we don’t. Like these portable speakers that double up as a spotlight and fit into your light socket. For the record though, I didn’t nail it.
2. I read, with interest, an article from the New York Times that many of my Facebook friends and mom bloggers posted last week. It talks about the importance of family dialogue and telling stories to your kids. I don’t mean the stories in books, but the real stories of your family—what the writer refers to as a family narrative. I have always been a huge advocate of family dinners, but I am also acutely aware that not all family dinners turn out the way you wish them too. Sometimes they end up in fights. Sometimes everyone hates the food. Don’t give up. Sit down and keep talking to your kids. Read the article, it will help.
3. Here’s some good news you can talk to your kids about at the dinner table if they like to use your iPhone. Apple is planning to release a new model that reduces the chances of it breaking when you drop it. It’s a bit complicated to explain, as it involves words like sensors, processors and protective mechanisms, but essentially it’s a gadget that detects when the phone is falling and ensures that it falls face up, putting an end to broken screens. It’s like magic. Here is a better explanation.
4. Despite all of the innovation around us on a daily basis, I am still old school at heart. That’s why I enjoyed this video about why ‘Paper is Not Dead’ enough to share with you.
5. Finally—a product that was recommended to me by our indispensable Leslie McCormick (Integrated Campaign Specialist) at SavvyMom. I tried it and now I love it. It’s called Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream and you can order it online at Sephora. I can’t say my skin is glowing as much as Leslie’s, but it does feel nice. Thanks, Leslie!
There was a lot in politics that caught my attention this week. Not all of it was good.
1. The unimaginable bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon leave so much to discuss and wonder. What I found amazing was the ability of the American people to stay positive in the wake of such an event. The belief that good will always trump evil is a very powerful one and will help many through such a traumatic time. This poignant statement from comedian Patton Oswalt, which went viral on Facebook soon after the bombing, expresses this sentiment well. It’s an important message to retain when considering how to talk to your kids about the attack. Alyson Schafer (one of our own Savvy Experts) wrote a piece for the Huffington Post which provides step-by-step instructions on how to talk to your kids about Boston. Bottom line, young kids don’t need to know about such inhumanity yet. Let them feel safe and secure in their worlds for now. Maybe that will help instill the faith in humanity they’ll need to get through such times when they are older.
2. On a more entertaining note, President Obama took time from his responsibilities of running the Western world to meet with the Kid President. You remember I introduced you to the Kid President with this video a few months ago? Well this time the Kid President was actually able to sit right in the President’s seat, shake his hand and discuss politics—or third grade math. I’m still not quite sure what the agenda was but there were some thoughtful messages about kindness and changing the world. Watch it with your kids, they’ll like it.
3. Speaking of an agenda…do you think our beloved mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, ever has one? I’m pretty sure him walking into the camera and getting hit in the face was not part of the plan. Despite the fact that the video went viral, I don’t think this is the kind of attention he was looking for.
4. Back to US politics. Maybe President Obama should speak to the Kid President about these ads—just released from a group called Moms Demand Action! The statement is very strong in its simplicity—books like Little Red Riding Hood, Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs and dodgeballs have all been banned in America to keep kids safe. But guns have not been made illegal to protect kids.
5. Less political, but equally as important is the message being shared through Dove’s latest campaign and viral video, Real Beauty Sketches. Watch this video, it’s beautiful and powerful. Share it with your daughters.
Finally, a good luck wish to our friend Marlowe (of Marlowe & tHe MiX) who has been nominated for a Juno this weekend in the category of Best Children’s Album of the Year. Go Marlowe!