Savvy or Not So Savvy: Diet Books, Lingerie, and Plastic Surgery for Children

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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?
imageThere 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?

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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.

imageThe 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.

Do you?

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