I’m a Barbie Girl

contentWhen I was a little girl I had a variety of dolls. I played with “Baby” dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids, Barbie Dolls, Star Wars dolls and action figures, and even my grandmothers porcelain dolls. All of these dolls (including my Grandmother’s) are still in cardboard boxes somewhere in my mom’s garage. I loved dolls when I was a child and I love them today. I played with all sorts of dolls and none of them (with the exception of my Princess Leia action figure) influenced my self-confidence or self-worth. Princess Leia just made me want to fight bad guys and rid the universe of evil. I still want to do that.

Playing with Barbie dolls as a young girl in the 80’s didn’t give me an eating disorder, and it didn’t make me feel ugly. I never thought of Barbie as a “role model”. I looked at my Barbie dolls as a hanger for clothing. 90% of my time playing Barbies was used to change her clothes. And Barbie wasn’t the easiest doll to do a costume change for. My Barbies didn’t have slick legs (except for “My First Barbie”) and the pants and sleeves of the glamorous clothes always stuck to her body. I literally had to tug and pull to get her dressed. Cher makes it look so easy.  Anyway, I played with Barbie as she was intended to be played with: As a fashion doll.

I get irritated when I hear people complain about Barbie and her “impossible” proportions. Of course she’s impossible. She’s a doll. Barbie was introduced in 1959 when the only doll a girl had to play with was a “baby doll”. I don’t have anything against “baby dolls” but not every little girl wants to play mommy, or even be a mommy. Mattel tapped into a market that no one else in America was interested in: girls. She was one of the first toys to use TV advertising to her advantage, and she’s still around today. Sure, she’s changed a lot but the idea is still the same. Barbie is a fashion doll. You can change her outfits. She goes to parties and to work.

Y7496_BARBIE-FASHIONISTAS-Gown-Doll-(Pink-Mermaid-With-Ruffles)_XXXBut not all women have the same view of Barbie. Some women seem to find the doll threatening. They call her “unrealistic” and “over exaggerated”. I couldn’t agree more. She totally is. But so are Transformers and GI Joe. And My Little Pony. Barbie is no more of a threat to a young girls self-esteem than Batman is to a young boys. But some people have to find fault with everything and those people’s kids get to play with this new doll called “Lammily”. No, that’s not a typo, that is the doll’s actual name. And as if that wasn’t enough to turn off any young girl, the doll also looks like your mom.

Meet “Lammily” the lame doll with the lame name. She’s more “realistic” than Barbie and bound to be absolutely no fun to play with. The doll (designed by a man) is supposed to be the representation of a “normal” body. How fun. Lammily looks like she shops at Old Navy and drives carpool on Tuesdays. If I am a young girl who wants to see what a “normal” woman looks like, I need look no further than my own family, or perhaps to one of the dozens of female teachers in my life. I get normal. I am normal. Who wants to play normal? How does that encourage my imagination? It doesn’t. It probably makes mom feel like she’s awesome, but it leaves daughter bored. And with a doll that doesn’t fit any other doll clothes.

Leia 6Like I said, I had a wide variety of dolls in my entourage, one of which was a “Barbie-type” Princess Leia doll. She came in her white dress, hair in two buns, and her gun. She even looked a lot like Carrie Fisher. I loved her. I loved her until she had to integrate into my pre-existing Barbie society. My new doll had huge, flat feet. There was no way she was going to fit those canoes into Barbie’s dainty little slippers. She was also twice the size of Barbie which meant that she couldn’t share clothes. Princess Leia was stuck in that white, turtle neck gown. Indefinitely. She became the doll that stayed home when the others went out. She was the Cinderella of my group, but unlike the fairy tale, Ms. Leia never got to go to a ball. None of the gowns fit.

And that’s how I see these “Lammily” dolls. They are guaranteed to make your daughter the outcast. I remember being invited over to a friend’s house to play Barbies, and feeling like the biggest dork in the world when I showed up with a doll that didn’t fit in. Literally. Leia didn’t fit in the dream house. If the idea behind these so-called “Normal” dolls is to help girls with their self-esteem, then I see it backfiring big time. If you want your daughter to have good self-esteem, then talk to her about it and be her role model. Don’t leave it up to a doll.

The “Lammily” doll is still being funded (via Crowdfunding campaign) and they hope to produce 5,000 boring dolls that look like the neighbor lady getting ready to go to the gym. The tagline is “Average is Beautiful”. Seriously? I mean, sure there is nothing wrong with average. I got a couple of C’s on a report card or two, but shouldn’t we strive for more? Average isn’t beautiful. It’s average. I understand that some people are offended by Barbie and the hyper-sexualized “Bratz” dolls, but I don’t think making a doll that looks like a soccer-mom is the solution. There isn’t a lot of fun places you can pretend to go with your Lammily doll.

The real solution here is to talk to our young ladies and give them credit for being able to choose their own role models. Barbie doesn’t have to be anything more than a fun toy. If we talk to our kids (boys and girls) and help them to understand that toys are toys, and people are people, then it should be alright in the end. I never once thought I could grow up to be Barbie, the thought never crossed my mind. Leading your kids to believe “they can be anything” and that they are “perfect” the way they are is fine I guess, but I’d rather have a healthy dose of reality. No, you will never look like Barbie. 

And that’s a good thing. Because she is a plastic doll, and you, YOU are flesh and blood.

Why I quit Facebook

super-hero-facebook-likes1I quit Facebook yesterday. I came home from work and deleted my account. Someone posted something stupid and it made me mad. It made me mad all day. It made me mad all day until I realized I had a choice. I’d let someone who I hardly know infuriate me. I gave someone who isn’t a part of my life, power in my life. No more. I’ve been threatening to do it for a while now, but I just couldn’t commit. I had justification – My blog is connected to Facebook. Being a writer was a great excuse for “needing” a Facebook account. It is easy, free and convenient. But that is just an excuse. This blog has a few hundred followers outside of Facebook. If someone misses me, they know where to find me.

My FB lifestyle was not jiving with my personal beliefs, and who I am in “real life”. I am tired of holding my tongue and I am tired of getting upset. I shouldn’t have to delete “friends” because they use sexist language, are idiots, or I haven’t seen/spoken to them in years. What a pain in the ass. I realized that it is far easier to just remove myself from the equation all together. I am tired of being attached to Facebook and I am tired of looking at pictures of your dog, your kids, your lunch and your neighbors pet chicken. I don’t care what you are listening to. I have no need or desire to play Farmville with you, nor do I give any shits at all about where you have checked in. Your score on Bedazzled doesn’t interest anyone and thank you so much for posting the score of Jimmy’s soccer game. I was totally losing sleep over it.

Two days in and I must say, I feel lighter. I have so many better things to do with my time. I thought I would feel uneasy or nervous, but I don’t. I feel relief. And I don’t suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) so I should be alright. FOMO is the #1 reason people keep their FB accounts while posting about how much they hate Facebook. How often do you check your FB? I bet it is at least in the double digits. Every single glance at all the badass things your friends (and enemies, let’s be honest) are doing just fuels the fire. You start wondering why you aren’t doing badass stuff like climbing mountains, getting married, or getting wasted with a group of Russian tourists.

Start playing the comparison game and you’ll lose every time. That’s how the game works. It starts innocently enough… maybe just a little filter on that picture of your hamburger to make it look brighter. Then, maybe  a second filter to show each and every seed on the bun. By the time you are finished, your photo looks nothing like that thing you ate which gave you indigestion. The only way to win is not to play at all. It’s a losing game. Everybody will always be thinner than you on Facebook. They will be smarter than you. Their Angry Bird score will be better than yours. Their friends will always be hipper than your friends. Their Instagram account will have cooler shots than yours. They will get married before you. Their kids will have cooler names than yours. Their dog will be cuter than your dog. Their cat will be more popular on Youtube than your cat.

You will always lose at Facebook.

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Crawdads (Austin, TX) Alicia Brooks photo

But it doesn’t matter because it’s all a lie. All of it. Take my profile for example. Just recently I posted this picture. Looks incredible, right? Well, here is what I didn’t tell you. That picture was taken at the world’s most boring party. The food you see was not seasoned – at all – until it was thrown in the bowl. Then about six different people took turns salting it. The conversation  was about as exciting as the food. The highlight of the party seemed to be when the host dared a guest to let a crawdad latch onto his nipple… for $5. I kid you not. But, I knew that I could take a very cool picture of the food and nobody needed to know the rest. Facebook is a facilitator of lies.

Everyday we are presented with an endless montage of small excitements disguised as every day activities. We judge ourselves against the carefully cultivated and created profiles that people present as truth. That is absurd behavior. Facebook is the ghost in the machine. It works on your behalf when you are not there. It actively distorts us to our friends, and worse yet to users whom we have never met. Facebook is exploitive and unnecessary. It makes us yearn for approval in the form of “likes”, the more the better. As a writer I began to see my worth in the amount of likes or views a piece got. How backwards is that?

So, I guess I quit in pursuit of happiness. Facebook was affecting my moods and my life so I am taking a sabbatical. How can I attempt to live a minimalist life with the clutter of Facebook in my… face? It might be a week, it might be a month, it might be longer. I don’t know. All I know is that when and if I decide to go back, it will be with a new outlook on the tool. And it is a tool. Just more for the folks at Facebook than for you. I’m not here preaching for you to quit social media sites. Do what you will. I’m here saying take a look at what you post, how often, and how often you are posting. Be aware and maybe take a day off and see how you feel. I feel like I just sprouted wings.

Top Five Products “For Her”

By now we have all heard that Bic has come out with a ball point pen especially for ladies. The only thing that is different about these pens is the package they are in. Seriously. These are just regular ball point pens in pastel colors. And everyone knows that things that are pastel pink are for her. While I enjoy all of the outrage over this silly marketing ploy I am left to wonder why it took so long in coming. Bic and their silly pens are only the latest company playing into gender stereotypes.

1.  RAZORS – How many of you ladies out there are guilty of buying the pink razor that costs at least twice as much as the blue razor? Why did you buy the more expensive razor? Think about it for a second, I’ll wait. There you go. There is no difference at all in those razors. I know that Venus did a survey for Cosmo and found that women should be using the pink razors because men razors are too sharp. Uh huh. I have a deep fear that I might slice off my leg at the knee, so I better keep using that razor that costs twice as much. Because it is pink.

2.  ToolsWhen you are a woman, it is hard enough to just get that first cup of coffee in the morning, never mind having to fix that wobbly cabinet door. Thank goodness someone finally invented a screw driver that is pink! My delicate lady hands can only hold on to things that are pink or purple. And I need to “look cute” when I do ANYTHING. They are called “Her Tools” and the tagline says this: “We may not have all the right tools for the job, but with Her Tools ($20) we’ll at least look pretty darn cute working! Her Tools 105-piece set comes with pink handled screwdrivers, pink measuring tape, pink pliers, and comes in its own, you guessed it, pink plastic carrying case.”

3. Pubic Hair Dye –  No, you read that right PUBIC HAIR DYE. I was researching for a piece I wrote about women and their desire to decorate their vaginas when I came across Betty Dye. Why let the hair on your head have all the fun? Now your pubes can be blue, auburn or (of course) pink! They also sell stencils of hearts or doves, and BLING for bedazzling that are supposed to “surprise” your man on your wedding night. I’ll bet. Just think of the look on his face when he finally gets you alone and sees your flaming pink pubes in the shape of a dove and outlined in rhinestones.

4. SmartphoneHTC has come up with a phone just for us ladies, the Rhyme. If you look at the description of this phone vs any other phone you’ll notice it talks about things like the fun colors it comes in, the camera, the head phones that it comes with, and the cool docking station you get when you purchase. It talks about how charming and pretty the phone is, but it doesn’t tell me much else about it because it’s For Her. Women are only concerned with how much FUN a product is to use, and how easy it is. We need not concern ourselves with things like price point, data, or if the phone actually works well. Just as long as we look cute taking our pictures while listening to music on our purple phones, we will be happy.

5. Latisse I included this last product as an example of how marketing and business prey on women’s vanity. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again – Women will buy ANYTHING if they think it will make them look prettier, younger, or more appealing; even if it goes against simple logic. Women will buy lotions that claim to dissolve cellulite even though deep down, they know that it is an impossible thing for a lotion to do. This is no different. All women seem to want longer, thicker lashes and will spend a smal fortune to get them. Do you see any products like this for men? No. Men would never waste money on something that is as potentially harmful as this product. I guess that’s why it is For Her. It was invented to help people with a disorder that makes it impossible for them to grow any lashes at all. It wasn’t long before they realized they could make a killing preying on American women’s insecurities. They got a few celebrities to endorse it and… boom. It’s out there. Now mascarra isn’t good enough. Now I have to use this stuff. I wonder if it comes in pink…

BIGGER! MORE! NOW!

I have a very unique vantage point from which to view the world around me. I am both foreign and native at the same time. Sure, I was born in the states, but I feel like an immigrant having lived in the Czech Republic for so long. And as anyone who has lived overseas – particularly in Prague – will tell you, it’s a little different over there.

The Czech Republic is a modern country with all the amenities one could hope for. Yet at the same time Czech culture is perpetually living in the 80’s. It’s hard to explain wi-fi and smart phones coexisting with mullets and a constant echo of “The Never Ending Story” on the radio. Prague is in this weird limbo of wanting to step into the same century as the rest of the world but in typical Czech fashion, refusing to do so. It’s weird and makes no sense at all, but it is what I am used to. America seems big, scary and greedy these days.

One of the biggest issues I am having back in the homeland is my adamant disgust for the American lifestyle. I can’t leave the house without wanting to vom at the amount of “stuff” American’s seem to need. And waste. And want. And feel they deserve just because it is avalible. I marveled at the oversized basket of chips placed on the table at a HUGE Tex-Mex restaurant, and gasped when another was brought to the table after the first was finished. “We don’t need this many chips”, I said. “We won’t finish them.” Yeah, but we CAN have them so why not? (barf) I watched a fat woman send her husband to the FREE SODA REFILL station 3x to get her more Black Cherry soda while she mindlessly ate one corn chip after another. Before her meal was even at her table she had consumed at least 500 calories.

Television is another thing I am amazed by. First off, they are everywhere. Honestly. I have seen them in every single restaurant I have been in, most drug stores and even at the movies. Needless to say they are always on. And perhaps this is why American’s have so much shit they don’t need. I watched an entire commercial breaks worth of ads, and not one was for a product anyone actually needs. Diet pills, creams, and exercise equipment promising to get rid of all the excess weight you put on eating that crap food you don’t need, followed by an ad for pizza hut stuffed pizza rollers. Dusting cloths that promise to pick up more dust than whatever you are using to pick up dust currently. Garbage bags that smell better than your current garbage bags. Laundry detergent that smells like what a happy family looks like. What?

And it’s worse for women. During the daytime shows already geared to the bored women of America you see ad after ad for shampoos, eye creams, make-up, hair removal systems, odor cover up or reduction soaps, and lots and lots of snack foods with reduced calories “just for you”. It’s absurd. How do women in this country deal with it? Or I guess a better question is, why? Women of America I implore you – turn off your televisions! Throw them out! You don’t need it. You’ll feel better about yourself without constantly being told that you are hairy, smelly, ugly, pale and fat.

I won’t claim to understand the American need to acquire more stuff just because we can. When I have brought this up in conversation I am met with glares and eye rolling. I see garages full of shit that has obviously been unused for years, if it was ever used at all. I see homes with more than one television (and computer), and most have TV’s that are bigger than me. I have seen cars with drink holders big enough for a big gulp. I have seen children sitting in front of adult sized portions of fast food.

The point is dear readers, that I don’t get it. Are we trying to show off? Have we become such mindless consumers that we honestly, truly believe we need that fucking Snuggie? Are you so stupid that you need a special blender to make a margarita? C’mon. I don’t buy it.

And neither should you.

Makeup Crutch

Everyone is aware that beautiful people have it easier. Everyone is also aware that beauty is subjective. But, I think there are some standards of beauty that the majority of people agree on. (Catherine Zeta Jones, Brad Pitt, Ashley Judd, George Clooney – all considered beautiful by most average folks.) Most attractive people have symmetrical features and are neither above weight or over weight. I am pretty sure I fall in the middle of the spectrum. I am no Catherine Zeta Jones, but I am not ugly either. I think I am average.

I recently read this article in the  NYTimes, and it disturbed me. It states that women who wear makeup increase their  likeability and appear more competent – depending on the amount she is wearing. How unfortunate. 

Makeup should be fun. I use it when I get dressed up, or I am going out for a night on the town. I like the colors and the shiny glamour of it all. There is nothing inherently wrong with makeup, but I would never use it in my daily life. I don’t wear makeup to work unless I am trying to cover up some dark circles from lack of sleep. I don’t wear makeup if I am just hanging out with friends. I like my face and I think my beauty doesn’t come from lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, blush, or anything else we lady folk smear on in an attempt to feel more attractive. 

In the 1960’s women were literally show pieces in the work place. It was part of your job description to look good. One needed to be fashionable, and this included wearing makeup. But, a woman was not expected to be more than that. She got the coffee, answered the phones and looked good doing it. Today women are in the corner office but still expected to adhere to an outdated sense of professionalism in the workplace. All men have to do is show up and adhere to the dress code. A woman must show up and look pretty. But not too pretty. And not too sexy. But, a little sexy. And wear makeup. But not a lot. We don’t want you walking around looking like a street-walker. (sigh) 

And I don’t buy the argument that we wear makeup because it makes us feel good about ourselves. I think that women who feel the need to wear a ton of makeup everyday have a warped perception of themselves and probably glean a lot of their self-worth from other people’s opinions of how they look. That is NOT feeling good about yourself. Feeling good about yourself means looking in the mirror (makeup free and naked) and liking what you see. Not liking what you see once you paint on a second face. Personally, I think I look pretty without makeup and I probably think that because I never got in the habit of seeing myself with makeup on a daily basis. I see women with a lot of makeup on and think they look freakish, or clown-like.  I have no desire to look like that.

I don’t think this is something that we have to just accept. And, I don’t know how true it really is. I should point out that the research was paid for by Procter & Gamble, which sells CoverGirl and Dolce & Gabbana products. I think that like every industry, the makeup industry is playing to a woman’s insecurities. If you tell a woman she isn’t good enough if she doesn’t look a certain way, history shows that eventually she will believe you.

When Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein took makeup from “whores” to the everyday woman, it changed history. They redefined the concept of beauty and sexuality. These two woman started a multi-billion dollar industry and  told woman that we all have the right to be beautiful. And that was the beginning. (You can watch this awesome documentary about the two mavericks of the beauty industry here.)

You are not beautiful. BUT, you CAN be if you buy this lipstick.

And we did. And we do. But it has now become a crutch for many women. Some ladies “can’t leave the house” without some sort of product on their face. Some women claim to just wear enough makeup to “look natural”. Huh? (A side note on “The Natural Look” – it was invented by the cosmetic industry in the 1960’s when the hippie movement was taking hold of American women. How do we sell makeup to women who want to look natural? The beauty industry’s biggest trick on women: to sell them makeup to make them look like they were not wearing any make up.) I have even seen women wearing a full face of makeup to the gym. We women continue to buy into the myth that the way we look just isn’t good enough. And it never will be. We won’t be accepted in society if we aren’t pretty enough. And the way to fix that is makeup.

I propose this challenge to all my female readers: Spend a week without makeup and see how you feel. For those of you who just cringed and felt sick, spend ONE DAY without makeup and see how you feel. My guess is that you will start out feeling strange and uncomfortable without your mask on, but eventually you will start to see yourself again and like what you see. 

If makeup is supposed to be fun and accentuate beauty, then we should feel beautiful to start with. If not, you are only covering up something you find not good enough. 

Barbiedrinks

Every once in a while I have a moment in my life where I am reminded just how much of a “Girly” girl I am not. Most recently I was trying to braid my hair. Nothing fancy mind you, just two Laura Ingalls style braids. It took me a frustrating hour to complete the task only to have friends re braid it. Twice. One of which was a guy.

That has just never been who I am. I won’t go so far as to say that I was a Tom Boy, but I was pretty close. I have an older brother so I have always been comfortable around guys and been privy to their habits and conversations. But, I don’t have a lot of make-up. I don’t know how to use a curling iron. I hate shopping. I don’t dress with any particular “flair”, (which I gotta say, I am quite pleased about. I have a distinct style of… me But at least I don’t follow EVERY trend that comes along. I saw two girls out the other night that looked like they had escaped an 80’s video. One had on a silver head band, and the other had the TIGHTEST, BRAIDED side pony tale. Yeah. I know. These are fashion mistakes that only “Girly Girls” make. Anyway…) and, I drink Whiskey, or beer.

I’ve never really been one for fluffy “girly” drinks. Sure, back in my misspent youth I guzzled a few wine coolers in my cheer leading uniform. And, in my early twenties I recall being fond of amaretto sours for about six months. But other than that I have never been partial to the special drinks designed for “girls”. And I mean GIRLS, not women. You know the type of cocktail I am referring to – they are usually pink or purple and smell like watermelon or flavors of Bonnie Bell Lipsmackers. They come in a martini glass but have no relation to a martini and they are sweet enough for someone wants to get plastered, but doesn’t “like the taste of alcohol”.

Blatant sexism aside, these kinds of drinks bother me. Or rather, the type of girl who drinks them bother me. First, they are MARKETED to “GIRLS”. Girls, not women. Girls means… well girls. You would never see a Beer ad for “Boys”. Nope only MEN drink beer, but drink it next to a hot GIRL! In America I have seen pre packaged “Cocktails” that come in pink packaging and are pre mixed (because us dumb girls couldn’t possibly mix our own) and undoubtedly involve fruit. The name is usually written in a fancy, feminine font so that the fairer sex knows it is for them. Then it will pander to a woman’s sense of vanity by calling itself “Light” or “Skinny”.  The label will say “Half the calories and half the guilt”. The liquid inside will probably be pink, and the actual bottle of alcohol will look like a toy for children or a perfume bottle. None of these things are mistakes. And sure, there is tons of alcohol marketing for men, but it usually doesn’t make them feel stupid. Hell, even one of those (and I use this term loosely here) women from the “Real Housewives” series has a line of Margarita’s called Skinny Margarita.

I don’t know. But I am tired of seeing pink razors cost double the amount of the blue ones. I am tired of seeing adds for things like pink tools. I am annoyed at the amount of women who count calories when they are out having fun. I don’t need everything I own to be pink for me to know that I am a woman. I know that I am a woman because I am not stupid. The only woman that the “Everything must be pink!” idea ever worked for was Barbie. And last time I checked she was a brainless, plastic doll with a shit load of clothes and no job.

Actually, I think she also has a silver headband.

Thank Heaven…

In 1981, I was seven years old. Looking back, it was a very interesting time to be a little girl. I was still treated to cartoons ONLY on Saturday mornings – and those cartoons were things like The Smurfs, The Super Friends, Richie Rich and Bugs Bunny. The T.V shows that I enjoyed were Alice, Little House on the Prairie, M*A*S*H, The Jefferson’s, Magnum P.I. and Private Benjamin. I was listening to Journey, Pat Benetar and the Go-Go’s. My favorite toys included Strawberry Shortcake – a cute little doll that smelled like strawberries, the Rubik’s Cube, Barbie Dolls, my brothers Dukes of Hazzard matchbox cars, and of course Kenner Star Wars Figures. I was, by most accounts, a normal little girl.

But I grew up right before the Television deregulation happened. Basically, in the early 1980’s the TV networks were allowed to start “marketing” to children. This is when you saw the birth many popular TV shows that were devious little vechicals aimed at Mom and Dad’s wallet. The Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles Television cartoon was created as a way to sell the toys. Not the other way around. Same with The Care Bears, My Little Pony, Pound Puppies and Master’s of the Universe. These cartoons were created AFTER the toy as a way to hook the kids, and get mom and dad to pop for the toy. It didn’t take long for companies to start marketing directly to an untapped market – little girls. “Companies noticed girls’ love for ultra-feminine programs and their product tie-ins, and played it to the max. In the flush 1990s the media pushed harder, with the teen dial moving more toward sexy with sitcoms like Saved by the Bell.” (http://www.familycircle.com/teen/parenting/sex-talk/growing-up-too-fast/?page=2)

Flash forward twenty-some years, and seven years old does not look the same. Actually, it biologically isn’t the same. In the 1970’s and 80’s, girls hit puberty between the ages of 10-12. I myself was mortified to be the only girl in my class at 11 years old wearing a full on bra. Back then, a bra was still something to be embarrassed about. Today, many girls are showing signs of puberty by age eight. EIGHT!

There are a lot of people out there that complain of little girls growing up too fast – and they might be. But, the world is not the same world as it was. Being an eight year old today is a far cry from being an eight year old in the 1980’s. I remember causing a stir at the fourth grade talent show when me, Sarah Broberg and Catherine Parsons dressed up as Madonna and did a dance. By today’s standards it seems silly, but back then Madonna was considered slutty and not “age appropriate” for little girls. I gotta say, Madonna was wearing FAR more clothing than Beyonce or even little Miley Cyrus. And, back then there was no such thing as a TWEEN. (Thank god)

The fact is that the we have let the media, the markets and the culture influence our girls. Girls today worship what they see on TV and in music and in the movies (just like I did), but what they see is a world CREATED and marketed just for them. From Hannah Montana to High School Musical, little girls are being sold an image, and that image is SEXY. Of course little girls want to shake their booty like Beyonce, or the Pussy Cat Dolls – thats what we are offering them. Stardom is a bona fide career choice today. Today media is a 24/7 reality. The internet, TV, movies, magazines and music are always with you. there is no escape.

So, can we really point the finger of shame at these little girls (or their parents) for what they are doing? Personally, I don’t think it is fair. First off – notice that this video was taken at a DANCE COMPETITION. This was not a little school talent show, or a national TV talent show. This was a World of Dance performance. WOD is a traveling competition that features local and professional dance crews competing for cash prizes. Next, let’s take into account that these (obviously well trained little girls) are not competing in a dance competition in 1981. They are performing in 2010 – and I would argue that those little girls don’t want to do out of date dance moves or wear out of date costumes. I would also argue that they would not win the cash prize if they did.

We have created a world wherein little girls grow up fast. We cannot hold today’s little girls to the same standards as we had when we were young, because the world is a completely different place. MTV was first aired in 1981 when I was seven years old. That means that it would be another three years before Madonna could scare the crap out of parents everywhere by rolling on the ground in a wedding dress. Little girls today are born into a world that has not ONE but SEVERAL channels to watch music videos on. They are born into a world where they can see a famous person who is the same age as them. Little girls are encouraged to be HOT, and WE are encouraging them.

Don’t like it? Well, Tough luck. Unfortunately the trend is not going anywhere.
Pointing the finger at a few little girls and accusing their parents of low morals is’t the solution. I think the responsibility here has to be a personal one. You know, think globally – act locally. If you are indeed TRULEY offended by this growing trend, then I would suggest that you stop listening to the radio in the car when your kid is riding with you. Don’t take little Sally to the market so she won’t be exposed to all of the diet foods and magazine covers. Throw out your TV and computers so that she won’t be able to see the crap the media is selling. Not possible? Of course not. But maybe we can start by not judging. The world is what it is, and if we want to change it we MUST start in our own homes and not by criticizing what we helped to create. We wanted our MTV – and now we are paying for it.