Okay…so here’s the irony. I want to talk about this…but by talking about it I’m giving the advertisers and manufacturers exactly what they want. So here’s what I’m going to do.
I’m going to post the Today Show link referencing the topic…but want to offer my way of dealing with it…dealing with it in a way that doesn’t give IT anymore attention…that doesn’t support the market for it…doesn’t give it any of my time or energy.
What’s the link? Here it is: 7390592-french-lingerie-line-for-little-girls-cute-or-creepy And so enough of that. I DARE YOU TO NOT OPEN the link.
So…let’s just pretend, for a moment, the Today Show called and said, “Hello Ms. Barker. We are airing a piece on the too-early-sexualization of young girls. We recognize the work you are doing and would love for you to be on the show.
I would say, “Why yes…I’d love to be on the show.”
And they would have me. They would start the piece with some photos and videos (including dramatic music of some type, perhaps) demonstrating the problems associated with all of THAT stuff…you know the stuff I don’t give my energy to anymore.
“So Ms. Barker, what do you think of this new line of clothing…basically lingerie for girls. And even worse, the images the companies are using to sell it.”
I would respond with…”So, in 1996 I started Girls on the Run to celebrate the amazing gifts girls bring to the world and the power they generate by celebrating and honoring those gifts.”
“But Ms. Barker…what about the awful images on the cover of Vogue. A 12 year old? Really? Images of her positioned in sexually provocative poses?”
“The program has grown from 13 girls to over 100,000 in just fifteen years. We have done this with very little advertising…as a matter of fact no advertising really. The program has grown by word-of-mouth and the real impact it is having on girls and their communities.”
“Ms. Barker, you simply are not responding to my question. (Matt Lauer is getting increasingly frustrated with me.) “What do you think of these disgusting advertising strategies…the inappropriate portrayal of little girls…much less the products themselves.”
“One little girl told me that Girls on the Run has taught her to be ‘the boss of her own brain.’ Isn’t that one of the coolest things ever? She isn’t someone easily swayed by what she sees in the media or by the negative view often portrayed in the media.”
“You still aren’t responding Ms. Barker.”
“We challenge girls to turn off ALL of the media that portrays them in a negative light and encourage them to focus on their own gifts and talents…to seek out those products, strategies, television shows and people who do the same. Eventually we will see an entire shift in the tactics companies use to market their products, as well as the products marketed. Girls and Women simply won’t settle for it. We will support those products and media outlets that celebrate and honor our spirits…bodies…and voices…with our viewing time, our dollars and our energy.”
Matt pauses…and then smiles. I smile back.
“So Ms. Barker. Why don’t you tell me more about Girls on the Run.”