it slices, it dices...


i'm packing for our trip to yosemite, and while larry's out taking care of a last-minute errand for the trip, hazel is talking to herself in the bouncy chair and eva's on the couch watching TV. she's watching "martha stewart crafts", because as i've said before, it has bizarre calming effect on her. trance-like. it's odd. anyway, she generally doesn't watch much TV, but what she does watch is commercial free (sesame street, which does have commercials, but i fast forward through them since they're just at the beginning and end). i know the effect of marketing on children is powerful,and i'd like to stave that off as long as possible ("but i *need* a bratz doll! now with extra-hoochie outfits for a limited time, mamaaaaa!")

well, this is what i get for trying to pack (did i mention we're getting up at 3:30 a.m.?) i was in the kitchen packing airplane snacks, and casually thought that i should go fast-forward through the DIY network commercials i was half-hearing from the other room. oh well, a few commercials won't hurt, i reason. and then i hear:

"mama where are you?"
i'm in here, sweetheart. what do you need?
"mama, we should get one of those things that sprays away stains really easily!"
oh really? (realizing the commercial i was half-hearing was the voice of that oxy clean thumbs-up guy, advertising "oxy clean spray away".)
"uh huh! we should get one. they had a show about it, and it sprays away stains."

wow. see how they suck this stuff up, even when it's not a product that's terribly interesting to kids? in eva's mind, the guy telling her about spray away is exactly the same as martha showing her how to make a charming frame by gluing seashells to the edge. have i ranted yet about how i think marketing directly to children should be illegal? seriously. in fact it *is* illegal in many countries, but in america, instead we've decided to make it an art form. and we're so used to allowing the government to prioritize corporate needs over the needs of our children that we think this is normal. completely immoral practice...

this, by the way, is in part why i'm opposed to licensed characters. even if it's sesame street, even if it's clifford. that's *still* marketing to children. a kid choosing a backpack because it has dora on it over a similar backpack -- they're still using marketing to children to make the sale. which is at best obnoxious. it also reduces imagination, in my opinion, when kids want all their clothing, toys, DVDs, books, etc to be emblazoned with disney's latest movie. lame.

okay, back to packing. :)


Eliza said...

I like your parenting style! But how do you do it? How do you keep those things away from her, other than fast forwarding through the ads? It seems really hard in this day and age.

Kristy said...

that's a good question, eliza. i know i won't be able to raise her in a little bubble (nor would that necessarily be desirable), but for now enough of her experiences filter through me that it works for the moment. also, it helps immensely that most of my mama friends are like-minded and her preschool is basically media-free (waldorf inspired), so she's not getting much of this stuff from friends -- in fact, if anything, she's probably the "bad influence" on her friends!

i guess moving forward, i'll just do what i can to talk to her about media and advertising, and how they're trying to trick you and make you want to buy what they're selling, but that she is smart and can make savvy choices. (kids love outsmarting adults, right? maybe that will be motivation... like those "truth out" anti-smoking ads?)

for now though, we're at an easier age. someone asked me how i avoid her asking to go to mcdonalds. that's easy, she's never heard of it. we've never been, friends have never mentioned it, and she hasn't seen ads for it. for now. :)