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Marketing Pressure Hits GIrls Hard Says Rachel, 12

Marketing Pressure Hits GIrls Hard Says Rachel, 12

Rachel is a 12-year-old editorial board member of New Moon Girls.  Since Friday is the SPARK SUMMIT, “Sexualization Protest: Action, Resistance, Knowledge – is a day to speak out, push back on the sexualization of girls,” we thought it a great time to hear what an actual girl has to say – especially in light of the fuss over GLEE on Thursday.  This is Rachel’s New Moon post (full disclosure, New Moon was founded by Care2 blogger Nancy Gruver.)

When you walk into the girl’s section of any store and  in America, you see the same thing- stereotypes, negative messages, and false images of girls. Shirts with little pink rhinestones, super-short shorts, skin-tight tank tops, Abercrombie “cute butt sweatpants” and clothes with words and phrases on them like “I know I’m cute”, “If You Knew My Mother You Would Understand”, and “My Favorite Subject is You.” The most sickening thing about all this, is these clothes are not only found in the junior’s section but are sold to children as young as 3. Three year olds can be spotted sporting shorts that say, “Little Girl; Big Attitude”, “Princess- It’s not just a name, it’s a life style”, and “I love Nerds! They do my homework!”

Authors Sharon Lamb, and Lyn Mikel Brown say that “young girls see these stereotypes and believe this is what it means to be a girl.” Check out their book, Packaging Girlhood! It’s a great read for girls who want to understand the world of marketing.

Most girls feel pressured to dress a certain way, or act a certain way, just because they think it’s “cool”. If they want to be popular, girls think they have to act inappropriately, or wear clothes, that send bad messages. Molly (12, Colorado) says, “The thing that scares me the most is that how ‘sexy’ girl’s clothing is has been rising constantly for decades now. I honestly feel that there is something to be said for pioneer dresses, or at least articles of clothing that do not show large amounts of stomach and cleavage.”

Marketer pressure: they know what works

A lot of girls are blinded by the images that marketers, stores, and commercials put in girls brains. They feel a need to dress and act a lot older than they are, just so they’ll “fit in” or “be popular” . Piano girl, 13, Vermont has noticed this too, “I once saw a T-shirt at the mall that said, “Who needs brains when you’ve got these?” I mean, how sexist is that? Also, all the shirts you see at K-mart that has things like “Texting is my Life” written on them. I just can’t see the point!”

 Sharon and Lyn think that girls buy these clothes because “Marketers do a lot of research to know how to get our attention and make us worry about all the ways we aren’t quite good enough. They hope to make girls feel anxious about not being cool, sexy or popular enough, because an anxious girl is more likely to buy anything that promises results. Their promises are hollow, of course, because no product can change your life, or make people like you. Girls also feel very pressured to wear the “right” type of clothing. Bailey(12, Wisconsin) says, “I don’t like it when you wear clothing that doesn’t fit in or isn’t in style(and you get made fun of).” Stores like Abercrombie & Fitch or Aeropostale  channel their products to girls that are thin and slender. There are girls of every shape and size in the world, and many of them can’t fit into clothing that is sold by Abercrombie or Aeropostale.  And, as Sophia (age 10 from Wisconsin) points out, ” … Girls these days are walking advertisements. We have the names of companies written all over our clothes!”

Too revealing

Many girls, teenagers especially, are pressured to wear clothes that are revealing. Many girls have noticed this too! Here’s what they say-

“Most things in girl’s clothing today are very revealing. Young girls’ shorts today are very, well, short. Also, shirts and tops for girls are low cut, and I just don’t find it too attractive…” – Guinevere, 13, Arizona

“What scares me most is that a lot of it is see-through and revealing.  How scary is that, that girls feel pretty by showing off too much?” – Jen, 11, New Jersey

“What scares me most about modern girls’ clothing is how skimpily some girls dress. I understand that women dressing how they want is a wonderful liberation, but some girls don’t understand that it’s inappropriate to dress that way in certain situations.” -Alexa, 15, New York

What can YOU do about all this? You can- refuse to buy clothes that undermine girls, and try to get clothes that make you feel comfortable and beautiful.  If we call do that, we can stop “(Inappropriate clothes) from taking over and choking out good normal clothes that are comfy and practical!” (As, Shashai, 11, from Hawaii would say)

So, girls, rise up! Together, we can all create a positive image for girls and women everywhere! Feel good about standing up and saying, with confidence, “I’m NOT buying THAT!”

Rachel is 12 and lives in Wisconsin.  What she says about herself:  Here are some things you might want to know about me- I am on the GEB(Girl’s Editorial Board of New Moon) I’m a vegetarian I’m Unitarian, I tend to use WAY too many exclamation points I LOVE Harry Potter, and have read all the books 17 times! That’s about it! 

Read more: , , , , ,

New Moon.com
Rachel, 12, a New Mood Editorial Board Member in Wisconsin

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97 comments

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3:27AM PDT on May 28, 2014

as if teen girls don't have enough to worry about

2:51PM PST on Feb 3, 2012

Interesting. Thanks.

7:26PM PST on Feb 2, 2012

very interesting article, thank you.

6:58PM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

L'ingresso per il resto della piumino Moncler 3% al 7% dei dati delle vendite ogni anno per la progettazione e lo sviluppo a partire dall'inizio del 1996. La proporzione è alto quanto l'input allo sviluppo di industrie high-tech. Ha una forte attività di sviluppo di resistenza DuoNian Piumini Moncler. Moncler rende un vantaggio unico. Aperto Moncler Giacche esportare in tutto il mondo. Le donne amano indossare l'abito in questo momento speciale, feste, matrimoni, ecc Quasi tutti i negozi si trovano tutti nel mondo di piumino Moncler. Ora, questi abiti possono anche acquistare on-line attraverso. Moncler Giubbotti vendita Il prezzo di questo tipo di materiale è differente in base al loro design e tessuti.

12:05PM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

You know, it was actually the pressure of my mother and two sisters (one older, one younger) to dress and act the way other girls did. I liked wearing baggier or oversized clothes that I found comfortable and I hated wearing anything that had the brand name on it because I didn't want to be a walking billboard. It's sad that even your own family members would pressure you to be more "normal" even if it isn't the right thing.

Unfortunately, my baby sister who is now turning 16 has decided to take after her other sisters and dresses waaaay too provocatively and won't listen to me when I try to tell her how she's portraying herself.

4:49PM PDT on Aug 31, 2011

I thought 90% of those girls want to live like this? so many of them cry because they have no boyfriend, never kissed and are virgins.
they want to show skin don't they? or am I in the right for verbaly pummeling them and laughing at them for "oh boohoowahwah you went though all your life without a lover googoo gaga. maybe your cloths aren't tight enough? maybe you need to touch your crush more? grab a cosmo and follow it, or shut up and just be a kid"

12 year olds don't want to be seen as kids.
they want to be true teens
they want to be young adults . and like characters in their favorite sitcom.

I am surprised some are writing against it? or are they a minority nobody cares about?

4:03AM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

Welcome to the world of media, where the big companies own everything and promote whatever comes in their minds, just to get richer and richer. Girls like Rachel give me just another hope that our world isn't as rotten as I believe.

6:11PM PST on Mar 3, 2011

I try to lead by example. When I was in middle school I idolized my older cousin and wanted to be just like her. Luckily, she was a great role model. When I was in high school I noticed my younger cousins were looking to me as a guide for everything from how to dress to what music to listen to. I tried to make sure that they knew that every choice I made was my own and that I didn't let the world dictate what I thought was cool.

6:10PM PST on Mar 3, 2011

I try to lead by example. When I was in middle school I idolized my older cousin and wanted to be just like her. Luckily, she was a great role model. When I was in high school I noticed my younger cousins were looking to me as a guide for everything from how to dress to what music to listen to. I tried to make sure that they knew that every choice I made was my own and that I didn't let the world dictate what I thought was cool.

8:10PM PDT on Oct 31, 2010

Wow! Rachel is so bright! I admire her clarity on the subject matter and her ability to see through media propaganda. But it really starts at around this age (or maybe even younger nowadays?). While I'm all for women's liberation and choice as to what we wear, I truly believe such decisions should be made out of one's own intentions as opposed to out of fear of lack of acceptance in society. I definitely agree with this article: that media keeps on telling us (esp. women) that we are not good enough, and most of that is affecting our sense of self, confidence, and choice of appearance. So STAY STRONG, WOMEN! As the song by Bruno Mars says, "You're beautiful just the way you are."

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