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Campaign to stop retailers selling products that prematurely sexualise children - let us know what you think...

(781 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 05-Jan-10 12:58:29

So quite a few folk on the MN campaigns thread mentioned that an issue they'd like to see MN get involved in is the premature sexualisation of children.

So we've put together an outline for a potential campaign, along the lines of Let girls be girls, summarising the issues and some of the research. The aim is to encourage retailers to make a simple, public pledge that commits them to selling only products which do not sexualise children.

Please do have a read and let us know your thoughts, ideas, suggestions.

Thanks.
MNHQ

cyteen Tue 05-Jan-10 13:55:53

totally support this, will try and come back to it later when not in active charge of a toddler.

Astrophe Tue 05-Jan-10 13:56:21

I haven't been able to read this book yet as its out of stock everywhere, but I've heard its very good - may be worth a read if you can get it, and may have some research/stats to help the campaign?

RockBird Tue 05-Jan-10 13:57:34

Totally behind this, another one who will read properly later blush

RubysReturn Tue 05-Jan-10 13:59:03

<<sits next to Mde Lindt nodding sagely>>

Miggsie Tue 05-Jan-10 14:03:00

I support it too.
I really object to items that are gender neutral (such as desk calendars or weaning cups) only being offered as pink or blue! Is there a particular need for this?
And don't give me the "people buy them" arguement. If I really really needed something and it was only available in a gender colour I would buy it, but not because it was colour coded... but beacause I needed it and those were the only colours it came in

I also object to the "sexy" clothes for young girls.

On one hand we have a society terrified that a peadophile might attack their child, yet allowing totally inappropriate items to be sold to young girls.

I think this is also linked to the lack of older women on TV...it gives the impression that being young and attractive in a sort of mid twenties nirvana is the only thing women aged 10 - 50 should or need to aspire to. Outside this look or age group, you cease to exist.

So we are trashing both the youth and mature years for women and give them zero value.

onebatmother Tue 05-Jan-10 14:10:53

Astrophe that book looks great. Will hunt it down.

JackBauerisreadyforDay8 Tue 05-Jan-10 14:11:58

Totally behind this.
I am finding it difficult looking for clothes for my DD1 as she is 3, but wears a 6-7 yr old size.
Having clothes made for an 'age range' means she is now looking at having to wear preteen clothes, none of which are remotely appropriate for a pre teen, let alone a toddler. So I end up dressing her mostly in boys clothes, which drives me mad.

I also ahve the problem that the 'nicer' designed clothes are much more expensive. I buy clothes from asda/tesco/matalan/new look and these clothes do tend to be tartier/more slogany than your Gap/Next etc.

I am fully on the bandwagon with this one, DD is in age 7-8 clothes and I struggle to find nice "childrens" clothes, its all low cut or open backed tops with sexy this or "this bitch bites" "i love boys, clothes and chocolate" or whatever, it infuriates me, and then you get the underwear with inapropriate slogans on for a teenager never mind a 7 year old.

LeninGrad Tue 05-Jan-10 14:15:12

Sign me up Scottie. So, what are we going to do? Note on here and complain when something crap is for sale? Posters? This stuff is becoming so deeply engrained but it'd be good to at least attempt to register that it's not on.

As has been said though, there is a market for it and that will be difficult to stop.

onebatmother Tue 05-Jan-10 14:15:39

Interesting re boys/girls. I think boys very much suffer the knock-on of all this, in that their relationships with girls and then women are fogged by what marketing/media tells them girls/women 'are'.

stillfrazzled Tue 05-Jan-10 14:24:41

I only have a boy so far, but I'm (a) horrified at the tarty cr*p that passes for girlswear and (b) deeply deeply irritated by the pink and blue divide.

So count me in, MN, great idea.

And once we've conquered that particular problem, could we move on to the vexed question of why small boys' clothing is so utterly sh*te? You know, cruddy slogans, boring colours, only a third of the choice as girls get (even if most of girls' stuff is fit only for pole-dancers...).

InThisSequinBraYesYouOlaJordan Tue 05-Jan-10 14:30:02

Sounds like a good idea - I am constantly appalled at the inappropriatness of many things for little girls - it is easier with boys IMHO.

Paolosgirl Tue 05-Jan-10 14:39:12

Let kids be kids has my vote. Although I agree that girls are under more pressure, boys don't escape it altogether. I've got 2 boys and one girl, so experience the sexualisation of girls clothes and the pressure for boys to embrace violence and agression.

missorinoco Tue 05-Jan-10 14:46:34

I would be behind such a campaign. I find some of the clothes aimed at girls under ten shocking, even from companies like Next who don't even specialise in rubbish like high heels for babies.

It also bugs me how all boys clothes are about being naughty or fighting or being rough or cheeky and I dont even have boys!

Great idea. Haven't got time to contribute anything sensible right now but will read properly when DD is in bed

CliffRichardSucksEggsInHell Tue 05-Jan-10 15:04:44

I'm behind this 100%. Thongs for tots is a step too far and totally inappropriate, as are some of the slogans on tots t-shirts. I blame FCUK ;)

Children should not be used to advertise inappropriate messages or adult humour. It's just not funny.

And yes I've seen stuff for boys too so I do think we should include ALL children in this and not just girls.

But where do you start? There are boob tubes for tots, skirts that just skim their knickers, high-heeled shoes the likes of Tom Cruises's dd favours - where do you start? I cannot believe that somewhere in a boardroom came up with the idea of high heels for little 5yo girls. Such people should be charged with cruelty along with their parents. Because it is cruel to force small, growing feet into such an unnatural position. And aren't heels supposed to elongate your legs thus enhancing your sexuality? Again, for a 5yo???

Count me well and truly in on this campaign. Children are being used by adults to send out adult messages that are beyond them and it's time it was stopped.

MmeLindt Tue 05-Jan-10 15:06:25

Good point, onebat.

What signals are we sending to boys when we dress our girls in thongs and high heels?

Thus it is damaging to both boys and girls.

Jux Tue 05-Jan-10 15:11:49

I'm with you on this, and dh will sign up too.

We've been horrified by the sort of clothes available for dd, now 10, all her life. It's worse in the cheap shops I think. At one point we could only afford clothes from charity shops or Asda and Asda was awful, mini-women-on-the-pull stuff. I used to harangue the manager of Clarkes shoes too, about having high heels for kids.

It's not just clothes though is it? There was that huge fuss about a bed/bedroom furniture at Woolworths (was it?). And films, kids' films. We don't see many, but Arthur and the Invisibles comes to mind.

Hopefully, if we tackle the clothes thing the rest will follow naturally.

Good on you, MN.

whoopstheregoesmymerkin Tue 05-Jan-10 15:16:39

Excellent, behind you all the way. Mailed you a contact for the excellent Girlguiding UK just in case you don't have one.

Perhaps you could add Brantano to the hit list - Bratz hooker high heels for toddlers. Also send maybe send Tom Cruise a link as he seems to think his 3yo daughter looks cute wearing full face and heels...

eastendmummy Tue 05-Jan-10 15:16:48

I'm completely behind this. As the mother of boys only I am so sick of the division in toy shops between girls and boys toys along the 'girls like to play in the kitchen and boys like to play with cars' line.

A campaign such as this needs to target clothes retailers along with toy retailers (ELC are terrible at the gender stereotyping) because it seems that every choice we have as parents to buy things for our children is predetermined by their gender. As earlier posters have stated, why can my son not be interested in dolls or pushchairs?

It would be good if girls and boys could just be treated as children and not mini adults. This is particularly a concern with girls as they are so much more vulnerable to being sexualised from a young age and conditioned to believe a certain view of women based upon the clothes they wear and the toys they play with.

FimBOW Tue 05-Jan-10 15:19:56

I agree with all points made regarding girls clothing.

Also Facebook is a pain ub the bloddy neck too. Kids get round the age thing by simply putting in a false year, my dd is on it, it wouldn't be my choice for her but she needs to be the same as her friends, I have seen cyber bullying first hand on it.

FimBOW Tue 05-Jan-10 15:21:00

Sorry with the Facebook thing, most of the girls having they are looking for relationships and their interests are men. They are only 11.

BitOfFun Tue 05-Jan-10 15:25:16

I'm in- great idea.

Fimbo, the facebook thing only happens because so many parents go along with it though, surely?

Beasknees Tue 05-Jan-10 15:26:50

I'm in. Nothing inciteful to add just all round agree with the need not to sexualise our children with clothing, toys etc.

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