24 September 2008

Bratz Busted!

Well, I can't say that I'm sorry. Scholastic's decision to drop all Bratz tie-in products from their book sale circulars is reported in the New York Times. It seems there was some concern with their hypersexualization of young girls. I don't have a problem with the fact that many of the books and other products offered by Scholastic for home retail are television or toy tie-ins (although it always grated on me when my daughter would pass over a lovely Caldecott selection in favor of a Littlest Pet Shop or My Little Pony item.) I believe in "whatever gets 'em reading." But in our house, "brat" is a pejorative term. So why would I want to purchase something which portrays a brat 'tude as cute or an intrinsic right?

Just as an aside, Susan Linn, the director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which spearheaded the campaign against the Bratz products, wrote an interesting book called Consuming Kids: The Hostile Take Over of Childhood. I read a portion of the book a few years back, when my daughter was about 4. It left me with a distinct feeling of panic--the sense that my little girl was simply a moving target for advertisers. Now that she is older, with the dispensable income that an allowance provides, and the influence of other children at school who talk about the latest "it" item, I think I was correct to worry, if not panic.

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