Category sexualisation of children

The Maisy Test [Quick Guide]: 4 Questions to Expose Sexism in Kids’ TV Shows and Movies

Wow! What a lovely response to my post on sexism in kids’ TV shows and movies (the whole post is here and it’ll make your blood boil!) Thomas suggested on Twitter that I make a quick reference guide in a separate post. And Tricia suggested on Facebook that she’d love a poster for her kids to be able to refer to. So here we go! Here is what the Maisy Test is all about, with a handy infographic. For more on why it’s needed, what the current state of kids’ TV is (spoiler: terrible), and some ideas of what to do about it, head over to the main post. [Click here to download the infographic as a PDF: The Maisy Test-

Continue reading…

Child Marriage, Child Death and What You Can Do

The tragic, terrible death of an eight-year-old Yemeni girl made international news this week. You might have read reports that a little girl died from injuries she received during wedding-night intercourse with a 40-year-old man who had just married her. Coming from a much more fortunate part of the world, I found it hard to even type those words. ‘Wedding-night’? How can a grown man think he has ‘married’ a child of eight and has the right to impose sex on her? Surely it’s not just my cultural worldview telling me this child could not meaningfully consent – to marriage, let alone sex – and this was therefore rape. And homicide. The original Reuters article gives this context to the

Continue reading…

‘Normal’ Barbie

What if Barbie dolls had the same proportions as normal women? This: Nickolay Lamm has recreated a typical blonde Barbie, but at the average proportions of a 19-year-old American woman (he took the measurements from the Centre for Disease Control). And you know what? Real-girl Barbie looks amazing. The project was at first an experiment to see what the difference would be, but after the toy was created Lamm discovered that the average American 19-year-old female figure looks great in plastic toy form, so then why aren’t these measurements just used by Mattel? “A lot of people say we shouldn’t criticise Barbie because she is a toy,” Lamm explained to us. “However, if there’s a small chance that it’s negatively

Continue reading…

(Hopefully Not) Passing on Body Hatred

Alex linked to this bawl-inducing letter Kasey Edwards writes to her mother in ‘Passing on Body Hatred,’ excerpted from the Dear Mum collection: With every grimace at your reflection in the mirror, every new wonder diet that was going to change your life, and every guilty spoon of ”Oh-I-really-shouldn’t”, I learned that women must be thin to be valid and worthy. Girls must go without because their greatest contribution to the world is their physical beauty. Just like you, I have spent my whole life feeling fat. When did fat become a feeling anyway? And because I believed I was fat, I knew I was no good. But now that I am older, and a mother myself, I know that

Continue reading…

A Mighty Girl Photo Shoot

Oh to be in England, now that it’s snowing in New Zealand. Oh hold on, we are! We have just arrived in Somerset for a spell with our family here. The last few weeks have included packing the house, moving our stuff into storage, marshalling help from many kind people in doing the above, travelling for 25 hours to the United Arab Emirates for a lovely long weekend with friends, then on to the United Kingdom. It may be a while yet before blogging gets to the top of the priority list, but in the meantime, here’s a link to a fantastic photography project by Jaime C Moore, a mother who wants her daughter to imbibe the role modelling of

Continue reading…

Screening #1: In Defence of Screens

Playschool, Rainbow, Sesame Street: I could still sing you the theme songs. The Muppets. The Smurfs, though I was disdainful of the lack of female representation, even at six. The Flintstones and every other Hanna-Barbera cartoon ever made. Happy Days, Diff’rent Strokes, The Cosby Show, Benson, Charles in Charge, M*A*S*H, The Beverly Hillbillies, Hogan’s Heroes, I Dream of Jeannie: how I learned about America. Doctor Who! John Pertwee was my first Doctor, we were so far behind the UK, and I also loved him in Worzel Gummidge. The Kids from OWL and Terry Teo led a golden age of gripping Kiwi kidult drama, and Ruud Kleinpaste taught me much of the science I learned. The arrival of the Apple IIE,

Continue reading…

A Mighty Girl

The Girls-Can-Do-Anything 1980s seem to have melted into the Girls-Can-Be-Princesses 2010s. Is there any other costume option for girls in kids’ media? Pop culture has become a morass for parents of little girls. You have to sidestep sexualised clothing for 6-year-olds and billboards of unusually skinny women in their knickers before you even get to questions of career choice, combining paid work and motherhood, or how to handle a glass ceiling. If you’re interested in princess stories where the girl does the rescuing, or girl power music that actually empowers girls (rather than just saying ‘girl power!’ while wearing underwear on stage), check out A Mighty Girl, a resource website with guides to books, music, clothing, movies and other stuff. There are some

Continue reading…