I guess toy commercials have been targeting girls this way forever, but to be honest, I never really thought much about it until recently.
I record most of my favorite television shows on my DVR, so I usually get to speed through the commercials, which means I rarely see toy commercials. The only time I ever encounter them is when I’m watching recorded episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that air on Nickelodeon.
When the first commercial break came up, I checked my phone instead of fastforwarding to where the show starts back. What I saw when I looked up from my phone was a commercial aimed at girls for some sort of “High School Monsters” dolls. They had huge heads, with giant eyes, but had slender, “shapely” bodies, all posed in somewhat provocative stances. It seemed a little… weird. And wrong.
Now, I’m obviously not a parent. As a single guy, I’m not even close to being married, which means I’m even further from having kids. But someday I’d like to. And if I have a daughter, I won’t be buying her any of these toys that perpetuate the idea that girls must look, dress and act a certain way.
I remember seeing “Bratz” dolls from my days cleaning up the toy aisles when I worked at Target. Those dolls, somehow, seemed even worse than the ones in the commercial I saw. But the problem is that they all push the agenda that girls must be obsessed with their physical appearance — that they must cover themselves in glittery, glamorous makeup, dress in provocative designer clothing, have giant (fake) pouty lips, and be professional shopaholics. And these commercials are aimed at girls still in elementary school. I guess the name “Bratz” really says it all, though.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with a girl wanting to be feminine, and to look and dress nice. I think all of that is entirely natural to an extent, but our culture seems to really amp it up, because everything has to be “extreme.”
I realize that as a 25-year-old man(-child), my perspective is narrow, and I’m not in any position to be speaking about what a girl/woman should or shouldn’t be. And I would never presume to tell a girl, or anyone, how they ought to be. All I’m saying is that I don’t want my daughter, nieces, or any girl to feel as though women are simply relegated to being pretty little consumers.