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Jennifer Shewmaker's Comments

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LEGO Friends Petition: Parents, Women And Girls Ask Toy Companies To Stop Gender-Based Marketing

LEGO Friends Petition: Parents, Women And Girls Ask Toy Companies To Stop Gender-Based Marketing

Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 11:27:01 in Parents

“I was talking with some friends who are in marketing and they said, "Gender stereotyped marketing is all about convincing parents that they must have multiple sets of everything because their kids will only play with the "boy" or "girl" version. It's all about the money." I know companies are in business to make money, but I honestly believe that if LEGO hadn't been so focused on marketing to boys since 2005, more girls would be open to all of their lines. I don't think the goal is to get rid of LEGO Friends, it's to ask LEGO to stop the gendered marketing and to start opening up all lines to all kids. Girls really don't need another version of Polly Pockets or another toy that prescribes how they should play and what they should be interested in. Boys and girls need more play options that allow their imaginations to soar and their creativity to flourish without boundaries. This is the beauty of play! This is what helps kids learn through play.”

HoneyBQuick on Jan 16, 2012 at 15:28:12

“Yes, and in reading your comment, I was thinking: Kids will play with a stick, if that's what is available to them, in the moment - because as you were doing such a fine job of illustrating, their real magic is the power of their creativity and imaginations!”
huffingtonpost entry

Doing Good Is Complicated: Kind Campaign's Partnership With Mattel

Commented May 31, 2011 at 03:16:36 in Education

“I totally agree with you, Kelly. As I said in the blog post that you linked, Rosalind, the target audience for this brand seems much younger than that of the Kind Campaign. The older girls might be able to get the healthy subtext with guidance, but those under 10 certainly won't. If Mattel is going to take this opportunity to really be socially responsible, not just say they are doing so, the MH brand has to change. The sexiness needs to go and healthy ways of dealing with friendship problems need to be introduced. Will Mattel do it? Time will tell.”
huffingtonpost entry

Doing Good Is Complicated: Kind Campaign's Partnership With Mattel

Commented May 30, 2011 at 18:11:11 in Education

“As I said in this post (http://wp.me/pLzVT-o0) which was published after the founders of the Kind Campaign clarified that Monster High would not be going into their school programming, I believe that Mattel has an opportunity here to really improve the Monster High brand. I admire the vision that the Kind Campaign has of helping girls learn to respect one another and the passion and ingenuity that Molly and Lauren have shown in their work. It would be amazing if Mattel would take the social responsibility not only to support the Kind Campaign but also to modify their Monster High brand into something that is not sexualized and truly promotes healthy ways of dealing with the friendship issues that all children face.

I examined these characters with several young girls, and we discussed what changes could be made to their appearance that would keep them cool and trendy while ditching the sexiness. We also discussed some of the webisodes and the cruelty and unhealthy ways of dealing with friendship problems, then talked about changes in the script that would really teach kindness. If Mattel were to make these changes, their brand would be better for it and the message that they are sending to their fans would be all the stronger. Will it happen? Only Mattel can make that decision, but I think the Kind Campaign has the potential in this situation to truly influence while maintaining the integrity of their own campaign.”
huffingtonpost entry

SPARKing Change: Not Just One Girl At a Time

Commented May 10, 2012 at 13:44:39 in Impact

“Deborah, I love Julia's story, the full story about how a girl was empowered through the support of other girls and women to speak out on an issue that is important. I write about the ways that sexualized media affect children, and I see this community growing in both numbers and influence. I think we are nearing the tipping point, and I look forward to the day when the idea that girls should aspire to be objects of desire is consistently challenged in public and private conversations. Thanks to SPARK for working to make this happen.”
huffingtonpost entry

Anti-Anti

Commented Mar 25, 2012 at 23:03:08 in Fifty

“I love this! Age is the beautiful accumulation of learning, experiences, pain, and joy. We must let go of this vision of beauty and perfection that is plastic and unreal and learn to fall in love with the true beauty of a life well lived, a road taken and things that have been learned. Age is not the enemy, age is a natural and beautiful progression, hopefully into wisdom and growth and beauty.”
huffingtonpost entry

Hope and Self-Loathing on the Blog Train

Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 22:33:49 in Home

“I write because I believe we must speak truth to make any change for the better in this old world that we can, we must challenge assumptions, we must poke the distracted masses and strive to get them to care about what's right and stand up against what's wrong. To write also allows you to see that you are not alone in working to make this world a better place, because you connect with those who are also striving, all around the world, to make things better, to fight for fairness for those who have no voice, to be the change they want to see in the world. That alone is worth something.”
huffingtonpost entry

An Open Letter to Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and 7th Avenue

Commented Nov 12, 2011 at 11:55:04 in Media

“I agree. Let's talk. Companies and advertisers need to have the courage to face the social ramifications of their work and be honest about what they're doing. The argument that we all know what advertising is for and we should just not buy into it is a false one. There is heavy duty research on social psychology and decision making that inform the work that advertisers do. I agree that consumers need to be better educated about how to deconstruct advertisements, how to analyze the messages that are being sent to them and so forth. But that doesn't take away the fact companies need to demonstrate a shred of social responsibility toward their customers.”

Seth From OffOurChests on Nov 12, 2011 at 18:15:20

“Beautifully said. Thank you.”
huffingtonpost entry

Commercialized Sexualization and the Option to Opt Out

Commented Aug 27, 2011 at 01:10:09 in Parents

“I agree. As the mother of three daughters, two in middle childhood and as an educator who has worked with girls for many years, I see this loss of middle childhood every day. As a parent, I do what I can to help my children remain children, to protect their childhood and allow them to develop at their own pace. But it is difficult. Media and marketing images are pervasive, and their increased sexualization exposes children to images that they don't have the ability to process or understand. Parents can do what they can, but as long as marketers use the shock routine to push sexualized imagery to the child market, children will see it and will be impacted by it. I think it's high time for some social responsibility from media and marketers. Enough is enough.”
Why My Daughters Go to Private School, Even Though I Can't Afford it -- Part 1

Why My Daughters Go to Private School, Even Though I Can't Afford it -- Part 1

Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 09:22:18 in Canada

“That's interesting, because where I live (Texas, USA), most public school teachers would be grateful for parent contact and interest. I've worked with public school teachers and administrators for many years and have had my kids in the public schools. I have almost always had a welcome response when I approach teachers as allies. The key for both sides to remember is that everyone has the same goal and we're working together for the good of the child. With that in mind, even in some difficult circumstances, I've rarely found teachers or administrators who won't work positively with me.”
huffingtonpost entry

Why Beauty Ads Should Be Legislated

Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 23:29:34 in Women

“Agree on both of those campaigns. See it works!”
We Are Forgetting About Our Kids

We Are Forgetting About Our Kids

Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 23:24:19 in Education

“I just returned from spending almost a year in Germany, where my 3 children were educated in an international school. Coming back to the public school system here in the US, especially in middle school, has been a shock. I have always been a proponent of public education and have worked in public schools and had my children in them for years. But I am dismayed by the current state of our public education system. We are falling behind, and something must be done about it.”
Little Girls Wearing Bras

Little Girls Wearing Bras

Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 23:14:59 in Canada

“I agree. Sexuality is a beautiful, natural part of who we are, and as children grow up, they begin to understand their sexuality in new and different ways. Trying to force adult sexuality on children is confusing to them. Young girls may ask for this lingerie because it's available and it looks like something that their mom/caregiver owns. Or maybe it just looks like something they've seen women wearing and they think it'll make them feel grown up. It's the job of the adults in the child's life to help them learn to approach their sexuality in a positive, age appropriate way. That may mean saying no to all kinds of nonsense that our commercial culture says is okay. So, come on, parents and caregivers, use your common sense on these issues. This kind of lingerie belongs in an adult's closet, not in a child's.”
Teach Girls to Be Smart, Not Sexy

Teach Girls to Be Smart, Not Sexy

Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 11:21:01 in Women

“I love this! I was just reading an article about how women and girls are underrepresented in STEM careers. As the mother of three daughters, I thought, well, if we keep telling our girls to be the cute, sassy, boy-crazy flirts depicted on much of the clothing and other products marketed to girls, then how do we expect them to grow up to be mathematicians and scientists? The primary focus of much of children's media and marketing campaign on the physical appearance and attractiveness of girls does not promote agency. Thanks for the practical advice, our girls need to be hearing that being female doesn't mean being an object of someone else's desire, but an agent of their own life. Forget the sassy flirts, give me smart, powerful girls any day.”
huffingtonpost entry

Why Beauty Ads Should Be Legislated

Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 11:13:25 in Women

“I agree that if marketers took a chance on real women, they would see that many consumers would respond positively. There's been a push for media and marketers to show some social responsibility to their clients, and unfortunately it just isn't happening. Policing oneself does not seem to work for this group, if it does for any group. I'm not sure legislation is the answer, but there needs to be some kind of big wake-up call to those creating marketing campaigns and products that promote an unhealthy beauty standard that consumers are sick and tired of it. I've got an idea: what if agencies reward true creativity? I believe that consumers would respond well to creative, positive campaigns.”

Seth From OffOurChests on Aug 22, 2011 at 16:38:21

“Dove's Campaign For Real Beauty is a nice example of this. So is Levi's "Not All Asses Are Created Equal."”
Calling All Men: Join the Movement Against the Sexualization of Women and Girls

Calling All Men: Join the Movement Against the Sexualization of Women and Girls

Commented Aug 15, 2011 at 11:37:54 in Impact

“Thanks to Lori and Michele for bringing up this important issue. If only women are speaking out against the rigid gender stereotypes and objectified messages that girls and women are presented in the media, then our message seems one-sided. In order for companies to hear that consumers demand socially responsible marketing to children, they must hear a large, collective voice of varied ages, genders, races, etc. When we join together and speak out, our voice is heard and it does make a difference.”

hp blogger Lori Day on Aug 15, 2011 at 11:56:27

“We sense the tide is turning. Look at all the fabulous mainstream media attention this issue is just starting to receive. Many thanks for posting, and for all you do to lend your voice to this movement. You're right--we need the collective voices of all genders, races, ages and so forth to be heard by the marketers and corporations--who are not just regular "people." They must start to assume their share of corporate responsibility for this problem.”
Would You Buy This for Your Daughter?

Would You Buy This for Your Daughter?

Commented Aug 12, 2011 at 22:52:56 in Parents

“Companies need to stop using the lazy strategy that sex sells and show some social responsibility toward their customers, and parents need to refuse to buy clothes that are not age appropriate. We all need to promote the idea that girls and women are not primarily objects for the pleasure of others. We can make a change when consumers pressure companies to provide positive products and marketing to girls. As long as people keep buying these products, companies will keep putting them on the shelf.”
huffingtonpost entry

Honest Talk in the Body Acceptance Movement

Commented Aug 11, 2011 at 16:33:15 in Style

“The big picture that I'm getting from Jess on this is that women need to both accept themselves where they are while also considering where they need to be in order to be healthy. This isn't about weight, but about health. You can be thin and unhealthy, too. I think this reflects a much deeper issue than weight. In order to be emotionally healthy, it's important for each of us as individuals both to accept ourselves as who we are at this moment while looking forward to who we want to become. That is true in regards to how we take care of ourselves in many ways: eating, exercising, dealing with stress, relationships, sleep, etc. Jess' story is about learning to love yourself enough to take care of yourself.”

ArtsyJane on Aug 13, 2011 at 10:10:54

“Agreed.”
Global Girl Media: This is Our World, My Voice

Global Girl Media: This is Our World, My Voice

Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 18:31:47 in Impact

“This is an amazing program! It's so important for children and adolescents to see themselves as people who have authentic, valuable things to add to the conversations going on in media. This program empowers them not just to be passive observers of media, but to become media makers who get their worldview out there to share with others. Love it!”
Sexualization of Young Children Linked to Eating Disorder Development

Sexualization of Young Children Linked to Eating Disorder Development

Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 18:21:41 in Healthy Living

“As a mother and psychology professional, this makes me sad. As a researcher and writer who focuses on the effects of sexualized media on children, I hear all the time from a contingent of people who don't believe that it effects kids. The research studies linked above and several others tell a different story. This hyper focus on the physical appearance of even the youngest girls does have consequences, from eating disorders to depression. Our society loses out on the full range of talents that girls and women have to offer, on the amazing things that they might achieve when they are unable to focus on those talents because they're too busy trying to look good and be attractive to others. I long for media and products for children that encourages girls to have a bigger vision for themselves. Mattel, Disney, I'm talking to you.”
huffingtonpost entry

Raising Wholesome Children in Today's Culture: 10 Tips for Parents

Commented Jun 22, 2011 at 06:26:06 in Women

“Thanks you for sharing these tips. I am one of those parents and professionals that feels that it's important to help our children identify the messages that are being sent through media and learn to critique them. Helping our children learn to understand themselves and the world around them allows them to see themselves as people who can be active both in their relationships and in responding to the media. Instead of just absorbing every message sent, they can be more critical. And, they can think about themselves as having voices that are worth hearing and learn to make and share media that promotes their world views. All of your tips provide that foundation of strength from which they learn to speak. Thank you!”
Texas Teachers Protest Massive Cuts

Texas Teachers Protest Massive Cuts

Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 03:27:27 in Education

“As an educator and mother of three children in the Texas public school system, I find the legislature's indifference toward our school children appalling. My children have been able to get a good education in the Texas public schools up until now, but many parents who have the means are going to be looking to private schools to fill the gap that Rick Perry is creating in our children's educational opportunities. This move shows a lack of valuing both our children and their education. Our state does have some means to respond to the budget shortfalls other than the drastic cuts which impacts teachers as well as programs for gifted kids, arts, and so forth. It's a shame the legislature hasn't seen fit to use those means instead of undercutting the education of our state's children.”

JerryC101 on Jun 8, 2011 at 17:37:58

“"... the legislature's indifference..." no, it's part of 'The Plan'. Public schools will suffer... and Then! The Solution! Privatize education. This is what they're doing. We moan and cry while they make their agenda happen, one step at a time.”
huffingtonpost entry

Thanks Skechers, But No, My Little Girls Don't Need Butt Shaping Shoes

Commented May 31, 2011 at 16:50:59 in Healthy Living

“Well said! I sat down with my own 9 and 11 year olds and we went through the Skechers ad for Shape Ups and critiqued and deconstructed it. One daughter said, "So, if I wear these, they're saying my bum will look good and then I'll be popular? Eww!" Exactly!”
huffingtonpost entry

Doing Good Is Complicated: Kind Campaign's Partnership With Mattel

Commented May 31, 2011 at 03:16:36 in Education

“I totally agree with you, Kelly. As I said in the blog post that you linked, Rosalind, the target audience for this brand seems much younger than that of the Kind Campaign. The older girls might be able to get the healthy subtext with guidance, but those under 10 certainly won't. If Mattel is going to take this opportunity to really be socially responsible, not just say they are doing so, the MH brand has to change. The sexiness needs to go and healthy ways of dealing with friendship problems need to be introduced. Will Mattel do it? Time will tell.”
huffingtonpost entry

Doing Good Is Complicated: Kind Campaign's Partnership With Mattel

Commented May 30, 2011 at 18:11:11 in Education

“As I said in this post (http://wp.me/pLzVT-o0) which was published after the founders of the Kind Campaign clarified that Monster High would not be going into their school programming, I believe that Mattel has an opportunity here to really improve the Monster High brand. I admire the vision that the Kind Campaign has of helping girls learn to respect one another and the passion and ingenuity that Molly and Lauren have shown in their work. It would be amazing if Mattel would take the social responsibility not only to support the Kind Campaign but also to modify their Monster High brand into something that is not sexualized and truly promotes healthy ways of dealing with the friendship issues that all children face.

I examined these characters with several young girls, and we discussed what changes could be made to their appearance that would keep them cool and trendy while ditching the sexiness. We also discussed some of the webisodes and the cruelty and unhealthy ways of dealing with friendship problems, then talked about changes in the script that would really teach kindness. If Mattel were to make these changes, their brand would be better for it and the message that they are sending to their fans would be all the stronger. Will it happen? Only Mattel can make that decision, but I think the Kind Campaign has the potential in this situation to truly influence while maintaining the integrity of their own campaign.”