Why Sexing Things Up For Kids Is Stupid: A Study in Illustrations

The mainstream is the litmus test for society, right? So when this is the mainstream image children get of females while they are in childhood, what are we saying? What do we value? Does that help our children, in correspondence with their development? Or does that harm?

My new favorite person, David Trumble, made this amazing cartoon (BELOW) with co-conspirator Lori Day to make a satirical and pointed display of how unnecessary the sexing up of Merida (and really, all of the princesses) was by giving similar makeovers to famous members of women’s history.

Take in the big picture and write down your guesses of who the women below are, but do this before reading his post on the satirical “World of Women” princess collection.

Once you figure out who is who, the way Disney does “female” becomes so blaring and obvious….

David Trumble's new crop of princesses. Brilliant.

A PPBB Community Member said on facebook: “I guessed only two correctly. David Trumble’s work here stripped away the uniqueness, the power, and the greatness of these women by turning them into Disney princesses. They’ve been stripped of their identities, of their individuality that makes them all so inspiring. Extremely powerful. Kudos to David.” -Whitney Lundy

Also, you should take 18 minutes to listen to David’s Tedx talk. Listen with your tween/teen if you’ve got one.


But we are SO used to seeing women look like this, both in illustrated form for children and video games and in advertising. Do we even see it anymore?

Does Batman help?

Questions you should be asking yourself (and your kids!) while taking this in: Would we ever see a man posed this way? Do any women you know in real life stand this way? Why is this the version of femininity that is taught by the mainstream to our kids?

Matthew Bogart did a splendid job of this, and his post is a great read.

My seven year old daughter has finally figured out the mechanics of sex, and that I had sex with her father to create her. She is horrified by this concept. And isn’t that how seven year olds SHOULD think? I’m a big fan of “Everything in its time” but the problem is, our kids don’t get their “time” anymore.

Stop with the sexy for the kids. I mean really. It isn’t necessary. It isn’t healthy for them. And it isn’t needed to turn a profit. Do better.

It is disheartening to think that I am raising my brilliant, vibrant children in a society so obsessed with tits and ass. We seriously need to find something more meaningful to do with our time.

And we need to stop including our kids in that obsession.

Dear ChapStick, We’re Through

Pfizer Consumer Healthcare
PO Box 26609
Richmond VA 23261-6609

Attention – ChapStick Consumer Relations

To Whom It May Concern:

I have used your brand for 25years, ever since my mom put my very first tube of ChapStick in the bib pocket of my snowpants before heading out for an afternoon of sledding. I can remember feeling very grown up, and ever since I have had a tube or six of Cherry ChapStick in a pocket or arm’s reach. I have used your brand on my own children, and they know to swipe their lips before heading out to play during our chilly Wisconsin winters. That’s all over now.

ChapStick, we’re through. My family will not be using your brand again. I tried to tell you why on Facebook, but you deleted my comment. You deleted the comments of many, many women who spoke out against your objectifying ad “Where Do Lost ChapSticks Go?” prominently featuring the back end of a woman bent over a couch. In fact, before you deleted it, the photo file uploaded to your page by some intern was labeled “Ass”. I do not support companies that use the objectified body parts of women to sell their product. I do not support a company that deletes the voices of its female customers, but allow sexist and sexual comments from men to remain. I refuse support a company that disrespects its female customers, both in its advertising and social media outreach. As a woman, a mother, and a small business owner those actions offend me. 

Why you paid an advertising agency big dollars to use a woman’s “Ass” to sell me a product I put on my lips seems a bit off. Why you chose to go with the ad that sexualizes a woman and gives off that low budget, basement porny-feeling right at the beginning of the winter season when every parent across America is in need a good balm to put on her kid’s lips seems to me as though you don’t understand that women control 86% of consumer spending. There isn’t much in question about your ad – the odd pose, butt in the air, the skin tight jeans, the sexy blowing hair – it is all a mind-numbingly sophomoric use of implied sex to sell a product. The thing is, for everyone who uses (used) ChapStick, we know that those little tubes go missing all of the time, and there were dozens of other very clever ways for you to depict this. But you didn’t. You chose to go with “Ass”.

So I no longer go with ChapStick. This weekend I spent $16.00 on four tubes of Burt’s Bees and I love my new balm. I’ll be a Burt’s customer now, because I don’t have to worry about them sexualizing and degrading me or my daughter, nor reinforcing to my husband and son that women are nothing more than sex objects. That is simply not good enough for my family, and I do not accept it.


Melissa Wardy


UPDATE: Because ChapStick is deleting voices from Facebook and does not have a Twitter account, should you choice to join you voice and speak out against this, I encourage a mailed letter, or add your signature to the change.org petition:


“Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step towards justifying violence against that person.”- Jean Kilbourne, Wellesley Centers for Women, Miss Representation


Updated Update: ChapStick has removed the ad and issue a really crappy apology that is both deflective and untruthful.

We see that not everyone likes our new ad, and please know that we certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone! Our fans and their voices are at the heart of our new advertising campaign, but we know we don’t always get it right. We’ve removed the image and will share a newer ad with our fans soon! We apologize that fans have felt like their posts are being deleted and while we never intend to pull anyone’s comments off our wall, we do comply with Facebook guidelines and remove posts that use foul language, have repetitive messaging, those that are considered spam-like (multiple posts from a person within a short period of time) and are menacing to fans and employees