La De Da: More Fashion Dolls

La De Da dolls main character.

While watching tv together this morning…..

“Mom, are La De Da dolls appropriate? I don’t think they have too much makeup on.” -6yo Original Pigtail Pal

“Well, some of their outfits are really creative and their hair is super cool. But some of their skirts are really short, and they are wearing other items that are usually just for grownups, like fish net stockings and high heels.” -Me

“Well, I think they wear high heels because they live in the city.” -OPP

“Oh, maybe. Except the dolls are supposedly 16. Auntie Courtney and Auntie Lisa and Louise and Lindsey live in big cities. Do they wear high heels and makeup like that?” -Me

“Well, Auntie Lisa can’t because it isn’t safe to wear heels in Africa. I think Auntie Courtney and Louise do when they go out for nights of fashion.” -OPP

“Oh, right. Auntie Courtney does have some fancy heels she wears for special occasions. The only time Auntie Courtney and I have worn makeup like that was in high school when we were being silly for Homecoming.” -Me

“Well, Lindsey can’t wear heels in her science lab because if she drops a beaker of chemicals, her toes will melt off and she’ll become a zombie.” -OPP

“Totally. I think their bodies look like sticks with big heads on top. They look like lollipops.” -Me

“Yeah, they do look like lollipops. So, can I get one of these? They just don’t make nice dolls these days.” -OPP

“You got that right, Sister. Amelia, I want you to realize these dolls aren’t too bad compared to some others, but all they are about is fashion. Design and textiles can be really interesting to study, but these dolls are just about wearing fashion and looking pretty. I’d like it better if they were students at a design school in NYC or at Columbia, and this into fashion. But when wearing cute clothes is their only attribute…. I just want you to realize the four women we talked about who we know in real life all have great wardrobes, but they are also a photographer in Africa, a vice president at a communications firm, a researcher for the government, and a PhD student in chemistry. They all have traveled the world, gone to college, gone to graduate school, and two of them have babies. I’m just saying, there is more to life than fancy eye makeup and super cute dresses.” -Me

“I know, Mom. There’s also zombie experiments. What if when I play with these dolls, I will pretend they are going to college to be President.” -OPP

“President of what, Smalls?” -Me

“The United States.” -OPP

 

La De Da dolls World Trip Collection

 

 

 

Images from Idle Hands post linked above. (http://idlehands1.blogspot.com/2012/02/toy-fair-2012-spin-master-la-dee-da.html)

Take Up Space

Billboard for a Madison WI chocolatier.

My friend sent me this photo, snapped at a busy Madison, Wisconsin intersection.

What horseshit.
 
I’d like to have a little coversation with this local business and call out their craptastic advertising.
 
I’d tell them that women do not need permission to be fat, get fat, unfat, or fatty fat fat.
 
I’d tell them that a woman’s worth is not based on her size, but rather on the content of her character.
 
I’d tell them that sizeist and belittling advertising slogans are disrespectful to the women they intend to demean and intimidate.
 
I’d tell them that women do not need permission to take up space in this world.
 
And then I’d tell them their billboard is horseshit.
 
It ran over Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day, it is custom for men to give women chocolate. This billbaord is aimed at women, telling them that when their man gifts them expensive chocolate, she has permission to eat the chocolate. She has permission to gain weight from the chocolate because her man will still love her, so all will be right in her world. Were she to become fat, she would not lose her man’s love and therefore maintain her worthiness. As if.
 
I don’t ask my husband’s permission to eat food. Then again, I didn’t ask his permission to fly to Africa or start a business, either.
 
Why is it, that women are so brow beaten by advertisers? And why do so so so many of us buy into all of the asshattery? As Tracee Sioux asks, why is it so hard to like our bodies?

We’re the beautiful half of the species. For God’s sake, our male counterparts are bald or balding, grow hair in their ears, out their noses, on their shoulders, asses, bellies and backs, they’re smelly, beer bellied and have sweaty, stinky balls hanging off their ape-like bodies. And they feel F*$%@^& GREAT about themselves. That just doesn’t add up.  -Tracee Sioux

Ladies — Come. On.

We give our power away when we allow others to tell us how to feel about our bodies. OUR bodies. Our freaking amazing, sexy, curvy, soft, creative, nice smelling, intelligent, nurturing, life giving bodies.

You have got to be kidding me that so many women feel crappy about themselves because they don’t look like starved models or computer altered humans that have been Photoshopped out the wazoo.

Do you know what this mess is doing to our daughters?? We lead the world in Eating Disorders, disordered eating, and low self-esteem because of body image.

If we have billboards for women that dissect their weight, why is there NOT a billboard for condoms with the slogan “I’ll always love you, even though your penis is meh.” Why are we always focused on women’s bodies, and guys get a free pass to look like whatever they want? Why do we care so much and guys care so little?

WHY do women allow themselves to be put down upon and controlled and manipulated into thinking our gorgeous bodies aren’t the most amazing things on earth?

I don’t care whether or not the chocolate or the man or society will still love me….

I. LOVE. ME.

I love me. I love that my body has traveled all over the world. I’ve used my body in great adventures like bungee jumping and scuba diving and hiking the waterfalls of Hawaii. My body created two perfect human beings from scratch, and then birthed them. The second time around was a no bullshitter. But my body did it.

Listen – I get the longing to be pretty and feel attractive and desired and so on. BUT – who says you aren’t? Who says? You say? Sister, start singing yourself another tune.

Who do you allow to define and determine your beauty?

Your beauty is not your worth.

Shut up about being fat. Being skinny. Losing weight. Gaining weight.

Seriously shut up about tummy tucks, especially in front of the kids.

Get smart that 99.9% of photos you see in the media have been retouched and perfected by some guy and a computer.

Really? You’ve got stretch marks or gray hair or heavy thighs? Are you kidding me? That is your body, your house for life. Embrace it.

Honey, I love you, but get bigger things to think about in life. I do 136 things every day before I have time to think about what I look like. Step away from the mirror, put your hand on your belly, your center, close your eyes, and allow yourself to feel beautiful.

I define my beauty. I know my worth. I stand fully in my body because I love it. And I don’t look twice at magazine photos or models. That fake crap doesn’t come close to being as gorgeous as me.

Photoshop can suck it. Sizeist messages that promote the thin ideal can get lost. Women can start to be kinder to each other and offer each other more grace.

C’mon Ladies. Let’s face it. We’re the beautiful ones. We make the rules.

 

Fear of Fat: Preschool Girls and the Thin Ideal

*Cross posted with permission from Jennifer W. Shewmaker, Ph.D.*

The old and new Strawberry Shortcake, one of many old school children's characters getting sexier, thinner makeovers.

In a study published in 2010, Dr. Jennifer Harriger, a colleague at Pepperdine University, looked at how much girls aged 3-5 had internalized the thin ideal (the idea that beauty in females = thinness) and how they attributed stereotypes to others because of their weight (fat=lazy, stupid, has no friends while thin=nice, sweet, has friends).

Yes, you read that right, 3-5 year olds! You may be thinking, “Oh come on, kids that young don’t think about things like that.” But, according to Dr. Harriger’s research, there is a very strong research base out there that tells us that children as young as 3 years of age are already beginning to buy into the idea that for females, thinness is equal to goodness.

So what did she find? The little girls that were studied showed evidence of having already begun to internalize the thin ideal and to stereotype others based solely on their weight. What was interesting about this study is that they had girls choose from several different game pieces (like those in Candy Land) which were identical except for their weight. The kids chose pieces that represented themselves and a best friend. Up until now, research studies have shown that kids don’t tend to distinguish that much between thin and average weights. However, in this study, the girls more often chose thin game pieces over the average sized ones. Dr. Harriger thinks this may be due to the fact that in recent years, the thin ideal has been presented to very young children more strongly through products and entertainment.

For example, consider this photo below, which was commented upon on Feminist Fatale.com, comparing a Barbie doll from the 1990s to one manufactured today. As you can see, the proportions of the doll, while always ridiculous, have changed even more to emphasize the thin mid-section and curvaceous breast and behind.  There have been many recent make-overs of several well-loved children’s characters, such as that of Strawberry Shortcake, to give them shapes and appearances more in line with the thin ideal. This change in the characterization of positive characters is likely connected to the change in young children’s opinion of thin-vs-average weight.

Barbie may have changed over the years, but her body now looks like a Victoria Secrets model.

One of the saddest and most startling findings in this study had to do with the things that the little girls said about the different game pieces. For example, they said about the fatter piece “I hate her because she has a fat stomach” or “I don’t want to be her, she’s fat and ugly.” What’s worrying is that we also see girls as young as ages 5 and 6 talking about dieting and wanting to be thinner. It’s time to stop and think about the messages our young children are getting about body shape and value. It’s time for all of us to stand together and show our children that being healthy and good isn’t about being “thin,” but about so much more than that. Instead of focusing on thinness, let’s focus on strength, both of body and character.

Harriger, J.A., Calogero, R.M., Witherington, D.C., & Smith J.E. (2010). Body size stereotyping and internalization of the thin-ideal in preschool-age girls. Sex Roles, 63, 609-620. doi: 10.1007/s11199-010-9868-1

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Jennifer W. Shewmaker, Ph.D., is Director of the School Psychology Training and an Associate Professor of Psychology at Abilene Christian University. She often writes on the media, sexualization, and parenting issues.