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Campaign to stop retailers selling products that prematurely sexualise children - let us know what you think...

(781 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 05-Jan-10 12:58:29

So quite a few folk on the MN campaigns thread mentioned that an issue they'd like to see MN get involved in is the premature sexualisation of children.

So we've put together an outline for a potential campaign, along the lines of Let girls be girls, summarising the issues and some of the research. The aim is to encourage retailers to make a simple, public pledge that commits them to selling only products which do not sexualise children.

Please do have a read and let us know your thoughts, ideas, suggestions.


FimBOW Tue 05-Jan-10 15:33:34

I guess BofF.

cleanandclothed Tue 05-Jan-10 15:35:07

Can I make a suggestion? We all look out in major chain stores (eg Asda, Tesco, Next, M&S, Gap, Mothercare etc etc) for both the worst premature sexualisation item (eg bikini with an inappropriate slogan), and the silliest item that the shop feels the need to have in pink and blue only (such as a potty) or in only pink/with female slogans on or only in blue/with male slogans on. We then link them here.

Depending on the examples (and I bet we come up with some crackers) we can then either write letters/MN can use them to get publicity for the campaign/we can invite the chief executive on here for a webchat to explain themselves.

snigger Tue 05-Jan-10 15:39:11

Vehemently pro this campaign.

OtterInaSkoda Tue 05-Jan-10 15:43:47

Hmmm. I think MN needs to tread carefully, otherwise it (we? they?) run the risk of coming over all Daily Mail. There's a strong whiff of moral panic here imo.

OtterInaSkoda Tue 05-Jan-10 15:48:00

Just to add - I think we need to define the project clearly, iykwim, otherwise it could look a bit daft and Mary Whitehousey.

FairyLightsForever Tue 05-Jan-10 15:49:44

I agree with this campaign too. I think children should be allowed to be children for as long as possible.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 05-Jan-10 16:05:45


Just popping in to say do please feel free to post any links to items you've seen recently that you think are hideously inappropriate.

Thank you.

BitOfFun Tue 05-Jan-10 16:09:44

Agree with Otter too- we need to be clear what the parameters are here, and not confuse it with things like withdrawing children from PSHE classes at school etc.

That's why "Let Girls Be Girls" is better as a slogan than using children more generally. It doesn't invite confusion in quite the same way, and makes more of a distinction between what we mean and what the DM means.

SqueezyIsStartinAResolution Tue 05-Jan-10 16:18:22

Agree 100% with this, fab idea MN!

Here is an example of a slogan t shirt OK it's not high street but it is available from babies to adult sizes, as are all the t shirts on the website, some are much worse. Yuck!

This is available from age 3-15! shock

GrimmaTheNome Tue 05-Jan-10 16:21:50

Not sure that 'Let Girls be Girls' helps with the gender divide, which is part of the problem. At various times DD didn't particularly want to be a girl, and certainly never a 'girly' girl.

BitOfFun Tue 05-Jan-10 16:28:31

A girl doesn't have to be 'girly' though- that is the whole point, surely?

hotcrossbunny Tue 05-Jan-10 16:31:50

I'm in too.

I can't believe the clothes we've trawled through to find something suitable for our 6 year old dd. She's girlie in that she likes dolls and princesses but she also likes climbing trees, getting covered in mud etc etc. I want comfy and practical, reasonably priced clothes, and they're almost impossible to track down. I've embarrassed dh many times by complaining loudly about the trash in M&S. The baby clothes are often lovely, but then it changes and it's slinky, sparkly, trashy tatangry

I think the sexualisation is mainly a problem for girls, but I'm sure it'll have an impact on their relationships with boys/men later on...

Don't get me started on the ELC pink/blue fixation...

fortyplus Tue 05-Jan-10 16:34:22

I think this goes SOOOOOOO much further than premature sexualisation of girls. There's the macho and violent stuff aimed at boys and we live in a society where it's 'cool' to wear a t-shirt with FCUK on it - when we all KNOW the Anglo Saxon word it's alluding to.

High Street chains such as Next and M&S have 'graffiti' prints - then we wonder why disaffected kids spray tags all over the place.

I'm an old fogey I know...

hotcrossbunny Tue 05-Jan-10 16:37:38

Actually, I've just had a very quick look at M&S website, and things seem to have improved somewhat.

SixtyFootDoll Tue 05-Jan-10 16:38:38

Totally support this campaign, I hate the 'pornification' of society as a whole.
While we are in the campainging mode, how about the removal of Nuts and similar mags to the top shelf?

OtterInaSkoda Tue 05-Jan-10 16:39:42

I do think we need to establish what we're objecting to (sorry, I know I'm repeating myself a bit). A few sequins on an M&S party dress does not equal sexualisation imo. Nor do a pair of dance or party shoes (thinking of the Tomkat dd here) with a little heel.

OurLadyOfPerpetualSupper Tue 05-Jan-10 16:41:15

I also think this is a great idea, but agree that the slogan or campaign title needs a lot of thought.

The 'girls don't have to be girlies' thing might be a good starting point - maybe something like 'Girls Not Girlies'?

Or a phrase to express the desire not to force sexualisation on to children - 'Keep childhood for kids' - 'Let them be' - I dunno.

I'm sure this whole thing will spark a huge amount of brainstorming.

TheCrackFox Tue 05-Jan-10 16:41:30

Count me in. I have 2 boys and I think the choice of clothes (T-shirts with "here comes trouble etc) are pretty grim but TBH the girls stuff frightens me.

I have 5 nieces and I worry about the pressure they are under.

Earthstar Tue 05-Jan-10 16:47:19

I would say your campaign is misguided because I don't think the issues are about girls tbh, I think they are issues about women.

The portrayal of women is that they need to be young looking and sexy to be successful and happy.

Stopping the sale of playboy pencil cases won't stop girls watching MTV and other media and aspiring to be Katie Price/ Victoria Beckham/ Kate Moss et al. Whilst posing for a playboy cover remains a desirable option, younger girls will want the pencil cases. If it was seen as crappy to pose for playboy then the playboy merchandise might still sell to men but teenage girls wouldn't want to buy it.

"Sexy" is still viewed as better than "clever" by huge numbers of girls and women. I hate this status quo personally, but is it really possible to change it?

LimburgseVlaai Tue 05-Jan-10 16:55:12

It did make me snort when I saw that "Deirdre Sanders from The Sun" has "weighed in on this issue, calling for a halt to the premature sexualisation trend."

Was that in the same paper that shows 16-year-old girls' tits on page 3??

I am all in favour of this campaign, but surely having the endorsement of The Sun just accentuates the hypocrisy around this issue.

youwillnotwin Tue 05-Jan-10 16:55:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Swedington Tue 05-Jan-10 16:56:39

Can we please campaign to stop our best-selling daily Newspaper publishing photographs of bare-breasted women first?

I'm uncomfortable about the merchandise idea. Mumsnet is in danger of coming across as only for those who wear knitted hats with side boings, love hummus and adore taboulleh.

MrsKitty Tue 05-Jan-10 17:02:05

very supportive of this campaign... D
D only 3 mths at the moment but can already see that I'm going to have to work hard to source what i deem to be age appropriate clothing once she's older.

Guess there must be a market for it or shops wouldn't stock it, but it's just wrong some of stuff out there!

Apologies for poor punctuation etc - one-handed typing wink

Swedington Tue 05-Jan-10 17:03:14

The thing is about the merchanidise is you do have a choice. DON'T BUY IT.

YeahBut Tue 05-Jan-10 17:03:37

Totally agree with the ideas behind the campaign but think the name needs work.

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