We’re back, after a push to finish the manuscript for Packaging Boyhood (to be published this coming November). Just spoke with a reporter interested in a variety of products targeting girls and promoting self-esteem, like the Rebelle Friendship Bag, a purse that unzips down the middle to make two purses, so girls can exchange with their BFFs, Groovy Girls RSVP line (Respect, Self-expression, Values and Play), and C-Thru perfume, whose spokesperson is a cancer survivor with a message about inner beauty. Guess the marketers who came up with these campaigns were watching the Superbowl when Dove’s “True Colors” commercial interrupted the steady stream of sexist beer fare to launch the company’s enormously successful “Campaign for True Beauty”. (Dang, that was audaciously clever.) But here’s the difference, and it’s an important difference. Selling a product in a girl- or woman- affirming way and using a percentage of profits to support girl affirming movements, as Dove did for the Girl Scouts, is not the same as using girls’ struggles with self-esteem and anxieties about their appearance as a way to sell a product to girls themselves. As psychologists, we know that self esteem is to often connected to the very things these products cleverly undermine or create anxiety around – being included, having friends, having the right look (or smell?), the right products with the right brands. In PG, we talk a lot about how marketers co-opt girl power to sell an image of a girl empowered. There’s some of that here (yeah, sure, a girl can “Rebelle” like a teen by buying a cute little purse; she can “express herself” by buying a look that someone else created), but the Rebelle and Groovy Girls campaigns add an online dimension with diverse girls hawking their self-esteem enhancing wares. The girls don’t really embody difficult cultural identities— it’s a pseudo-multiculturalism because it all comes down to what these different girls have in common—their love of these products, and a girly shopaholic attitude. If people behind these products were really interested in girls' friendships across racial lines, they wouldn’t reduce race to the shared love of shopping; if they really wanted to support girls’ relationships, they wouldn’t sell them products designed to announce their exclusivity and popularity; and if they were really interested in girls self esteem they wouldn't reduce it to having things. Come on girls, rebel for real—don’t buy it!