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February 02, 2008


QSMama / Lea

Found this blog linked on the Not So Crunchy Parent blog--and love it! I'm glad you're taking the time to discuss these issues in a public forum.

As parents raising a three-year-old girl, my husband and I talk about girls and marketing a lot. He understands why we skip the Bratz aisle at Target, for instance...but he's all too quick to arrive home from a business trip with yet another princess book. Sigh.

Just wanted to say hi and thanks--and keep blogging!

- Lea


HI QSMama. Thanks for writing. Just like moms are shown that to bond with their girls they have to take them shopping, dads are shown they're supposed to treat their little girls like little princesses-- protect them, make them feel special, etc. Tell him to pick up The Paperbag Princess next business trip!

Shaping Youth

I left this in our Shaping Youth's 'comments' section because after the Target brouhaha...

"Um…does anyone ELSE see the pattern here? This ONGOING undercurrent is SO much more than a ‘one ad/Target’ issue, folks…Please, take off the blinders."

The Woolworth’s Lolita Brand of bedroom furniture for 6 year old girls is being called a “cynical mistake” (this excerpt from a colleague in name development via Nancy @ wordworking.com was grand:


"The news that Woolworth’s in the UK had to pull a bed with Lolita brand naming for pre-school girls has been met with hoots of laughter across the blogosphere after the company claimed to not be aware of the literary allusion to the sexually predatory pre-pubescent girl in Vladimir Nabokov’s famous novel, which was not only made into (at least) two movies but also referred to in the song “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by the Police.—Sorry, but it is difficult to believe that this was an inadvertent mistake, or that the brand naming was introduced without somebody raising an eyebrow…”---

gee, that sounds familiar...kinda like what ignited the Target fiasco...sigh.

I firmly believe corporations will continue to 'push' until they get a hand slap or a knuckle wrap in the pocketbook for 'conduct unbecoming' on the opportunistic/objectification front of "aren't we so clever"-isms...eesh.

Shaping Youth

Oh, wait...one more for ya...

Same blog, different instance, Danica Patrick/race car driver/Go Daddy ad: (this time marketers are NOT feigning ignorance or a mistake, they're admitting purposeful shock schlock a la Imus to get press:

In this case, SuperBowl Sunday ad rejections for Go Daddy…and Danica Patrick’s ‘body parts’/slang integration into brand naming innuendo: http://www.namedevelopment.com/blog/archives/2008/02/go_daddy_builds.html

(This is Go Daddy's "see how many 'ad rejections you can get & how much PR you can milk.) Six ads & counting, bleh.


SHAPING YOUTH -- you quote anothe blogger thus "not be aware of the literary allusion to the sexually predatory pre-pubescent girl in Vladimir Nabokov’s famous novel," -- Can you let that blogger know that Lolita was not "sexually predatory" and I'm shocked that that one slipped by you. I believe she's 12 or 13 in the novel. I don't think I'd ever call a girl sexually predatory at that age. The novel is about Humbert Humbert's interest in Lolita and his pursuing her and "conquering" her. That she's a sexy 13-year-old we only see through his eyes. I'm remembering that the novel is in the first person.

Shaping Youth

You're RIGHT! Slipped by my eyes as I focused on the OBVIOUS BOOK REFERENCE of the man viewing her in a predatory manner...I'm sure that's what he meant!!!

But I will go leave a msg. pronto...NO ONE would view the 12 year old as 'predatory' especially since it was the other way around fergoshsakes!!!!! Good catch...

See? Bleary-eyed!!!

Shaping Youth

Oh...and in other outrageous tweens in sexualized poses check out this PSA from our friends at Beauty and the Breast.


It's supposed to be AGAINST statutory rape...odd that they'd exploit with creepy PhotoShop visuals in the process...ewww...

Will be posting about it soon.

Shaping Youth

Well, I blogged a BIT about both Lolita and the other one, but took the cake on the hypefest meter...a new powdered energy drink 'Blow' marketed in a vial with a mirror and a credit card.

I kid you not...ugh. Makes the Lolita name as as mild as the Target billboard:


Seems to me the people with a problem over the NAME of the "Lolita" bedroom set are parents with dirty minds. A six-year-old child isn't going to know the reference, nor walk into her parents' dinner party and ask the guests if they want to see her "Lolita bedroom set" to the mortification of Mom and Dad. I don't imagine many people - especially kindergarten-age girls - refer to their furniture by its catalog name after they bought it. Found this blog after reading an embarrassingly whiny story about some stupid new Muppet on Sesame Street. Geez, ladies, get a life!

Lyn Mikel Brown

Whose life should we get, exactly? Your life, where you go on people's book blogs, read the top comment with no awareness of the arguments made in the book, decontextualize the issue and disconnect the comment from the broader issues, to make the authors' work sound nonsensical and trivial, and then email them? Gee. Can't wait. Sounds fun, and easy.

Brian with a 14 y.0.

I believe the judgment of the Lolita label as being distasteful and alarming is on track. The girl in the novel is indeed a young manipulator, using the power of her sexual attractiveness, which she is made aware of by her predatory accidental caretaker, to gain her desires. This is, of course, a natural outcome of any child imbued with the value that flirting and sexual behavior are desirous and produce the result of obtaining more favors than otherwise. This is why parents have to let children know when their actions are improper, because they have no natural compass for such things. I just read a letter to Ann Landers in which a parent was alarmed,and rightly so, that her very young daughters grandmother was praising her by telling her she's "sexy".

Also, if you ever see porn of the young girl variety you'll find it's often labeled "Lolita". It's a societal definition.It may not influence the girls who obtain the furniture, but it can put a taint of impropriety in the minds of onlooking adults.

Amy Jussel

Lyn, that comeback comment is a keeper! I'll have to remember such pithy prose dealing w/my readers on Shaping Youth at times, thanks.

Brian, concur completely w/your points above...You all might enjoy this interview here with Gigi on the Lolita effect:

Sharon Lamb

Thanks Amy, Currently writing a review of The Lolita Effect so won't comment except to say -- agree with the outrage and like the exercises at the ends of chapters, but finding some problems with the book's referencing and support of some of the ideas. The cover is offensive. Most authors can reject covers their publishers choose. Does Gigi Durham speak of this choice or lack of choice in any of her interviews? The Sexualization of Girls Task Force members rejected that very image (little girl putting on lipstick) -- our report cover avoids sexualizing and blaming girls. We went with outrageous t-shirt slogans and pictures of REAL girls!!!

And BRIAN, Thanks for such thoughtful analysis.

And re:LYN, She certainly does have a way with words!


Political correctness is taking over the world, sadly sometimes at the expense of a bit of fun in peoples lives. Not sure where I stand on this as I can see both sides of this argument and where kids are involved you do have to be especially careful.

Children's Bedroom Furniture

Well yea theres two sides to the story, but I would have to agree with Ted. Kids have no clue what that means and it doesnt affect them at all. They would be telling their friends about there new bed. Kids dont typically use a brand name when talking anyways, unless its nicktoon or something. I think its stupid but also its stupid marketing as well. They must take different cultures and languages into consideration before branding a product


How misleading. The bedroom does sort of LOOK innocent...at east in my eyes.

Susan Graham

Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

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looks cute. but it will be not enough to my room, cause it's too big. anyway thanks

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