or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › Bitchy, Diva Attitude
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Bitchy, Diva Attitude

post #1 of 172
Thread Starter 
Okay, this is a S/O of the princesses thread.

I got the book Packaging Girlhood, by Sharon Lamb, and I was horrified at the description of some of the diva garbage they sell at places like Claire's.

Here are examples:
1. Pink (what other color?) flip-flops that read, "Hey, that butt needs kicking."
2. Tins of cookies inscribed "Poison [crossed out] cookies for a friend" and in the Fun For Bulimics department, "Hey, you make me throw up."
3. Notebooks with statements written on them like "You suck and must be punished," "Can't listen, you're dumb," and my personal favorite for the Sociopathic Narcissism Award, "It's all about me, deal with it."


Why are marketers selling this identity to girls? What possible advantage could there be in encouraging what I cannot help but see as poisonous, corrosive, spoiled nastiness?

Seriously. Anyone know? Why in the world would anyone want to be associated with this kind of identity? Why would this identity be sold to girls?

By the way, I am genuinely asking this question. I want to make my DD aware of this kind of stereotype, but she'll ask why and I have no clue.
post #2 of 172
Worse, they aren't selling it to the girls. They are selling it to the Moms, because that is where the money to buy it is coming from.
post #3 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
Worse, they aren't selling it to the girls. They are selling it to the Moms, because that is where the money to buy it is coming from.
:


The marketers have one goal: to make money. They may be capitalist pigs, but who is really guilty...the capitalist pigs, or the parents who provide the cash flow to purchase this crap?

I hate the entire genre...like the "Boys are Dumb" thing. Yuck. Have you seen those t-shirts?
post #4 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
Worse, they aren't selling it to the girls. They are selling it to the Moms, because that is where the money to buy it is coming from.
Well, okay, but why in the world would a mother want to have her daughter express an attitude like, "Gold Digger" or "Hottt" or "Boys make good pets"?
post #5 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeBeans View Post
:


The marketers have one goal: to make money. They may be capitalist pigs, but who is really guilty...the capitalist pigs, or the parents who provide the cash flow to purchase this crap?

I hate the entire genre...like the "Boys are Dumb" thing. Yuck. Have you seen those t-shirts?
Yeah, I have. Again, why encourage thoughtless sexism? Can you imagine how up-in-arms people would be if a boy wore a shirt that said "Girls are dumb"?

The thing is, I understand very well that the purpose of the marketers is to make money. What I don't understand is why make money constructing and selling this identity? Why this identity?
post #6 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post

The thing is, I understand very well that the purpose of the marketers is to make money. What I don't understand is why make money constructing and selling this identity? Why this identity?
You're working on the presumption that marketers have a soul :

post #7 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeBeans View Post
You're working on the presumption that marketers have a soul :

I think I must be explaining myself very poorly. Sorry...I'll try again with examples.

Okay, why not t-shirts or notebooks that say things like,

* "Smart Girls Love Math"
* "Hermione is My Hero"
* "I Heart Harvard"
* "Smart Girls Don't Need Sugar Daddies"

or whatever. I could see an advantage to promoting the "smart, academic girl" identity in that many girls (smart or not) would like others to think that they are smart; more girls than guys go to college now, so slogans like these would be reflecting something like reality, and so on. It would be socially beneficial in that it would promote and encourage a behavior that encourages intellectual (and probably financial) advancement.

Conversely, statements like the one in my OP promote a stereotypical view of girls as competitive, backstabbing, materialistic, nasty, and dangerously narcissistic. I see no advantage to that. Why promote THAT identity?

In short, if they're selling ersatz identity -- which of course they are -- why do they make it THAT identity? If you're going to (for example) have a stupid charm bracelet where the girl can "personalize" the bracelet according to specific charms, why do the charms say things like "Princess"? Why not "Soccer Star," or "Straight-A," or "Science Whiz" or "Madam President" or whatever?

Why is this bitchy, diva personality being bought? Why is it being sold? Why is it being bought and sold to the near-exclusion of almost all other faux identities pushed on girls by marketers?

Can anyone tell me that?
post #8 of 172
I like claires.... If someone doesn't approve for their child by all means don't let your daughter shop there. I have a wicked sense of humor and they sell happy bunny so I buy it. I think most things in claires are tounge in cheek, not ment to be taken serious at all...


ETA: actually all those quotes from the OP are happy bunny... go figure
post #9 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaraNicole View Post
I like claires.... If someone doesn't approve for their child by all means don't let your daughter shop there. I have a wicked sense of humor and they sell happy bunny so I buy it. I think most things in claires are tounge in cheek, not ment to be taken serious at all...


ETA: actually all those quotes from the OP are happy bunny... go figure
That still doesn't answer my question. Also, most things that are "funny" still send a message.
post #10 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
Okay, this is a S/O of the princesses thread.

I got the book Packaging Girlhood, by Sharon Lamb, and I was horrified at the description of some of the diva garbage they sell at places like Claire's.

Here are examples:
1. Pink (what other color?) flip-flops that read, "Hey, that butt needs kicking."
2. Tins of cookies inscribed "Poison [crossed out] cookies for a friend" and in the Fun For Bulimics department, "Hey, you make me throw up."
3. Notebooks with statements written on them like "You such and must be punished," "Can't listen, you're dumb," and my personal favorite for the Sociopathic Narcissism Award, "It's all about me, deal with it."


Why are marketers selling this identity to girls? What possible advantage could there be in encouraging what I cannot help but see as poisonous, corrosive, spoiled nastiness?

Seriously. Anyone know? Why in the world would anyone want to be associated with this kind of identity? Why would this identity be sold to girls?

By the way, I am genuinely asking this question. I want to make my DD aware of this kind of stereotype, but she'll ask why and I have no clue.

Being that i just figured out where your quotes came from...I think I can better answer your question than my PP...

It's happy bunnies identity not a girls, he is an evil little rabbit and says mean but funny things imo anyways
Happy Bunny is kind of like South Parks Cartman only in rabbit form...
I believe they market these things because they sell to people who have a warped sense of humor like myself... HTH
post #11 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaraNicole View Post
Being that i just figured out where your quotes came from...I think I can better answer your question than my PP...

It's happy bunnies identity not a girls, he is an evil little rabbit and says mean but funny things imo anyways
Happy Bunny is kind of like South Parks Cartman only in rabbit form...
I believe they market these things because they sell to people who have a warped sense of humor like myself... HTH
But if you're buying Happy Bunny, you're (by extension) making him an extension of YOUR personality, as if YOU were saying these things with him as the proxy -- the ventriloquist's dummy, as it were. It would be absurd, wouldn't it, to say, "My dummy said that, but I didn't"?

Whether it's Cartman or Happy Bunny, they're basically announcing that you're endorsing what are essentially mean statements.

The difference is, though, if you're an adult and you want to buy objects that express mean statements, that's up to you: it's a free country.

However, what I simply don't get is...

1. Why would a parent buy these things?
2. Why is this an identity that this society as a whole would want girls to buy into?

To take all the Happy Bunny statements as parts of an overall personality profile, a girl goes around threatening other people with the prospect of random, purposeless physical violence; she playfully offers what might be drugged or poisoned food; she offers food to others with the message that they or the cookies cause vomiting; and she says random cruelties to others such as the idea that they "suck" and need to "be punished" and finally state that they are the most important person in the entire world and other people have to accept their subordinate status.

I find this kind of identity more than problematic. I find it bordering on the sociopathic. The fact that this kind of identity is encouraged for girls is deeply disturbing.
post #12 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
But if you're buying Happy Bunny, you're (by extension) making him an extension of YOUR personality, as if YOU were saying these things with him as the proxy -- the ventriloquist's dummy, as it were. It would be absurd, wouldn't it, to say, "My dummy said that, but I didn't"?
No, it means I find Jim Benton, Matt Stone, and Trey Parker funny. They are the ventriloquists and their charaters are the dummy, I'm just one member in the audience. I do recall a comic having a routine about a dummy who "he couldn't control" it was quite funny.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
Whether it's Cartman or Happy Bunny, they're basically announcing that you're endorsing what are essentially mean statements.

The difference is, though, if you're an adult and you want to buy objects that express mean statements, that's up to you: it's a free country.

However, what I simply don't get is...

1. Why would a parent buy these things?
2. Why is this an identity that this society as a whole would want girls to buy into?
1. Well if my child found them funny, I prob. would by them...
2. Because different people like different things.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
To take all the Happy Bunny statements as parts of an overall personality profile, a girl goes around threatening other people with the prospect of random, purposeless physical violence; she playfully offers what might be drugged or poisoned food; she offers food to others with the message that they or the cookies cause vomiting; and she says random cruelties to others such as the idea that they "suck" and need to "be punished" and finally state that they are the most important person in the entire world and other people have to accept their subordinate status.
Parents are always going to be mad at SOMEBODY for "sending bad messages" to their kids...
So far Elvis, Bevis and Butthead, South Park, The Simpsons, Married with Children etc. have all hit a nerve I guess it's finally Happy Bunnys turn to shine...
The reason most people find HB amusing is because his ideas on stuff are so out there it would never happen. Stephen Colbert is full of himself but America loves him. There is ALWAYS somebody, and I think it's wrong to blame these things on how kids act or I guess "could act" would be more correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
I find this kind of identity more than problematic. I find it bordering on the sociopathic. The fact that this kind of identity is encouraged for girls is deeply disturbing.
I would really hope that I've raised my son to know the difference between a cartoon and the real world. I have more faith in humanity than for a child to say "I gave my friend poision cookies b/c happy bunny did it"
I have yet to read a news report about any child doing something b/c a cartoon sticker said so. I guess I am just missing why this is a big deal, If you dislike Cartman and Happy Bunny so much why not boycott, or start a group?
post #13 of 172
I agree with ya. IMO wearing statements like that on your person and saying you dont endorse them makes little sense.

As to why they are popular I would guess that attitudes like that are considered the domain of the priviliedged celebrity. You know, the image of an actress rejecting her lunch because the grapes arent peeled or something. That sort of entitlement is seen as desireable. So, if you are an average kid with no hope of having the real world cater to you buying the gear and adopting the persona is as close as you can get.

With tabloids and E! giving a play by play of those people's lives like it's news it doesnt surprise me that young girls think that is what acheivement looks like.
post #14 of 172
I think they market this identity because it's already out there in other forms. Look at Paris Hilton and her ilk. The day she was sent back to prison that was what was on 90% of the news that day (hey I'm a sucker and easily amused and watched it. It was fascinating human drama.) Anyway Paris, Britney, Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan and all of the other young female celebrities having been making oodles of press and money by portraying themselves as stupid, bitchy women. Marketers see this and want to capitalize on it. Can't blame them truly. It's about the parents who buy the stuff or allow their children to read magazines or watch tv about them.

I recently saw an article about a young woman trying to at least start to combat this idea. Danica McKellar (best known as Winnie Cooper on the Wonder Years) left Hollywood for school and got her degree in mathematics including being an author on a peer-reviewed paper. http://www.danicamckellar.com/ she has written a book aimed at middle-school aged girls called "Math doesn't Suck". It looks like a funny attempt to show that "smart is sexy" as she puts it. I think she was always a very pretty young woman and frankly has grown into a fairly stunning young adult both physically and mentally.

I hope that with all of the negative press about Britney, Paris, and Lindsay that their stars are beginning to fade and maybe just maybe we are on the verge of turning away from this identity. I think it will always exist to some degree though. It has since I was little so I don't think it will ever completely go away.
post #15 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaraNicole View Post
No, it means I find Jim Benton, Matt Stone, and Trey Parker funny. They are the ventriloquists and their charaters are the dummy, I'm just one member in the audience. I do recall a comic having a routine about a dummy who "he couldn't control" it was quite funny.
Sorry if I wasn't clear -- if you are buying these items and are wearing these statements, they are extensions of you and people take them as such -- not in spite of whether you find these folks funny, but because you do.

Quote:
2. Because different people like different things.
Either you're being flippant or you believe this is the whole story. I'm not sure which I would prefer. I think the first possibility, actually.
Quote:


The reason most people find HB amusing is because his ideas on stuff are so out there it would never happen. Stephen Colbert is full of himself but America loves him. There is ALWAYS somebody, and I think it's wrong to blame these things on how kids act or I guess "could act" would be more correct.
When the diva personality is sold as only one of approximately three or four personalities a girl is marketed from which to "choose," it becomes a problem. It's encouraging a behavior for which there are regrettably very few alternatives besides Princess and Slut. This hardly reflects the diversity of real girls' actual interests or personalities.

By the way, there's a difference between nastiness for its own sake and political satire. I wouldn't object if my DD wore a Stephen Colbert t-shirt.
post #16 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chann96 View Post
I think they market this identity because it's already out there in other forms.
But if your argument is that it's already out there (e.g., that these products are reflecting some form of reality), then where are the other choices besides Bitch Diva for girls' identities that are also "out there," such as scientists (Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin), astronauts (Sally Ride), political figures (Condoleezza Rice), sports stars (Brandi Chastain), and others? Where are those figures? Where are those identities?
Quote:


Look at Paris Hilton and her ilk. The day she was sent back to prison that was what was on 90% of the news that day (hey I'm a sucker and easily amused and watched it. It was fascinating human drama.) Anyway Paris, Britney, Nicole Richie, Lindsay Lohan and all of the other young female celebrities having been making oodles of press and money by portraying themselves as stupid, bitchy women. Marketers see this and want to capitalize on it. Can't blame them truly. It's about the parents who buy the stuff or allow their children to read magazines or watch tv about them.
But I'm not sure it's merely a matter of marketers being driven by what parents want -- in fact, I think it's more like parents being driven by what marketers want.

When marketers show on television commercials exactly these stereotypes (Princess, Bitch Diva, and Slut), when Disney movies buy into precisely these stereotypes also, when almost every children's show does the same thing, they create an impression in everyone's mind that these stereotypes are real, these stereotypes are popular, desirable, that these stereotypes represent the only legitimate choices for girls' identities that exist. Is it any wonder, then, that girls want the latest Bratz to reflect what they see and what they're told is the essence of cool? Is it any wonder that their parents buy it for them when their girl wants it so much and when the other girls have it too?
Quote:
I recently saw an article about a young woman trying to at least start to combat this idea. Danica McKellar (best known as Winnie Cooper on the Wonder Years) left Hollywood for school and got her degree in mathematics including being an author on a peer-reviewed paper. http://www.danicamckellar.com/ she has written a book aimed at middle-school aged girls called "Math doesn't Suck". It looks like a funny attempt to show that "smart is sexy" as she puts it. I think she was always a very pretty young woman and frankly has grown into a fairly stunning young adult both physically and mentally.
Okay, so where are the "Math Doesn't Suck" t-shirts? Even better, where are the "Math Rocks!" t-shirts?
Quote:
I hope that with all of the negative press about Britney, Paris, and Lindsay that their stars are beginning to fade and maybe just maybe we are on the verge of turning away from this identity. I think it will always exist to some degree though. It has since I was little so I don't think it will ever completely go away.
It seems to be even more pervasive and obscene than I remember it being when I grew up and all I had to worry was why Barbie had no vagina.
post #17 of 172
I guess the Happy Bunny lipbalm I bought for a friend that said "<s>Poison</s> Lip Balm For Friends" wasn't funny.

Ummm, yes, it was.

For too many years, girls were taught to be quiet and passive. And they let many bad things happen to them as a result. (I know this all too well.) I'm personally okay with girls being taught to be a bit more sassy, to have some attitude, and to stand up for themselves.
post #18 of 172
I love (andy buy) Happy Bunny myself, but I see him as being every bit as tongue in cheek as Stephen Colbert.

I don't love South Park but understand what people find funny in it - it's a breathe of fresh air (at least for an episode or two) after the formulaic sitcoms with canned laughter and problems solved in the last 4.2 minutes before the commercial.

I think you are confusing pg-13 semi-sick humor with something else that I agree is disgusting, which is the seducing of our daughters into commercialized, princessy, materialistic, and entitled diva-hood. It's as if the corporate industrial complex took the little girl princess complex and twisted and spun it until they'd made it the ideal consumer - entitled, self-centered, and too snotty to listen to anyone else.
post #19 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
But if your argument is that it's already out there (e.g., that these products are reflecting some form of reality), then where are the other choices besides Bitch Diva for girls' identities that are also "out there," such as scientists (Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin), astronauts (Sally Ride), political figures (Condoleezza Rice), sports stars (Brandi Chastain), and others? Where are those figures? Where are those identities?
Those identities can sometimes be found in more specialty shops, but they don't sell for long. People like Paris and Britney partly keep themselves in the public eye by their negative antics, but they also have publicists who make sure they stay in the public eye. The publicists are paid to make people want more and more of them. People in the other fields you mention don't have that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
But I'm not sure it's merely a matter of marketers being driven by what parents want -- in fact, I think it's more like parents being driven by what marketers want.

When marketers show on television commercials exactly these stereotypes (Princess, Bitch Diva, and Slut), when Disney movies buy into precisely these stereotypes also, when almost every children's show does the same thing, they create an impression in everyone's mind that these stereotypes are real, these stereotypes are popular, desirable, that these stereotypes represent the only legitimate choices for girls' identities that exist. Is it any wonder, then, that girls want the latest Bratz to reflect what they see and what they're told is the essence of cool? Is it any wonder that their parents buy it for them when their girl wants it so much and when the other girls have it too?
Certainly parents are driven by marketers. One of the keys to trying to teach our kids about marketing is to understand this. Coke and Pepsi spend oodles to advertise during the Super Bowl and the rest of the year because they want to drive all other soda makers out of our minds. And they want kids to see their favorite football star with their soda and think it's cool or that they NEED to have Michael Jordan's shoes to be cool. Marketing is incredibly powerful; that's why companies spend so much time and money on it.

It goes both ways. Marketing influences kids and parents, but the companies themselves are influenced by parents' and kids' interests.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
Okay, so where are the "Math Doesn't Suck" t-shirts? Even better, where are the "Math Rocks!" t-shirts?
Again these can sometimes be found in specialty stores, but it doesn't sell in the mass market.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
It seems to be even more pervasive and obscene than I remember it being when I grew up and all I had to worry was why Barbie had no vagina.
It is more pervasive at the moment and as I said I think and hope we may be turning the corner on it a little bit with a lot of parents now seeing all of the negative press of Britney et al. I do remember though that even in my little country school the popular girls were the bitchy, "dumb" ones. Smart wasn't cool. It was decidely uncool to be smart.
post #20 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post

Okay, so where are the "Math Doesn't Suck" t-shirts? Even better, where are the "Math Rocks!" t-shirts?
Ahem -
Math Rocks!
and
Math Goddess
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: The Childhood Years
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › Bitchy, Diva Attitude