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Bitchy, Diva Attitude - Page 8

post #141 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
Maybe that's why she's wearing it - and she gets a kick out of people who don't get the joke.
Eh maybe...but when you add the playboy bunny logo, with the exposed belly and ill fitting jeans, I don't really think "ironic" is the message she was trying to send. Not that I really think a teenager believes people will think she's an honest to God playboy bunny with the shirt on...but the logo does represent a certain look. And to the ones that do actually understand it...more often than not they are equating it with a certain brand of "hottness" and probably wish to be associated with it.
post #142 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
Maybe that's why she's wearing it - and she gets a kick out of people who don't get the joke.
That kind of humor -- and ability to laugh at oneself and one's physical imperfections compared with societal standards of beauty -- rarely occurs in girls of that age.

Unfortunately.
post #143 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
That kind of humor -- and ability to laugh at oneself and one's physical imperfections compared with societal standards of beauty -- rarely occurs in girls of that age.

Unfortunately.
I guess my DDs are the exception, then. They would find it hilarious, especially the judgmental expressions on faces. Then again, I do realize that irony flies right over the heads of most people.
post #144 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post

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?
This ersatz identity is being harvested so that females will continue to consume. The girl who is choosing charms like "science whiz" is likely then moving on to do something else, while the girl choosing the "princess" charm is figuring out which shade of nailpolish to buy and which shoes go best with the charm (and lest this get someone's back up, I'm speaking in broad strokes here). "Princess" is about narcissism once a girl's past a certain age, and that whole identity (along with diva) is about acquisitiveness and the requisite shopping.

It's actually a freaking marketing slam dunk to get more girls/women more preoccupied with buying by narrowing the range of acceptable female identities to tie so rigidly to consumerism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
Would you prefer "Outrageous, quasi-sociopathic narcissism"?

The problem, Annettemarie, is that "Outrageous, quasi-sociopathic narcissism" is TOO gender-neutral. These marketers are creating the princess/slut/diva identities for girls specifically, and they are capitalizing on thousands of years of misogynist stereotypes of women as vain, materialistic, self-centered, sex-using gold-diggers to do it. These stereotypes being marketed at Claire's, Old Navy, A&F, and so many places elsewhere are specifically female, not gender-neutral at all. Therefore, it would blur the definition of what these marketers are doing to call it "outrageous, quasi-sociopathic narcissism," though it is also that. To do that would be to ignore the fact that "diva" (for example) is being sold as a POSITIVE identity, something you should want to be if you are a girl.

There is no comparable stereotype (or even label, not even the infrequently-used "Divo," which gives me bad Eighties flashbacks anyway) for boys.
Yeah, that! Isn't there research that shows that females are the largest consumers across most product areas? This whole strategy totally makes sense to me from marketers' perspectives.
post #145 of 172


I looked at the site of the book by Danica McKellar mentioned up thread. It's called Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail. Really. While the description includes some great values, these are the first bulleted points:


Quote:
Each chapter also features:

Easy to follow, step-by-step instruction
Time-saving tips and tricks for homework and tests
Illuminating practice problems with detailed solutions
Real-world examples—from how understanding percents can make you a savvier shopper to how understanding proportions can make you a better chef!
post #146 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post


I looked at the site of the book by Danica McKellar mentioned up thread. It's called Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail. Really. While the description includes some great values, these are the first bulleted points:
I think you've missed the whole point of the book. She is trying to entice girls who are scared of math or think it will make them look "geeky". That's what good teachers do - they meet the students where they are and in what they are interested in. She's not going to pull in that group by talking about how to use math for astrophysics. Many of the ideas of homeschooling are the same - ok I want my kid to work on writing or reading so I ask her to write a story about convertibles (meaning the cars) because she's currently fascinated by them or I go get her books from the library about cars. Just because you disapprove of girls liking that stuff doesn't mean it's bad for her to approach teaching the subject from that direction. If it allows her to make a connection with them then I say "Outstanding".
post #147 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by chann96 View Post
I think you've missed the whole point of the book. She is trying to entice girls who are scared of math or think it will make them look "geeky". That's what good teachers do - they meet the students where they are and in what they are interested in. She's not going to pull in that group by talking about how to use math for astrophysics. Many of the ideas of homeschooling are the same - ok I want my kid to work on writing or reading so I ask her to write a story about convertibles (meaning the cars) because she's currently fascinated by them or I go get her books from the library about cars. Just because you disapprove of girls liking that stuff doesn't mean it's bad for her to approach teaching the subject from that direction. If it allows her to make a connection with them then I say "Outstanding".
I didn't miss the point .

My point is that this is where middleschoolers are "at"? That breaking a nail, being competent shoppers and future chefs are their primary values? And that it being further reinforced in print as definitional for girls in this age group is good?

I don't disapprove of girls being interested in adorning themselves (makeup, jewelry, clothes), or being interested in cooking or other typically/historically gendered interests. If gender is a continuum, with one end being absolutely de-gendered and neutral, and the other being hyper-feminized (say Barbie-like, but I hate this over-simplification), I think most girls and women land somewhere in the middle. But when we unendingly and exclusively expose girls to messages about nails, shopping and chefs as definitional, I think this goes too far.

I have nailpolish on my toes, and I sometimes do DD's toes. We own 4 bottles of polish, accumulated over a number of years - we do not need to buy this year's trend colour of OPI nail polish. We don't need to spend hours in the mall seeking and buying. We are still "feminine," but we are not pre-occupied with the acquisitiveness that all of these consumer messages send.

It's not "female values" that I'm resistant to, it's the hyper-packaging of them. When I was a middle-schooler, sure I liked makeup and shopping, all that stereo-typical girlie stuff. It was not, however, definitional of my identity, nor did shopping preoccupy my time.

I think this latest generation of girls is subject to some of the most aggressive reinforcement of limiting values. It ain't the '50s where their place was in the kitchen - now it's in the malls.
post #148 of 172
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?
i agree. i hate those shirts so much. i love my little boy, and it makes me cry when i see one.

my DD is SO into the PINK culture. we don't go to places like claire's, and it's so crucial to me that she associates pink/'girlie' stuff with concepts like peace, sharing, balanced self-advocacy.

i remember BEING part of that culture as a young girl. it sucked, i think i'm still recovering.
post #149 of 172

Shopping for school clothes... girls section

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisalou View Post
As someone who is in marketing and has even done marking research, this made me laugh out loud. Marketing is anything but a precise science especially the marketing research that you mention. Focus groups are mostly a joke at this point for marketing research. Human nature is not a precise science.

That said, yes the entire purpose of marketing is to get someone to think about a company a certain way and buy a product. The first thing they teach you though is that you can try lying about a product and get people to buy it but you won't get lasting customers if you do. What you need to do is find the need that your product fills. If the product doesn't fill a need no amount of sales pitches is going to make it sell.

In this case, there's a need for tweeners to do some rebellion. And here are products that seem to fill that need in a "cool and edgy" way. There was a great article about Bratz and Barbie and most mothers don't actually like either so they provide a bit of rebellion for young girls. Mothers put up with it b/c well it's just a doll and it's teaching their girls to care about how they look and giving them a chance to rebel in a controlled way.

Yes you're being marketed to. It is your responsibility to figure out though what need you or your child has that's being marketed to (self esteem? rebellion?) and figure out if that's the best way to fill that need. Until we as a society no longer feel like a product or series of products fill a need marketers are just going to keep doing what works. It's their job.
Rebellion... of course, this is a good point you made. But the rest of everything that you said is simply not true. I don't mean any disrespect... being "in" marketing may give you a certain view of things, depending on what you do in marketing, what tier of marketing you're on, and your own personal beliefs about people, etc.

Commercial tv airtime is sold for gazillions of dollars. Money slaps hands with money...

Cigarettes, you know, is still a bazillion dollar industry. It's a VERY bad product, and yet... ? There are LOTS of horrible bad products that are made using horrible, bad polluting methods... but money wants more money, and it will kill its own mother and children to get it.

Women are the Number One purchaser of toys, clothes, and gizmos, and so, they are marketed to heavily as GIRLS to be fashionistas, bubble-headed shopaholics, make-up and appearance-obsessed, plastic surgery-numbed, and exclusively a sexed-up version of herself for male consumption.

Powerful, self-aware women are intimidating to most men, even in today's world where we like to think things have changed completely. Hopefully, for those of us who believe they really have, they really HAVE in your life and your household. I hope so. You must have made it the case and I am proud of you.

But if things have truly changed so, why do we not see as many or WAY MORE powerful images of women and girls even AVAILABLE, never mind marketed to girls? Why has there not been a woman President of the USA? Why are most roles of power in the real world held by men? Bratz and Barbies aren't about rebellion: they are about suppression, regression, blocking advancement, and relegating to meaninglessness.

I've been shopping for school clothes for my 8 yo dd at good ol' "Giant" Mart. The kids' sections looked like Slut Central for the girls, and Army Camouflage for the boys. NOT TEEN: KIDS. Co-inky-dink? I don't think so. Soldiers and Sexpots, that's what our kids are being groomed to be. How can anyone think this is giving me what I want? Sure, my dd ogles some of this stuff: her tv role models and sexy aunt and young women we see are all sporting trampwear and not much else except, perhaps, Gangsta-wear.

I, myself, wear plain, colored cotton tshirts and jeans, and that's ALL my dd will actually wear out of the house, even if she has "tiny-tramp" options in her closet, because that's all she can PLAY hard in, which is what she likes to do: RUN, JUMP, CLIMB, IMAGINE. Not prance and preen, except in the privacy of our home and her bedroom... she still plays dress-up, and that's where trampy clothes can be okay, along with silly clothes, dorky clothes, dog and cat clothes, etc. Not in the children's clothing sections of America's affordable department stores.

Childhood: it's a good thing. Let's keep it around for our children's children.

VF
post #150 of 172
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post #151 of 172
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post #152 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Viewfinder View Post
But if things have truly changed so, why do we not see as many or WAY MORE powerful images of women and girls even AVAILABLE, never mind marketed to girls? Why has there not been a woman President of the USA? Why are most roles of power in the real world held by men? Bratz and Barbies aren't about rebellion: they are about suppression, regression, blocking advancement, and relegating to meaninglessness.
YES. This is especially and painfully true when you are in Barnes and Noble shopping for children's biographies.

TONS of bios about Americans, like we're the only country in the world and our not-quite-four hundred years of history somehow trumps the ten thousand years of civilization enjoyed by the rest of the planet.

But that's a bit OT.

TONS of biographies about men. Ben Franklin. George Washington. Martin Luther King, Jr. Albert Einstein.

Worthy people all, to be sure, but when you look at the biographies about women, first of all, you have to look FOR the biographies about women. When you've found any, they are generally about the following. I'm dealing only with American bios, BTW -- like I said, OTHER COUNTRIES apparently have no one worth writing about and selling at Barnes and Noble.

Good Patriots - Women functioning as token symbols of our country's mythology who conveniently didn't do much that was important.
Stars of this show: Betsy Ross, Dolley Madison.
Who's NOT there
: Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Madeleine Albright, Sandra Day O'Connor, Molly Pitcher, Victoria Woodhull

Good Token Native People and POC - Nice "safe" choices so the booksellers don't look too racist or biased, but these women's political activism is often (dare I say it?) whitewashed so people (i.e., white people) can avoid feeling genuinely guilty or question their way of treating others:
Stars of this show: Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Pocahontas, Sacajawea
Who's NOT there: Coretta Scott King, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Kathleen Cleaver, Mae Jemison

Didn't They Write?
Stars of this show: About the ONLY woman who ever wrote was, apparently, Louisa May Alcott.
Who's NOT there:Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Emily Dickinson, Phillis Wheatley, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Edith Wharton, Gertrude Stein, Hilda Doolittle, Djuna Barnes

Women They Can't Ignore Because It Would Be Too Obvious
Stars of this show
: Eleanor Roosevelt, Marie Curie, Susan B. Anthony
Who's NOT there: Mae Jemison, Rosalind Franklin, Gloria Steinem, Jane Addams, Mary McLeod Bethune, Dolores Huerta, Margaret Sanger, Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall, Maria Mitchell, Sally Ride

Poor Things
Star of this show: Helen Keller, blind/deaf girl
Who's NOT there: Helen Keller, socialist activist and women's rights champion

Sometimes, an absence speaks louder than words.
post #153 of 172
VF I think you missed my main point which was marketing is NOT a precise science. You made it sound like focus groups and other things were this amazing thing that provides exact results that helps marketers surgically strike and manipulate everyone. It doesn't.

You're blaming the symptom not the cause. It goes back much further than marketing. It goes back to the role of women throughout history in the patriarchy we call Western Culture. I think things have only advanced so far from when women were considered property and had no inheritance rights and no ability to vote. We tend to take two steps forward and 1 3/4 steps back.

We as a society still judge women based on how attractive they are to men. There are billion dollar industries for that exact purpose. So they have vested interest in making sure women remain insecure about who they are so they'll buy the product. We have a medical industry that treats women like a walking uterus. We're still just objects to the majority of society. And society thinks it has a vested interest in keeping us that way. And we help to perpetuate it as women.

Why not so many strong women in biographies etc? The fact is history has ignored them for the most part. History is the story of the powerful.

So to blame marketing seems rather lame to me. Society's views have to be there first before a marketer can take it make it sell a product. This view of women won't change overnight. But at least we as women can try to stop perpetuating it for ourselves and our daughters and sons.
post #154 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisalou View Post


So to blame marketing seems rather lame to me. Society's views have to be there first before a marketer can take it make it sell a product. This view of women won't change overnight. But at least we as women can try to stop perpetuating it for ourselves and our daughters and sons.
Lisalou, I'm afraid that I can't agree with you on this wholeheartedly. Too many times, we all have seen marketers, media spin doctors, all Xbox manufacturers, and the entire Bush administration create an apparent "need" where one did not exist before, or create an ideology or attitude that was either not there at all or present in much smaller quantities before they metastasized it for their own purposes.
post #155 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisalou View Post
Why not so many strong women in biographies etc? The fact is history has ignored them for the most part. History is the story of the powerful.
Precisely. That's why it's called his-story, rather than her-story.
post #156 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2tadpoles View Post
Precisely. That's why it's called his-story, rather than her-story.
You're joking, right? I don't want to be boring and explain that the word doesn't have anything etymologically to do with gender.
post #157 of 172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
You're joking, right?
Relax.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
I don't want to be boring and explain that the word doesn't have anything etymologically to do with gender.
But you did, anyway.
post #158 of 172
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2tadpoles View Post
Relax.



But you did, anyway.
Ah, but you see, I spared you the incredibly long-winded version.
That could change.
post #159 of 172
As an adult, I think HB and Cartman and Family guy are hilarious. However, I would not endorse a child wearing it, because they often aren't able to distinguish between the subtle humor and RL at that age.

I also wouldn't endorse girls wearing the "Boys are stupid" type clothes, nor would I allow DS to wear the numerous shirts marketed at boys saying things like "little monster".

It's pretty sad, the things that are marketed at kids these days. It's up to parents to filter that crap out.
post #160 of 172

Huh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisalou View Post
VF I think you missed my main point which was marketing is NOT a precise science. You made it sound like focus groups and other things were this amazing thing that provides exact results that helps marketers surgically strike and manipulate everyone. It doesn't.

You're blaming the symptom not the cause. It goes back much further than marketing. It goes back to the role of women throughout history in the patriarchy we call Western Culture. I think things have only advanced so far from when women were considered property and had no inheritance rights and no ability to vote. We tend to take two steps forward and 1 3/4 steps back.

We as a society still judge women based on how attractive they are to men. There are billion dollar industries for that exact purpose. So they have vested interest in making sure women remain insecure about who they are so they'll buy the product. We have a medical industry that treats women like a walking uterus. We're still just objects to the majority of society. And society thinks it has a vested interest in keeping us that way. And we help to perpetuate it as women.

Why not so many strong women in biographies etc? The fact is history has ignored them for the most part. History is the story of the powerful.

So to blame marketing seems rather lame to me. Society's views have to be there first before a marketer can take it make it sell a product. This view of women won't change overnight. But at least we as women can try to stop perpetuating it for ourselves and our daughters and sons.
Lisalou,

I got your main point, and I disagree with it. Marketing is a precise science, much, much too costly not to be as spot-on effective as possible, using whatever methods can be brought to bear, including fraud, deceit, bait-and-switch, etc. It is used on all members of society, with specific tools designed for specific target audiences/consumers. It finds the weakness/need in them, and goes after it. Men "need" bigger and louder car engines and trucks, in order, btw, to be magnetic to women, and women "need" longer legs (high heels), blonder hair, flawless skin, thick eyelashes, figure flattering clothes in order to be chosen by men.

The politics of where women are in society is a factor that is USED by marketing, as part of its scientific methods.

I don't blame marketing for where women are politically, though marketing takes full advantage of where women are: it behooves them to do so. It does make the check bigger at the end of the day.

VF
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