Monday, April 11, 2011

HEROES and BABIES...(and other words in kid's TV commercials)

We don't watch a lot of real-time TV in our house. We're big on the PVR...so we get to fast forward through the commercials most of the time. It saves a lot of time, and a lot of the "i wants" from the kiddo.

Anyway, the other day we were actually watching some kid's channel TV and on came the commercials. First up, I remember, was the Barbie 'Glamour Camper', whatever the heck that means...I remember thinking that Mattel must be running out of new ideas. 'Glamour Camper'?

Whatever. Anyway, on went the neurotic mom hat, and out came the learning moment.

"Would you like to play with that toy", I asked, neutrally...trying to be nonchalant.


"No way", the kiddo snaps back...clearly exasperated with my ignorance to the 'rules'.

"It's a GIRL'S toy, mom", he said. Fact.

Oh. OK then. Now let me be clear. I bought my 1 year old son a musical tea set (from the pink aisle) when he was 1. He got a kitchen set (with girls on the box) for Christmas when he was 2. He got a vacuum cleaner for his 2nd birthday.
He has a Zhu-Zhu pet, a book about a ballerina and a doll in a stroller that we take for 'walks'. But as we watched the commercials flashing on the screen, he told me, with the wisdom of a 4-year old, whether each toy was for 'girls or boys'.

There were none for both.

These word bubbles, which I found at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/04/04/gendered-language-in-tv-toy-commercials/ show a snapshot of the words and phrases used in highly gendered toy commercials, aired during kid's programming.

Just look at the difference. There's no surprise that my kiddo has sorted these images into neat little pigeon holes in his brain. It's human nature...it organizes our world; even (maybe even especially) the crazy, frantic, chaotic world of kid's commercials bombarding his little brain-sponge.

LOVE vs. BATTLE. BABIES vs. HEROES. FUN for girls, but POWER for boys.



We'll keep fast forwarding through the commercials and I might even go out and get the Glamour Camper...you know, just to prove him wrong, and to see if he'd play with it.

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