Thursday, March 24, 2011

Packaging Girlhood by Sharon Lamb, Ed.D. & Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D.

     This is a book, Packaging Girlhood,I definitely recommend mother's of girls read. It is not always easy to read, as it gives you a look at things that are hard for any mother to imagine. However, this is information we as mother's need to know. We need to see what's going on beyond the surface and what marketers are really selling to our daughters. The world of pink and glitter from head to toe, being cute and flirty, wearing sexy clothes, doing everything to get a boys attention - those are things that our society is now teaching our children through TV, movies, magazines and celebrities. These things are limiting our girls. Each girl is so diverse, so unique, with so many facets to her personality. We need to embrace that and let her shine for all her unique and amazing qualities. Not tell her she's unique but then force her to choose between princess, diva, rockstar, punk, goth, or tomboy. Labels are not healthy in that form. I remember growing up feeling like I didn't fit into just one label, but feeling like I had to limit myself to one. Was I a cutie? An angel? Miss attitude? A bad girl? It seemed I could only be just one.

     Now I am the parent, and I am a lot more involved than my parents were. They basically took a nap during my growing up, which did a lot of harm to me. So I am determined to do much better with my daughter. Since starting the book, I've begun to look at things in her world a lot deeper. We don't watch TV (that's a whole other post!), so I don't have to worry about TV shows or commercials getting to her. Unfortunately they are often in the previews of DVD's though, and some DVD's don't let you skip to the main menu. You have to sit there and fast forward through all the previews. It's worth the extra hassle for me, to keep my daughter from seeing things telling her that her life quest should be to impress a cute boy. How silly! And yet so many mother's unwittingly are letting them teach their daughters just that. Marketers are sneaky and they will sneak those things in whenever they can. They want your daughter to think have glittery jewelry, cute shoes and the latest cute clothes is the most important thing. They don't encourage her to get up and go join a soccer team, or ride horses, or go hiking. They don't offer positive examples of girls who do those things - just examples of the girlie, boy crazy, glittered out girl.

     Here is a couple excerpts from the book that I think are pretty mind blowing: "Disney girls are women with Barbie doll bodies. And, like Barbie, one small size fits all. The form-fitting clothing of these heroines proves it. They have all the exotic made-up faces of women and the gowns and midriff-baring bikini tops of women. No real women of course - they're too perfect - but the male fantasy version." Is this what we want to teach our girls? To be some man's fantasy version of a woman? No! More from the book: "They arch their backs (did they use the same template for the Victoria's Secret bra ad as they did for The Little Mermaid and Pocahontas bursting out of the water scenes?), toss their hair, smile sweetly, and speak softley. They're pretty when they're angry. ..... Disney girls cannot resist a mirror. ..... Disney girls are not complete without a man. ..... A girl can't have her own story or live a life of bravery unless, in the end, she assumes her rightful place. She is not a Disney girl unless she marries."

     Wow! But all that is found in the Disney movies. Most of the time we just haven't really noticed it. Or you already have, and congrats on that! Packaging Girlhoodis a must read for all mother's of girls. We need to learn about what the marketers are trying to turn our girls into, and how to help them. For more information on the book, click one of the links above. You can check for it in your local library, pick it up at your local bookstore, or order a copy online. 


  1. OK this is going on my list right away. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. @Rambling Heather I just finished it up last week and it was really informative. Sometimes hard to read, but necessary.