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An Impractical Obsession

May 3rd, 2007 · Written by · No Comments

Another group that’s fighting these impractical images is the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC). The CCFC is dedicated taking the control over children’s minds away from the media and giving it back to parents. The organization evolved from a series of conferences protesting the corporate influence on children and the Golden Marble Awards – the advertising industry’s sordid celebration of marketing to children. To date, the CCFC has 12,000 members and 30 organizational members consisting of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups, and concerned parents.

According to Josh Golin, Program Manager of the CCFC, the media force-feeding children these unnatural notions of beauty has very harmful affects.

“Studies clearly demonstrate the role that the media plays in creating unrealistic expectations about body image,” said Golin. “From a younger and younger age, girls are taught to focus on their appearance, and that the way they look isn’t good enough – they need fashion, products, diets, etc. . . .”

“Studies clearly demonstrate the role that the media plays in creating unrealistic expectations about body image”

The CCFC’s latest victory occurred last year in a battle with the toy company Hasbro. Hasbro wanted to make the girl pop group called “Pussycat Dolls” into, well, actual dolls marketed to girls between the ages of six and nine. If you’re not familiar with the Pussycat Dolls, they are six exceptionally thin women who embody and promote the Westernized standard of beauty – complete with the hit chorus: “don’t ya wish your girlfriend was hot like me.” But in a two-day period, the CCFC, in conjunction with the advocacy group Dads and Daughters, were able to mobilize parents to write Hasbro two thousand letters in protest. It worked; Hasbro took note and canceled the dolls’ release. Now the CCFC is trying to stop Scholastic from selling whorish Bratz dolls and products at elementary school book fairs.

The Battle Abroad

While the CCFC fights our unrealistic standards for women here in America, others are combating them abroad. One campaign, called “Pact Against Anorexia,” was launched in Spain and has roughly two hundred participants. It is attempting to propagate imagery of women that is more realistic or “curvy.” For instance, all fashion models participating in shows will have to be of healthy weight (i.e., if a model is 5’7” tall than she must weigh at least 123 lbs. – the minimum ratio of what is considered healthy by the World Heath Organization). The campaign is promoting healthy eating habits and the regulation of exposure to dieting goods. The city of Madrid is even going so far as to ban thin manikins from stores, replacing them with more full-figured ones. They are also studying 8,500 women between the ages of 12 and 70 in an attempt to determine the average sizes of women. The information will be used to maintain consistency for clothing measurements, rather than varying from brand to brand.

Many other countries have shown interest in joining this movement, including South Korea, Australia, and the U.S., with some already excluding unhealthy, skinny models from participating in their own local fashion shows.

“The fact that the world’s main fashion shows have followed our initiative shows that there is already a consciousness of the seriousness of the problem,” said Madrid Regional Prime Minister Esperanza Aguirre.

But in today’s media landscape, where kids are spending six-and-a-half hours a day plugged into electronic entertainment and teenagers wander through the provocative digital landscape of Myspace, the battle to instill children with a real sense of self-worth is only beginning.

To view the “Evolution” Video, visit:

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