Thursday, October 22, 2009

My (no sentences on my kids please) Creative Space

Our dislike of branded things here at our place is not a new topic of conversation for this blog.
I haven't opened up this can of worms before though..

My children are beautiful, your children are beautiful.
Why then do people produce items of clothing such as this?

The sexualisation of children well before their natural time, the marketing 'genius' of mass production and big business, allowing our precious children to be exposed to situations and conversations that they can not possibly understand and societies idea of what is 'good looking'.

Where/when/why did it all go so pear shaped.

When did the average age for girls to stop playing with dolls go from 10-11 to 6!

My small girl came in to our bedroom the other day absolutely bursting with pride because she had dressed herself.

Orange and white stripy dress, purple long sleeved T-shirt, rainbow coloured tights, black 'outside working boots' and a woollen rainbow beanie.
I was so happy because she was so happy. I could see how proud she was of her effort - we previously were needing to help with the pulling of the top over the head bit or the tights.. but not today.

"It's because I'm four" replied my small girl when I asked her how she did it all by herself.

Then, right in the middle of my heart almost bursting with singsong happiness my small girl positioned her body in the "model on red carpet stopping for photo shoot" pose, stuck out her tiny bot' and asked "do I look sexy Mummy?"

The world stopped, I could hear in slow motion, my heart sped up to one bazillion beats a minute and my face fell.


She saw my face go from utter joy and elation to disbelief, fright and finally anger. It was as physical as it was emotional and I couldn't stop it.
I was not and am not angry with her, let me clarify that point right now.

How did she learn such a phrase? How did she learn the pose?
I asked the question and she simply said "the Telly".......

We don't let them watch commercial TV, they are only allowed a very finite amount of time watching ABC!!! and even that is on a rare occasion.
How far off "our" plan for raising our kids have we gone since we swapped roles and I went to work full time?
Undo it.
Take it back.
Erase those images and ideas from my daughters head. She is only four years old.

So when we are asked why we don't like clothes with sentences or why the TV will not be on in the presence of my kids - I feel quite justified in giving my answers - even more so now.

I haven't decided what to do to this yet - it was a gift for the small girl for her fourth birthday.

I do like the bird print though.
Any ideas?

Head over to Kirsty's for more creative spaces this week - and you'll likely find blogs about creating beautiful things rather than an anti slogan rant!

Thank-You - this has been quite cathartic.


Nikki Cardigan said...

I'm nodding and I'm agreeing with you but I have no answers as to why. We can only protect our kids as best we can. By wanting them to be part of this world and all its beauty, we are also exposing them to crappy things.

Check out this post:
It's very cool.

Maybe sew a patch in the shape of the bird over the words and add another couple of random bird patches just for fun!

Erin said...

I feel your pain - it's just awful that little kids pick up things with no idea of what they are actually doing. And it sounds like you are protecting your little girl a lot more than other kids.

Hang in there. I like the idea of appliqueing a bird on it.

Pippi creates said...

Unfortunately its a story we hear all too often and I certainly don't remember thinking about brands and logos when I was a little girl, happily playing around in my Mum's home made clothes (undies and all...). Bad motifs pose no problem for the can do Mum though, definately apply your creative mind to the job: patch over it, add a fake pocket, reverse applique it (then you have the pleasure of cutting it out (evil laugh). And go handmade!

Gina said...

Oh, horror! That's awful. This is making me think because although my boys mostly watch ABC Kids or chosen DVDs they DO see bits of TV when it is switched on of an evening sometimes. Right must put this on the marital discussion table! They aren't girls, but they might grow up commodifying girls if they absorb too much crap...

Jodie said...

Pop an applique over the top of the words....
I know how you feel.....

Thea said...

Scarey! I don't know what the answer is either. Do you ignore it or try to explain that is something a little girl shouldn't worry about?

Sally said...

Peta I have been thinking about this all day - it is such a huge and complex issue. Often as a parent I feel like I'm at sea navigating by the stars with my fingers crossed that I am heading the desired direction.
The older our children grow the more external influences they are exposed to... television, radio, magazines, newspapers, other children, other adults... how to protect them? how to prepare them? I don't know the answers - this is the biggest "winging it" job I've ever undertaken.
As for the pants - go the reverse applique. Cutting it out will be good therapy for you :)

Kate said...

I hear you loud and clear. This is going on at our place and I am constantly gobsmacked. I have no answers but there are NO slogan clothes in our house.

snowflakes4sam said...

Oh Peta the week you have had! I agree with the reverse applique option and maybe yoy could do some free machine embroidery like Nikki and Gina. i'm sure that whatever you come up with will look great.

yardage girl said...

Hmmmm - it sure is hard to protect little ones these days. I know exactly what you mean, and good on you for getting it off your chest. All the other suggestions are great - I was going to say a little pocket. Either way - sentences be gone!

Karen said...

Oh you poor thing - my mouth would have dropped to - it did just reading that!
It is disturbing how these slogans have taken over on kids clothing, and how stereotyped they are too.
I saw a boy of about 3 the other day with a shirt trumpeting "lock up your daughters" - I will, but to protect them from this child's parents.
I was once given pants with "angel babe" acrodd the behind - who wants that on their 2 year old!!
Definitely go the applique and keep the bird.

julie said...

As the mother of a three-year old girl I am right there with you! I think my daughter will be watching Curious George and Clifford until she is 21.

I was going to suggest applique, but I like the idea of a pocket, too.

beck said...

Yes it's annoying and yes it's wrong to try and make our children into little vamps. Keep dressing your kids in appropriate clothing, explain to them about advertising, they can understand more than we give them credit for sometimes. It sounds like you have a great little, imaginative, creative daughter who will no doubt become a strong, independant woman who thinks for herself. She has a great role model! Now, onto other matters, are you moving to Daylesford? Let me know as we live here and would be happy to help with anything to make your move easier. Send me an email if you feel like it, have a great day xo

squareby said...

I don't have kids, but I sympathize. My mom always dressed my sister and I in clothes she made herself, and I thank her for it now. My friends and I were talking last night about "The Jetsons" (what my generation grew up on) versus the things kids nowadays are watching. I wish you the best. With a mother who obviously cares and is as concerned as you, I think your daughter is going to be just fine.

clare's craftroom said...

Oh yes I do understand ! My "little"girl is almost 12 going on 18 and can't understand when she is not allowed to wear clothes that I feel are too old for her . What's wrong with just being 12 ?

Sandrine said...

I am sure you are doing a great job Peta, however children are like sponges when it comes to learning (which is a shame we loose a bit of that learning hability as we grow older!)...If you keep following your heart and explaining things to her she will be fine I am sure (I think making things tabu is worse for them...) Oh I can see a nice applique thing coming up;)xxTake care!

Lee said...

I take it you know all about the Cotton On scandal here in NZ? Disgusting. Such a pity because that make really quality clothing.... The worst thing for me is reading the forums. People actually think the slogan are funny.

74 Lime Lane said...

i can understand why your jaw would have dropped! the archbishop of adelaide gave a speech i think it was just the other night on this - he called it corporate peodeophilia! it's so wrong!

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

I hear you completely and wish the powers that be would do something to protect our children from blatant commercialisation and sexualisation of our children, on our televisions, on clothing, on the sides of buses, out and about in our community, these messages are everywhere. How do we protect our most precious, valuable citizens?

I wish I knew.

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