Operation Caffeination

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Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones Never Sounded Better

with 5 comments

There is no doubt that Western children inhabit a frighteningly gender stereotyped, sexually-charged world. The world my children are growing up in feels foreign to me, unlike anything I’ve even read about, perhaps aside from Atwood’s all-too-believable version of our society’s possible dystopian future.

Concerned parents are anxiously trying to protect their children from what has been aptly termed a “sexualized wallpaper” of media and marketing directed at our kids. How do we combat something so pervasive?

Could it really be as simple as just #notbuyingit?




Only time will tell, but I can tell you this: you will not find Barbie pink or anything adorned with skulls and flames anywhere in nature. Our prescriptive gendered color palettes were invented at a marketing meeting, not discovered by children engaged in healthy, active outdoor play.

Reconnecting with the earth may turn out to be the only way to protect our kids from the media’s narrow understanding of what it means to be human.


5 Responses

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  1. I first encountered the color thing as a kid interested in trains. Lionel had train sets in “boys” and “girls” colorations. I remember thinking, “Why would any kid want to play with a powder-blue or pink steam engine?” Today, my version of that is, “Why do they need a steam engine at all?”
    There are still versions of this aimed at adults, like when I step into a Patagonia store and the women’s section is not only a different color palette, but also always right next to the kids’ section. It’s my firm belief, however, that if you’re aware that marketing and advertising is at work, then it DOESN’T work. I’m not bragging, but most of the time, I’m aware that I’m being advertised to, and that might be the best defense to arm kids with: let them know what advertising and marketing is, and let them know when it’s being used.


    March 6, 2012 at 4:19 am

    • I totally agree. I know from experience that it is entirely possible to raise a child without the “assistance” of the media…or at least it was when my parents did it! It is scary to look around and realize how high the stakes have climbed in our culture, but at the same time, what a great opportunity to pass some valuable critical thinking skills on to the next generation.


      March 6, 2012 at 7:09 am

  2. Thanks for the link to my post. I’ve just shared it on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/themulesmouth. Your blog looks fascinating I can’t wait to explore it some more! x

    The Mule

    March 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    • Thank you! I love following your blog. Thanks for your work on the Amazon petition!


      March 16, 2012 at 11:14 pm

  3. This. I can’t claim to be even interested in being media-free, but I will be damned (possibly, literally) if I let my children wander into those worlds without any kind of armour against the messages they’re going to hear. So we watch television, we read books, we go shopping and we talk about the things we see, the things we hear, how they make us think and feel. And then we GO OUTSIDE, because blue skies and sunshine and sand and grass and fresh air are so, so good for them, and I don’t have to worry about the trees trying to sell them anything or the wind trying to tell them that they aren’t good enough as they are.


    March 12, 2012 at 4:50 am

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