Sunday, May 06, 2007

Girl's and Self-Esteem

I've mentioned before that I'm the anti-Bratz mom. I was sent this article, "Are Bratz Dolls Too Sexy," which raises some interesting points: The Bratz Web site is rife with examples that seem to play to that point. While waiting for the transition from one screen to another, the message flashes “Please wait … it takes time to look this good.” And included in the “profiles” of the dolls is each one’s “favorite body part.” “Little girls shouldn’t be thinking of their body parts in that way,” says Linn. “Plus, the very idea of a ‘favorite’ part encourages you to think about your least favorite.”

I haven't let my daughter onto this site at all. The sites she does visit are:
NickJr, Noggin, Sprouts Online, StarFall, Playhouse Disney, PBS Kids and I will be honest and admit she likes However, we'll balance it out more. **

As a mother, I'm concerned about my daughter's self esteem and how she will develop an attitude towards her own body and those of others. I'm very conscious about not talking about fat, but steering the conversation to health (e.g., it's important to exercise so you can stay healthy and live long). Annika's perfectly slender - actually too thin, per my mother. But who knows what she's going to hear and see from friends.

I came across Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty site, which has a mother-daughter decoder. I loved it because some of the translations are right on target. I think as a parent we shouldn't forget what went through our minds when we were on the other side. When I assure Annika that she looks attractive no matter what, I remember my parents saying the same thing. However, I used to wave off their comments because they HAVE to say I'm pretty.

Also, the Dove site is good because of the anonymous forum where young girls can reach out to other women for guidance and input.

This is one more challenge we have as mothers.

** Side note for kids on the computer: I created a separate Guest user ID for her without ability to download programs. Also, the password is her name so she enjoys typing it out. Lastly, I made all of her sites shortcuts on the desktop. So she can open directly to the site. This works for us now. We'll see what security measures need to be in place when she can actually read!

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