How much is a girl worth?

I was happily chatting on Google Talk today, when In love with a stripper: When Corporations Target Young Girls came into my inbox. How in the holy hell did someone think this was a good idea? Like, seriously, WTF peoples?

The author of this article highlights how corporations are profiting from the susceptibility of children, naming Disney as an obvious example. The question remains, though: when does censorship end and accountability for these corporations begin? It might be enough for a conscientious parent to ensure that their child does not play with a toy like this, or like this… but why are toys like this being made in the first place? In my mind, its just as easy for a research and development team to create a toy that emulates a newscaster, model or other glamorized occupation for girls. But a stripper? For real? With a pole? What is capitalism coming to?

At some point, it would be good if toy companies, distributors and retailers would draw the line between what is acceptable or not. I’m not looking down on strippers per se, but on the corporate mentality that sex sells, even to impressionable young children. Sex does sell, I’m not denying that, and honestly someone is going to find a way to exploit that fact. But when does the innocence and importance of children take precedence over a unique idea or an emerging niche?

I’m so disgusted y’all, for real.

The author states:

In The Mouse that Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence, Dr. Giroux took to task the mega-corporation for its promotion of unsavory ideals to kids. He contended in his wonderful text that kids who watch Disney are raised on a number of values that, often, are detrimental to their emotional well-being. The values being imparted upon them, Giroux wrote, are constructed through a Eurocentric Male Supremacist prism. Thus, young Black girls, whose TV schedule might be entirely devoted to Disney, luck out on all counts.

Young black girls don't have to rely on the Disney channel for the sole source of their corruption, just turn on BET, MTV and VH1 (Flavor of Love, anyone?) and let them form their own, unguided opinions about the value of women, a black woman's image or what society's expectations of women are.

The author further says: Michael Eisner, former CEO of The Walt Disney co., once revealed in an internal memo: "We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective." I mean, I get that. I can’t fault Eisner. His job was to ensure the profitability and market dominance of his company. At what price, though, should children’s souls be sold? At what cost do young girls learn that their bodies are a commodity and they should aspire to this type of career?

Along with these questions, I’m asking myself how much of the blame should parents receive for products like this hitting the market? Because the ultimate profitability of this type of toy rests with the consumer. Just as sex sells, money talks. If these dolls aren’t purchased then companies get the picture that this is not profitable in the marketplace. But I can just see a girl whining and crying in a toy store that she wants this doll, and her mother caving in and buying it. And thus the consumer wheel keeps on turning.

The bottom line is, if we’re concerned about the well-being of our girls, we as consumers should not allow companies to dictate the acceptability of toys. We hold the purse strings and the success of big business in our hands. Our girls are more important than a doll.