Friday, May 05, 2006

merchandise

my daughter received this "girl fun pc" as a gift recently > > >

according to v-tech:
Girls just want to have fun—and with this hip, password-protected laptop, they will! Guided by talkative virtual friends she creates, your child will go to town playing fun, fashion-focused games that teach key skills in math and spelling. As she advances through the arcade-style games, your child adds value to her debit card, which she can use to buy pets and accessories in the Digital Pet Shop. With a magic lipstick stylus, flower-shaped keys and cool animations on the large LCD screen, Girl Fun PC makes an awesome impression on girls—and their learning!

i certainly do not want to sound ungrateful, but i was disappointed at this blatant stereotyping of what girls are supposed to be "into"... makeup, clothes, money, fashion... after completing a task, my daughter was urged by her digital friend, "let's go shopping!"... it's like the kid-sized shopping carts at some supermarkets that say "customer in training" on them. get 'em while they're young and mold them into consumers who want - need - more stuff! yikes.

there's nothing wrong with girls being "girly"... in fact, my daughter loves all things princess these days. i guess my issue is the underlying consumer-mentality - that, somehow, learning is not a worthwhile goal in itself; the great reward is the cash money. i suppose the manufacturer did make some effort to teach fiscal responsibility (it's a debit, not a credit, card). but i don't know.... the stylus is a "magic lipstick" tube? i guess girls don't want to use technology unless it's directly related to makeup or the mall?

as a father, i want my daughter to find her worth and identity in our heavenly Father, not in some kind of marketing agenda. we don't need any more help in trying to fill the void with things other than Christ.


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"you are not what you own." - ian mackaye

2 Comments:

Blogger Dawn said...

I came here via the link on your Relevant article. (Which was wonderful, by the way.) As a girl, I have to say that the "computer" is a little disturbing; there are the consumeristic elements you described, and then there's also the assumption that girls won't be interested in stuff unless it involves makeup and shopping. I loved playing video games growing up (and still would if they didn't take so much time), and while Mortal Kombat has its own set of issues, all the games marketed toward girls looked terrible.

2:30 AM  
Anonymous reyes-chow said...

Thanks for the thoughts. I am a father of three girls: 9, 5 and 2 and TOTALLY relate to the struggles around the perpetuation of so much crappy stuff. It is hard enough to raise them with strong self worth and a sense community without the world continuing to hold them down by generalize assuptions. I can only hope we let them experience a world view that allows them to, in the words of my mom, "Make good choices."

4:22 PM  

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