Wednesday, September 4, 2013

From Boycotting Pink to Defining Asexuality: Modern Fairy Tales


Here's a train of thought piece I wrote a little while back, enjoy!

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I’ve recently been reading a book about the effects of societal imagery and marketing on the minds of girls and women.  At least at the beginning, it was framed in the stereotypical paranoid characterized feminist manner – much as the title ‘Cinderella Ate My Daughter’ would lead you to expect.  As I read statistic after statistic, anecdote after anecdote, the authoress seemed to make the probability of my experience of upbringing to be very low, as if the likelihood such things should have not been a part of my childhood the feat of almost god-like powers on my parent’s part.  

Sure, I grew to feel the need to boycott pink as a child, 




and I never doubted for a second that, without any work whatsoever, once I reached a certain age I would suddenly have Barbie©’s body – exactly.  



In addition, I couldn’t quite decide what ‘I wanted to be when I grew up’ (a question asked practically daily in America at least), but I finally decided I would wear high heels
 (a la the heroines in forties movies, simple, black, elegant) 


and have an office: possibly corroborating the theory that girls feel obligated and compelled to ‘have it all’, and that though women post-1920 can vote and post-1980 have a decent desk job beyond the secretarial, we also need to look cutting-edge at the same time.  



Extraneous from these admissions however, I couldn’t find much else in common with the cultural trends the authoress sourced.  Both my parents have career jobs – my father works at risk management at a major bank, my mother is a neurologist specialized in stroke treatment – and they never felt buying pink promoted femininity, and more importantly, that not buying pink promoted asexuality.  They simply bought clothes they thought looked good on us, and bought the books that taught nice lessons or were well written, and bought a variety of films, again based on quality and their specific taste – our only cartoon movie for quite a few years was ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit.’  



I played with a few Barbie©’s, but I didn’t have many, and though I shifted a few dresses, it was more about role playing in whatever constructed situation; I had an American Girl doll, but and I think I read one of the poorly constructed non-historically accurate books, but I found it as vapid as it was, and even didn’t bother to find out the girl’s name, and soon tired of playing with the doll, instead spending hours staring at the tiny Victorian bag with the slate and tiny chalk.  The list goes on, but I have other objectives to tackle.  I didn’t have much interest in sports but I loved rolling on hills and I loved playing kickball – a mix of baseball and soccer.  I collected dead bugs on an sophisticated level (whenever I found a new species, I would put it in my transparent grid box and label it with my father’s help).  




In short, my parents raised me on their joint interests, and though my father did a little more scheming to make sure we always read books with positive heroines – down to making an animal character that could be either sex female instead of male when he read before our literacy – 


(specifically, "Jooka Saves the Day" by Gilles Eduar)

overall, they didn’t bother to discriminate this or that influence, and especially, exposed us to their adult interests and tastes more often then delineated things specific to childhood.

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Here's a tidbit I'll add to those thoughts of a few months ago:

To really have a field day concerning the implications of how women are "targeted" in various media these days, watch the web comical commentary series "Target Women."

video
to see this video on youtube, click here
(I just uploaded in case the youtube link expires)

P.S. Cut N' Style Barbie was my favorite Barbie growing up, only i lost all her extensions early on and didn't get for years why she had less hair and some Velcro on the back of her head.  i just loved her choker and earrings.  I still have her, and I still love her (she's on my desk right now actually, the result of a recent passionate urge to research everything Barbie, but that'll be another post), though I've long lost her original dress.


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