My little Valentine’s girl will turn 9 on Wednesday, so Maggie and I were in Dumfries this morning searching the shops for potential birthday presents. Unfortunately I’ve never been great at buying gifts at the best of times, but trying to get into the mindset of a 9-year-old female is beyond me altogether.
Every shop that sells toys has shelves and shelves of pink and fluffy things, including many things that clearly don’t benefit from being pink and fluffy, like pink and fluffy wellies for example. Mind you, I can’t see how little girl’s wellies can benefit from having high heels either. Isn’t that an unnecessary attempt at the sexualisation of prepubescent girls? On the one hand society has made us fear the potential paedophile who seemingly lurks on every street corner, but at the same time young children are being bombarded with clothes, make-up, fashions and role models that are designed to turn them into hip and happening, sexually liberated ladettes before they even reach double figures. Am I the only one who finds this aspect of our culture not just distasteful, but obscene?
Perhaps it’s just my age. Maybe I’ll soon be filling this blog with entries of “it wasn’t like this in my day…” and “I remember when youth had respect for their elders…” and “call that music…?”
But I do find the body shape fascism of girls dolls quite disturbing. We’ve never bought into the whole Barbie thing (see Death to Barbie), but there are other girlz on the block that are just as insidious. Bratz seem to be everywhere at the moment: Bratz dolls, Bratz magazines, Bratz clothes, Bratz pencil cases and Bratz school bags, Bratz pyjamas, Bratz wellies, Bratz computers, Bratz bicycles; it goes on forever. And that’s before you start including their spin-offs Kidz and Sisterz and Babyz.
I wonder if I could set up some rival toys called Gagz and Pukez.
We came home feeling slightly shell-shocked and no presents to show. A sensible pair of walking boots and perhaps Ice Age II on DVD, now seem the likeliest contenders.