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Monday, September 17, 2012

There's nothing funny about this blog, as a matter of fact, I am pissed!

Nothing gets me more excited than finding the Sears Wish Book in my mailbox. Every since I was a kid I loved this catalogue more than any other. It meant Christmas was coming. A week after it was delivered I would have every page memorized. My children carry on this same tradition. When I came home yesterday and found the 2012 Wish Book in my mailbox I was delighted. I boiled the kettle, poured my tea, ripped off the plastic cover and began to study each page.

Until I got to page 18. Then I was horrified!
It started out innocently enough. Pages 10 and 11 are full of Hello Kitty lunch boxes and snowsuits. Pages 12 and 13 are full of Star Wars. Who knew the light saber would last this long? Pages 14 and 15 are all super heroes. How often can Batman be reinvented? Pages 16 and 17 are rock-n-roll gifts. Pages 18 and 19 are full of Playboy....Playboy? What the hell?

Why are Playboy products being advertised in the Christmas toy section? Did I miss something. I flip through the pages again. No. Right in between Rock-n-roll T-shirts and hockey stuff is Playboy! And not just the usual Playboy stuff. This stuff is in bright girly pink and white. Directly marketed at tween and teen girls. The products include Playboy flannel sheets, Playboy 3-Pc comforter set, Playboy hanging organizer and Playboy bunny bling handbags. The page features a girl who looks to be around 12-13 years old with the bunny bling handbag over her shoulder.
The products have names like etched leopard, Leo hart bunny, Playboy Prep and bunny bling!

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I am no prude. I will be the first one to stand up and defend a women's right to her own body. I completely believe what a woman does with her body is her own business. And what consenting adults do is their own business. As long as it does not involve children or animals, I don't care how you get your jollies.

But I draw the line when a men's magazine that features nude women starts direct marketing to tween and teen girls. I am also in the marketing business and I have to admit, Playboy's strategy is smart. They are target marketing their products to the 10-19 year demography.
But why? Why dumb the product down and target young girls? Easy one. To desensitize them and their parents from what their magazine is really about. The worst part is, there are parents who are stupid enough to buy Playboy products for their tweens and teens.

"What' the big deal? It shuts her up. It's not like she's posing for the centerfold."
Really? You're ok with a 12 year old girl going to school with a Playboy bunny logo on her. What do you think that tells boys about her? Or other girls? But the most important question is, what do you think it tells her? I just keep hearing PInk's song "Stupid Girls" in my head and the line "What happened to the dream of a girl president?"

I have nothing against Playboy bunnies. I admire what Hugh Hefner has built. He is a visionary and a smart business man. I don't even buy into the notion that the bunny costume is insulting to women. Once again, it's a women's body. Get your nose out of her cleavage.
The thought of a parent ordering Playboy flannel sheets and the bunny bling bag for her 12 year for Christmas upsets me. This will be one of her first introductions to what she thinks a boy wants. A Playboy Bunny, not a girl President.

I am so upset with Sears for going along with this that I threw my Wish Book in the garbage. On the inside cover, the President and CEO of Sears Canada Inc., Calvin McDonald, talks about the Wish Book as a Holiday tradition for millions of Canadian families. He talks about delivering the catalogues as a young child. Then finishes with how proud he is be part of this iconic Canadian Holiday tradition for so many families.
So, he does understand that families mean children right? He does understand that children will be making up their Christmas lists while reading the Sears Wish Book right? Is he ordering the baby pink Playboy Satin Sheet Set for his daughter? Will his daughter be sporting the bunny bling bag in the new year? Should I expect Hustler to have a two page layout in next year's Wish Book? Maybe Sears can reach that 10-19 year old male demography with some cool blow up dolls. I mean why stop at Playboy. It's just an innocent name like Nike or Pepsi.

Or is it?
Nike's advertisement campaigns target young people and inspires them to get active in sports. To "Just Do It." The Pepsi generation is happy and can do anything. (I know. I don't let my kids drink it either.)

Playboy. That's where young girls take off all their clothes and pose naked. Where you lay spread eagle on a fur rug in the centerfold, if you're lucky, with a staple in your vagina.
Where do we sign our daughters up for that? Let's start at Sears.

Is it bad parenting to buy Playboy products for your tween or teen daughter? Well, if you saw a 14 year old girl standing on the school playground when you dropped off your child and she was wearing sweatpants with Playboy written on the butt and a bunny bling bag over her shoulder, what would your first thoughts be? "There's the girl I hope my son marries!" "Boy I hope my daughter hangs out with her!"
Are we sexualizing young girls too soon? Can't they have a childhood anymore?

I know raising teenagers is hard. I know you get tired and sometimes it's just easier to say "Yes" to get them to shut up and leave you alone, but sometimes you have to hold your ground and fight.  I am not a crazy church lady or a hard core feminist. I am a Mom of a 12 year old girl. I also remember what it is like to be a 12 year old girl. We negotiate every day with skirt lengths, see through blouses and eye-liner. But Playboy is out of the question. My daughter will not wear the Playboy logo.
I am so disappointed in Sears' bad judgment on this. I trusted Sears to be a family store. I welcomed the Sears Wish Book into my home as part of my Christmas tradition. Now I feel betrayed.

Mr. McDonald you snuck one past me. You threw a men's magazine into the toy pile when I wasn't looking. You are the Grinch that stole.
I am pissed at you.