Well now, we can’t let Freedom to Read week go by without a little controversy can we? I was reading a story in the Windsor Star this morning out of Ottawa about parents and educators upset with Scholastic bringing Bratz books to school book fairs.
The group says the books promote “precocious sexuality” and shouldn’t be marketed to a captive audience of impressionable young girls at school.
Heck, I don’t like Bratz and was quite happy when my (just recently turned) 12 yr old goddaughter told me she didn’t like them, but still what if she did like them? What’s wrong with that? I mean, I don’t like that she’s a Hilary Duff fan either but I bought her a book on Hilary. Books are about imagination and escape and that means different aspects appeal to every individual. While I agree that the characters and the dolls might not be the best imagery to promote to young girls (seriously, like we all have long sleek hair and round plump lips! – um no), I still don’t think they are that detrimental to their minds. Are they really any worse than Barbie and her friends were to us? (And I do remember having a Barbie book or two, although I played with her horse and RV more than the doll herself.)
I also agree that marketing to kids sucks, especially at schools where there’s “no escape”, but, have you taken a look at our society and what drives it? Despite what so many of us profess (and some actually follow through on), we are in a capitalist society. Thousands of people are manufacturing things to be sold to us and the marketers are just doing their job, just like we’re doing ours. As individuals we can choose the way we live and inform our family about choices, so why should anyone but me decide what books my (hypothetical) child gets to buy? If you don’t want your kid buying it, tell her/him so or don’t give them money! Yeah, it’s no fun being left out, but I know there were times when I missed the book fair because we had no money – I got over it, so will they.