USA Today Series: Saving Childhood

Have you seen this great series, called Saving Childhood, out this week in USA Today? Journalist Liz Sabo takes on several key issues we discuss here regularly, including early puberty in girls, the sexualization and marketing of childhood, increasing rates of chronic childhood diseases, children spending less time outside, and less time and value for unstructured play.

In this article, Parents Decry Marketers Who Push Sexuality on Little Girls, I am quoted a few times (but alas, no mention of Non-Toxic Kids!). This article hits at the heart of a growing problem that has been on my mind and all over the media and books in recent months, the marketing and sexualizing of children in the media. I’ve been working on a review of the fantastic new book from Peggy Orienstein for awhile now, on this very subject. Her book is called Cinderella Ate My Daughter and it is an amazing journey into this issue from the inside out. More on that later.

Recently, we’ve heard of push up bikini tops for 7 year olds, and a few months ago, Walmart’s new tween makeup line. Sabo’s article highlights the push back from parents about this marketing. There are some great tips for parents in each article, real doable stuff for busy parents, such as this list of possible ways to reduce the risk of early puberty in girls.

As for me? Here’s some of what I had to say on the topic:

“Farber says she still tries to protect her 3- and 6-year-old daughters from harmful imagery. The girls don’t watch TV and rarely go shopping.

“A lot of people would think we’re extreme,” Farber says. “But I want our girls to have this idea that they’re beautiful in all kinds of settings. They’re beautiful when they’re in the pool. They’re beautiful when they’re doing science. They’re beautiful when they’re doing all the things that kids do, not just when they have a matching outfit.”

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