Apr 11 2010

Born to Buy: Part II

Published by at 10:29 pm under Reflection Blog,Uncategorized

In Schor’s book, Born to Buy she exposes the harsh realities behind the advertising to children consumers. The need to give our children everything they want and efforts to “teach” them are in reality destroying a children’s youth. In class we watched a program showing Baby Einstein, a baby T.V. program that is run by Disney, which is supposed to promote the babies ability to learn. However, Schor and others have proven that heavy watching of television is harmful and makes it harder for children to focus, and this is regardless of how beneficial the program claims to be. The harmful effects are not invisible ailments, they are visible and continue to affect the children throughout the rest of their lives. The risk of this supposed harmless past time is astounding. Childhood bipolar disorder, ADHD, ADD, diabetes and hypertension have begun emerging. Children are being told their imagination isn’t good enough and they have to watched T.V. to be able to supply their creative needs.
Though children are dealing with the health damages and the social/emotional effects of ads and television. The ad agency is not claiming responsibility for the damages they have created in treating children as consumer; instead they blame it on the parent’s lack of responsibility over their children. “Marketers blame parents for the excesses of the consumer culture, if children have become to materialistic, or obese, or aggressive, it’s because parents aren’t doing their jobs”(183). Companies are suggesting parents are the ones who have lost control of their children and they have the responsibility to decide what the child consumes. I personally do feel that parents could and should exert control over their children. However, it is expecting a lot of parents to be constantly attentive to their children especially when advertisers have infiltrated schools.
In the afterward to Schor’s book I was happy to see that parents are no longer allowing television stations to promote female objectification. “Sex is now what parents are most concerned about in terms of content, especially sex on television, in part because they believe watching TV sex leads kid to have sex earlier”(214). Images of half exposed woman bumping and grinding lead young men to expect all women to look and act that way, while the same images teaches young girls this is how they are supposed to be. Barbie versus Bratz is a good example of the changing in advertising values. Barbie in her day was debated because of her unrealistic body type, yet now Barbie is considered much more modest than the Bratz doll sensation. Bratz dolls have more make-up on than they do clothing and their themes are all centered on boys and dates (at least Barbie could be a vet or babysitter).
In class we also watched some of a man attempting to revive healthy eating in a school in Huntington, West Virginia where obesity rates are the highest in the country. He is met with serious hostility citizens that are not willing to adjust the eating habits of their youngsters, who can’t tell their veggies apart. Despite him cooking healthy meals children still choose the unhealthy food. This goes along with Schor’s book mentioning that children when given a chose are not going to choose the right food unless they have been educated to know the difference between good and bad. The idea that junk food may be “the next tobacco”(216) does not seem far-fetched when observing the children in Huntington, West Virginia. Schor though is not horribly pessimistic and acknowledges that changes could be made easily if the government stepped in and regulated and more education was provided to parents so they could help educated their children so they will grow up and not only be slaves to consumerism.

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