For Parents: Another reason why piracy is the better choice

Adverts targetted at children are some of the most sexist stuff around. Allowing children to see them constantly is a goddamn crime.

I just saw this video about advertisement targeted to children and I couldn’t agree more.

This kind of stuff simply disgusts me. If advertisements are is bad enough when targeted at adults, they’re even moreso when targetted specifically to pre-teen children who are far too moldable to external expectations and input. Having to deal with the question of whether I should let my future children watch TV and be indoctrinated by this shit, or act as an authoritarian and forbid TV altogether is one decision I do not look forward to.

Fortunately I hope by the time I have to decide, the question will not be relevant anymore. Hopefully entertainment will have primarily moved to a more interactive model such as gaming and the children will be allowed to choose the kind of things they like to play with, without feeling pressured by society’s expectations to like what “good little boys” and “nice little girls” should like in the most manipulative manner (meaning: even more than the gender-targeted shows do, eg He-Man for boys, Little Pony for Girls).

For those of you who have to make this decision now however, there is always an alternative: Switch to downloading the actual shows your children want to see directly, as a way bypass the averts they would be bombarded with on TV. This will provide you with a far vaster library in which you can find the shows of higher quality (as opposed to whatever the brain-dead schedule TV channels decide to throw at you), and if your children are peer-pressured at school to watch the same stuff all the cool kids are watching, then you can simply download those directly and avoid the unnecessary indoctrination around them.

14 thoughts on “For Parents: Another reason why piracy is the better choice”

  1. Yeah, unfortunately toy stores and children's clothing aren't much better. Clothing is becoming a bit better with more variants to colors, but this kind of thing is so embedded within our society it's disgusting. Of couse can you can be raised on My Little Pony and still end up in a masculine dominated career (and I personally wouldn't mind to become a video game developer but that's not where my actual interests lie) but ultimately it's all about social structures. When people suggest me to get a job, guess what they always have as first choice? Elderly care. And it's the least thing in the world I want to work with and I've told them so, yet they insist.

  2. I think the last thing that one should do, if they hope to foster healthy, skeptical attitudes in their children, is to shield them from things they don't want their children to see. I mean, I'm a massive proponent of radical unschooling, so authoritarian parenting techniques are pretty much a big no no, at least in my opinion. I feel like shielding children from advertising will produce results similar to when you shield them from other things. You don't prepare them for encountering it as adults, you don't create an environment where they feel like they can come to you with their questions about it, and you don't encourage them to think rationally about it.

    Many unschooling parents I've encountered, rather than shielding their children, expose them to those things and talk about them openly. They sit down with their kids when they watch television and have rational discussions about why the advertisements exist, what they're meant to accomplish, and how they make the children feel. This approach is honest, respectful of childrens' autonomy and ability to think for themselves, and also effective, from what I've seen.

    All this being said, downloading stuff is pretty cool.

    1. An Interesting tactic but I still cautious about it. Advertisement acts subconsiously and I'm doubtful of the capacity of very young children who might be barely at the age of reason, to combat it correctly. I'm afraid that even though logically they might have accepted that adverts is trying to affect their behaviour, they will still be psychologically affected and pushed towards the societal norms. This is very worrying for young girld who might start to internalize that they are not creative/constructive enough to play with the boy toys.But perhaps I'm horribly wrong.

      Anyway, I'm not suggesting to completely block them from seeing adverts, but rather to make it so that they do not want or have to.

    2. That's pretty much what my parents did with me. We watched tv together (often news shows) and then talked about what we watched. I still internalized all kinds of shit, but I definitely got the critical thinking skills to be able to question it, especially later on. I had a couple friends who tried to limit their children's exposure to popular culture and commercials and just ended up caving when their children got into school and had a hard time relating to other kids.

  3. I think I did ok watching these types of things growing up (to answer her early question in the video, yes, it was like this when we were growing up in the 80s, we just didn't realize it). But I honestly didn't differentiate what was meant for me and what wasn't. I wanted a Littlest Pet Shop and an Easy Bake Oven, just as much as I wanted Transformers and He-Man. So while I agree that kids are too stupid to realize that they're being advertised to, I wonder if we're begging the question by assuming they're smart enough to know which ones they're "supposed to" respond to.

    I may be a special case, though, because my parents actually taught me critical thinking and reasoning skills, which are scarce these days even in adults. That can go a long way towards helping kids recognize where their opinions come from and make thoughtful decisions.

  4. but don´t forget that you have stereotypical socialization within the series itself. so the advertising is just one part of the whole thing creating your identity and world thinking.
    and there is also a problem when parents leave their kids alone in front of the tv and don´t really bother about the shows or their content. therefor you can blame the industry and their market strategies but you have also to blame the parents. both (and more factors) are responsible for the environment of the human psych and self-relationship.

    1. Of course, but my question in this case is what would a responsible parent do if they want to minimize societal conditioning to expected gender roles.

  5. This is only effective to the extent that the shows themselves are free of advertising and other manipulative messages. The observable trend is that TV producers are quite aware that fewer people are seeing the adverts, and increasing the placement of adverts within the shows.

    1. You mean making them part of the show, as in, showing a girl playing with a particular branded doll? I've seen very little of this to tell you the truth, and there's only so much they can do in the show without compromising the in-show character of the actor, so even if that becomes more prominent, it will never be as crass as raw adverts.

  6. I think she’s being a little facetious, though, in terms of her performative surprise. I mean…she’s sitting there wearing completely gendered attire, using very gendered facial expressions and speaking in a very gendered tone. hehehe. 🙂 Her gendered presentation is grounded in that exact same culture she is attempting to supposedly expose. I think if she were to look in the mirror and start asking herself some really hard questions about who she is and how she came to be and then went from there into taking a look at how she was raised and the sorts of messages she received, then went and looked at those commercials, she would be fully able to understand what was happening and be able to implicate herself in it, as well. I mean…what kinds of messages does she send to girl children who even take a look at her? I don’t think it’s all about what the media offer to our children and whether we choose to allow them to engage with it. The media is diseased and downloading is way better. But the reality is, our children receive messages from us and from the other people around them about gender. Beyond what the screen is offering them, what do adults offer them?

    1. Um…you are criticising her for her individual choices as an obviously well-informed, intelligent woman. How dare she look feminine! Feminism is about choice. If a woman wishes to point out sexism, that is completely valid, regardless of what she chooses to wear. Similarly, my choosing to wear a dress and/or makeup, does not render my critiques of our destructive culture invalid.

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