We’ve reached a turning point around here where Stella is falling victim to advertisements. For the longest time if they were on in front of her, she’d totally ignore them. The only time she would pay any attention to them at all was if there were young children vocalizing. That only does ad execs any good if they’re selling young children. Now, all manner of products are calling to my little girl.
We have a YouTube playlist for her and we can stream it to the TV. One clip her daddy found is of Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba riding dirt bikes. It’s actually an ad for Vans shoes. She used to watch it and just talk about Brobee and bikes. Now, she runs to me, peers at my face, and says rather plaintively “Yo Gabba Gabba shoes?” It breaks my heart.
There is a commercial on the Nick stations now for some bathtime baby doll. It looks cute and rather well-designed, coming with a tub and all manner of bathing materials. The doll itself is your standard blonde-haired cherub-looking thing. It has a purple splotch on its belly. No, this is not a birthmark. It’s dirt, and your job is to bathe the baby. Now, sucker that I am, I keep an Amazon.com wishlist for my kids so that if we or the grandparents want to buy something, there is a list of current items that reflect their interests and sizes. I added some Yo Gabba Gabba shoes. I tried to look for this doll to add. It’s listed for over $50. Holy merde! No way. That’s obnoxious. I added some Dora dolls instead for her castle. They’re cheaper, more portable, and don’t require a tub of water to work.
A year ago, the fact that she wanted that bath baby would have bothered me, as I have avoided gender stereotypes as much as possible. Now, I have come to accept that for most little girls, this nurturing mother-type behavior is hard-wired. I’m also comforted by the fact that Stella is more into dinosaurs than dolls, so it balances out. That being said, there are some products on TV she responds well to that I can’t stand the idea of.
First and foremost is a brand I’ve ranted about before: the Winx Club. This is a cartoon on Nick that also happens to advertise on Nick Jr., inappropriately in my opinion. It’s basically a band of slut fairies. The ad for the cartoon is a music video. Of course little kids love it. It’s crap set to pop music. For the record, there will be no slut fairies in my house, either on TV or in the form of a doll.
Along that same vein is a current Barbie. It’s a mermaid thing with a very fancy tail and hair, both of which change color in water. I realize at some point, my daughter will probably have a Barbie. I guess it’s unavoidable. I don’t like the image of Barbie. But damn you, Mattel, that mermaid angle is genius. It’s not that Stella cares about the bimbo doll. She loves the mermaid tail. If only the Bubble Guppy franchise would get off its ass and merchandise better, it would be easier. There are finally some toys available, but they’re kind of frightening. I, too, respond more favorably to Barbie rather than mer-children that look like partially-melted candles or kids that opened their eyes as the Ark of the Covenant was opened.
So, I guess it’s a new era. One in which my kid starts making her own wish lists for parents and Santa. We will no longer steer her completely by our own ideas of what is cool or desirable in clothing and toys.