Um...Is It Okay to Sell "Sexy" to 3-Year Olds Now?

Maybe it's time we tell toy companies to stop selling sex to our three year olds -- even if that's what they want

Remember Candy Land? Bet you don’t remember Princess Folly being sexy or Queen Frostine being busty and wearing fishnets! Good old, wholesome Candy Land has gone the way of Disney Princesses and Bratz dolls.

According to the toy makers they are simply “reflecting the changing taste of their demographic.”

Sadly, they aren’t wrong. In study after study very young children have been shown to prefer thinner and sexier characters. Girls prefer a midriff-baring, mini-skirted doll to one wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and when asked to choose a game piece to represent themselves, they prefer a thin game piece to a “normal” weight or fat game piece (going so far as being unwilling to touch the fat piece.)

Let me just suggest that even if 3 to 6 year olds prefer products that are “sexy,” we probably still shouldn’t sell them to them. They also enjoy sticking forks in light sockets but we don’t say, “well, that’s what our consumer base wants…”

I don’t mean to wring my hands and plead, “Won’t somebody think of the children!” but, geez, won’t somebody think of the children? It seems like we should be working hard to figure out how to reverse the scourge of over-sexualization that we have brought upon our kids. Instead, toy makers think we should let a generation steeped in padded bras for 7-year olds decide what they “want.”

The stakes are high -- The Journal of Pediatrics has identified bullying of overweight/obese children as the #1 type of bullying that takes place, and hospitalizations for eating disorders in kids under twelve are up 119% in the last decade. That’s not surprising when you know that 47 percent of girls in fifth through twelfth grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures, 42 percent of first through third graders want to be thinner, and a whopping 81 percent of 10 years olds are afraid of becoming fat. But why wait until 10 years old when you can start sexualizing kids, and making it clear that there is only one standard of beauty, when they are three. It’s never too soon to start stealing kids’ self-esteem, cheapening it and selling it back to them at a profit.

Three year olds aren’t buying board games, it’s absolutely up to adults to have some sense and refuse to buy this stuff. We’ve got to stand up for kids and say enough is enough -- let Hasbro know that we’ll be buying retro versions of Candy Land on eBay until they can get it together and create a game that will help kids learn to count without a side of body shame and sexualization.

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