November 5, 2013
Packaging Girlhood illustrates to parents the image of girls as ‘sexy, boy-crazed shoppers’ that’s being packaged and sold to their daughters. The book aims to equip parents with the tools to raise their daughters’ awareness of these stereotypes so they might help them resist the influence of such images. The book explores concepts such as ‘girl-power’ being adapted by marketers to mean “the power to shop and attract boys and how girls are encouraged to use their “voice” to choose accessorizing over academics, sex appeal over sports, and boyfriends over friends.”
“We try to expose these stereotypes and the very limited choices presented of who girls are and what they can be. We give advice to parents about how they can guide their daughters through these negative images without always saying no. As most parents, have learned, you can’t turn off the world. And, it’s easy, sometimes to see the appeal of that bright shiny world they’re selling her.”
The book examines issues surrounding what they wear, hear, watch, read and play with between the ages of 3-18.
“We did our research, asking our sample of over 600 girls all sorts of questions from what cartoons they watch to what lyrics keep going over and over in their head. We take a perspective that’s different from many other psychologists. We look at the world AROUND the girl rather than the inner girl. Actually, we think that discussion has run its course and that it’s becoming a problem for girls that people are always looking at what’s inside of them instead of all the things coming at them 60 mph.”
The authors have written a sequel, ‘Packaging Boyhood’ exploring media images and messages that encourage slacking over studying; competition over teamwork; power over empowerment; and being cool over being oneself.
“In Packaging Boyhood, we scrutinise cartoons, videogames, movies, and more for stereotypes that marketers and the media sell boys about what it means to be a boy. We also offer advice to parents about how to talk with their sons about these troubling images, and provide parents with tools to help their sons resist these messages and have more choice about how to live their lives.”
Read more about the issues surrounding ‘packaging girlhood’ and packaging boyhood’ on the authors’ blogs: http://www.packaginggirlhood.typepad.com/ and http://packagingboyhood.com/blog/
About the authors:
Sharon Lamb, Ed.D. is a mother, professor, and clinical psychologist. She is the author of four books, including the The Secret Lives of Girls: What Good Girls Really Do – Sex, Aggression, and their Guilt, a celebration of girls’ resistance to conform to the “good girl” mould.
Dr Lamb graduated university with a double major in English and Music, and received both her masters degree in Counselling and Consulting Psychology and her doctorate in Human Development from Harvard University. She is Professor of Psychology at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont, where she teaches courses in clinical psychology, child and adolescent development, and gender. She is a board member of the Association for Moral Education, a fellow of the Psychology of Women Division of the American Psychological Association, and a member of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.
Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D. is a mother, professor, and community activist. She graduated university with a major in Counselling Psychology and received her doctorate from Harvard University in Human Development and Psychology. She is Professor of Education and Human Development at Colby College in Waterville, Maine where she teaches courses in adolescent development and girls’ development.
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