"But every breakdown’s like
Sassy sidekick, bitchy nerd or neighbor
Oversexed Asian, urban girls with flavor
We don’t care
We’ll take any job right now we swear
And we’re gonna be Typecast
Everyone starts somewhere”
Everyone seems to think that girls are notorious for being “bitchy” to each other, starting drama, and competing to be the most attractive or have a certain boyfriend. Girls are known for being the more passive aggressive and judgmental gender. Guys have just as much “drama” as girls do, and can be just as mean to each other. Yet, the phrases “dramatic,” “catty” and “bitchy” are used exclusively for girls. And now it’s not just the media that’s promoting this stereotype, it’s “science!” It’s been decided, based on whatever reasoning: Girls are mean by nature, and there’s nothing that can be done.
Who Is Good at This Game? Linking an Activity to a Social Category Undermines Children’s Achievement
Children’s achievement-related theories have a profound impact on their academic success. Children who adopt entity theories believe that their ability to perform a task is dictated by the amount of natural talent they possess for that task—a belief that has well-documented adverse consequences for their achievement (e.g., lowered persistence, impaired performance). It is thus important to understand what leads children to adopt entity theories. In the experiments reported here, we hypothesized that the mere act of linking success at an unfamiliar, challenging activity to a social group gives rise to entity beliefs that are so powerful as to interfere with children’s ability to perform the activity. Two experiments showed that, as predicted, the performance of 4- to 7-year-olds (N = 192) was impaired by exposure to information that associated success in the task at hand with membership in a certain social group (e.g., “boys are good at this game”), regardless of whether the children themselves belonged to that group.
Weeping wishing I still had access to my university’s library portal right now. I want to read this so bad.
You’ve Been SPARK’d!invites you to call attention to sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and other negative stereotypes in media. We want people to talk back everywhere—on ads on the street, between the pages of magazines, on toy packaging and movie posters, anywhere that you see something that you want to call out. It’s easy to do yourself: some post-its, a marker, and a camera (your phone will do) and you’re good to go.
But with your support, we can take it further— think notes in the shape of speech bubbles, so you can show everyone what the people in the ads are REALLY thinking. Think arrows to draw attention to particularly egregious parts of merchandise packaging. Think premade sticky notes that have a URL across the bottom, inviting everyone who sees them to a website where they can share their photos, see what other people are saying to advertisers, and find out how to get in on the action. Think a coordinated movement.
We need $5000 to get this campaign done right, and we need everyone’s help to do it! Please check out & share our campaign and consider donating what you can. Every dollar counts!
SHOPPING: just like winning an Olympic sporting event!
Congrats to 14 year old Adora Svitak, the winner of Women’s Media Center’s Girls State of the Union Contest!
People have told us “if you want your daughter to play with other LEGOs, buy them for her!” Those of us with daughters have and will. But this isn’t just about parents and their kids; it’s about all children. By age 2, children internalize the narrow messages about gender sent to them by culture and media. By age 5, they’re concerned with expressing those roles as best as they can. These internalized expectations follow them through their lives: research shows that exposure to stereotypical notions of gender in media can affect girls’ and women’s performance in math, and discourages girls and women from stepping outside the perceived bounds of femininity.
In other words, even kids who will never own a LEGO set in their lives are absorbing the messaging of this hyper-gendered marketing campaign. When girls see commercial after commercial of other girls hanging out by the pool, doing their hair, cruising in their convertible, and playing with animals, they begin to think that those are they ways they’re supposed to play; that those are the things they’re supposed to do now and in the future. Meanwhile, toys marketed to boys—including pretty much any LEGO that isn’t part of the Friends line—send a much healthier message that boys can be anything: cops, spacemen, pirates, kings, city workers, engineers, presidents.
We want LEGO, who by their own mission are “not about products, but … human possibility,” to really think about the messages their current marketing is sending. We want pastel colors, cupcakes, robots, and wizards to live side by side in the most fantastical adventures that kids can think of. We want boys and girls to play together with a variety of toys in a variety of colors, not separately with different versions of the same product.
On the broader issue, Stella Gilgur-Cooke of Forest Hills said she intentionally doesn’t buy princess items, but her 3-year-old daughter still knows all their names and what the dresses look like.
Ms. Gilgur-Cooke said her daughter asks her things like whether she’s pretty or ugly. And when she asked her daughter what she wants to be when she grows up, the toddler said, “Um, a teacher. A mommy. [Big pause.] What else can girls be?”
This despite the fact that her daughter has a female doctor, a working mother and a female vet for their cats. She has “already absorbed what we like to think of as antiquated messages about women’s abilities,” Ms. Gilgur-Cooke said.
Watching this mid-90s SNL sketch called “Chess for Girls” is a lot like watching this commercial for LEGO Friends (for girls!) except this sketch is a joke and LEGO’s commercials are real and will make them millions of dollars.