360° Coverage : Valentine's Day Gifts Speak To The Infantilization Of Women

1 Updates
Valentine's Day Gifts Speak To The Infantilization Of Women

Valentine's Day Gifts Speak To The Infantilization Of Women

Feb 14 2014, 9:08am CST | by

As the mother of two daughters I’m very aware of the over-sexualization of young girls: mid-drift-exposed shirts, music about bad break-ups, twerking. But in the lead up to Valentine’s Day this year...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

27 weeks ago

Valentine's Day Gifts Speak To The Infantilization Of Women

Feb 14 2014, 9:08am CST | by

As the mother of two daughters I’m very aware of the over-sexualization of young girls: mid-drift-exposed shirts, music about bad break-ups, twerking. But in the lead up to Valentine’s Day this year, I became aware of the other side of that coin: the infantilization of grown women. Traditional romantic sentiments – flowers, chocolates, even lingerie – have been pushed aside by two childlike products that are changing the tenor of the holiday.

The Vermont Teddy Bear Company is advertising the 4-foot (or 6-foot) Giant Hunka Love Bear as the perfect gift for your girlfriend or wife. Teddy bears are soft and suggest love and comfort, which is why they’re generally an appropriate Valentine’s Day gift for a young child or maybe a friend. Yet in a strange twist, the company has managed to sexualize the “teddy bear.”

According to the commercial that is running frequently on cable news networks, “size really does matter.” (Of course, that’s why you’re going to buy a giant teddy bear), and the Hunka Love Bear “shows you were only thinking of her in a big way.” The ad reassures men that “when you’re not around the [Hunka Love] bear will be there to keep her company, and to keep her thinking about you.

Bottom line: this giant teddy bear will help ensure you have sex: “It’s a great gift for her, and it’s sure to pay off for you.” Um, eww.

On it’s own the Hunka Love Bear is a little disturbing, but it’s part of a more serious trend that seems to create little girls out of women.  If you catch the bear commercial, you’re almost also certain to hear a PajamaGram ad for the “Hoodie Footie,” which frequently runs in tandem.  The Hoodie Footie is a one-piece, baby pink or baby blue pajama set similar to what a toddler might wear, but geared for the (adult) woman in your life.

Thankfully PajamaGram is less sexual than the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, but it still is oddly suggestive. The Hoodie Footie takes the comfiest things she owns – like her “coziest blanket” (with an image of a pink baby blanket) – and puts them altogether, stressing that it will make her nostalgic for “the pajamas she had when she was a kid.”

Again I get it: it’s February, snowing outside, you want to stay in and cuddle. But something seems strange about a grown man giving a grown woman something usually intended for a small child. At best these ads seem like they are part of a spoof on The Daily Show, but the larger message is more concerning: that the new sexy for women is being a little girl.

Others share my concern about this cultural development. The recent movie In a World, a story about the voice-over industry starring Lake Bell, tackles the issue of the high-pitched “little girl” voice. The movie is funny, but has a serious message. Sexy is not assertive, confident or mature sounding. It’s a child-like falsetto.

Similarly for years now Brazilian bikini waxes – also known as the “bald Barbie doll look” – have been all the rage, again transforming women back to their pre-pubescent selves and even naming the style after a child’s toy. While there seems to be some evidence of the pendulum shifting away from this trend, the little girl appearance is still valued by many.

In many ways these ads, and this growing trend, are the worst of gender stereotypes – that women are vapid, helpless, child-like. Yet this image of women has become pervasive in popular culture. Against the backdrop of leaders like Sheryl Sandberg urging women to Lean In, and at a time when women have achieved so much educationally, professionally, and financially, why would we want to reduce them into immature versions of themselves?

I’m the first to admit that men and women are different, but certainly that doesn’t mean women are any less. Treating women as children, however, suggests just they are.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
1

3 hours ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH17 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Human trials of Ebola vaccine to start next week
Washinton, Aug 29 (IANS) The US government announced Thursday that it will start initial human trials of Ebola vaccine next week.
 
 
4,000 Gaza fishermen go fishing in six-mile area
Gaza, Aug 28 (IANS) As many as 4,000 fishermen in the Gaza Strip Thursday were able to go fishing in a expanded zone, previously restricted to just three miles by Israel, a senior Palestinian official said.
 
 
Number of Ebola cases may reach 20,000: WHO
Geneva, Aug 28 (IANS/EFE) The number of people infected with the Ebola virus in Western Africa could reach 20,000, six times more than the current estimates, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned Thursday.
 
 
Trim down your 'side fat'
Los Angeles, Aug 28 (IANS) Eliminate that extra padding on the sides of your waist by doing the right moves, eating well and moving around.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Joan Rivers in 'good spirits' night before respiratory arrest
Joan Rivers was in ''good spirits'' the night before she was rushed to hospital following respiratory arrest. The 81-year-old comedienne appeared ''absolutely fine'' as she attended a meal at the Amaranth Restaurant in...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Areas under militants control in Iraq needs immediate aid
United Nations, Aug 29 (IANS) The United Nations Thursday said that there is an urgent need for humanitarian assistance in Iraqi areas sieged by the Islamic State militants. "The World Food Programme (WFP), which has...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Martin Scorsese to helm Ramones documentary
Los Angeles, Aug 29 (IANS) Oscar-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese has been tapped to direct a documentary about the US punk band Ramones. To celebrate the upcoming 40th anniversary of the band's debut album, the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Israeli opposition criticises Netanyahu's speech on Gaza war
Jerusalem, Aug 29 (IANS) Israeli opposition leader strongly criticised the speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the military operation in Gaza, saying it is a sad victory, media reported. On his Facebook...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Obama says mulling options against Islamic State
Washington, Aug 29 (IANS) US President Barack Obama said Thursday he has asked his administration to prepare a range of military options against the Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria. At a press...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Miley Cyrus invites Jesse Held to live with her
London, Aug 29 (IANS) Pop star Miley Cyrus is currently living with her homeless friend Jesse Held, whom she recently took to the MTV Video Music Awards. The "Wrecking Ball" singer shocked onlookers at the music...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Over 50,000 remain in shelters in Gaza
United Nations, Aug 29 (IANS) At least 54,000 people still remained in 78 United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) shelters in Gaza Strip, a UN official said. Stephane Dujarric, a UN spokesman, said at a daily...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Jon Voight not invited to Angelina Jolie's wedding?
Jon Voight reportedly wasn't invited to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's wedding last weekend. The 75-year-old actor allegedly wasn't aware that his daughter, whom he was estranged from for several years but reconciled...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Bobbi Kristina Brown's husband charged with DUI
Bobbi Kristina Brown's husband has been charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Nick Gordon, 25, was arrested this morning (08.28.14) for allegedly drink-driving, failure to maintain a lane and driving with a...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Christina Aguilera to lose 40lbs in 4 months?
Christina Aguilera wants to lose 40lbs in four months. The 33-year-old singer only gave birth to her daughter Summer Rain two weeks ago but she's reportedly already thinking about getting her pre-baby figure back. A...
Read more on Celebrity Balla