Tag Archives: girl culture

Seduction is Exclusive

So as you know, I’m a fan of Beyonce and last night I was lucky enough to attend her Mrs. Carter show at the Verizon Center here in D.C. and first, let me start by saying WHAT a SHOW. Holy moly. She played all her hits and a new song on her new and ever-popular visual album and she did it all with energy and eternal gratitude for the fans that came out in droves for the show on a WEDNESDAY. She’s a performer, a feminist and a damn powerful singer.

Picture I took at the Mrs. Carter Show. Please note this ever fab purple jumpsuit Beyonce is sporting.

Picture I took at the Mrs. Carter Show. Please note this ever fab purple jumpsuit Beyonce is sporting.

In between sets she took the time to change her wardrobe from one leotard to another then to the purple jumpsuit clad in sequins, an outfit that even Elton John would be envy. While her quick changes were happening behind the scenes she put together video introductions of the next song/set coming up.

My favorite quote of the evening (p.s. Ms. Bey a poet) introduced “Naughty Girl.”

Here it goes:
“Seduction is much more than beauty. It is generous. It is intelligent. It’s mysterious. It’s exclusive.”-Beyonce

This is right on and I think it embodies Beyonce’s multiple performance personalities. She’s the fierce female, the confident hustler, Houston dirty with a touch of southern hospitality and ballad belle.

Something we have as women is seduction (no hair fan required, also can I have one of those following me around everywhere… please?) and the ability to feel and be sexy, but that sexy comes in many different forms and Beyonce captures it perfectly in her poetic nuances.

As females we are givers and caring individuals just by nature, because science. So when we are in seduction mode and being all “heeeeyyyyyyy how you doin’?” we are giving the men (or women!) our attention not because we think we can sack ‘em per se, but because we chose them for x, y, z reason. We shouldn’t be giving away our hearts or our bodies for free. We are sacred.

We must first learn to love and respect ourselves if we expect love and respect in return from others.

and if others don’t love and respect you, they don’t deserve you proceed to tell them to get gone… to the left, to the left!




Habit Inheritance is Accidental

I have always said I was bold, independent and spoke my mind on issues that make you squirm in your chair in discomfort, but college student Lily Myers really does exhibit what SGS is all about—she doesn’t just smash girl stereotypes into smithereens she slams them, poetry style.

In her piece she tackles body image and the destruction a negative image can do to the psyche and plays the lead role in what space, as women, we “deserve to occupy.” Men are taught to grow out (body, voice, demeanor) and women are too often taught to grow in (body, voice, demeanor.)

I like charts and I like visuals…

So here’s a comparison table for those visual learners out there.


What adjectives would you add to the above chart? (Let me know in the comments)

These stereotypes persist because we let them. Simple as that, right? Welllll sorrtaaa kinnndaaa. We should be able to red light them, BUT we often don’t even realize we’re stereotyping! We can’t allow these stereotypes to continue to weasel their way into our culture through modeled habits that slowly and often unconsciously leach into our own.

“Sit across the table from someone long enough and you pick up their habits.”-Lily Myers

We have to instead be mindful. Lily’s piece confronts today’s culture and the different sets of standards for men and women (see handy dandy chart above) and how we as friends, mothers, aunts, sisters really do play a vital role in the development of young girls around us! (Same goes for the guy side.) We have to be mindful of the treatment we are giving ourselves in the presence of others. If we are indeed more conscious the toxic body hate culture cycle will diminish and be nothing more than a fleck of light in culture. It matters because the little ones, they’re watching (link to dancers).


Question: What habits have you picked up from others around you? Good, Bad, Funny, Ugly. We love ‘em all around these shattery glass parts. Leave a comment below!


Moral Panic Mode: ‘Becoming’ vs. ‘Being’ Theories of Researchers


In order to make sense of the relationship children have with the media that surrounds them it is only natural for researchers to define theories. One of the main developmental theories was defined by Jean Piaget, it’s called the “cognitive-developmental theory” (Scheibe, 2007).

The theory focuses on the fact that children actively construct their understanding of the world through “the ongoing processes of assimilation (incorporating new information into existing knowledge) and accommodation (reorganizing ways of understanding to take into account new information) (Scheibe, 2007,65). In plain English: taking new info adding it to existing info and then shuffle it around to make sense of the new info so its one complete and happy information puzzle.
This theory describes the different stages of development from “being” a kid to “becoming” an adult. Trust me, the “becoming” part is still confusing. 

Coinciding with the cognitive theory there are two approaches researchers have developed when analyzing how the media effects children. Both are vastly different from each other in that the “becoming” theory values the comparison to adult thinking and the “being” theory completely dismisses it as a thing of value (Lemish, 2007). It’s OK, reread that again. Phew, much better.

Roll up those sleeves, let’s dig a bit deeper.
There are two different approaches when researching media and its effects on children. BECOMING: The first theory researchers use is the “becoming” approach, which views children as in the process of “becoming” an adult. This approach is more quantitative and measured by numbers. In general, they test the abilities and skills in comparison to the “ideal model of the adult thinker” (Lemish, 2007, 76). This approach is also called the “the deficiency model” because it “assumes that the child is ‘deficient’ in comparison to the adult.” For example, researchers my count how many times that child behaves in a specific way in response to viewing television. In this type of study the researcher has control. They can choose the kind of programming the child watches, the skills tested, and the toys that exist in the room in order to prove their hypothesis (Lemish, 2007). The major strength of this method is “its ability to examine long-term, accumulative influences of media use on a very large number of children and to offer insights that can be generalized to other situations” (Lemish, 2007, 77)

BEING: The other theory is the “being” approach. This approach is more qualitative research because it observes children in their natural environment like their homes, schools, playgrounds and recently the Internet. In this approach researchers often dig deeper. Not only do they observe the children from an outside-in approach, but also the inside-out approach and actually talk to the children, this type of researcher is called an ethnographer (Lemish, 2007). Researchers focus on seeing the children as “beings” in their own right, at all stages of development without trying to link them to the adult thinkers (Lemish, 2007). Because “what is perceived as central or important in a medium or a text for adults is not necessarily so for children” therefore making the comparison to adults irrelevant and “misleading” (Lemish, 2007, 78). Unlike the “becoming” theory, which focuses on the deficiency of children, the “being” theory focuses on the competency children have with the media. Researchers in this approach believe children can actively make sense of what they are seeing on television in order to develop their own thoughts and opinions about the world around them.


The moral panic that adults have on the media and its relationship with children will always exist as the society grows and changes. However, the panic will vary, as discussed, depending on the “type” of adult, whether a parent, a journalist or documentarian, a marketer,  a researcher, or if they’re fancy all four. Parents will always have concerns. Journalists and documentarians will always have an opinion, though they aren’t supposed to. Marketers will always have a product to sell. And Researchers will always have something to prove. At one point in my life I may take up all of these different professions. So, it’s important to be able to distinguish the various perspectives in order to remain objective and not get caught up as an adult in this moral panic.

Moral Panic Mode: Marketers


In television commercials, marketers put their best skills to use: making sure the kids rule.   The characters, whether animated or not, are often young, thus making them really relatable to the target consumer, kids. Duh. Because no kid wants a parent telling them what to do, amiright?

Though I hate to admit it, marketers are smart because they realize that children are the primary consumers because of their direct buying power or the “I want it now forever always” and indirect buying power through their parents or “Please can I have it now forever always.”  Kids are drowning in brands; the most popular are toys, cereal, fast food, candies or sugary snacks.  The marketers’ task is to create a commercial that establishes an audience, sells a product and embeds values to children in hopes of creating a “cradle to grave” brand loyalty (Jennings, 2007). And somewhere in between the cradle and the grave we become zombies who succumb to this very formulaic (and successful) approach to marketing.

Marketing 101:  Baby Whispering 101: Marketers use different production techniques when selling products, knowing full well children cannot decipher between reality and fantasy until about the age of six (Chandler and Griffiths, 2000). However, different tactics are used to appeal to boys and girls and usually marketers bring in back up in the form of psychologists to determine how young boys and girls brains function. The most obvious tactic: voiceover.  Eighty percent are male because they appeal to both genders when used in a mixed target audience (Chandler and Griffiths, 2000). Therefore female voiceovers are only used for girl-based commercials. Because sciences of psychology and brains.

Marketers can format commercials to create underlying messages while simultaneously selling a product to children. Sneaky, Sneaky. Social standing is a main message that is portrayed through kids’ commercials.
Are in you in? or Are you out?
The commercials define not only who they are as a person through their own eyes, but also the eyes of their peers. Kid culture, though accelerated, has been focused around what is “cool,” or socially acceptable. Ok, yes, “cool” is a dated word, but necessary in this context. “Cool” is anything that the marketers deem as a must-have for social survival. But that One Direction album, “MOMMM I NEEEDDD ITTTT, IT COMES OUT TODAY AND I NEED ITTTT!!!”
And purchasing the must-haves leads to happy and fulfilled lives. Some messages are more direct than others. So essentially that One Direction album will make me the happiest ever, well until the next boy pop band comes along. Although, maybe there’s a point that I’m just now realizing. It could be a boy band thing, or a music thing in general, but at the age of 25 I’m going to be going to a Backstreet Boys concert this weekend, which will make me the happiest and satisfy my craving for nostalgia. Could a musical group be a brand? Absolutely, and apparently one that has been a must-have in my musical library since the Discman was invented. Now for claiming BSB has made my life fulfilled, would be a little ambitious, but then again Sunday I’ll probably have that frame of mind of life being fulfilled at that very moment. Maybe, I want it that way, and I don’t have to tell you why? (see what I did there?)
Ok, Ok but for commercial examples there’s Sketcher’s Pretty Tall Shoes which labeled the message of beauty. The product was branded with the words “pretty” and “tall,” telling the consumer what is beautiful. Pretty could’ve had a double meaning, as in they’re pretty tall in height in addition to the beauty standard. Hidden messaging, is all around.
Sketcher’s just keeps winning in the ridiculous shoe department with their recent Daddy’$ Money shoes, which essentially is the same thing as Pretty Tall shoes with the hidden wedge, just geared toward teenagers, and with the $ sign you would think they’d be sponsored by Ke$ha (Now who’s the genius marketer, ha).

It doesn’t matter if the product is food, clothing, or toys, children are trained by this “hypercommercialized” marketing wave to be vulnerable and give in to the messages. It’s time to snap out of zombie mode, people! We need to educate our kids and ourselves to the reality that kid culture has morphed into one of the largest consumer cultures allowing  advertisers and marketers to run rampant!

What ridiculous ads have you seen for kids lately? Share them in the comments. (extra brownie points (yum), gold stars and confetti for YouTube videos links!)

Moral Panic Mode: Parents

Kid culture is a relatively new(ish) phenomena defined by adults, (yup, guilty) who often have a clouded perspective of today’s youth. Adults view kids through the lens of moral panic. A moral panic occurs “when the official or press reaction to a deviant social or cultural phenomenon is ‘out of all proportion’ to the actual threat offered” (Mazzarella, 2007, 48). In addition, it is when a group is defined as a threat to the values of society and interests (Mazzarella, 2007). The purpose of the next 4 blog posts is to define how…

1) parents, 2) marketers, 3) journalists/documentarians, and 4) researchers aid in the development of the moral panic between adult culture and kid culture.

ParentsDistribution of media like CDs and DVDs has led to parents forming groups against these dispersal tactics. Parents’ Music Resource Center (PMRC) came on the scene in 1985, started by high profiled wives such as Tipper Gore, (ex)wife of then-senator Al Gore. Tipper Gore was shocked when she first heard the Prince song “Darling Nikki,” because the song references masturbation (Mazzarella, 2007). Though at the time the PMRC aimed to require all music, though predominately focused on heavy metal rock, to have a warning label if it contained explicit content inappropriate for children. Their passion spread to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In 1990 the RIAA adopted the “Parental Advisory/Explicit Lyrics” label that we now see when visiting record stores (Mazzarella, 2007). Though the high profiled wives and mothers were able to have their voices heard around the country, most parents don’t have the luxury. And with the popularity of online music sales through iTunes, Spotify, etc. the world of music (TV, movies, etc) is WIDE open for kids with a computer or smartphone and a wifi connection, see: EVERY kid, has access to any and all music.  

Parents are forced to create their own rules for use in their household from music and television to the Internet. “One approach is through ‘restrictive mediation,’ a practice in which parents make rules about amount or time of viewing allowed, define forbidden content, and use media as part of a reward or punishment system” (Bachen, 2007, 242). The younger the child the more rules are placed on when, where and for how long use can take place. Parents of adolescents may lower their guard when it comes to displaying their favorite media characters, simply because they have more control over it in the home. By letting their children take part in “adolescent room culture,” the bedroom becomes a place where he or she “engage in identity work and investigate their future possibilities through media,” (Fisherkeller, 2007, 229). However, as parents become more familiar with the medium, particularly the Internet, rules may evolve (Bachen, 2007).

“Parents are deeply fearful about the World Wide Web’s influence on their children, according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s national survey of parents in computer households in the United States” (Aikat, 2005, 3). The Internet is a main concern because of the wide-range of freedom it gives children (Stern and Willis, 2007). Yet another reason why Facebook should have never left their college niche. “Teens have more autonomy to do, say and go where they wish than they have had historically” (Stern and Willis, 2007, 217). The three ways teenagers use the Internet is for communication, information seeking, and content creation. They communicate with their friends through Instant Messaging, (awww RIP, AIM) Facebook Messaging and Text Messaging with the phones they now have and the ripe age of eight. Damn you societal norms. They also use the Internet to seek information for school assignments and often complete those assignments now completely online. Now, more popular than ever kids are posting photos via Instagram, tweeting tweets they shouldn’t be during school hours and maybe writing the occasional blog post. Despite these uses parents are still concerned with access to “inappropriate” content.

Having the world’s information at the thumbs of your kids is scary sure with websites that have content about “eating disorders, bomb making, alcohol, smoking, and most of all, pornography,” parents are concerned teens who are seeking information about these topics will find an overload of information easily and those teens not seeking this type of information may accidently stumble upon it (Stern and Willis, 2007, 218; Aikat, 2005). For example, whitehouse.gov is the official website of the government establishment, but an unknowing teen may accidently type in the dot com (.com) address only to find explicit content. Note: It’s no longer an explicit site like it was when I was in sixth grade, but for the sake of argument…that example will do. Right? thanks.

But I have also found in recent talks with parents (disclaimer: I’m not a parent) that the “everybody’s-doing-it syndrome” is taking over. And as a parent it’s getting more difficult to just say “no” to requests like “everyone has a cellphone, mom” which can quickly elaborate to “everyone has a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, insert all the social networking tools here.”
So as a parent…what do you do? Do you give in? What age is an appropriate age to allow your son or daughter to handle the responsibility of a cellphone and online communications. Parents, I want to hear from you! Leave a comment!

The Ultimate Girl Power Playlist

This Tuesday my post is over at fellow BiSC-uit’s blog, Doniree.com, where I give you a run down of my favorite girl power songs that really rev me up and light a fire under me for when motivation is low (we’ve all been there), get me through a tough workout, and well…life in general because let’s face it: life is better when we have a soundtrack!

Go have a listen! Seriously. Go. Now. Hurry!

Thank you Doni for having me be a guest author on your Internet space and a summer sponsor!

Drowning in Brands, Quick Toss The Kids LifeSavers!

In today’s society we are infiltrated with brands through advertisements that play Houdini mind tricks on us, which at some point (probably right away) form our opinions of what clothing we wear, food we eat, toys we buy, etc. But if you’re a kid/teenager, you are drowning in it and don’t have a chance to come up for air! Someone toss the kids Life Savers (see what I did there?)

drowninginbrandsOn average an American teenager spends 31 hours a week watching TV, 17 hours listening to music, and 10 hours online. (LoveSocial with MissRepresentation.org) And well marketers are no dummies, they hit those groups full-force straight in the ‘noggin.

In college I watched a documentary called Consuming Kids. You should watch it, highly fascinating and scary all at the same time! AH. 
My knowledge of this documentary resurfaced when Anna Lappe a concerned mother and food mythbuster honed in on the food industry in particular and the obsession that kids develop.

“The food industry says themselves that they spend $2 billion every year in marketing directly to children and teenagers,” said Lappe in her TEDxTalk. “When you think about it in the context that diet related illnesses among young people are on the rise, and we think about this omnipresent marketing I think it isn’t an exaggeration that is has become down right dangerous.”

Yep, Lappe knows what’s up. When I (hopefully) become a parent I can only shield my children so much because, like the Lappe and Consuming Kids noted, commercialization is burying children under a pile of consumer messages. It’s inevitable they will receive that commercial stimulus in schools, day care, or at slumber parties, EV.ERY.WHERE. It’s not ideal to guard children from social situations because that doesn’t help children develop either. It’s clear that parenting in the 21st Century is more difficult than ever!

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How Young is too Young to be Shopping at Victoria’s Secret?

There’s been a lot of mention of unmentionables in the media lately. The most disturbing—a mother saying on national television that it’s OK for her nine-year-old daughter to shop at Victoria’s Secret for undies. I’m sorry… WHAT?!?!
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having cute panties and bras from the big girl store,” said Jenny Erikson, the mother.
victoriassecretstorefrontAt the age of nine, I was still wearing underwear with the days of the week and they had an elastic band all the way around with my staple brand at the time, Limited Too (now Justice). No “sling shot” style for this girl… well until the summer before I started freshman year in high school. I bought my first “sling shot” from Wet Seal while at the mall with my friend. Sorry mom. I have to admit I was really uncomfortable and embarrassed about the whole purchasing process because I knew I was too young and I was fourteen!

Hitting the fast forward button on little girls’ childhoods is far too common and when it’s the girls’ parents who are at fault, like Erikson, I get irritated because parents are supposed to be the protectors not the instigators. One day your little girl is just shopping at the “big girl” store and the next day they are buying make up and comparing shades during recess.

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