May 9, 2008

Petition against Dairy Queen for sick and offensive commercial

Posted in advertising, gender, gender stereotypes, sexualizing youth at 12:30 pm by LB

Thanks to commenter Lee Phillips for alerting me to this petition against this Dairy Queen commercial. even though I spoke more to the gender assumptions rather than the sexualization of kids (a critique to which I say a loud “I agree! of course!” to). From the petition:

The Diary Queen Corporation has just started a new television ad which encourages adults to see young children as sexually seductive. In this commercial, a young girl (about age 8 or 9) decides to intentionally flirt with, and seduce a young boy (about the same age) into buying her a sundae (in the same manner that a man would buy a drink for a romantic interest at a singles bar.) Once the little girl has won the sundae (compliments of the smitten boy) via making “goo goo” eyes at him, she then turns to her mother and says, precociously, “It’s just like shooting fish in a barrel.” In this commercial Dairy Queen cynically seeks to exploit and sexualize young children, in order to sell ice cream.

Dairy Queen seems to have no awareness, or no concern, that our society increasingly sexualizes young children. One only need consider children’s increasing preference for seductive dress, the increasing incidence of pre-teenage anorexia, and body distortion problems, and events like the Joan Benet-Ramsey case to get a sense that our children’s innocence is under attack. Sexualizing children not only puts unhealthy pressure on them and compromises the quality and joy of their childhood, but it also arouses the pruriant interest of pedophiles. Such messages suggest that “permission” is given, and that children welcome sexual encounters.

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