OPINION: Big companies send the ‘wrong’ message to kids


The Ranger

There is a war going on right in our own living rooms. Every day, through a variety of television, billboard and Web advertisement, big-name companies provide parents with the fight of their lives – for their child’s attention. These companies continually cross the line in order to capture the heart of a child or a teenager for the sake of business while parents are screaming at them to follow the order of ethics.

There have been recent controversies over two big-name companies, Skechers and Victoria’s Secret, over their sketchy ads that portray a skewed identity for young girls.

Skechers recently advertised a new line of high-heeled sneakers called “Daddy’s Money.” The tag line for the new shoe line states, “Get spoiled with Daddy’s Money. Ultra-cool shoes that will put you in the spotlight.”

There was an obvious outcry from parents of young children that the shoe line was sending the wrong message, and truly it was. It is a sexist approach to young girls’ sense of feminism and implies that they can use that feminism to manipulate others, more specifically the male figure, into bowing down and giving them what they want. It is completely wrong.

Victoria’s Secret recently released a line of underwear aimed at young girls and teenagers named, “Bright Young Things.” According to Yahoo! Shine, parents are crying out about the line, saying that it is sexualizing young girls, and for obvious reasons. Stuart Burgdoerfer, chief financial officer of the company, said, “When somebody’s 15 or 16 years old, what do they want to be? They want to be older, and they want to be cool like the girl in college, and that’s part of the magic of what we do at PINK.”

The line includes pink lace underwear that includes the word ‘Wild’ on the back and a black lace thong that says ‘I Dare You’ on the front. There is a question of where the line is crossed, and when it is, what can be done about it.

Teenagers and young children are at their most vulnerable at their ages and in their situations. They have a million varieties of influences pulling at them from different directions saying, “be this way” or “do this this way,” or “believe this way.” They are in high school or middle school, so they have their peers teaching them to do things a certain way, they have their parents trying to teach them to do things a different way, and then they have everything else, such as advertisements and media, pulling them one more direction.

It is completely unethical for big-name companies such as Skechers and Victoria’s Secret to market so boldly to America’s teenagers. It is completely wrong for them to tell teenagers and young children that, yes, it is OK to mooch off of others and not work for your things, and yes, it is OK to manipulate your sexuality to get things the way you want.

It is especially wrong to take these especially innocent and vulnerable people and awaken in their minds a sense of sexuality that they have not, or are not ready to be exposed to. It is wrong. It is unethical, and this has crossed the line.

In reality, however, it probably cannot be stopped. Big businesses inevitably are going to do this. They are going to go to any length to get the income, to get the “big business” they strive for.

Yes, it is wrong, but it is right in their eyes.

This is where the parents’ fight comes in. Parents, teach your children morals and ethics. Teach your children to love to learn, to love to work and earn their own things.

Teach your children they can do anything and be anything they can and want to be. Teach your children that many things in this world are not as real as they seem to be and that if they can stick to what you have taught them and should teach them, they ultimately will end up how they should be: good and ethical, hardworking, loving people.

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