Monday, September 28, 2009

a disturbing trend...

bebe has been really into looking at magazines lately. she's willing to sit down with just about anything she can turn the pages of these days, but she's partial to magazines/catalogs with babies. she's already demonstrated her advanced perception of abstract theories and ideas, and so i'm a little worried about her self-image and reality perception now that she's being exposed to all of these slick, carefully constructed articles and advertisements.

hey bebe? can i talk to you for a sec?


i know you enjoy looking at these magazines and things, but i'm a little concerned about what you think of all of these babies that you see in them.

"hair gel? weird. i'm sorry, daddy- what were you saying?"

it's just that, well, i want you to know that the pictures you see on those pages aren't really meant to represent real life. well, i mean, they are, but in a way that's not realistic. does this make any sense to you?

"you mean like how these kids are always smiling, for instance?"

well, yeah. that's one way.

"cuz' i know for a fact that babies aren't always happy. sometimes when morrie hugged nora jane too tight she cried."

i guess the point i want to get across here is that writers and advertisers are trying to manipulate you into buying whatever it is they're selling. or they want you to think that by having or using their products you'll feel a certain way. a better way.

"daddy, i know that! they're presenting some false, idealized version of child-life to over-make their point. let's face it, this kind of advertising is not very subtle. if the kids are supposed to be happy, then they're practically bursting with joy. gimme a break- who's that happy? are they drugged, or just morons? and for this article on teething, they're screaming their stupid heads off! unless, of course, the editor is trying the tender approach- you know the one, a cherub-faced baby with a single tear in it's eye, looking imploringly at the camera... 'help me. help me, i have teeth. can't you see? does it not hurt you, too?' i mean, wow. "

uh, wow is right. i guess you do kind of have a handle on this stuff. so you get that it's all a hyper-realized display of emotional situations and reactions?

"dude, mommy's the one you should be worried about. look at this lady here, selling who knows what to all the mommies who read this thing. she's got the elegant features, dressed all smart -whose mother is this supposed to be? are you trying to tell me that this ice queen, with her disaffected look and uncaring gaze of a thousand miles away is somebody's care taker? or even worse, that if you buy this scarf you can be her? yikes! 'wear our scarf and you'll never feel the need to comfort another child. retain your identity and let a nanny raise your children.' i'm not going to lie and say i totally get all this..."

"oh, and then there's this article about getting your kids to eat vegetables, complete with this pouty-faced baby model pretending to hate broccoli. only a parent would swallow this crap. every baby knows how delicious broccoli is. just don't cook the nutrients out of it. it's amazing, the amount of overcooked broccoli in the world."

"and where was it, let me see..."

"ah, here it is! this ad for pull-ups! nobody's that happy about peeing in their pants. i don't care what kind of magical diaper you wear! give me a break. they try to make it look like wearing these things will make potty training some exciting exercise, like you'll be taking dumps in the can in no time. whatever. i'm not buying into this nonsense for a second!"

you're not?

"no way! i like looking at the pictures though. it's fun to count all the babies, or all the balls, or the cars, or the dogs..."

huh. i guess i didn't have anything to worry about after all. (walks away)

"wow. i could really use a new pair of these gap overalls, though..."

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