by Talia Jae Potter
The measure of a woman?
I walked into the Women's Center a week ago with Ellie and Deborah and our director pulled us over to the computer to show us a video. She told us how they had been talking about it on The Today Show or some other morning entertainment/news show. Apparently Burger King is promoting Spongebob Squarepants and has released a new commercial to hype the toys they pass out with their version of a happy meal. Spongebob is one of my daughter's favorite cartoons.
We pulled up the video and hit play.
The "Commercial," or music video rather, is a two minute long parody of "I Like Big Butts" by Sir Mix-a-lot. Any person who lived in the last three decades will know what that song is and remember the ass-shaking video that played all the time on MTV. The video opens with the Burger King singing and girls with giant square rear ends shaking it behind him. Spongebob is playing on a T.V. in the background and the stage is set up like Bikinibottom. As The Burger King sings "I Like Square Butts" he does many things to these shaking-ass-girls that dance around him; including measuring them with various rulers and tools.
I was speechless after viewing it. Me, Ellie, and Deborah just stared at the screen in disbelief. This video plays continuously on Nickelodeon, one of the most popular cable channels for young children, not old enough to even be interested in MTV. My children watched Nickelodeon.
Some may say this is silly and just a funny parody but not for young girls. What is this telling them? First of all it is publicly degrading and humiliating women on a child's network. It is showing a man, cartoon or not, wanting to get on them and taking an interest in them because they have an aesthetically pleasing body part shaking in the air. And it says that women are just objects to be desired and oogled. I might sadly expect this on MTV or Spike TV but not on a cartoon network.
This is just a microcosm of what society is feeding into the brains of our girls every day. It is flashed in their faces at every corner they turn. In the skimpy dresses that hang in the 6-16 yr old section at Target, on the cartoons and commercials they watch, in the ads in magazines, on billboards and storefront windows. Why are we programing our children to believe that sex sells and in order to be wanted you need to be sexy?
The wake up call I had was when my kindergartener, a 5 year old, walked into my room one morning and told me "I have to be pretty mom, I need to dress pretty so I will have more friends. Please let me wear this dress so I will have more friends."
Sex sells, to my little girls.