Suburban Snapshots

An Open Letter to Those
Who Market to Children

Sunday, September 16, 2012

To Whom it May Concern,

I'm a mom and last week I turned 39. You've probably stopped reading already, because as of 4 years ago I've aged out of your target demographic. But I urge you to continue because I also happen to be in charge of the future purchases of a girl who will be entering consumer age faster than I care to admit.

I'm a mom who's going to have to be on my daughter's bad side often and who's willing to pick those battles regardless of slammed doors and hurled insults. I'm a mom who stands ready to utter tired clichés about friends jumping off bridges. I'm a mom with a high tolerance for rolled eyeballs and silent treatments, for being dismissed as "un-cool" and for cold shoulders. I can put up with begging, whining and nagging with the stamina of an elite marathoner.

But here's what I won't stand for: I won't accept that a song can't be a hit if the lyrics don't repeat "sexy" 400 times in 3 minutes. I am not buying that the reason there are denim shorts for 5th graders no bigger than a pair of bikini bottoms is because "the market demands it." And while I'm sure they exist, I don't personally know a mom who found last year's lack of Steve Madden shoes for toddlers to be a hardship.

So you can assault our senses with mall stores that smell like whore houses and sound like clubs, tell our kids that jeans should be super skinny and cost at least eighty bucks and that confidence is something they can blow their allowance on, but don't dismiss us parents, because we're onto you. We recognize the too-mature clothes and overpriced shoes, we're watching you try and rush childhoods that are already too short and erode the innocence we know will go too soon.

You may have the power to persuade our kids that they need tiny shorts and sequined underwear but understand something — we're ready to protect their true best interests with passion and ferocity. We're ready for the stomping and sulking, the relentless insisting and demanding. We're prepared to be The Bad Guy.

If you doubt the tenacity and endurance of a bunch of women-over-thirty who continue to depreciate in value to your industry, remember — we signed onto this parenting gig for a lifetime. We are not a trend, childhood is not your commodity.

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