Parents are outraged at what they say is a new marketing ploy by money-hungry executives who seek to hijack the Tooth Fairy and turn her into a sexualized toy for girls. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Huffington Post report that a new scheme is being cooked up by devious marketers and investors to brand and copyright the Tooth Fairy so she can be sold back to girls as young as five years old for the hefty sum of up to $379 for a full birthday party collection.
“The Real Tooth Fairies” brand is yet another in a long line of highly sexualized toys for girls. The Real Tooth Fairies have full makeup, low cut, midriff-bearing tops, thigh high stockings, high heels and short skirts. Some parents think the fairies look as though they’d be more comfortable on a stripper pole than leaving money under kids’ pillows. The video pitch the company has been using to lure what parents perceive as greedy investors has been removed from the internet due to “Copyright Violations,” but a full transcript is available online.
The Huffington Post reports that the transcript is “preposterous enough to be a parody.” However, there is no parody at play; only cold hard cash as investors and company execs seek to profit from what some parents say is one of the few last remaining vestiges of an innocent childhood ritual. The company will be offering toys, clothes, games, accessories, collections and an interactive online experience that involves girls receiving secret messages from their own personal Tooth Fairy. Although the company hopes to cash in on each and every girl every time they lose a tooth, there is not much diversity in the Real Tooth Fairies line; five appear to be Caucasian and one appears to be of a mixed-race heritage.
The toy industry has come under scrutiny in the last several years for what parents say is a deliberate sexualizing of young girls. Toys under fire include the Bratz line of dolls and My Pretty Pony, who has now transformed into what some feel is a disturbing girl/pony hybrid with a face full of makeup, as well as sparkly hair. Besides the sexualized aspect of the toys, parents complain that the constant marketing to youngsters is beginning to eat into the parents’ budgets and reinforce an already exploitative consumer culture among children.
Parents opposed to the toy line say that the Real Tooth Fairies are slated to be marketed to girls as young as five, which is inappropriate because the Tooth Fairies main concerns are “appearances, shopping and boyfriends.” They also are appalled at what they say is a stereotyped “wanna by fairy” who is fat, unattractive and wears horn-rimmed glasses.
The Campaign for a Commercial free Childhood has created an online petition urging the company to pull the plug on The Real Tooth Fairy line. The petition states:
There is a reason “that a childhood character known by millions worldwide has not yet been licensed.” The Tooth Fairy belongs in the public domain of childhood imagination. It is wrong to “leverage and define” a “rite-of-passage moment,” the celebration of which has always been the purview of families.
The Real Tooth Fairies replaces children’s own creations with homogenized, corporate-constructed, sexualized images, constricting both imagination and cultural diversity. To cite just one example, your target audience is girls as young as 5, but the Real Tooth Fairies you’re selling are largely preoccupied with appearance, shopping, and boyfriends. Please stop your efforts to profit from an inevitable biological milestone by exploiting children’s imaginations and family rituals. Please put an end to The Real Tooth Fairies.
Online commenter Jeanne Waful summed up many parents’ feelings by saying, “Three things: 1. Stop sexualizing every female. It’s not healthy for young girls to have every female objectified. 2. Boys have the tooth fairy, too, and please leave them out of your slimy campaign. and 3. Have some people no limits and no shame to what they will capitalize on?”
It’s not just parents, but some teachers as well, who feel that the new brand is a bad idea. Teacher Stephanie Cornell expressed her thoughts as someone who works with children every day: “…As a third grade teacher who routinely sends students down to the nurse’s office for a “tooth box” when they lose a tooth, I feel that marketing the Tooth Fairy in this way is a disgrace,” she says. “Many of my sweet and innocent students come back to school the next day excited to share what the Tooth Fairy brought them. For many of them, the anticipation of knowing the Tooth Fairy will be visiting is more important to them than the money they may receive. Children are forced to grow up way too fast in today’s society and allowing them to savor the uncomplicated vision of the Tooth Fairy is a must.”
Still other parents are unmoved. Melissa Michaels, a mother of three girls, says the new line of toys doesn’t bother her. “My kids want things all the time and I just say no,” Michaels says. “I already lie to them about the existence of a tooth fairy so I would just tell them that all this other stuff is fake.”
Whether or not the company will move forward with sexualizing, branding and copywriting the Tooth Fairy after the backlash remains to be seen. For now, girls still have plenty of glamorous toys to demand from already-cash-strapped parents.
By: Rebecca Savastio
Source: Huffington Post