If parents can stop it, why don’t they?

blue milk

Whenever you hear a parent criticising the sexualisation of children in the media, or pretty much saying anything critical about marketing for children, you won’t have long to wait before you’ll hear the very snappy retort – “if you didn’t buy it they wouldn’t sell it”. Individual parental responsibility – an argument exquisite in its simplicity and condemnation. An argument which on one hand acknowledges the potential dangers of marketing but which on the other sees absolutely no role for collective responsibility. An argument which measures the collective outcomes in terms of individual success – good parents and bad parents. An argument which tells you that the problems you’ve got with the sexualising of children are really problems with your own failure to adequately insulate your children. But it is a seductive argument, even for parents because it allows us all to wag our fingers at the bad parent’s moral inferiority and simultaneously congratulate ourselves. No matter how badly you’re doing there will always be a parent failing more spectacularly than you.


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