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Mumsnet making headway on ‘Let Girls Be Girls’ campaign

August 9, 2010

Here at the CBC, we believe that pressure people feel to be ‘sexy’ is a big cause of body dissatisfaction among people of all ages.  We see the pressure of sexual objectification increasingly being imposed on younger and younger girls by the commercial world.  Mumsnet, who are a member of the CBC steering group, are tackling this issue with their Let Girls Be Girls campaign.  They gave us this update on the campaign’s progress:

It’s been just over six months since Mumsnet first launched its Let Girls Be Girls campaign, which asks retailers to commit not to sell products which play upon, exploit or emphasise children’s sexuality. 

We’re absolutely delighted that so many retailers, big and small, have now pledged to take a lead on this important issue.  You can see the full list of who has signed (and who hasn’t!), and read more about how and why the campaign was launched here.

Of course, signing up is only the first step – we need to encourage more retailers to join over the next few months, and, just as importantly, ensure that those retailers who have already signed up fulfil their pledges.

Our original letter to retailers gave a few examples of inappropriate products – children’s underwear which mimics adult lingerie, ‘grown up’ heels for little girls, ‘sexy’ or provocative slogans on clothing – but we’ve taken the deliberate decision not to provide a definitive list of inappropriate products.

We want retailers to look at all their product ranges through the Let Girls Be Girls ‘lens’, and become self-policing – and we feel they’re more likely to do so without a list of boxes to ‘tick’.  We’re also wary of appearing tacitly to endorse an item, simply because it’s not yet been drawn to our attention.

This is a learning process, however, and over the next few months it’s possible that some retailers might slip up. We’ve asked Mumsnetters to keep their eyes out for products which concern them, and to let us know if they come across any. If there’s a broad consensus amongst our posters that the product sexualises children (as opposed to being simply not to everyone’s taste) we’ll approach the retailer concerned. We know that most retailers are keen to consult parents, and to tailor their products to address their concerns.

Working together, we think we can make a difference – and ultimately, we believe that the retailers who have signed up to the campaign will benefit from the support of the vast majority of parents who want products which ‘Let Girls Be Girls’.

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