I might really lose some people on this one, so my apologies in advance. I'm big on big issues, and I have good points to back up my positions. For this one, I just have a feeling, without huge convictions, because it's not that big of a deal. Take it or leave it, it's just my $0.02.
I don't like commercialism. I never have. Being different from the crowd by not wearing or doing what everyone else was wearing or doing didn't phase me, and in a way, I insisted on it. Maybe it's because I'm more of a right-brained, creativity-valued person, or more accurately, that I refuse to be something that I'm not.
This position has affected our household in different ways. We don't have cable, and the one channel we do get only works when there's a clear sky. This means that that the children don't see commercials, and their television is very limited. The two year old still loves Thomas the Train, and the five year old is crazy about Lightning McQueen, but their genuine interests still shine through the off-the-wall marketing of these products.
The biggest impact commercial exploitation has in our home is in the form of clothing. With the exception of underpants and pajamas, I do not purchase clothing with visible brand names, logos, commercial characters (Thomas, Spiderman), superfluous printing, or (this is the big one) sporting franchise logos.
Why? I don't have a great reason, maybe not even a good reason except that they bug me. My boys like dinosaurs and pythons and Komodo dragons, not watching the NFL My five year old likes to wear the color red and a yellow tie everywhere. My two year old likes fire trucks and monster trucks and anything to do with animals--especially dogs. This is who they are right now. In the future, if they love the Minnesota Twins, or get really into comic strips and want to wear superhero-marketed clothing, I'll happily let them. But for now, as little boys, I want them to look like little boys.
I don't want the crowd to dictate what they wear, what they should like, and what their interests should be. God made them unique with different treasures and talents, and I want those to be fostered, not an over-riding obsession with fitting in.
It turns out that I'm not the only one who thinks this way. There is an organization especially designed to give children a commercial-free childhood. The tag-line for the CCFC is "Reclaiming Childhood from Corporate Marketers." I like it.
Even our old pal Raffi is on board. Do you know that Raffi has never allowed any of his music to be marketed, even refusing a Baby Beluga animated video? Until his death, Dr. Seuss was the same way, strictly limiting any kind of commercial marketing of his products.
Thoughts? Objections? Suggestions? How do you feel about the marketing geared at your children? Does it bug you, or do you tend to brush it off?