Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Doll House or Bawdy House? What Kind of Women is Society turning Little Girls into these days?

Collage: What Kind of Women is Society turning Little Girls into these days?
Images Credit: Microsoft Office Clipart:
Girl painting toy house + MS 00018269

"Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk - real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious."
- Jack Kerouac, American Poet and Novelist. Source:

Today, I brought my childhood doll-house furniture collection into the office. Everyone eagerly crowded around, carefully emptied out the box of tiny little chairs, tables, wardrobes, kitchen cupboards and appliances, bathroom fixtures, even little books, magazines (all legible), and every conceivable household necessity in miniature. Many made from real wood.

Everyone was excited and we spent a good deal of time reminiscing and feeling like kids again. It almost brought a tear to my eye. I wish I could say it was a tear of happiness and joy, but I can’t. Here’s why…

Last week I watched a documentary entitled “Sext Up Kids” on CBC’s Doc Zone. Here’s a preview: CBC Doc Zone: Sex't Up Kids- Preview
Uploaded by
CBCtv on Feb 15, 2012

Watch the full documentary online here: CBC: Sext Up Kids

I know there’s a large contingent of women out there who are adamant that little girls shouldn’t be forced to play with doll houses and other gender-specific toys that impose old-fashioned ideas about gender roles in society and might skew impressionable young girls’ ideas about their future adult roles.

Fair enough, but what about “Bratz Big Babyz” or “Monster High” dolls’ thongs? Or “Struts,” the sexed-up pony featuring high-heels and handbags?

Collage: What “positive gender roles” are such toys encouraging little girls to embrace, exactly?
Images Credits: Bratz Big Babyz + Monster High Dolls + New Struts dolls

What "positive gender roles" are such toys encouraging little girls to embrace, exactly? What about lines of lingerie being marketed to ever-younger audiences, as young as 7-12 years of age? What ever happened to letting children be children and not rushing them into a life they cannot begin to understand, let alone cope with: mentally, emotionally, and/or physically?

Many women find coping with issues around self-image, healthy sexuality, gender roles and men’s expectations, relationships, and all the messy stuff around sex challenging. Even as adults we find it difficult to handle the onslaught of ever-more risqué ads depicting grown women as sex objects.

Wo-Built is a woman-owned contractor in the Greater Toronto Area. We started this company with a social mission which included encouraging and supporting women in the trades. We know the issues around gender roles, self-image, what is “sexy” and what makes “a real woman.”

I grew up playing with my doll house and have fond, loving memories of my childhood years playing house. Now, I run a construction company that is innovating a revolutionary new way to live off-grid in the 21st Century. We will be launching this innovation at the National Home Show. No “booth babes.”

But then, I had a proper childhood. I never had to contend with marketers apparently hell-bent on rushing me into a thong and onto the couch of some pimply-faced boy playing “monkey see, monkey do.” Not having any idea what they are doing. No notion how much their actions will come back to haunt them as an adult. A pop culture seemingly indifferent … a “porn culture,” indeed.

In fact, we created Wobinna as a direct answer to the “oversexed teens and tweens” phenomenon. Here’s what Wobinna did when she needed “a doll house” as a little girl …

Comic Strip: Wobinna and Friends: Wobinna Built a Fabulous Doll's House, Illustrations by Dawn Palfreyman, Wo-Built Inc.Comic Strip: Wobinna & Friends: Wobinna Built a Fabulous Doll House
Illustrations and story by Dawn Palfreyman
Copyright 2012 © Wo-Built Inc.

And here’s what Wobinna and Friends “do” with “empty apartments and spaces” as teens …

Comic Strip: WoBinna and Friends: A Home Reno: The Final Reveal Panorama
Illustrations and story by Dawn Palfreyman
Copyright 2012 © Wo-Built Inc.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

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