The commercialization of childhood is akin to a capitalist search engine that constantly burrows and tunnels itself through the age ranges to find new ways of enticing parents with ever more attractive clothes, toys and merchandise, as examples, to spend their money on. The commercialization of childhood not only involves targeting different age groups with material that would appeal to them but also preys on the fast forwarding of childhood. In other words, we have seen clothes being sold for little girls that are way inappropriate for someone so young to be wearing.
Now, a whole new world has been opened up whereby your little angel or ‘DD’ can be made over for a bridal photo shoot.A company in Wisconsin is offering a glimpse into the future whereby little girls can dress up in white and be photographed looking like miniature brides. I urge you to click on the link and have a look at the photos on display. Questions that I can only assume are meant to induce a strong sense of sentiment and to have you reaching for your wallet are asked such as ‘What will her name be in the future?‘ There is a photo which combines the present and the future whereby a child holds up her mother’s wedding ring as a symbol of what her own future holds.
As a feminist mother this commercialization of female childhood represents, to me, a regressive descent of marital sentimentality. Its’ aim is to make girls think that being a bride is something to aspire to all through their growing up years. This aspiration or dream is packaged up in air brushed photos that are shot through soft lenses and appeals to girls who like dressing up and pretending to be little princesses. This photo shoot service pushes that dream further by relying on the never ending draw of beautiful brides and ‘it’ being the best day of your life.
How many more years, decades, centuries will it take before young girls are seen as future astronauts, politicians or policewomen?
Consider this though, should such a service come with a consumer warning? What if one of these girls never gets married because she doesn’t find anyone or in later life has chosen not to get married? Is she then made to feel a failure for not living up to a childhood ideal? For me, personally, the sting in the venture lies in the fact that while the company is NOT advocating child marriage it is a paradox that a Western company is promoting images of children in bridal wear while Western aid agencies work their socks off to stop the vile tradition in Asia and Africa and Middle East of marrying girls off at a very young age.