Winter 2002

New Steering Committee Members; Getting the Word Out: Sexualized Toys; One for the Grass Roots! War Toy Protest; December Book Recommendation: Dads and Daughters; SCEC Featured Organization: Kids Can Make a Difference; Pepsi Versus Student Initiative; Things We Wish We Didn't Know; Join Us

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SCEC News is a regular service for members and friends of the Stop Commercial Exploitation of Children coalition.   SCEC's mission is to stop commercial exploitation of children through action, advocacy, research, and collaboration among organizations and individuals who care about children.  

IN THIS ISSUE

  • NEW STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS
  • GETTING THE WORD OUT: SEXUALIZED TOYS 
  • ONE FOR THE GRASS ROOTS!  WAR TOY PROTEST
  • DECEMBER BOOK RECOMMENDATION: DADS AND DAUGHTERS
  • SCEC FEATURED ORGANIZATION: KIDS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
  • PEPSI VERSUS STUDENT INITIATIVE
  • THINGS WE WISH WE DIDN’T KNOW
  • JOIN US
WELCOME NEW SCEC STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS
 
This month we welcome Enola Aird and Bob Ahuja to our steering committee.
 
ENOLA AIRD: Enola G. Aird is an activist mother. A graduate of Barnard
College and the Yale Law School, she is currently an affiliate scholar at the
Institute for American Values in New York City, where she established and
directs the Motherhood Project.
 
BOB AHUJA:  Roshan (Bob) D. Ahuja is a Professor of Marketing at
Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He has a doctorate in marketing
and his research interest center around the ethics of using children in
marketing research, and the role of children in family decision making. 
 
GETTING THE WORD OUT: SEXUALIZED TOYS
 
SCEC steering committee member Diane Levin will be featured
on ABC News 20/20 this Friday evening (December 20) commenting
on the phenomenon of sexualized toys for children.
Check your local  listings and tune in!
 
ONE FOR THE GRASS ROOTS!
 
In response to protest efforts directed at JC Penney, the chain store has
removed The Forward Command Post war toy from their website. 
The Forward Command Post is a miniature house with partially bombed
out walls. It comes complete with an American flag and other items to
create a fully outfitted battle zone. All that's missing is the maimed
refugee family that to live in the house!
 
It is manufactured by Ever Sparkle Limited and recommended for
children ages 5 and up. 
 
Thanks to the efforts of grass roots groups around the country,
concerns about this item have received widespread media coverage.
 
Another toy that J.C. Penney should remove is one with the Orwellian title
World Peace Keepers Battle Station which is recommended for ages 3 and up. 
It consists of a soldier, a cannon, guns and “everything need to stage a battle.” 
In a rather bizarre twist, right underneath the toy, in bright red lettering,
is the slogan, “Gifts for What They Love.” Since when to three year olds
love to wage war?  Check it out at:
 

 

If you want to complain about the World Peace Keeping Battle Station and
congratulate them for removing the Forward Command Post, contact the
JC Penney Corporate Headquarters in Plano, Texas at (972) 431-1347.
 
Susan Linn reports that when she called and described the Forward Command
Post to the J.C. Penney employee who answered the phone, her response was
a spontaneous, “That’s disgusting!” She said that she had seen the toy in another
chain store and was horrified by it, but was not aware that her employer carried
it as well. As they were hanging up she said, “I’m going to march right in and
tell my boss what I think of it!”
 
DECEMBER BOOK RECOMMENDATION
 
Dads and Daughters: How to Inspire, Understand, and Support Your
Daughter When She’s Growing Up So Fast. 
By Joe Kelly. Broadway/Random House, 2002.
 
Father-daughter relationships are complex, but seldom examined
closely. Now, a new book by SCEC member Joe Kelly fills the void with
DADS AND DAUGHTERS: How to Inspire, Understand, and Support
Your Daughter When She's Growing Up So Fast.
 
As the father of twin daughters, the country's leading crusader for
strengthening the father/daughter bond, and executive director of the
grassroots national nonprofit, Dads and Daughters, Joe Kelly has his
finger on the pulse of the most controversial issues fathers and
daughters face today. DADS AND DAUGHTERS: How to Inspire,
Understand, and Support Your Daughter When She's Growing Up So Fast
candidly discusses key issues like body image, marketing to kids, dating
and sexuality, substance abuse, and the touch taboo between fathers
and daughters.
 
With a strong grasp of the pressures girls face in our cultural
environment, DADS AND DAUGHTERS helps fathers and stepfathers
understand the importance of their involvement in their daughter's lives.
Solution-oriented, this valuable book gives dads detailed advice that
can help them cultivate stronger, healthier relationships with their
growing daughters. Available in bookstores or online at
 
SCEC FEATURED ORGANIZATION:  KIDS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
 
Help children do something about hunger and poverty
KIDS Can Make A Difference  (KIDS)
P.O. 54, Kittery Point, ME 03905
 
KIDS Can Make A Difference is an innovative educational program for
middle and high school students. The purpose of KIDS is to educate young
people about the root causes of hunger and poverty and help them understand
that they can make a difference in their communities and the world. Students
participating in the KIDS program investigate why people are hungry in the
first place, what they need to begin feeding themselves, and what we can do
to begin removing the obstacles that prevent people from taking control of
their own lives. Uncovering root causes is an empowering and hopeful
experience. Once young people understand that ending hunger is possible, that
it is not caused by a shortage of food but by a shortage of democracy, feelings of
guilt, passivity and cynicism are replaced by an exuberant, confident, and
clear-sighted desire to provoke change.
 
For detailed information about the program, teacher guide and newsletter,
please visit the KIDS award winning web site at www.kidscanmakeadifference.org.
 
SPECIAL OFFER:  When you become a member of SCEC, we are pleased to
provide you with a FREE one year subscription to the KIDS Newsletter.
The newsletter highlights current hunger issues, showcases student initiatives,
features teachers’ experiences teaching the KIDS program, students’ experiences
making a difference in their communities and world, and guest authors.
The current issue featuring two articles on corporations and how information
about corporate influences are supplied to students is of particular interest
in today’s economic environment.
 
PEPSI VERSUS STUDENT INITIATIVE
 
We received an email from an irate father from Oregon whose daughter’s
school spirit and sense of initiative were squelched by Pepsi. She intended
to raise money for her cheerleading squad by selling custom bottled water
(bearing the name “Titan” after her school teams).
 
His daughter is banned from selling the water on school grounds by the
Pepsico Company, which has an exclusive contract with her school. 
Her father writes, “I have been getting a quick education on what I was
generally apathetic about before. I can tell you I'm pretty ticked off with
what I've found out.” What he discovered is that, by ensconcing Pepsi as
a significant presence in his daughter’s school, the beverage company is
garnering advertising worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  In exchange,
the amount of money per child received by the school system is “the
equivalent of milk money thirty years ago.”  In other words–not much!
 
The story has received national press and the Boyes family is fighting
back with help, in the form of letters, phone calls and e-mails, from people
around the country. 
 
In an interesting twist, for those of you in similar struggles, one way they will be
approaching the Salem Keizer district school board is to point out to them that
their own no-tolerance drug policy strictly forbids possession, use, transmission,
abuse, etc. of over the counter caffeine tablets. Mr. Boyes reports that punishment
is clearly stated as notification of law enforcement and administrative
recommendation for diversion or expulsion on the first offense. The problem is
that a 20 oz. bottle of Mountain Dew contains just a small fraction less caffeine
than a regular strength No-Doze tablet. They will asked to resolve this paradox
as they are actively pushing this and many other beverages high in caffeine and
have plans for increasing consumption in almost any way they can.
 
For more information, especially if you are in similar struggles about
commercialism in your children’s schools, contact Gary Boyes
 
E-mails can be sent to the following members of the Salem Keizer
district school board:
Chairperson Steve Chambers: chambers_steve@salkeiz.k12.or.us
Vice Chair Mark Adams: adams_mark@salkeiz.k12.or.us
 
As people in Seattle, Los Angeles and communities around the country have
found, schools districts can be responsive to organized expressions of concern
from parents.
 
THINGS WE WISH WE DIDN’T KNOW
 
PBS Kids is partnering with Mills Corporation, the shopping center developer who
coined the term “Shoppertainment.” to create PBS Kids pavilions in shopping
centers around the country.  The pavilions will feature play equipment, visits
from PBS characters, activities, Televisions playing PBS programs and will sell
T-shirts and other PBS paraphernalia.  In newer malls, the pavilions will be the prime
attraction in a whole Kids area featuring commercial shops and restaurants. 
The first one is scheduled to open near St. Louis in 2003.
 
Scholastic, Inc. has signed an agreement with DreamWorks that makes the company
the primary publishing licensee for the movie company’s animated feature films.
The centerpiece of the deal gives Scholastic the rights to publish all novelizations,
coloring and activity books, picture and storybooks based on DreamWorks’ next
five animated films. Scholastic has acquired most world English-language rights
as well as Spanish-language rights for the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Latin
America. The first book will be for Shrek 2. 
 
COMING SOON: BRAND NEW UPDATED SCEC WEBSITE
 
Please let us know how we’re doing.  Any suggestions for the newsletter?
Anything you want other people to know? 
Send ideas, information and questions to scec@jbcc.harvard.edu.  
A coalition is only as strong as it’s members!
 

JOIN SCEC

FOR INDIVIDUALS: With a minimum $25 tax deductible membership you receive:

  • A one year year SCEC membership

  • SCEC e-newsletter

  • Notification of events in your area

FOR ORGANIZATIONS:With a minimum $100 membership you receive:

  • All individual benefits

  • Organizational link from the SCEC webpage

  • Publicity for your events and activities

  • Opportunities to collaborate

SCEC Membership Fees:

$10            Student
$25            Individual
$50            Supporter
$100          Organization
$250          Advocate
$500          Activist
$1000        Stakeholder

Checks should be made out to:

SCEC/Judge Baker Children's Center

and sent to:

Barbara B. Sweeny / SCEC
Judge Baker Children's Center
3 Blackfan Circle, Boston, MA 02115

To make a credit card contribution, please contact Abigail Thomas at athomas@jbcc.harvard.edu