The Honest, Innocent Truth

Dr. Giordano was making waves when she could barely tie her shoes.  At the age of four, she was the focal point of a seemingly innocent campaign ad by LEGO.  This ad, published in 1981 seemed harmless and innocent, simply showing the purely creative spirit of children.  In the meantime, 33 years have elapsed, and Giordano is seen once again, holding up a modern day LEGO set.  The comparison is amusing, to say the very least.  While some aspects of our culture have progressed, gender norms have seemingly gone back in time.  Again, progress isn’t always progress.

What a difference 33 years can make.

What a difference 33 years can make.

 

As you can see, the 1981 LEGO set is simply that:  multicolored blocks, neutral, nonspecific.  The fine print of the ad points out the “Universal Building Sets” and how children build for both fun and realism.  It states how proud she is of herself for creating something of her own.  “What it is is beautiful.”  

I agree completely.

However, as time has elapsed and we look at a current set, things have different.  “What it is is different.”  In this new “LEGO Friends” line, girls are the focus.  However, this seemingly gender neutral toy is suddenly geared toward feminizing.  Why does the news van have to be all pink and feminized?  I don’t recall Meredith Vieira or Robin Roberts ever decking out in pure pink for a glitter filled news cast.  

According to HuffPost, the advertisements for this new line of LEGOs has this description for the pink news van: “Break the big story of the world’s best cake with the Heartlake News Van!”

Really???  Breaking news coverage over a cake?  Really?  Come on.

In my youth, I too played with LEGOS, like it was my job.  I had free bricks to create anything with, as well as a couple of sets.  However, my LEGO set was of an Indiana Jones type guy traveling through a forgotten mummified tomb – booby traps and all.  I don’t remember there being a cake anywhere, but I enjoyed it anyway.

I guess I’m just missing the point of making children’s toys have sex appeal.  Why?  Why can’t children just be children and use their imagination, rather than toe the line and follow the so-called ‘standards’ of popular culture?

In 1981, Giordano was donned in baggy jeans, a unisex shirt and shoes and only had her red braid to set her apart from the boys.  Who knows what she would look like today as a child.  The eternal tom boy in me cringes when I see little girls walking around with their parents in make up and clothes more expensive than those I own now.  I suppose everyone has their own opinion and they are rightfully entitled to have them, but I will be eternally grateful for the liberties my parents gave me as a child.  I was outside from dawn to dusk and played hard.  I dressed up for special occasions and stayed clean during school.  Any other time, the world was my oyster and I had countless adventures under the clouds.

I only hope that every little girl and little boy is given the same opportunity to explore in a label free backyard.

 

Coca-Cola: One Company Trying to Showcase America for What it Could Be

As most of you may know, the Super Bowl was last night.  Of course, whether or not a legitimate football game occurred, is up for interpretation.  As a Broncos fan, I openly admit that this game was a farce and a pitiful defeat.  So, the only thing keeping me tuned in, was the commercials.

Overall, the commercials seemed about the same as always – Doritos, cars, money, blah blah blah.  HOWEVER!  The Coca-Cola ad sweeping the nation and world alike has a lot to say.  Take a look:

This commercial has sparked quite a bit of attention, most of which isn’t very positive.  Why is that?  Why is it a constant struggle for this country to embrace the foundations of our nation and realize that America is indeed, a quilt of culture, language, and people?

I feel that this commercial is perfect.  The song is a wonderful fit.  Not only is a historically recognized and endearing song, it was written by Katharine Lee Bates, who lived happily with a woman for 25+ years.  So yea, she’s a lesbian.  The use of multilingual context, and individuals is beyond comparison.  Introducing a family with two dads, utilizing a good mixture of males and females, showcasing culture, happiness, innocence, and purpose was seamless.

Why must there be so much hatred and ignorance associated with this commercial?  Ok, so English wasn’t the dominant language…well…English isn’t a native language to this land if you really want to go there.  We are who we are and what we are based on a long history of immigration.  Sure, this immigration may have been done in both positive and negative ways throughout time, but what nation is exempt from this?

All I know, is that I have had a lot of problems with this country lately, but this commercial reminded me why I enjoy being an American.  I come from a country of culture, freedom, chance, opportunity and love.  Unfortunately, this gets covered up too easily.  Maybe 2014 can help turn that cycle around.