Another blogger, Nancy at Parent Girls (part of New Moon Girls Network), puts it very well when she says Submarine is playing up the pending sexuality of these girls to sell a product, and that's repulsive. If you agree, you can let Submarine know. Both Nancy and Melissa posted examples of letters you can send to Submarine owner Deborah Soriano at email@example.com. I sent one.
The American Psychological Association also agrees that this type of imposed sexualization is harmful to children. It contributes to an inability to concentrate, anxiety about appearance, eating disorders, low self-esteem, depression, and poor sexual well-being. A publication from 2007 by the APA Task Force addresses the sexual objectification of girls, and is worth taking the time to read if you are a parent or a manufacturer or distributor of kids' products. Be sure to read pages two and three which contain suggestions on what parents and kids can do. Think about the girls in that Submarine ad when you read this quote from the APA:
Girls get this message repeatedly: What matters is how “hot” they look. It plays on TV and across the Internet. You hear it in song lyrics and music videos. You see it in movies, electronic games, and clothing stores. It’s a powerful message.
As parents, you are powerful too. You can teach girls to value themselves for who they are, rather than how they look. You can teach boys to value girls as friends, sisters, and girlfriends, rather than as sexual objects. And you can advocate for change with manufacturers and media producers.
In fact, Nancy has come up with a great idea for communicating with companies. It's called Girl-Caught. She's made up some printable stickers you can put on any product ad or packaging that show that you either hate it because it objectifies and disrespects women or girls, or that you like it because it is respectful. Mail the offending (or exemplary) ad or product packaging to the company with the sticker, and before you do, scan or photograph what you're sending and share it with NewMoonGirls.com under "My Stuff." I'm going to do this with my munchkin to teach her how to evaluate the advertising she sees.