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In the spirit of the holidays, the Council of Parents Who Want Other People to Do Their Jobs for Them has asked that toy manufacturers cut down on advertising directed at kids this season because saying “No” is hard to do in the best of circumstances and it makes these trying economic times even more stressful.

According to this article

I had one parent who said she’d prostitute herself to get what her child wants,” Almodovar said. It’s heartbreaking. They feel inadequate as parents.

And well they should. Just what every kid wants: To be the reason Mama has sleepovers with the nice fellows she meets on the corner.

Most of us would like to say “Yes” to our kids a lot more than we do, but we have a responsibility to not create monsters. I took that responsibility seriously and someday I hope my kids can share with their kids the old-fashioned fun they had playing with Mommy’s broken gin bottles.

Advertising is never targeted to kids because kids don’t have any money. It’s targeted at their parents who are too spineless to say no to both the things and the whining. Miley Cyrus is not a gazillionaire because her ten-year-old demographic buys her hair scrunchies and concert tickets. It’s because her demographic’s parents will do anything to make their kids “happy” in the short term. Ever watched My Super Sweet Sixteen? Those monsters weren’t born, they were created.

In Toys R Us many years ago I was in the doll section looking for a black baby doll for C2 for Christmas (she had a fondness for black dolls). She and several relatives, whose only common connection is one grandparent, exhibit certain features, notably their hair, that indicate that perhaps there is some African American material in their genes. This is just my pet theory based on that scant evidence, but I’m fond of it because it would freak that grandparent the hell out. Back to Toys R Us, a girl of about eight was overdosing on the pink and frilly universe of Barbie surrounding her on aisle 12 and her mother was having no part of it, espousing her views on the objectification of women, impossible-to-reach standards of beauty, limiting women’s roles to that of subservient play thing. Finally, the little girl had had enough equal-rights talk: “But Mommy, pleeeease! I just want a Baaaarbieee!” Until then, I’d had my own conflicted feelings about Barbie, but that little girl taught me that if I can’t teach my child to separate her self-worth from that of a bumpy eleven-inch hunk of plastic that is fun to play with and, let’s be honest, sometimes torture, then they should take away my Parenting Permit, but at least that mom recognized that it was her responsibility to decide which toys she bought her child.

Without toy advertising we would have no real working submarines for $6.98 or X-ray Specs in the archives of our popular culture. There would have been no impetus for A Christmas Story, and I don’t think I can live in a world without 24 hours of A Christmas Story on TNT on Christmas Eve.