Sometimes I get a pitch that makes me want to cry. And by cry, I mean run to my blog to share it all with you so we can cry together.
Tears of laughter. Tears of pain. Tears of what the hell is wrong with people.
I’m sure that like me, you are delighted to learn that you as parents now have the perfect gift to give to your teen or pre-teen girl. Because you know, we just don’t understand our kids–their wants, their needs, their crazy kid style. Why, some days, my daughter pairs rainbow shoes with colorful socks. It’s madness, I tell you.
However, thanks to an informative pitch in my inbox today, I’ve been schooled once again. Starting around 9 years old, what girls really want is not some boring American Girl Doll or a trip to Disney World, or even the LEGO Harry Potter set, the one with the Quiddich set that you have to buy from some LEGO scalper on Amazon for $75.
No, it seems that her true desire is for a belly button piercing.
Fear not! For one brilliant marketer, knowing that moms are not necessarily into the whole idea of piercing their third or fourth or fifth-grader’s belly buttons, has come up with the perfect, sensible alternative: The world’s sexiest jewelry.
Seriously. World’s sexiest. For you to buy your pre-teen and teen.
They will love it. Or so I’ve been told.
And now, I’m going to give you the rare privilege to behold the sexy. You might want to uh…lock the bathroom door and get out some tissues before you go any further here. I mean, these are sssssssteaming hot.
See what I mean? On fire!
I guess unbeknownst to old people like me, the way things work with kids these days is that “sexy” means dangling a cheap looking, Chinese-made (just a guess) gun charm from the button of your Daisy Dukes, like a flashing neon sign drawing attention to your lady bits: Look guys! Down here! I have a vagina! Hey! Yeah…see the gun? Yep, that’s it! That’s the one!
Christina says they are like zipper pull tabs for your shorts. So there’s another added level of sexy right there: Easy access.
And if, say, for some cockamaime reason guns and handcuffs aren’t your thing, here’s another sexiest thing: gold-digging.
Let’s be honest, parents. All this talk about bullying, redshirting, common core testing, Title 9 sports, promotion of girls in math and science–eh. Passé. What we really should be focused on are discussions on how to make our daughters more provocative and alluring. Early, yo. Or they won’t stand a chance against those other girls whose parents got a head start on us. Damn them.
Sadly, mere padded bikini tops just aren’t enough any more.
Pull my finger. I mean…zipper.
67 thoughts on “I don’t know how to write this headline so that every pervert on the internet doesn’t come here looking for sexy girl photos.”
I … hate everybody.
Pencils down. This is everything.
Absolutely perefct, laziza. I ain’t got nothin’ else.
I pierced my navel on a school trip to France when I was 16. My mother made me take it out or wouldn’t let me get my driver’s license. I re-pierced it on my 18th birthday because ADULTHOOD.
This… this just makes me want to shower and then hug my 8-year old step daughter and sing her Disney songs forever.
I have the same story…only it was a second ear pierce. France when I was 16. My father made me take it out. Repierced it in college because ADULTHOOD.
I don’t think I’ve put an earring in it for 15 years.
But on the other hand, it didn’t open my pants either.
Second set of ear piercing on Christmas break at 18 because ADULTHOOD. Tattoo at 24 because ADULTHOOD.
Yes to both of these for me too, except I got a fake college ID when I was 16 just to get my second ear piercing done. I’m such a dork.
When I was 16 I desperately wanted a tattoo on my ankle, but I didn’t even bother asking my parents because I knew there was no way they would go for that. I figured I would wait until I turned 18 and get one (because ADULTHOOD) at some seedy place on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore (I’m the oldest child, I was always a planner). Then I turned 18 and by that time I was over it because ADULTHOOD. I’m now 36 and have no tattoos. But 3 ear piercings, of which I think 2 are still operable.
Yay, finding new ways to make our daughters look like gifts to unwrap.
Oh God, that imagery…
I am shuddering. I was at least expecting a stick on jewel for your belly button. My mom got all the guys in the family magnetic earrings, remember those? Becuase she thought that’s what a bunch of un-hip nerds needed 🙂
Holy, I don’t even know what to day, except (sorry), “glad I have boys” – my boys have no clue why anyone would ever ever want to date a girl, but when they mature a little bit, cannot imagine they would find these sexy.
Brought to you buy the #titstare team
I had a magnetic nose ring stud. Still have it somewhere. I was 27 and looked ridiculous, even then.
Better still it looks like you were solicited by… [redacted]
Andddd according to their website they’ve been featured on Daily Candy, South Florida Business Journal, The Miami Herald, Bloomberg, wait it gets better…USAToday ANDDDD the Wall Street Journal.
Can’t. Stop. Laughing…
Thanks for this Karen. You are a smart Googler! I am not trying to shame the PR agency by name so I redacted; normally I’d leave the brand name out but there was no way around it here. Also, they’re gross. -Liz
i got that same pitch and fired off a sputtering email. you did good, liz. your response is spot on perfect. also, you were braver than me – i couldn’t bear to click through to the actual site.
Would love to see that email; I can only imagine. Good for you.
me too. email on your blog, please?
This must be a joke. Seriously. Who would write this? Please tell me it ain’t so…
It is so.
This makes me violent.
And what about the poor middle school boys, who already get a boner when someone says something sexy like, “math homework” (meaning, it takes nothing to cause the reaction)…how are they supposed to deal with this? When I was in middle school, it was jeans so tight and with a rise that caused ‘camel toe’. Uncomfortable, to say the least. And yes, of course I wore them, and my mom HATED it.
Math homework! That made me laugh so hard.
Hee hee, you said hard.
Ok, this comment had me laughing way too hard, but it may be the result of 13+ years of teaching in a public high school. When I explained the source of laughter to my husband, he took one look at the “jewelry” then one at our 2 yo daughter and said, “Over my dead body.” I guess he didn’t appreciate it.
Yuck. Just…. yuck.
I think I am glad that my kids are now adults. I still owe my daughter a tattoo, though. Nothing sexy – just the logo of the performing arts school she attended that cemented her desire to dance and teach for the rest of her life.
If I had received this email when she was younger I think 2 things would have happened – first I would have hit the roof and ranted and raved, then I would have sat down with girl child and discussed if this is really appropriate, for whom it might be appropriate, and, how this opens the door to slut shaming, teaching women that they are only objects, and, teaching men to look at women as nothing more than objects. I would also have sat down with boy child and had the same discussion.
I am a rather permissive parent in some ways, but, in some others I am not. And sexing up our kids at an early age, in my world at least, is not permitted.
Awful product. Awful marketing. Awful people selling awful things.
I’m already practicing the disallow extra piercings speech for my girls.
I’m sitting next to my husband as I read. My mouth was literally open the entire time. I didn’t have the words to explain why. I simply turned my screen around. And now, I have a massive headache.
Kudos for the smart response. You have words where they are currently failing me.
My 11 year-old daughter just rolled her eyes at these. This is a kid who wears costume animal tails on her back belt loop. She says “it would be smacking me ‘down there’ all day. That’s dumb.”
I don’t get upset with these fads. If she shows interest, I ask her what type of attention it would garner, and is she ready for that. I grew up with parents who made decisions for me and condemned even the slightest immodesty. It just made it more enticing.
There are a million and one terrible products and services born every day. Most will fade into obscurity. (Flow-bee, anyone?) I take issue with the PR team who thinks it’s a good idea to target the parents of pre-teens about this. If some college student wants a zipper pull tab smacking her crotch all day (your daughter is hilarious!) I wouldn’t like it but I don’t know that I’d rant about it. She’s old enough to make her own decisions.
Sounds like you’re raising a great girl.
I don’t think I want to live in a world where this is a for real thing that people are trying to sell my daughter.
This underscores perfectly the world that girls live in: one week, a post from Mrs. Hall, admonishing girls for pajama pics on Instagram and how her precious sons won’t respect her as anything other than an object if she does such a thing; the next week PR pitches to bloggers hocking “Sexy Girl” zipper fly jewelry to 10 year olds.
It’s spelled m-i-x-e-d m-e-s-s-a-g-e-s.
I thought about the same thing, Karen. When there’s a website telling young girls THIS IS SEXY it’s hard for them to just ignore it. Which is why we talk about it.
The weird thing is that my tween doesn’t really even understand the word “sexy” yet. In her mind, it just means something indefinably gross. She won’t even let me say the word “bra”!
As for my teen, I might show this to her to spark a discussion. It’s so grotesque, there’s no chance she’d actually want it, but it is a good way to get her talking about how to make smart, classy, age-appropriate apparel choices.
I agree with Astacia though. Better to help kids think through good choices than make the choices for them.
I couldn’t agree more with both of you. Thanks Carol.
I showed my 16yo and my 11yo. They both laughed.
(The gun. The handcuffs. Good lord.)
Holy fuck! I have no words. I want to nut-punch whomever thought this was a marketable product to pre-teens/teens.
I had just been reading a few depressing news articles on Facebook and thinking, I have to get away because I can’t take all of this, but no, I scrolled a little further and see this. Now I don’t even know what to feel. It’s one thing for a young girl to want to look sexy. It is totally another for companies to create products like this and then market them to mothers of pre-teens. I am both angry and flabbergasted and sorry that our society is so sick.
I think you pretty much nailed it with, “Cockamaime.”
I had to take my hand off my mouth to even type this comment. Dear God.
HULK SMASH THE WORLD
I have never been more happy to have a tween obsessed with Minecraft.
This product looks like it might have been created for another purpose…and someone’s kid said, “hey look, you can put it here instead!” And the ad company thought that was even better. So, they skipped the whole kids-turning-a-product-into-something else-so-that-it-horrifies-their-parents.
We as woman have POWER. To influence, to nurture and to empower our young ladies and little girls. Its starts from when they are young…not pre-teen. Im raising young ladies, who hopefully wont feel the need to cheapen themselves for attention. And that’s what it comes down too. Many young girls aren’t being led in our communities around the world by strong female leaders. Its about time we stop spending our energies on crying out with indignation towards companies that DO NOT CARE if they are sexualizing little girls…its about the bottom dollar for them…and instead educating and leading our future women in directions where they feel strong and capable and dont feel the need to cheapen themselves to impress boys with cheap sexualisation like this. And its time for our men to start being stronger leaders for the boys who they strongly influence. It comes down to parents being the right and moral leaders in the privacy of their homes to lead our young men and women of the future in treating each other with respect, dignity and love. Until this happens…cheapness will continue until our young communities will think of themselves as nothing more than meat to used and abused.
Thanks Colleen. I think that we can do both. I think we both have the conversation about inappropriate marketing, while still being strong female role models ourselves. The thing is, our kids don’t live in a bubble. I can raise my girls as strong as I want–and they have some damn good female role models in their family and in their lives–but as they grow older, their greatest influence will in fact be their peers.
Sorry to be a wet blanket, but I don’t see on their website where these zipper charms are geared toward kids. They do have a site for charms for kids, if you scroll to the bottom for the link. It looks like those are marketed for the belt loops.
I’m also very curious why you didn’t get a screen shot of the whole email? If you received this advert, why would you take a screen shot of only 3 lines instead of the whole email? It would be indisputable if you had shown the whole advert in it’s entirety, complete with ‘subject’ line, ‘to’ and ‘from’ fields, yours blacked out, obviously. Is there a chance you can take a screen shot of the email?
Your citation above does not seem to talk about this, either. ‘Christina’ does not have a single mention of the jewelry on her site. I used ‘sexy girl’, ‘sexygirljewelry.com’, ‘zipper’, ‘zipper pull’, ‘bling’, and so forth in her search function and did not bring up a single mention of it.
Nina, are you suggesting I made this up?
The first two photos I posted are from the pitch itself: CALLING ALL MOMS OF TEENS AND PRE-TEEN GIRLS…
which means that their marketing strategy is to reach teens and pre-teen girls. And of course, their mothers. This is a post about the pitch, or in other words, about the marketing of the product. It was pitched to me as a website editor, with the hopes that I will share it with other parents as a good gift for their pre-teen and teen daughters.
There are multiple bloggers who tell me they are discussing it on Facebook, all having received the same pitch. A commenter earlier even posted information about the PR agency who pitched this. And if you see the comment from Magpie, she mentions also getting this email and firing off a response to the person who sent it.
As I mentioned in another comment, I am not here to shame the PR company by name. And so it doesn’t seem important to post the entire content of the email, just to excerpt it. (Unless you also want to know details about how it’s worn, a list of types of charms sold, and how “Sexy Girl Jewelry samples and give-away opportunities are available upon request.”)
Since I’m the “Christina” mentioned above, I thought I’d chime in here: I’m a long-time friend of Liz and she shared the PR pitch with me in a personal email. I made the comment about them looking like zipper pulls in my reply which is why you wouldn’t find it on my blog. I can screen shot my reply but you’ll just have to trust me on this one.
I just, um, have…no words. Effing ridiculous. I’m off to see if this idiot company is on FB and Twitter so I can do the same thing I did when I heard about Victoria’s Secret’s stupid attempt at marketing to tweens. Blurg!
I can spare you. Typical Facebook page post:
Jewelry only for all kinda of sexiest girls! #sexygirl #jewelry #sexy #cute #girls #fun #fashion #beautiful #musthave #trend
I like to think that if a boy child pulled on it, an air bag would deploy, pushing both the sexy pre-teen girl and the curious boy apart. But I don’t think that was in the pitch.
Modern chastity belt! Get it on Kickstarter, stat.
I will make every effort to teach my daughter that MODEST IS HOTTEST. That is all.
This makes the puppy that my nine year old wants more than anything seem like a major winner.
BLOWN.AWAY. I’m pregnant for the first time, and these “belly button piercings” things scare me more than labor. Holy crap.
how did something like this get funding? Where do people think that this is a viable product to sell and market?
Ew, ew, ew, ew . . .
I wrote about Halloween Costumes and similar issues facing my nine-year-old daughter (http://wp.me/p1si9K-12I), though this is way more over the top. I hope I don’t get that email.
Ew, ew, ew, ew . . .
I’m in the PR business and this is absolutely disgusting to me. If I were at this company, I would put my foot down and refuse to pitch it as a product for young women (or really women, in general). Sometimes taking a stand is more important than making money.
I wonder to what degree the PR agency came up with the notion of pitching moms of tweens and teens. It’s hard to say.
If they had good sense, they’d have marketed them up…way up…like, I’m 42 up. Dating gets harder at this age, no one can hear or see as well, it’s so much easier to cut out the whole talking thing and just use strategically placed signs and symbols.
They had the wrong focus group, clearly. “Laurie’s got a gun”? I like it.
Laurie, this made my whole day. You’re a marketing genius.
Holy shit. That’s about as intelligent a comment as I can muster.
Get a belly button piercing instead. Kaythxbye.
P.S. Don’t actually. You scar poorly.
The levels of Wrong are staggering…
Wow. This is pretty awful — and the picture is horrifying! I hope my daughter won’t ask for one of these when she gets older. The answer will definitely be a resounding no!
Wow. Just wow. I’m 24 and fine, I’m a flirt. I would never be caught dead wearing one of these things! I really don’t understand how anyone came up with this idea.
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