Shewmaker fights sexualization of children

Posted May 09, 2011

Candie's Clothing, a company that sells clothing for girls ages 4-16 and shoes for girls and women, called the public to help create its new ad campaign. ACU's Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker, director of school psychology training and associate professor of psychology, thinks everyone should get involved – in order to send Candie's a message.

Shewmaker called attention to Candie's advertisements, which feature scantily clad young women, much older than the brand's target demographic, often in sexualized positions. Ironically, the company is connected to the Candie's Foundation, which was founded by the company's president. The foundation's main goal is to "raise awareness about, and motivate teens to prevent, teen pregnancy," according to its website. (The foundation's ads, featuring warnings about the ramifications of teen pregnancy, are the opposite of the company's fashion ads.) Shewmaker is anxious to shed light on this irony.

"I joined with SPARK Summit and Beauty Redefined, two organizations also against the sexualization of children, to send a message to Candie's clothing company," Shewmaker says.

The goal of Shewmaker's anti-campaign was to use the tools provided on Candie's own website to create ads that would be featured in the company's newest campaign. The ad campaign contest recently ended, but Shewmaker encourages people not to let that be the end of this dialogue.

"We want to keep pressing Candie's to rethink the mixed messages it is sending to young people about sexuality," says Shewmaker. "I encourage people to visit my blog and use the contact information found there."

"Candie's needs to know that consumers find its sexualized and objectifying ads in sharp contrast to the values it claims to promote," says Shewmaker. "Write letters, call, fax, email, start a petition. Look for creative ways to get the company's attention."

Shewmaker shares more information about her campaign against inappropriately sexualized messages on her blog. You may also read more on the SPARK Summit website.