Slap is our current campaign which focuses on the steady proliferation of make-up aimed at little girls and the damage that this normalising of make-up can do to the self-esteem of young children. Making children internalise messages about beauty products at this crucial and early stage of development, is nothing more than corporate conditioning. Slap wants retailers to take corporate and social responsibility and asks parents to consider the impact that beauty products have on their young children. Slap will be talking to girls about their experiences and to experts on the beauty industry, whilst challenging this burgeoning market.
Early Learning Centre - Early Learning Emergency!
Early Learning Emergency was our first campaign, launched in December 2009. We challenged the Early Learning Centre, with its rampant pinkification and gender-segregation of toys.
We asked our supporters to send letters and emails demanding ELC take action and address the sexist nature of many of their products, whilst reminding them of the commitments to learning and well-being proclaimed in their mission statement.
The ELE campaign received massive press coverage in 45 countries around the globe, proving that there was an enormous appetite for discussion on the concerns Pinkstinks had raised.
Whilst the ELC refused to acknowledge the issues, a year later their Christmas catalogue had evident changes. This included a reduced use of the word ‘pretty’ to describe toys/dressing-up clothes for girls and a marked increase in the number of girls dressed in outfits other than ‘princess’. Boys and girls feature playing together with toy kitchens and there are other subtle differences.
We believe the pressure we and our supporters exerted meant the ELC attempted to remedy some of the more obvious gender segregation and stereotyping within its catalogue and toys. There is still, however, a definite way to go...
Read more about Early Learning Emergency in our blog archive: pinkstinks.wordpress.com
Sainsbury’s dressing up clothes – Which century are we in?
Our second, smaller campaign, challenged Sainsbury’s and its sexist labelling of children’s dressing-up clothes. Whereby doctor's outfits were labelled for boys, nurse and beautician outfits were of course tagged - girl. Sainsbury’s responded quickly and decisively and made all of their dressing up clothes unisex in-store. Sainsbury’s Customer Director, Gwyn Burr, told Pinkstinks:
“It isn't acceptable to suggest certain professions are the reserve of any gender. This is an error and one I am seeking to address ASAP. The new labels which will be non-gender specific will go on the next allocation of clothing, so will be in store from July.”
Great result for us, Sainsbury’s and for parents and children.
The Prince's Trust – Self esteem in a bottle
We challenged the Prince's Trust and a so-called 'self-esteem campaign' - where they and their corporate sponsors, St Tropez tanning products, ran a campaign figureheaded by Kelly Osbourne.
Osbourne was seen in a video on the website, asserting that whilst she had never wanted a spray tan before, once her friends persuaded her to have one (!) her self-esteem rose. We found this a damaging and insulting message to be giving to young people - that having a spray tan was responsible for an increase in well-being. This was particularly irresponsible from a charity which works for disadvantaged young people.
The Prince's Trust withdrew their partnership on that particular campaign but lost none of the funds which they were receiving from St Tropez. We saw this as a victory for common sense and of course for the young people that are so bombarded with damaging messages from the aggressive and profit-led beauty industry.