saving our sons from superheroes, slackers, and other media stereotypes


“Packaging Boyhood: What About BOYS Halloween Costumes?”

From Amy Jussel, Shaping Youth

October 19, 2009 Last week I promised an ongoing once a week focus on Packaging Boyhood through the remainder of the year regarding boys and how our sons are handling the media-marketing zeitgeist…

he-man-boyI realize I DO focus a considerable amount on girls, body image and so sexy so soon developmental angst, not just because I have a daughter, but because the sexualization is so prevalent, overt, and ‘in your face’ with damaging statistics showing up early on. So yes, I’ve already covered girls’ Halloween Horrors of ‘wicked innocence’ and vamp-n-tramp costumes ad infinitum (who hasn’t, eh?)…but boys? Not so much.

Instead of prostitots and sexed up storybook faire, we have pimp, gangstah, buffed boy body imagery in blow-up-your-muscles he-man style, with bling and bucks to ‘pretend to pay’ for your hookers and make change for your johns. (If you need full evidence of sexist/racist cues, there’s an entire site devoted to–not gonna link, sorry)

Are we having fun yet? Not when parenting articles link the media corollaries for childrens’ distress, like this new one from Michele Borba citing eating disorders, stress and body dissatisfaction hammering boys now too. So today Packaging Boyhood authors and Shaping Youth Advisory Board members Dr. Sharon Lamb & Dr. Lyn Mikel Brown (who were part of the APA girls sexualization study, so have firsthand experience here!) offer part one of a two-part post on boys and Halloween. (more…)

Yep, Halloween is Too Sexy Too Soon! But What About Too Tough Too Early?


Parents are rightly concerned about “too sexy too soon” Halloween costumes for little girls, but does anyone ask, “What about the boys?”  The search for boys’ costumes can be treacherous, too, and just as filled with over-hyped and stereotyped “choices.”  These ten tips for choosing Halloween costumes for your son, from Drs. Lyn Mikel Brown, [...]

President says “Being Successful is Hard.” Yep. So Man-Up Media!


We have to ask, did President Obama get page proofs to Packaging Boyhood? “I know that sometimes you get that sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work – that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star. Chances are you’re not [...]

War Dolls

GI Joe Snake Eyes

The ban has been lifted on reporting deaths from Afghanistan and Iraq. Today the AP published a tribute to a Marine who died recently in Afghanistan, including details of how he received his mortal injuries and a picture of his last moments on the battlefield. What do we feel and what will we allow ourselves [...]

The Rise of G.I. Joe


GI Joe’s presence in the action figures aisle has been hardly noticeable amidst the scores of superheroes and wrestlers, but believe us, he’s every bit as muscled up and now comes with huge weaponry. Over a year ago we wrote that Joe’s only hope for survival was to star in his own TV show, video [...]

A Real Apology from Chris Brown

Picture 1

R&B artist Chris Brown has apologized.  A real apology this time.  Not like his earlier protest that “the media is wrong” about their reporting of the beating he gave to his then girlfriend, pop singer Rihanna, or his father’s explanation that the behavior that landed Rhianna in the hospital was just a “stumble”.  This time [...]

The Sissy Duckling


Just heard about a great book for kids–boys and girls.  The Sissy Duckling (Simon & Schuster, 2002, ISBN 0-689-83566) is a children’s book written by noted actor Harvey Fierstein and illustrated by Henry Cole. It is 40 pages long and intended for children ages 4-8. It follows the story of Elmer, a duck who is [...]