How to brand your kid.
When I was five years old, I wanted to marry a rabbi or a shoe salesman when I grew up. A rabbi, perhaps because I’m Jewish (I really don’t remember why), and a shoe salesman, because, d’uh, I’m Shoeish.
From the time I was little, I was already very left wing socio-politically. I may never have been statistically the right height for my age, but as a child, I was not usually my actual age either.
Every time I saw a homeless person, I was confused. How are there not enough places for people to live? Every time I met a fat kid, he’d become my best friend. How could others be so mean to him? Every time I could get my little brother in trouble for climbing out of his crib, I would. How could a big sister not be even a little bit mean to her baby brother?
Yes, I was a five-year-old on a quest: I wanted to help people when I grew up, and wanted to win my parents’ love as their favourite child.
Yesterday, along with well over a million other people, I learned of a five-year-old girl who refuses to get married, until she has a career. Another little girl on a quest. The question in debate, whose quest? Her parents’ or her own?
In a YouTube video [seen here], the confident kindergartener says, “I don’t want to marry someone if I don’t have a job first… I don’t care if I marry you. I don’t care if I marry another man. I care if I do something that’s special.”
Of course, TV shows and radio shows were all over the single (little) lady’s rant. Some people were impressed by her tenaciousness and thought she had an attitude missing in many women. Others thought she sounded more indoctrinated than motivated, and said her parents should just let her be a kid.
At first, from just listening to her manifesto, I thought she was cute; a mature child with fiery spirit, who similar to me at her age, knew what she wanted.
As children, it’s natural for our parents to influence us. Even by not actively influencing, any lack of influence is still hugely influential. So, I reasoned her parents were indeed letting her be a kid, in a way unique to their brand of influence and her self-expression.
Then, I watched the video.
It had more cuts than a butcher block - six choppy edits, in less than one minute.
Then, I did a little market(ing) research.
The now six-year-old has an 11-year-old sister, Anna Graceman, vying for celebrity as a (talented) singer/songwriter. Through her Twitter account, Anna thanked Ryan Seacrest for putting up the video on his site too. The original was uploaded to Anna’s YouTube account, and now has almost 1.3 million views.
Well, with all those numbers, it’s easy to do the math.
You see, at first, I reasoned her parents were letting her be a kid, in a way unique to their brand of influence and her self-expression.
But in the end, I realized her parents were showcasing their kid, in a way unique to branding a product…
A brand new celebrity.
2/24/2011 11:27:18 am
My kids are all going to marry a pair of Fluevog shoes, as jobs come and go in our lives. If one of my offspring falls in love with another human being, I will let them choose such an adventure. This poor child is determined to live a life of stress and "working for the man," potentially without experiencing the most important human emotion of all: love. Whether that is the love of another person, travel, education, etc. The world would be short of about 100-200 people, including myself, if everybody chose to "marry" before having a job, as I'm sure this youngster eludes to "marriage." When I was growing up, probably due to my being adopted, I did not want to have children before I had a career. The truth is, we are all trying to protect ourselves from some fear, matched with an idea of success--she has learned that in our society that having a job first is self-preservation, and that love must come 2nd to that success. Now, I'm in a successful career, yet still want no children. Is this girl going to be in a great career, without ever experiencing the rollercoaster of emotion with falling in love? I'll betcha $5! Sad. In a way, that's all I've ever really lived for, and she's denying herself that pleasure at such a young age...
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