OPINION

POGO, Kellogg's Special K, and Body Image Issues

February 20, 2009
Deepti Lamba

Yesterday just as we sat down at Coffee Day my seven year old eyed me and told me with twinkling eyes "Ma, You are fat." I gasped for breath. I asked him where he had heard about fat. He shook his head and gave me his usual - Don't know and dug into his Black Forest Cake.

I wasn't about to give him an explanation about fitting into a size 12 jeans after 4 months of rigorous work outs or that giving birth to him, his sister and taking care of them had made me 'fat'. I wasn't going down the defensive mode with a 7 year old child.

I was more interested in knowing where he had come across the concept of body image. And it didn't take me long. Today while the kids watched toons on POGO the Special K ad rolled in. And before my horrified eyes I heard a small girl talking about her mom looking like Aishwarya Rai and her mom laughed and said she had lost two kilos by being on Special K. The little angel ranted about her mom looking the prettiest in the school and my mouth hung open.

What kind of shit was this? I looked at my son and then back at the TV. It was bad enough that cable channels were feeding shit to our kids about junk food but now we had cereals sneaking in body image neurosis to our underage children.

Where is the protest from parents about these sorts of ads? Maybe its time Kellogg's was taken to court for propagating unhealthy habits to our kids. Can you imagine a kid asking just for sugary cereals for 2 meals to be skinny?

Anyone who has tasted Special K would tell you that its like sugary wood shavings. And to be on a cereal diet is the worst thing one can do to their body. Eating right and exercising is the best way to leading a healthy life.

Once the ad finished I spoke to my son and told him that not everything that is seen on TV is the truth. And that having a fat or skinny mother doesn't make the child happy, what makes a child happy is having a mommy who loves him.

And that if I ever heard him say those words to anyone I would personally come and teach him the meaning of respect.

He looked at me with big saucer eyes and asked 'Why?"

I replied that it was the meanest and most hurtful thing to say and he wasn't a mean boy.

His mind switched gears when he realized his mother was done lecturing and asked if he could go out and play. I nodded absentmindedly, still upset about the kind of bogeymen we were letting into our homes via kiddie channels.

Deepti Lamba is a writer, an editor for Desicritics. She can be found at Things That Bang
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#1
Ayan Roy
February 20, 2009
03:00 PM

What the f**k??? I haven't seen this ad, but Deepti, this is really serious sh*t. I won't rave or rant.. I decided to do something and I checked this website out:
http://www.ascionline.org/

I don't know how much authority these people have, but we can download this form..
http://www.ascionline.org/regulation/ASCI_complaint_form.pdf
.. and do our bit by sending an official complaint about the Ad. As for the complaints:
1.The AD is scientifically misleading (you cannot be slim and healthy by just eating sugary cereal)
2. It is demeanin and insulting.
3. It sends across very harmful messages about body image and misleads young impressionable children.

Can you please somehow upload a video clip of the AD if possible? I don't know about the channel details, date or time.. that's where you could chip in.
I will be happy to email this and circulate the clip + complaint form.

#2
kaffir
February 20, 2009
03:59 PM

But, but, but...it's coming from America, and it's a product from the same consumerist-capitalist machine and same thinking that packages and sells V-day to all of us - by stoking insecurities, by telling us what is "cool & acceptable" and what is not (in this case, a certain body type), and offering an instant solution. :)
Or are we going to pick-and-choose now? ;)

#3
Aditi N
February 20, 2009
04:01 PM

Capitalism and consumerism make such great lovers. Unfortunately they have the ugliest offsprings (like this commercial). :)

Dee: Its a good thing I don't have kids. The "fat" comment would make for a swift spanking session under my rule. :) And I'd eat his black forest cake too. hehe.

#4
kaffir
February 20, 2009
04:30 PM

"Capitalism and consumerism make such great lovers. Unfortunately they have the ugliest offsprings (like this commercial)."
====

Nice try Aditi, but I don't think your above analogy works. :)

#5
Aditi N
February 20, 2009
06:21 PM

thanks for that kaffir. it would give me sleepless nights if you and I were to be on the same page about anything at all.

#6
kaffir
February 20, 2009
06:48 PM

Ayan:

1.The AD is scientifically misleading (you cannot be slim and healthy by just eating sugary cereal)
-
You'll be hard pressed to find an ad out there that's not scientifically misleading. I mean, roses, card and chocolates mean love? Driving a car means freedom? Where's the scientific evidence of that?

Maybe you should check the definition of "advertisement" and its history before getting worked up, because ads by their very nature, exaggerate and/or fudge facts and make us feel insecure to sell a product.
-

2. It is demeanin and insulting.

-
To whom? Who decides? If you find it demeaning and insulting, ignore it or don't buy their product. End of story.

Or are you saying that everyone in India who watches this ad finds it demeaning and insulting?
-

3. It sends across very harmful messages about body image and misleads young impressionable children.

-
It's the responsibility of parents to educate their kids to neutralize such messages, to place limits and draw boundaries, and give them the skills to think for themselves, because such messages will always be there.

If you know of a solution where it's possible to have only those messages out there that are not harmful and not misleading, please share. You can start with an objective definition of "harmful" and "misleading" that all Indians will agree with, and then next step would be to stop such messages from appearing, once you have a consensus. Make sure to check in with those friends of yours who work in ad agencies how this decision will affect their livelihood. ;)

Peace and love.

#7
kaffir
February 20, 2009
06:55 PM

Ayan:

Of course I'm playing somewhat of a devil's advocate here (previous comment), and the parallels between what's found offensive in this case and who decides what's offensive; and what's offensive about V-day celebration are hard to ignore. My response was along the same lines as those offered by some to the critics of V-day.

Love and peace.

#8
kaffir
February 20, 2009
07:03 PM

Oh Aditi-ji,

I'm a tuchch panthi in front of the tall khajur tree of your erudition, knowledge and wisdom. ;)

#9
Deepti Lamba
URL
February 20, 2009
11:36 PM

Aditi, sometimes the answers are so obvious that its best not to get into an argument. Love has yet to give diabetes. Chocolates, cakes, cokes etc do. I am sure the next argument would be about love causing damage to the heart, the liver, the kidney, the mind...blah blah...

Some arguments end up like a dog chasing its own tail;)

My poor kids are starved for coke, chocos etc. They get to eat junk food once in a blue moon. I took a bite of the Black Chocolate and hated it. My honeymoon with sugar is over! Yay!


Ayan, I am going through the regulation Guidelines for advertising of F&D for kids under 13.

I am quite sure these Kellog people have their asses covered with their - meal replacement scientific research and that the ad is for parents and not kids. Which is why I will speak to my lawyer.



#10
Slime_id
February 21, 2009
09:40 AM

The children are the easiest way to influence parents. These companies in the name of advertising influence huge stereotypes.

Deepti, the parents need to make their move and sue Pogo rather than Kellogs. How did it pass the Pogo Channel regulations?





#11
Deepti Lamba
URL
February 21, 2009
12:06 PM

Good point Slime

#12
Anirudh
URL
February 22, 2009
09:14 AM

What again??

As I understand, your motive of wanting to ban this Ad is because your kid called you FAT and it hurt you? Face it, if you are fat, you are. Why do you start Hating the Ad, whats Misleading? And hello!! females world over give birth, do you find chineese fat after they give birth?Its for you to stay fit and in shape!Why don't you Gym instead of cursing the Ad that made your child think or rather know you are fat!

If a Kid says "You are fat". It means, he's not respecting you??Whhhattt?? Common, we all know Kids are the ones who don't worry about being Politically right, leave them alone..Don't start teaching them how to be politically right. Let them be candid as they are.!

Phew!One of the most disturbing views I have ever read.

#13
sarah islam
February 22, 2009
09:55 AM

My two bit:

When we get a brief to work on an ad, the clients usually have focus group findings that support whatever claim their marketing department has decided on. The agency only implements it creatively.

Now...most of these focus groups are usually bull crap and everyone knows that. Thing is bigger agencies do try to pull their clout and try to talk the clients out of very offensive angles that they might have come up with (oh! the stories I could tell!). But very rarely does a huge organization agree to go back to the drawing board.

That's one.

The other thing is that really it is a vicious cycle and agencies do need to earn their bread and sometimes horrible aesthetics in the agency and the client side merge to create some horrendous ads (fair & lovely being a case in point).

I won't defend this crap Kellog's ad but the fact is that kids will be kids and it is up to us to tell them that what they see on TV is not always the truth. Like Deepti has already done.

#14
smallsquirrel
February 22, 2009
10:17 AM

anirudh, really? you think it is OK to let kids say whatever they wants?

let's tackle this in two stages:

1) formation of empathy. if you let your child say whatever comes to mind, they will simply yell out "mommy why does that baby look like a monster" upon seeing a child with a cleft palate. is that a good thing? no. what is a good thing is teaching children that not every one is the same, and that is alright.

2) socialization. a child that does not learn to edit their thoughts turns into a teen and then an adult that no one likes because they say just about anything that comes to mind. I am about to call you rude, and you will not like it. But it appears that your parents forgot to socialize you.

last, I would like to address your comment about Dee, which was totally unnecessary. dee is nowhere near fat, and I know because i know her personally. she takes good care of herself, maintains a balanced diet and exercises regularly. as in DAILY. so really, what happened is that her son has been seeing rail thin women on TV, etc and now thinks that anyone who is not anorexic is fat.

as for the chinese, clearly you have not been to china. I have. some are fat and some are thin, but since you are stuck in your own narrow viewpoints, you wouldn't know that, now would you.

keep your personal attacks to yourself.

#15
anon
February 22, 2009
10:27 AM

Why is this lady up in arms against anyone who doesn't conform to her narrow worldview? Isn't any diversity of opinion allowed on this site or should everyone spout politically correct bat shit all the time? Kids should be allowed to say what they want (atleast at home), that's what makes them spontaneous. Maybe you should try lecturing and suing all those Western mags which propogate their view of skinny, emaciated women.

#16
kaffir
February 22, 2009
10:30 AM

"so really, what happened is that her son has been seeing rail thin women on TV, etc and now thinks that anyone who is not anorexic is fat."
********

ss, where is this "desirable" body type coming from? Certainly, I don't remember Indian media or even folks around me having such an attitude towards body type when I was growing up. I'd invite you to follow the chain a bit further than simply answering me with "it's the ad."

#17
Deepti Lamba
URL
February 22, 2009
11:26 AM

SS, Unfortunately in India people do get away saying a lot of things. Anirudh is just an example. Tell them they are rude and its non of their business and they call you over sensitive.

Funny part is they are totally oblivious to their own imperfections. Its downright hilarious. I once had a babe call me fat (Aayan was just 4 months old and I was breastfeeding) and I just stood there trying my best not to laugh. I could have told her I may be fat but hell, I ain't ugly like you but common decency stopped me.

Kaffir, its not as simple as saying- its a frivolous ad. Its a mindset. Lets see- before marriage the woman is told to be thin to get married, after kids she is told she better get her figure back or else her husband will leave her and then there are always those around who call her a doormat who doesn't take care of herself post marriage because she gained weight.

In urban India this is a regular phenomena and it isn't as if its the guy side doing it even the girl's family eggs on this insecurity and her husband can be the fattest dude in the neighborhood.

And now they are trying to rope in the kids as well.

Anirudh, I rather be fat than a mean obnoxious individual.

#18
Deepti Lamba
URL
February 22, 2009
11:40 AM

Anon, no, kids cannot get away mouthing off. They have to be told about the repercussions of their actions and their words. Kids who are allowed to have their way, throw tantrums and be unruly grow up to be unhappy and unpleasant individuals.

And it isn't their fault but the fault of parents who had no business having kids in the first place since they lack basic parenting skills.

#19
anon
February 22, 2009
12:30 PM

"ss, where is this "desirable" body type coming from?"
Good point there. Certainly not in the India my parents grew up. Dunno about the rest of India but even now in most part of the South anorexic looking women are considered unhealthy and underfed. This whole obsession with waif like women is a Western creation, we as a culture had a more healthier attitude to body types but its all slowly eroding away. And brands like Kellogg's import everything into Indian homes including Western sensibilites and there are a lot of fools who will willingly fall for it.

#20
anon
February 22, 2009
01:06 PM

@ the editors:
A slight clarification here. I am not the 'Anon' who has posted in some other threads. When I started posting as 'anon' I didn't know another anon existed. This is leading to some confusion here. Will there be a problem if I change my name now?

#21
Aaman
URL
February 22, 2009
01:26 PM

You probably should, if you would like to preserve your individual anonymity.

#22
smallsquirrel
February 22, 2009
02:08 PM

oh come on people! I did not defend the whole ridiculous body image thing that the media perpetuates. and yes, it is a problem that the western media is exporting overseas. but that is not what I was addressing. I was addressing the puerile comment that kids should be allowed to say whatever they wish, as well as the personal attack against deepti.

also, anon, you don't like the heat, get the fuck out of the kitchen honey. I am not shouting anyone down, I am simply saying what I think... which is apparently something you espouse, but maybe only for children? go check your double standards and get back to me.

#23
Slime_id
February 22, 2009
03:35 PM

#12, Anirudh, most Chinese women lack good busoms. Sometimes the kid and mothers look alike. if that sounds to you as non Fat women, well thats your taste, oriental one.

Who said Indian men look to the west, here is Anirudh who thinks Orient is the place to look for role examples.

Kids have right to see, listen whatever they want. So do parents, so do u and I and the miss Pope. Thats democracy ugly!

#24
Deepa Krishnan
URL
February 22, 2009
11:34 PM

My daughter and my husband BOTH call me "fatso". They say it lightly (ok my daughter doesn't!), but repeated often enough it is very damaging. My daughter thinks EVERYONE is fat by the way, including herself. I think she is thin. It is a sorry state of affairs.

#25
Deepti Lamba
URL
February 22, 2009
11:44 PM

Slime, the pre-teen years are the foundation years. If we guide them with the right way then we can rest easy when they become teenagers.

We cannot filter everything that comes their way. That isn't the result of democracy but open society.

Also in schools and at home kids have limited rights. They get their democratic rights when they turn 18.

Till then they are the wards of their parents.

And kindly stick to the argument and refrain from name calling

#26
Deepti Lamba
URL
February 22, 2009
11:46 PM

You fat?! Since when? I think you are just fine and don't even look your age:)

#27
Slime_id
February 23, 2009
12:27 AM

Some people have names and some have called names. I am just a democracy mirror and the reflections of one self is ugly! just like democracy.

#28
sarah islam
February 23, 2009
05:56 AM

whoa!

I commented on this yesterday but only now have read comment # 12.

Anirudhh, whaaaat? Are you serious? Of course Chinese women are not all fat because they have all kinds of bodies just like every one else. Dude, get some sense. Not only were you rude and downright mean, you also come across as ignorant and racist.

That kellogg's ad is just plain STUPID and if that was my kid saying those things I would have kicked her ass to kingdom come!

I choose to be plump and no one tells me what my body should look like.

#29
Anirudh
URL
February 23, 2009
07:36 AM

@Deepti
So sorry Deepti,

I dint mean to get personal. I just got carried away. I feel terrible.

@Smallsquirrel

I live in Singapore.

#30
Anirudh
URL
February 23, 2009
07:43 AM

@sarah islam

"That kellogg's ad is just plain STUPID and if that was my kid saying those things I would have kicked her ass to kingdom come!"

well, what do i say.Best of luck to you and your kid!

"I choose to be plump and no one tells me what my body should look like."

I really wana avoid getting personal again, but I don't know how else to answer this.
At the moment let me just say "Yaaa,,,ok...You choose to be plump..:-)".

#31
smallsquirrel
February 23, 2009
08:43 AM

anirudh, what is your problem? are you the body image police? only people who are extremely insecure care at all about other peoples' bodies. seriously! why in hell would you care if someone else is thin or chubby or nicely proportioned. how does it impact you at all? it does not. except that apparently you have low self-esteem.

apparently your mom forgot to tell you the old addage: "if you cannot say anything nice, don't say anything at all"

you came on here and insulted dee, pretended to feel badly that you did, then insulted sarah.
if you "really wanna avoid getting personal" again then DO IT! duh!

I don't care if you are in singapore or singer road in colorado, LEARN SOME MANNERS.

#32
Anirudh
URL
February 23, 2009
09:38 AM

@small squirrel

"anirudh, what is your problem? are you the body image police? only people who are extremely insecure care at all about other peoples' bodies. seriously! why in hell would you care if someone else is thin or chubby or nicely proportioned. how does it impact you at all? it does not. except that apparently you have low self-esteem."

Do you have any idea what I spoke about?
Is it that you have problems comprehending views or you just don't understand english?

"apparently your mom forgot to tell you the old addage: "if you cannot say anything nice, don't say anything at all"

Why did you bring my Mom here?
Apparently, your mom did not teach you how to talk to your dad.

"you came on here and insulted dee, pretended to feel badly that you did, then insulted sarah.
if you "really wanna avoid getting personal" again then DO IT! duh!"


I felt sorry, I did what i felt was right. I am not giving a justification to some cynical 12 year old.

"I don't care if you are in singapore or singer road in colorado, LEARN SOME MANNERS."

I said I love in Singapore for your previous response
"as for the chinese, clearly you have not been to china."
And singapore has more than 80% chineese.

Also squirrel or whatever

This is what you have to say to annon-->
"also, anon, you don't like the heat, get the fuck out of the kitchen honey"

Talk about manners, ah??



#33
smallsquirrel
February 23, 2009
09:43 AM

not going to get into a pissing contest with you dear. just learn how to behave.

also a point of contention. the chinese in singapore are very different than the chinese in china. but given that subtleties seem to fly right over your head... LOL

#34
Slime_id
February 23, 2009
09:48 AM

Anirudh,

I have worked in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and currently work in Tokyo before I head to my India this week.

Despite my hatred towards Indian women, just 2% of em, orient does not fascinate me. Not all oriental women are the same I must say. I met a government Indian official three weeks ago from assam and as drunk he got, he remarked "Women here in Japan don't fascinate him, he has a wife of Mongolian descent and he enjoys his sexual relationship". I being a little conservative understood it and offered him his undeserved smile.

So if you think Indian women are not orientally gorgeous, you just have to see some Assamese women. But please do the background checks for all women you want to marry, sex or even date. Coz you will end up in myriad of court cases.

#35
Aditi N
February 23, 2009
10:10 AM

Anirudh: In case you are a young man hopefully age will teach you that not everybody is assigned the same genetic and physical make-up. What is healthy for one person maybe plump for another and what seems pretty to one person may seem anorexic to another. When there exist such vague lines to define the term fat, television or commercials should not be able to systematically brainwash a child's ideas of what is or isn't acceptable.

And frankly I see no cause for you to be rude and derisive towards a woman who can choose to be plump or as some may call it voluptuous although it may seem like an unfortunate or impossible choice to you. Hopefully as you mature you will see that not all women (even Chinese ones!) respond to pregnancy, body changes, metabolic changes etc the same way. With women, weight is not just an issue of exercising or eating healthy. Other far more influential factors such as hormones and genetics play a bigger role than they do with men. Not everybody needs to be a supermodel to achieve their own sense of health and fitness. If a child develops ideas through television about what is and is not acceptable then Dee could end up with a child who grows up to be a 23 year old man who doesn't know this and could say something insensitive like what you said to Sarah Islam or to Deepti in your comments above.

Calling someone fat is not being politically incorrect, it is plain rude considering "fat" is not a well-defined term. When kids are rude, mothers correct them so they don't grow up to be individuals who speak disrespectfully to other people and learn at an early age how to present their ideas without being obnoxious.

Fortunately most of us want to raise polite kids who value people for who they are irrespective of the various shapes, sizes and body types that human beings come in. I would hate to have a commercial teach my child what beauty or health is. I would hate for my child to grow up into a man who thinks that a woman's choice to stay in a body shape that is comfortable and healthy for her is so inconceivable.

#36
Ravi Kulkarni
February 23, 2009
10:12 AM

Dear Deepti,

This ad is shocking. Not just for the false body image they are promoting, but also they are adding contraceptives to food? Is this for real for a made up ad?

We have banished TV for the last nine years from our home and not regretted it one minute. There is something about the visual media that is damaging to the children in more than one way. With two kids who don't miss TV, we rent DVDs or watch some cartoons on Youtube. It is true they don't get all the good stuff from Discovery and National Geographic channels. But as someone said, it may be gourmet food, but would you eat it from a garbage dump?

It is not just the advertisements but also sensational and titillating but inane news programs. Even regular programming has been reduced to reality shows and soaps that increasingly appeal to the basest emotions. Media giant will do anything to make an ad buck.

In my opinion people with kids should shun TV until kids grow up.

Regards,

Ravi Kulkarni

#37
annamma
February 23, 2009
10:18 AM

Deepti,
I'm so glad the Kelogg ad bugged you - did you see the earlier one? Office party in two weeks. Mrs. Executive wants to look perfect for Mr. Executive, like the trophy she is, so goes on a two-bowls-of -cereal diet for two weeks, and of course, there are these oohs and aahs of envy from the other women , and jealous looks from the other men when she enters the party with hubby, with the camera zooming in for a shot of her impossibly slender waist.

Re-inforcing, completely, that women must be thin, husbands have every right to treat their wives like Oscar awards, held up for all to gape at and drool over, in fact women have the DUTY to become paper-thin - no matter that crash dieting like that is really stupid.

This has been going on for ages, though - if its not weight, its about hair, or pimples, or body odour, or what-have-you. Advertisements have always sold images of impossibly perfect women to us.

Just keep discussing it with your kids - its amazing how much sense kids have when we make them think.

#38
Ravi Kulkarni
February 23, 2009
10:19 AM

OK this ad is not real. I fell for it, good one Dee :)

Ravi

#39
Aaman
URL
February 23, 2009
10:33 AM

Ravi, I assume you're talking about the embedded video - it's of course not real, it's really funny though and a pretty good parody of how stupid their other claims are about "Special K'. We couldn't find the "fat" Special K ad online.

#40
anon
February 23, 2009
10:51 AM

"This is what you have to say to annon-->
"also, anon, you don't like the heat, get the fuck out of the kitchen honey"

Talk about manners, ah??"

But that's how she is. She'll lecture everyone else on how to behave, what they should think and how they should think and also simultaneously heap garbage on them. The moral police of D.C.

#41
Aditi N
February 23, 2009
10:52 AM

Ravi: You make an excellent point about shutting off the idiot box until kids are older. My parents did not let us watch much TV until I was in the 8th grade. We watched minimal TV like Malgudi Days or other children's programs. My mom let me watch Fauji coz I was a little Shahrukh fan but even that was a luxury :) The Bournvita Quiz Contest is another show we watched devotedly. During those days there weren't many commercials on television between programs. Minus the TV I took to books, started reading and writing at a young age and my sister would draw and paint. We would come up with innovative and rambunctious games. I guess the lack of constant TV gave us time to indulge in and develop our natural talents or skills. Too much TV I think can substitute a child's natural imagination. Although a complete lack of television is also probably not good. When I visit India, I notice that in my neighbors', friends' and relatives' homes the TV is always on like it were another individual in the room...just constantly on. They talk, eat, with the damn thing on.

#42
Deepti Lamba
URL
February 23, 2009
10:56 AM

Adi, I couldn't have said it better;)

annamma, here is the truth- I watch tv only when I am on the treadmill and that too just the news (except for MTV Roadies;)). So the Kellogs ads went by me till I happened to be sitting with my kids as they watched their toons.

Ravi, even if there was truth to the ad I would never ever have Special K;)

#43
smallsquirrel
February 23, 2009
11:11 AM

LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

OMG! I am the moral police of DC.
wow. then we should all be having a right good time.

too effing funny.

anon, this is the last time I will address you since i think you are a troll. you are ANONYMOUS and I am not. I am an author on this site, and I have been around for a while. You can call me names just because I do not agree with you and I hold my ground, but that does not make me a bully. but you whining about it does make you someone who seemingly cannot engage in debate without crying about hurt feelings if everyone does not agree with you. it's not worth my time. you do not add to the conversation, you simply whinge. the purpose of this whole site it to exchange viewpoints, and if you think every viewpoint counter to yours is bullying, you need to find a venue much more conducive to your fragile constitution.

aditi, thanks for explicating what I was getting at in #35. unfortunately since I usually only have 5 minute intervals, my comments are often not as detailed as I would like, and yours says what I wanted to say, but did not have time.

#44
Deepti Lamba
URL
February 23, 2009
11:17 AM

SS, here a Victoria's Secret pink chaddi for policing DC;)

#45
kaffir
February 23, 2009
02:46 PM

Deepti, so does the show "MTV Roadies" not stereotype or propagate certain depictions or behaviors that you would find offensive, if you used the same criteria you used to judge the ad? Or would that happen only after your son calls you or your hubby a choice word he picked up from that show? I'm curious.

#46
Aaman
URL
February 23, 2009
08:13 PM

kaffir, that's where responsible parenting comes in - MTV Roadies and similar shows are watched, at least by us, at 10 PM on Saturday night, with the kids tucked in, not at the earlier viewing time of 7 PM, when they're still running amok.

#47
kaffir
February 23, 2009
08:33 PM

Aaman, your response (#46) did not address the point I raised in my comment #45, and skirted around it. Which I guess is the answer?

Would having a rating system and time-slots for ads be a solution to the problem raised by Deepti regarding the objectionable ad?

#48
Kerty
February 23, 2009
09:26 PM

First, it was the Booker prize, and now the Oscars that have endorsed the same theme this year. I think they both have lowered their prestige and credibility in the eyes of Indians. I think they are bunch of lib/lefties with their own agenda that color what they choose to bestow their honor upon.

Academy is made up of 6000 members that are from the field of performing arts and movies. They vote and decide the winners and losers. As Seema pointed out, it is a horse race that one has to enter in a particular category in order to win, and one has to lobby those 6000 members for their votes to win - if you do not have access to American critics, American media and Holywood movie fraternity, than you can kiss your Oscar hopes goodbye no matter how good may be your talent or movie. So most movie-makers do not even bother to enter the horse race. And those who do, try to position their entry where they have best chance to win against the potential contenders. These 6000 Academy members are mostly lib/lefties, and their agenda and tastes are not necessarily those shared by general public. But to the artists, Oscars represents the highest level of peer-to-peer appreciation and recognition that creates bridges for them within Holywood industry and its power structure. That is why Oscars mean so much to the artist fraternity. Why should 1+ billion Indians give any hoot or get worked up over what these 6000 American lefties think or like? That would be exhibit of slavish colonial mentality.

At the after-Oscar party, one could see that it was Kate/Penelope/Sean Penn that had to act like the host of the night while SM crowd simply sulked in the sidelines like a negro at a white family dinner. Some of them were collecting autographs. Talk about Gangadins sucking up.

#49
kerty
February 23, 2009
09:44 PM

Oops. #48 got posted in a wrong thread here. Editors - if can kindly remove it from this thread

#50
Ravi Kulkarni
February 23, 2009
11:47 PM

Dear Kaffir,

As much as I hate the television, censorship is not a solution. Instead parents should ensure that their children's TV and video game time. That's responsible parenting. Involve in the children's daily lives, know what's happening. If you censor something, there will be a resultant black market for it.

But your other point is valid. Roadies and the kids' cartoons are but the two sides of the same coin. They titillate and shock our senses. Kids' senses are not yet jaded so they can be satisfied with Tom whacking Jerry. We need real people getting whacked in the groin to feel excited.That's what is so disgusting about the visual media.

Regards,

Ravi

#51
Ravi Kulkarni
February 24, 2009
12:05 AM

Dear Aditi,

Please bear with me, I am blowing my own trumpet here...

The other day, I took my children (10 and 6) to a children's museum. They had a blast there. But what I observed was that most of the kids there were much younger. My kids really enjoyed playing there even though the museum caters to younger kids. If their senses were jaded by too much TV and video games, perhaps they would not have found it interesting.

I grew up without TV until I went to college. Even after that it was limited to a few hours per week. But after that I was hooked to TV. A time came when I used to sit up until 3AM on weekdays watching TV. This was before I got married and had kids. Then in 2001, we decided that we don't need it anymore.I can't say that I don't have other addictions, such as web browsing, but that's another story.

Regards,

Ravi

#52
Deepti Lamba
URL
February 24, 2009
01:45 AM

Kaffir, its a reality show shown on MTV where parental discretion is involved. If it was shown on POGO I would be up in arms against it as well.

Ravi, parents can choose channels like Discovery, Animal Planet and Nat Geo for their kids to watch. One cannot ban everything but on specific channels which are meant only for kids media should be held accountable to some degree.

#53
Deepti Lamba
URL
February 24, 2009
01:56 AM

Ravi, art and literally works too are known to be graphic both in terms of violence and sex.

We can try to shield our kids from adult material both in print, media and on the internet till they reach the appropriate age and if they do get exposed to it, which is bound to happen sometime or the other, then we have to explain things to them in a reasonable manner.

#54
Jayalakshmi
URL
February 24, 2009
04:29 AM

First I would like all these poeple who sell all these beautifully packed good for a thin body, to tell me whether thin people do not have any sickness or die of sickness?. SEcond is being thin only the path to healthy long life?
Do all fat people die miserably lonely, wth all
the sickness in the world? Do fat people die young? Oh God!

It is sad , but people from all walks of life think it is their right to mock women with heavy bodies!
Who has given them permission, I wonder?

All these ads like 'Kellogs'and other products that sell on female body image, do a great disservice.

It is time we put a stop to this nonsense and stop faviouring brands like Kellog and others who create opinions on female body types all the time.

And Ravi Kulkarni comes across as a fine parent. May your tribe increase.

#55
kerty
February 24, 2009
01:35 PM

Shutting the idiot box for good while kids are growing makes lot of sense. Many American families are doing it as they have realized that rationing and monitoring simply does not work and only adds to parental nightmares. Unfortunately Indians who grew up without TV themselves have taken to raising their kids by the TV-babysitters in a big way. They think it is cool and good for the kids.

Not having the TV is cool too. It allows kids to be kids, allows them to think outside the box, allows them to grow interests on their own, makes them less complicated. It will make them read more, play more, study more, grow more. It also makes parent's life so much easier without having to worry about deprogramming the kids. It forces the parents to find more creative ways to engage with their kids rather than handing them over to the TV for babysitting.

TV runs programs that may not be suitable for all age groups. Why should kids be exposed to ideas and images that are suitable for other age groups? Can parents be there to filter every image and every idea that TV could possibly expose to their kids? We have created carefully laid out system of grades based on age and carriculum suitable for each grade within our educational system? Why? Why don't we throw everything at the kids and let them grab whatever they can? No. We have devised the educational system such that there is orderly growth of their brain and knowledge commensurate with their growth in years. But when kids are at home, they throw all that system out the door. They dump the whole TV on kids. Once kids get hooked on TV, parents can't control what kids should watch and should not. The values and morals and behaviors that the kids acquire may not necessarily of the parent's choosing or liking but parents realize it only when it is probably too late.

I know it is hard to shut off TV after kids are hooked on it. Best thing to do is to turn it off while kids still very young.

#56
smallsquirrel
February 24, 2009
01:47 PM

oh, yes, Kerty....that's right... don't teach moderation which is a skill that is needed for kids to master just about anything across the board... simply take the easy way out and take the TV away totally!

we have all seen that taking something completely away from children only makes them want it more. when they see that others have it and they do not, they absolutely crave it. and believe me, they find ways to get to it... be it TV, sugary foods, etc.

If you do not show them how to deal with things in moderation, you are in essence crippling your children. they will have no sense of how to self-limit or set boundaries.

when I was a child we had one TV. we agreed as a family on about one hour of TV per day. they were educational or otherwise stimulating shows, and when that hour was up, the TV was off. Period. We made a schedule for the week, and there were some concessions. Say there was a 90 minutes program on PBS that I wanted to watch. I was allowed to take 30 mins away from another day and watch the 90 minute show. But I learned how to set limits and respect boundaries. I never felt I was deprived, so I never snuck off to watch hours of TV on end at friends' houses, even if they were watching it (I often would leave the friends' house if they were too boring!).

#57
kaffir
February 24, 2009
03:07 PM

#52: "If it was shown on POGO I would be up in arms against it as well."

==

I agree. So if the same Kellogg ad was only shown during night-time (say, before/after the MTV reality show) and not on POGO, that should solve the problem.

#58
kaffir
February 24, 2009
03:12 PM

Turn off TV resource. Happy reading!

#59
kaffir
February 24, 2009
03:14 PM

And if anyone would like to read, Jerry Mander's "Four Arguments For The Elimination Of Television" is recommended.

#60
kaffir
February 24, 2009
03:30 PM

ss, you have a good point regarding moderation, but when kids are babies and growing up, it's probably a good idea to cut off TV, instead of using it as a babysitter. When they are a bit older, then the moderation TV diet can kick in.

#61
Ravi Kulkarni
February 24, 2009
06:12 PM

Dear Kaffir,

Yes it is best to cut it off when they are babies. That's what we did. They really don't crave TV per se, we do want to watch cartoons and some shows once a week or so, which we allow on youtube or via DVD rentals.

It is not just character education I am worried about. TV and other visual media such as video games influence the mind of small children. I don't believe this is a good thing. Growing children need to be able to focus and be as free of distraction as possible. TV and video games not only affect attention spans but also lead to disturbed sleep patterns (these are my assertions, I don't have any good references). Here is an interesting book you can read: Endangered Minds by Jane Haley.

http://www.amazon.com/Endangered-Minds-Children-Think-About/dp/0684856204

Regards,

Ravi Kulkarni

#62
Chirag
February 24, 2009
11:21 PM

Hi Ravi,
"Instead parents should ensure that their children's TV and video game time. That's responsible parenting. Involve in the children's daily lives, know what's happening. If you censor something, there will be a resultant black market for it."

Don't you think this comment & the fact that you have chosen to not use the television are contradicting. I respect your decision to do so since you might have your own reasons, but banning or curbing something totally, always leads to a 'black market' like you have suggested. A kid with monitored exposure to television is better than a kid with no exposure to Television & a resultant unhealthy curiosity.

#63
kerty
February 25, 2009
12:35 AM

Chirag

"A kid with monitored exposure to television is better than a kid with no exposure to Television & a resultant unhealthy curiosity"

What would be that unhealthy curiosity about TV like? That they might sneak a peek at it while nobody is looking or when they are at some friend's place? Wouldn't that still fall within healthy parameters of TV viewing rather than giving them the whole store and yet hope for the best?

Even if you were to monitor the TV usage and most parents would tell you it is always easier said than done, one could still make the same argument that monitoring would create the unhealthy curiosity about things that kids are not allowed to watch on TV. So even if you are rationing the usage or monitoring, you would always be preventing the kids from not watching many things, thereby creating curiosities in them. The teatottlers would not suffer the same cravings, curiosities or withdrawal symptoms that the addicts would. Kids do get used to it, whatever environment you choose to provide to them.

Take the example of reading. Many parents do not expose their kids to reading and so such kids get used to not reading. Do you think such kids Would feel curiosity about reading and would it be unhealthy? Would it be unhealthy if they peeked to read something?

I think arrival of curiosity can be a sign of maturity - curiosity arises usually when person finds himself mature enough to go for it. Especially when curiosity grows out of need to know or find out more about something. I think such curiosity is always healthy. We have to differentiate healthy curiosity from the curiosity that arises from the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that are usually associated with the TV habits.

#64
Ravi Kulkarni
February 25, 2009
01:32 AM

Dear Chirag,

My statement above (#50) should read:

"Instead parents should limit their children's TV and video game time. That's responsible parenting. Involve in the children's daily lives, know what's happening. If you censor something, there will be a resultant black market for it."

We have not banned our children from watching the TV. All we have done is not buy one at home. We do not stop them from watching it when we visit someone. They do not crave it because they do not have the habit. I have noticed many parents use TV as a bribe to make their children eat their food or as baby sitter. We can't do that because we don't have a TV at home. There is no question of black market for TV viewing because we don't actually prohibit them from doing it.

Regards,

Ravi

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