Monday, September 22, 2008

Scholastic Tells ALA to Take a Hike; Drops Bratz Books from Catalog on Eve of ALA's Phoney "Banned Books Week"

"Scholastic, one of North America's biggest distributors of books to schools, has removed the Bratz line of books from its catalogue after parents complained the characters contributed to the sexualization of children." "Scholastic Drops Bratz Books," by CBC News, 20 September 2008. On the eve of the American Library Association's [ALA] phoney "Banned Books Week," Scholastic drops an entire line of books in response to concerns about the sexualization of children.

To me, the timing is no accident. This is Scholastic sending the ALA a message: "Take a hike, ALA. Keeping sexually inappropriate material from children is neither book banning nor censorship. Others may be intimidated by you, but we are not."

Also see:

"Scholastic Drops Bratz Books," by CBC News, 20 September 2008

Scholastic, one of North America's biggest distributors of books to schools, has removed the Bratz line of books from its catalogue after parents complained the characters contributed to the sexualization of children.

Bratz books are a spinoff from the line of female dolls, which are often clothed in miniskirts, bikinis, fishnet stockings and boas.

In a statement released Friday, Scholastic said its decision to remove the Bratz books did not stem from the parental campaign but instead claimed that its offerings "change all the time."

The company admitted it had been the target of a "couple of thousand" e-mails from concerned parents, following an initiative by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood in 2007.

Thousands of parents e-mailed Scholastic to complain that it was "marketing precocious sexuality to young girls in schools."

A report last year from the American Psychological Association said that "the objectified sexuality presented by these dolls … is limiting for adolescent girls and even more so for the very young girls who represent the market for these dolls."

"We're not interested in banning books," Susan Linn, psychiatry instructor at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood coalition, told the Guardian newspaper.

"What we think is that there should not be commercialism in schools and that when schools market a product to children it is particularly effective. First, because it's a captive market, and second, because it carries extra weight — even if children don't like school, they know it's meant to be good for them."

At the time Scholastic offered the books, the company had said the titles featured "strong, capable girl characters" and were aimed at children who didn't like to read.

MGA Entertainment, the company that makes the Bratz dolls, has previously said its line of dolls stand for "passion, self-expression and the importance of friendship."

Copyright CBC News 2008. Reprinted for Copyright Fair Use educational purposes.

1 comment:

  1. Just as I thought, Scholastic is being attacked, and I mean attacked, by the usual propaganda crowd. See these comments to a School Library Journal article on the topic.

    "Josh" and "Claire Jones" do have common sense, however.

    Sample attack: "BANNING BRATZ IS RACIST. Bratz is urban. Bratz is ethnic." What a coincidence, Judith Krug of the ALA's OIF uses false cries of racism as well when parents tried to remove a bestiality book from a public school.

    Another attack, only milder: "Scholastic you are so wrong in allowing people to limit what others can have at events where you carry your products. Freedom of Speech? You need to be reminded what that is- it isn't letting people spam you into censoring your own books."

    Oh here's a typical attack you hear all the time: "You people need to move to North Korea. Scholastic you are disgusting and cowards, let's see how many other hate groups you will cower to if they send you 5000 fake spammy emails. Nice message to the free world, change your name to Coward-tastic! We'll ban books for you! Sickening."

    Aren't these librarians lovely? Aren't they such believers in freedom of speech? Moving to North Korea would be an effective means to censor Scholastic, wouldn't it?

    The ALA advises similar grassroots campaigns but let those same methods work on Scholastic and suddenly Scholastic needs to move to North Korea! What a double standard.


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