Madison Avenue is out to get me

Posted on 06/15/2003 in misc

Mark Horne found this interesting review of a book neither of us has read, Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers, by Alissa Quart. It's an expose on just how hard Madison Ave is working to sell to your teenagers. Unfortunately, they are quite successful at it. The book apparently also ties the marketing effort to the rampant consumerism of American society. I'm not sure I know which came first, the desire, or the advertising. I'm sure the advertising execs would say they are just giving us what we want.

The author of the review makes a comment that for every iconoclast unschooler that opts out, there are tens of thousands that are too worried about their future prospects for wealth and comfort to risk opting out of the race.

The author doesn't get it. Homeschoolers, of which unschoolers are a smallish subset, opt out TO give our kids a leg up on the masses. The public educated masses may not be our enemy per se, but when it comes down to that final slot at Yale, the fact that my daughter did not spend her 7th year on the planet trying to emulate Britney Spears might be the first domino in a chain reaction that ultimately gives her an insurmountable advantage over her peers. Or not. What the hell do I know? It's not like I've ever done this before! However, I like my odds much better raising independent thinkers. I just hope I still feel that way when they are teenagers :)

We didn't start homeschooling to avoid pop culture. It's just another one of the wonderful benefits we have discovered along the way. My kids have the luxury of discovering their own talents and interests on their own terms. If those happen to intersect the fad de jour it's no big deal to me. My son is way into the Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh thing. Not because all the other kids do it, but because (I think) it is a natural extension of his interest in warfare and battle. My son does favor clothes and shoes with the Nike swoosh, so we certainly aren't immune from the long arm of Madison Ave.

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