Wednesday, 7 February 2018

The sisterhood in practice: Mothers fight back!

I am a proud member of a closed Facebook mothers group entitled Foreign Mothers & Mothers to Be in Athens. This is a group of women I have met, many only online who have become my sisters. They are my ‘go to group’ for answers, support, advice, and laughs. 

We celebrated a coup today (not the sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government type by an instance of successfully achieving something difficult). And I am proud. Very proud. Not for the group – but for what we have achieved for our children… 

Since distributing the below statement today to the press in Greece and since agreeing to bombard retailer websites, schools and registering complaints online over the last two weeks, many retailers have removed what we have considered to be inappropriate images of young girls in fancy dress. 

Mothers in Athens come together to put an end to the sexualisation of little girls

Apokries in Greece should be a special time filled with fun, laughter, and of course food.  As the festivities peak, the tempers of some mothers have reached boiling point. 

In the search for appropriate aged costumes for their children, many are outraged having witnessed images of children modelling provocative, inappropriate costumes on a range of Greek retailer websites, catalogues, and in stores selling costumes.  

While trying not to spoil the fun of Apokries, a closed Facebook group entitled ‘Foreign Mothers & Mothers to Be in Athens’ (FMIA) have come together to put an end to the gross sexualisation of children, particularly young girls. 

‘My daughter was given a brochure from school.  The girls’ costumes are modelled by 10-year old’s wearing stripper shoes (no joke!) and the costumes are equally inappropriate. Shocked!!!!!’ said an FMIA member.

Images of young girls, wearing stilettos, showing midriffs, and posing provocatively appear on websites project messages such as ‘That's right, Little Girl! You, too, can dream of being a sex object!’ said another group member.   

To shut down the practice, FMIA has contacted retailers, schools that have distributed catalogues, Safeline, and Facebook.   Some retailers have responded positively by removing the offensive photos. 

Others have removed the ratings from their site preventing many from commenting and complaining.  The Greek media has covered the issue, but not enough has been done to stop this inappropriate practice.

As a collective group and voice, the FMIA group have stated ‘This is not the future we want for our children.  We want our children to grow up to be empowered, strong, confident individuals that respect and value each other as equals, not as sex objects.’ 

Advertising companies, photographers, parents of child models, retailers and parents that allow their children to be influenced by advertising practices need to take responsibility.  This is a problem that affects the future of our children. 

About Apokries
The tradition of Apokries started so that the Christian people could celebrate and indulge before the great 40-day Lent of Easter.  It lasts for three weeks before this period of fasting begins. Each part of Greece has its own customs and traditions during Apokries. People dress in masquerade, play games and jokes, have a huge parade, and throw sweets to the observers. 

About Foreign Mothers & Mothers to Be in Athens’ (FMIA) – Facebook group
Is a closed Facebook for mothers and mothers to be, living in Athens, Greece to exchange advice, experiences and support.

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