Sunday, 2 March 2014


An x mark within a boxLike most people, I don't like junk mail and/or spam. Whenever I have the opportunity to tick a box to opt out of sales emails, I tick it. I've registered with the telephone preference service (for all the use it is) and I throw unsolicited post straight into my paper recycling bin.

On Friday my 10 year old daughter came home from school with a Slimming World leaflet. Now, I quite like Slimming World. Of all the diets I've tried (there's a sad sentence opener) it's the only one that doesn't leave me feeling starving hungry. But I'm *not* happy about my daughter being used to courier marketing material like this, particularly material about dieting.

My daughter already complains of being fat (she isn't). I work hard to keep my own ambivalent relationship with food under wraps - yes, I've probably failed, but I try. I don't want her to spend her teenage years thinking that life could be wonderful if she only weighed less than 110 pounds. I don't want her to substitute her lunch with chewing gum and feel a sense of pride in the ensuing hollowness. I don't want large chunks of her diary given over to a running commentary on her weight

My daughter is fierce and clever. She knows about the Bechdel test and refuses to watch films that don't pass. When she handed the Slimming World leaflet to me she said, 'Look Mum, there's no men in this, and the women aren't wearing many clothes.' And then she rolled her eyes.

I don't want my children bringing home any advertising that isn't related to their education. Private companies can buy advertising space in the free newspaper or they can pay people to post leaflets through letterboxes. My children will not be vehicles for this kind of marketing. Tomorrow morning I'm going to school and I'm opting out. 

Update: the head teacher agreed that it was inappropriate and said it won't happen again. 

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