from Maggie in London
'Dear Santa Claus,
For Christmas I want that toy that makes little girls into prostitutes and drug addicts. My brother Nigel wants a train set and my other brother Alastair wants a chemistry set. I'll be putting milk and biscuits out for you. Thank you. Please don't disappoint me. Love, Mandy xo.'
The massive, multi-tentacled supermarket chain, Tesco, has been pressured to withdraw (but only more or less) its potential hit of the Christmas season: a pole-dancing kit from the Toys and Games section of their website after it was accused of "destroying children's innocence".
Tesco strove to seduce with the words, "Unleash the sex kitten inside...simply extend the Peekaboo pole inside the tube, slip on the sexy tunes and away you go! Soon you'll be flaunting it to the world and earning a fortune in Peekaboo Dance Dollars". Peekaboo. Peekaboo. I see you. Way too much if truth be told. Peekaboo dancing dollars; I've gone all queasy and uneasy'it's decidedly creepy.
This gift for all good little girls is '49.97 and consists of a chrome pole extendible to eight and a half feet, a 'sexy dance garter' and a DVD demonstrating suggestive dance moves. Not exactly value for money. And who is on this suggestive DVD? Professional lap dancers? 'Kittenish' kiddies? Kate Moss? Are these Tesco people single, celibate, stupid? Don't these people have children of their own? It must be that 'fortune in Peekaboo Dancing Dollars' that precedes all reason. But then, isn't it always about Dancing Dollars or precocious pounds'.
A spokesperson for the family campaign group Family Focus, Dr Adrian Rogers, commented that "Tesco is Britain's number one chain, this is extremely dangerous. This will be sold to four, five and six-year olds. It is an open invitation to turn the youngest children on to sexual behaviour. This is a most dangerous toy that will contribute towards destroying children's innocence' destroy children's lives'children are being encouraged to dance round a pole which is interpreted in the adult world as a phallic symbol. It ought to be stopped. It really requires the intervention of members of Parliament. This should only be available to the most depraved people who want to corrupt their children." Hold on there. Now I'm a bit bewildered. It's acceptable for the depraved to corrupt their own children?
It surely isn't just about unleashing the latent sexual behaviour of children; it's about the future position of women in western society. And that certainly shouldn't be shaped, draped around a pole.
Shockingly, scarily the numbers vary from 75-90% of little girls recently polled (sorry) who want to be lap dancers when they grow up. I have actually seen mothers interviewed on this very subject nodding emphatically, grinning from ear to ear, encouraging their five-year-olds to pursue their pitifully, pathetically misguided dream. In any event, their daughters are sure to be successful with new unnerving statistics regarding men under thirty regularly visiting prostitutes, excluding those stag weekends in Ibiza of course. Hmmm. Very strange with ladette culture on offer and running rampant in major British cities.
Pressured, Tesco agreed to remove the product from the Toy section of the site, but unwilling to lose potential income from its sale, it remains as a Fitness Accessory. Still not satisfied, the Tesco website offers a strip poker game, "Peekaboo Poker" which is illustrated by a picture of a reclining woman in her underwear. This card game is described as a game that "risks the risque and brings a whole lot of naughtiness to the table. Played with a unique pack of Peekaboo Boy and Girl playing cards, the aim of the game is to win as many Peekaboo chips as possible and turn them into outrageously naughty fun." And precisely how do they do that? Perhaps 'Peekaboo' is a euphemism, a code word. Perhaps those men-in-suits are hard-pressed for a thesaurus. Now there's a Christmas gift idea.
A few years ago, Asda , aka, Evil Wal-Mart, was forced to remove from their many world-wide shelves, pink and black lace lingerie for little girls, a push-up bra for nine year olds, T-shirts for girls as young as six with slogans such as: "so many boys, so little time'' you have probably seen them; I know I have.
Other hugely successful retailers have come under fire for selling padded bras embellished with a "Little Miss Naughty" logo and T-shirts with a Playboy-style bunny that declared: "I love boys...They are stupid." Well, if 'boys' are making these marketing decisions, perhaps they are.
Tesco denied the pole dancing kit was sexually oriented because it was clearly marked for "adult use" - in the T-O-Y section. Oh. So their target audience, as it were, must have been paedophiles and dwarfs all the while. A spokesman added: "Pole dancing is an increasing exercise craze. This item is for people who want to improve their fitness and have fun at the same time." So, it's the new form of PE that has all but disappeared from the grammar school curriculum, then.
Happy Christmas to Tesco and all your enormous-bonus-deserving decision-makers. I certainly won't be buying my mini mince pies from any of your thousands of shops multiplying like rampant rabbits gone mad on every high street in Britain. Santa. Say 'No' please.
About the Author:
Maggie is from Manhattan, where she was a painter, then designer of clothing, objects, textiles, interiors while writing for various publications and her own webzine. She is permanently based in London, the city of irony, where she writes regularly to her gal pal Lulu in New York.
You can read her amusing tales about London's daily life, people, current events, politics, fashion and culture at her website www.lettersfromlondon.com.