, the organization claims to build the girl’s business and entrepreneurial skills through the selling of these cookies. The article points out five main elements of selling cookies that facilitates better business skills. These elements include:
You should work with already existing customers to boost your sales, rather than going out and trying to find new consumers.
You do not have to particularly like what you’re selling in order to be the best person selling it.
Dialing random numbers (referred to here as cold calling) is not necessarily a terrible way to boost your sales.
Sales targets work by giving you a sales goal to reach.
Customers like buying directly from the Girl Scout.
This article relates back to two class discussions we have had in the recent weeks. One of the discussions, and readings, was particularly related to the rough rode Girls Scouts had before becoming recognized as boy scout equivalent and equal counterpart. However, even though the image presented by the selling of cookies does not give girls the feeling of being a part of physical labor, or a war, they do learn to put themselves in a masculine position. Corporate America has long been dominated by male America and by teaching young girls the ins and outs of how to be a great business woman, even on a small scale, they better prepare these girls to be a in a male dominated industry.
Today in class, we also touched on how a platform directed toward a specific consumer audience helps people buy into that idea. Girl Scouts are specifically made to empower girls and by creating this platform, people who put their children in this organization are buying into this particular platform. Thus, it does give the Girl Scouts organization a moral obligation to live up to their mission.
Shirley Temple in the Baby Burlesk short video, Kid in Africa, is set out for an expedition to search for and civilize the Cannibals tribe members with her African tribe members. At the beginning of this clip Shirley directs and commands her tribe members to do as their told, which is fairly unusual within this time period due to the fact that there were not many women leaders. The Cannibals then invade her tribe members and explicitly add salt on each person to symbolize that they are about to be eaten. Shirley believes that she can help civilize them. Then, as Shirley is in a big pot being cooked the cannibals are sitting around her chanting, “We want food!” All the cannibals are African, in diapers and have their face painted. The cook of the Cannibals then calls a different tribe and says that they should come eat. The tribe says that they wouldn’t want to pass up this opportunity. As Shirley is in the pot she is reading a book called. ‘What to do in case of a Sunburn’ which represents a sense of comic relief. Throughout all the commotion there is a little boy that is dressed in leopard loin cloth that is supposed to depict Tarzan. He calls out for the longest time until his elephant comes to help him rescue Shirley. There is a huge satire relating to the movie Tarzan of the Apes (1918). In the movie Tarzan rescues a girl named Jane which is essentially Shirley in this Burlesk short video. As this Tarzan character is saving Shirley, Shirley, acting like an adult, powders her noses in realization that her hero has come to sweep her away. As Tarzan and his elephant scare all the cannibals away, Shirley still wants to civilize them.
Kid in Africa from Miss Shirley Temple on Tumblr
There then is another clip that shows the “civilized cannibals” wearing grown up clothes that don’t fit. The cannibals have started using “milk pumps” to gain more energy. At the end of the Burlesk short video the Tarzan character says that he is thinking about going to play golf this afternoon. Shirley quickly response with a quick objection and that he needs to do the dishes. As Shirley and the Tarzan character are at their home, the Tarzan character wants to go out and play with his lion but sure enough Shirley objects. During that time period it could seem that a woman bossing the man around is considered funny. In our reading, Kasson says, “Shirley fought the Great Depression on a number of fronts can tell us much about the emotional demands of capitalist society during one of its greatest periods of crisis and the effects these demands had on children as well as adults” (126). Through this short video Shirley does an amazing job at performing in attempt to conduct herself as an adult. Throughout the whole short video there are depictions of adult behavior that supply comic relief. Even when Shirley exemplifies an adult there is still an innocent aura about her. This innocence about her, in the Burlesk short video, is what appeals to the audience during that time period. The childhood innocence that Shirley might not know nor understand what cannibalism is might give pleasure to adults due to the fact that it could be considered cute. The motive of the Burlesk video can be a way of cheering up the country from the depression. Kasson says, “Ultimately, the progressive forces of amusement triumph over the gloom and lift the country out of the Depression, emotionally and economically, but not without a struggle” (127). Even though these videos might be a source of amusement to adults during the period there poses a question of how the child actor might feel in these explicit roles that they play. Do the child actors understand the character they are playing? Do they understand what they are saying and portraying? These are the questions that Kasson addresses in the article, Behind Shirley Temples Smile, and I believe that in the Burlesk videos the child actors don’t understand what they are actually doing. The child actors are just doing what they are told to do. In defense, children understanding the actual message of these videos might corrupt their innocent thoughts, which would cause them to lose their whole innocent aura.
Goodnight Moon, the 2nd greatest book in the list. Picture from Wikipedia.
Books are an important part of growing up as a child. A recent article talks about the new list of the top 100 greatest books for kids. Charlotte’s Web came out on top as the best children’s book of all time, while Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone landed spot number 6. People were surprised to see Harry Potter so far down on the list considering its impact on society, but it is also not very old while books like Charlotte’s Web and Goodnight Moon have reined as great childhood books for decades. Scholastic compiled the list of the top 100 books and looking at it most of them seem familiar or are some of my favorite books. In class we discussed how some books and comics can be considered trash to adults and it was interesting to look at this list and not see any comic books. I think they easily could have been considered in this list because they have been popular for children for a long period of time. It would have been good to at least see the Goosebumps series recognized on the list but it doesn’t seem to be deemed worthy enough for a scholastic award. For the most part though looking through the list I think that most of the books belong on there. It is strange to see such new books like The Hunger Games above books like Holes or the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Overall it is very interesting to look at the top 100 books for children and it is only opinion based, but it is fun to look back and think about some of the books I read over and over every night.
Considering the current economic state, people would believe that Christmas would take on a different meaning. Maybe, it wouldn’t be all about the children and what presents they get. Maybe it would be about families spending time together, a time of reflection, or maybe a day for a people to just relax a little. Unfortunately, I have noticed that this is hardly ever the case. If anything, Christmas has become a time when people (mostly parents) indulge children while attempting to snag a few deals here and there. While the recession has led to people tightening their belts here and there, the overall trend has been to continue indulging children at Christmas. A great example of this is Black Friday.
The popularity of shopping on Black Friday (the day right after Thanksgiving, usually beginning before the sun even rises) has increased so much that many retailers this past Black Friday began their sales at 12:00 AM on Friday forcing many families who have a family member working at a participating retailer to have to cut their Thanksgiving festivities short so that they could go in and get prepared for the oncoming storm.
Many families who have shopped on Black Friday know the crowds.They line up at ungodly hours. They are dense and often pushy and they are rude.
Black Friday crowd
And what is all that for? It is for the daughters and sons. So that they can have the nicest things and parents can show off the love for their children without having had paid as much. The sad truth is that more families are turning to Black Friday as way to buy their children all the things they couldn’t without having to break the bank. Which is just sad.
When loving middle and upper-class parents decide to satisfy every material desire of their offspring around the holidays, they are also seizing an opportunity to show off their hard-earned wealth to friends and neighbors. How else would a well-to-do businessman let everyone know how hard he has worked other than showering his kids with the latest and greatest toys money can buy during the time of year when indulgence and consumption are as prevalent as chilly weather?
Gary Cross asserts that the holiday spirit of giving is only a veil that covers the true motives behind excessive consumption during the holidays. Parents spoil their children on Christmas to display the “personal affluence” that the American dream explicitly offers (59). The desire to display wealth and success is an innate characteristic of people living in affluent communities. While there might be many reasons behind a rich man buying a flashy car, it can always be assumed that because he doesn’t buy a modest car, he wants to look rich. But parents can’t constantly allow their children to indulge in an endless supply of toys; that would look sinful. Parents use the loophole commonly known as Christmas to achieve their desire to display wealth without seeming vicarious, simply because everyone else does it. The idea that Christmas is a time for “eating, drinking, and loafing” plays into the idea that spoiling children during the holidays is socially acceptable (59).
The argument in which this assertion is being made, however, is not black and white. While I advocate Cross’ belief that parents spoil their children on Christmas for the sake of an affluent appearance, I am not saying that a wealthy father can’t buy his daughter the finest doll on the market only because he loves her. But Cross’ argument is a generalization that is meant to pertain to society as a whole. Within the masses of affluent people in this country who give tons of gifts to their children for the sake of appearance lies a pocket of parents who give for love and for love only. These individuals have been, what a Bill Murray fan might call, Scrooged; individuals who, due to particular experiences and circumstances, give for the sake of giving. From this one can conclude that an ideal society contains a significant amount of Scrooged parents and a much smaller population of those who give for the sake of appearances.
This is the course website for Rebecca Onion's American Studies seminar at the University of Texas at Austin, convened during the spring semester of 2012. You can see the website for last semester's version of this course at this link.