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This blog entry is written by Amy only. While Marc hung out with our kids, I chose last week to attend a summit meeting offered by a national coalition called the Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC). I had no idea what I'd be hearing, or whether I'd be spending two precious days of free time on a worthy endeavor. But I took a chance because shielding my kids from a mass-marketed childhood (without being a nut about it) is one of my passions. I write now as changed person.

Surrounded by experts and leaders in a room that crackled with passion and warmth, I learned about atrocities of marketing that made me feel so naive. I learned of the effects of this marketing on our children's self-esteem, non-material outlook, and ability to form loving and healthy relationships with friends and boyfriends/girlfriends. I saw some really horrible stuff. And then I learned about people who are making a difference - challenging the rights of companies to market directly or subtlely to our children right in their own schools, on their TV shows and on their schoolbus rides.

Here's just one example of a current CCFC campaign: "Thongs for 10-year-olds that say “eye candy.” Shirts with slogans like “Who needs brains when you have these?” and “Do I make you look fat?” Ads touting group sex to sell clothing to teens and preteens. When it comes to sexualizing children, Abercrombie & Fitch is among the worst corporate offenders. That’s why it’s so egregious that Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio is planning to rename its emergency room The Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department and Trauma Center in exchange for a $10 million donation. These naming rights will entwine an institution of healing with a company whose advertising is notorious for undermining children's wellbeing and will promote the exploitive Abercrombie brand to children in a hospital setting. Please take a moment to tell Nationwide Children's Hospital not to sell naming rights to Abercrombie and Fitch." A letter is available on the site to send quickly and easily to the hospital administrative staff to object to this source of funding - I've sent mine already. Please consider doing so too, if this topic is as important to you as it is to me.

Do I sound like a convert to a new cult? A prudish mom? Please don't take my word for it! I invite all MomsRising and FamiliesRising members to check out the CCFC for yourself and join with them on some crucial causes that we have in common. I feel grateful for having been able to attend their summit conference, and renewed in my hope that things can change. That's what we're all about here at MomsRising and FamiliesRising too! Together, we can be that much more powerful!

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