Mojo Mom news roundup, from Baby Einstein to George Bush
• Baby Einstein videos don't make babies smarter. Did anyone ever really think they were anything more than a convenient distraction? Still, it's sad to learn that video-watching is correlated with decreased language acquisition. The effects may not be permanent but it's still discouraging. Learn more at NPR.org and Time.com.
• Preschoolers think food tastes better when it's served in a McDonald's wrapper. Even store-bought carrots. Tempting to try this at home when carrots are involved, but bad news in the long run.
• On a related note, I recommend the book Buy Buy Baby for an in-depth look at marketing to kids, including "educational" toys and the relationship between tots and brands. Check out this great Salon.com article for more background on the book. It seems to me that the "educational" mandate for toys has gotten even more intense over the past few years. Walking down the toy aisles at Target recently, it struck me that every baby toy had some sort of identified specific learning goal. There's no room for just plain playing any more.
• Depressing news on a different subject: women who express anger at work are seen as incompetent but men may well be admired for it. In a research study, angry men were assigned a higher than average salary and angry women were penalized. Yet another double standard. The researchers make a connection to Hillary Clinton and the delicate balance she must walk. I am a John Edwards supporter but I abhor the impossible standard of perfection that Senator Clinton is expected to maintain. On the Today Show this morning, the pundits basically proposed that in tonight's debate Clinton should allow herself to look a little dumb. I think it was couched in terms of "taking the risk of being spontaneous and less scripted" but it reminded me all too much of junior high when girls had to avoid looking too smart around boys.
Who thought that when a serious female candidate emerged for President her primary criticism would be that she's too competent and not personable enough? Where is the safe ground between too frosty, versus not tough enough to be Commander in Chief? It's definitely a narrow path that she's being asked to navigate. I definitely feel that the men have much more latitude, like George W. Bush whose "Gentleman's C's" GPA from Yale was no hindrance for a well-connected guy who was perceived as so gosh-darn "likeable."
Joe Klein addresses Clinton's challenges in his Time essay this week, "Hillary, the Bran-Muffin Candidate." Whatever one thinks about Clinton, there's not question in my mind that she is qualified to hold the office of President, and that is a great step forward for all women.