Get in shape, girl...
You've got the feeling!
Get in shape, girl...
It's so appealing!
Get in shape, girl!

Oh, wow. That inane little jingle is still stuck in my head from when I was twelve. Don't you hate that?

As far as I can tell, the idea behind these products was that young pre-teen girls don't have enough body-image issues, and we need to encourage eating disorders and weight obsession from as young an age as possible. I had the pink workout mat and matching hand-weights.

Now, I'm all in favor of getting kids to exercise. I don't even mind it if someone makes money on the deal -- someone has to make running shoes and baseball gloves. But the Get in shape, girl! message was never that girls should be out playing soccer or climbing trees. It was that exercise was *work*, it involved prescribed activites like sit ups and aerobics classes (just like mom!) and was for the purposes of making one's self attractive. (For who? 6 - 12 year olds aren't known for their swinging love lives.) For all their up-beat jingle, the activities the commercials showed never actually seemed enjoyable, except in that "let's pretend we're grown women complaining about the size of our hips" kind of way.

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