A review into the sexualisation of young people, conducted by psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos has just been published.
Commissioned by the Home Office, the review forms part of the government’s strategy to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and looks at how sexualised images and messages may be affecting the development of children and young people and influencing cultural norms. It also examines the evidence for a link between sexualisation and violence.
Key recommendations include:
- the government to launch an online one-stop-shop to allow the public to voice their concerns about marketing which may sexualise children, with an onus on regulatory authorities to take action.
- the government should support the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to take steps to extend the existing regulatory standards to include commercial websites
- broadcasters are required to ensure that music videos featuring sexual posing or sexually suggestive lyrics are broadcast only after the watershed
- the government to support the NSPCC in its work with manufacturers and retailers to encourage corporate compliance with regard to sexualised merchandise. Guidelines should be issued for retailers following consultation with major clothing retailers and parents’ groups
- games consoles should be sold with parental controls already switched on. Purchasers can choose to unlock the console if they wish to allow access to adult and online content.
- lads’ mags to be confined to newsagents’ top shelves and only sold to over-15s
- a ratings system on magazine and advertising photographs showing the extent to which they have been airbrushed or digitally altered.
- The exemption of music videos from the 1984 Video Recordings Act should be ended. The report in particular criticises lyrics by N-Dubz and 50 Cent for their tendency to sexualise women or refer to them in a derogatory manner, and singles out the rap artist Nelly for a video showing him swiping a credit card through a young woman’s buttocks. But it adds that, while degrading sexual content is most apparent in rap-rock, rap, rap-metal and R&B, it is to be found across all music genres.
- jobcentres should be banned from advertising vacancies at escort agencies, lapdancing clubs and massage parlours.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson said: We will now consider the full list of recommendations in more detail and continue to ensure that young people’s development and well-being are a top priority.
Children’s Minister Delyth Morgan said:
Children today are growing up in a complex and changing world and they need to learn how to stay safe and resist inappropriate pressures. That is why we are making Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education statutory so that we can teach children about the real life issues they will face as they grow up.
PSHE already includes teaching about advertising and body image and from 2011 will include issues around violence against women and girls. The PSHE curriculum is age appropriate to give children and young people the right information at the right time to help them make the best choices and to develop their confidence.
Offsite: Let children be children
28th February 2008. See article from guardian.co.uk by Frank Furedi
We can’t hide all sexual images from children but we can stop reading their behaviour through a prism of adult motives
It is difficult not to feel disturbed by the sexualisation of childhood. We live in a world where a significant proportion of 11-year-olds have been regularly exposed to pornography and where many actually believe that what they see is an accurate depiction of real-life relationships.
It is tempting to panic in response to this development and lose sight of the real problem. Sadly, the Home Office report published today proposes the tired old strategy of protecting children from exposure to sexual imagery. The report’s addiction to banning and censoring is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem. The real problem is not simply inappropriate sexual imagery but a highly sexualised adult imagination that continually recycles its anxieties through children.
…Read the full article
Offsite: The inevitable nonsense from the Daily Mail
28th February 2008. See article from dailymail.co.uk by Liz Jones
The woman is naked – or looks like she is. Only a flesh-coloured leotard covers her body. Her long blonde hair tumbles down her back. She’s in a cage, sliding her fingers provocatively in and out of her mouth.
A scene from a cliched pornographic film? Sadly not. The woman in question is Shakira, a pop superstar and the fourth richest singer in the world.
The images can be seen in the video for her single, She Wolf, which will be watched obsessively, again and again, by thousands of young men and women, many of whom will form the opinion that writhing in a cage is precisely the way sexy women should behave.