Government launches inquiry over sexualised marketing to children

(135 Posts)
CatherineHMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 06-Dec-10 09:26:15

We're pleased to hear today's news about the government launching an independent inquiry into the sexualised marketing of products to children, particularly because of our Let Girls Be Girls campaign. Here's the story.

arfur Mon 06-Dec-10 09:35:22

I saw this on the news last night and felt very proud of Mumsnet (and slightly huffy that the woman interviewed was from Mothers Union) but we all want the same thing so WELL DONE MUMSNET!!

dittany Mon 06-Dec-10 09:37:01

Heard Justine on Radio 4 this morning talking about this to John Humphreys.

It's great that you've been able to get politicians to see this as an issue. And they are talking about legislation and potential prosecutions too - wow.

FreudianFoxSquishedByAPouffe Mon 06-Dec-10 09:37:57

Awesome news. Here's hoping it is successful.

LeninGrad Mon 06-Dec-10 10:34:53

This is great, the messages are everywhere though, even in that news report:

"Lolita is a novel, later adapted into an Oscar-nominated movie, in which a middle-aged man becomes sexually obsessed with a precocious 12-year-old girl."

Precocious means: 'Manifesting or characterized by unusually early development or maturity, especially in mental aptitude.'

Isn't this just what some adult men want to see?

Chil1234 Mon 06-Dec-10 11:01:35

Precocious is not simply in the mind of the male beholder. A 12 year-old girl (or boy for that matter) can develop early, both physically and mentally. Some 12 year-olds today can pass for 16 or 17 physically. Doesn't mean they are sexually mature.

LeninGrad Mon 06-Dec-10 11:09:07

Seems a loaded adjective to me. The sentence would work without precocious in there, it seems irrelevant to me.

Chil1234 Mon 06-Dec-10 11:39:27

The ambiguity of image & perception is the whole point of the Lolita story. It's also - to bring it back to the original subject of the thread - why we have to be very careful, as parents, how we dress and present our children to avoid making them more vulnerable.

BadgersPaws Mon 06-Dec-10 11:45:23

I do wonder how far this will go, Juliet from Romeo and Juliet wasn't even 14, do we stop children reading the play at school?

hellobob Mon 06-Dec-10 12:54:43

This is fantastic news and long overdue. If only we could do something about the pop videos....

LadyBiscuit Mon 06-Dec-10 12:59:01

I'm sorry BadgersPaw, I don't understand how stopping manufacturers selling 'Future Porn Star' t-shirts is likely to lead to banning R&J. Can you explain your thinking?

I agree with you hellobob.

Dh's reaction to the news was, "Well it won't make much difference while ds [10] chooses to watch the Music channels on Freeview"

The videos on that are almost all highly sexualised, yet what are we as parents supposed to do? Tell our children that they are not supposed to be interested in the Music Charts? hmm

We compormosie and try to have senisble discussions with him about how it is wrong to overly sexualise (in particular) women's bodies (not quite in those words grin) - but it is very that we are having to have such heavy discussions with a pre-teen hmm

KatyMac Mon 06-Dec-10 13:19:35
BadgersPaws Mon 06-Dec-10 13:19:44

My thinking is that I'm wondering how far any proposed law will go.

Don't get me wrong selling such T-Shirts to our young daughters is an awful thing. There is clearly a problem there, something's not right when that sort of thing goes on.

But when you start to hear talk about wider issues such as marketing and the influence of pop videos I wonder what else some pressure groups want to do.

We've already seen some of the loons come out of the woodwork over the recent calls for the Internet to be made 18+. So I wonder who else will push to be a part of this study and will want to twist it's objectives and results.

LeninGrad Mon 06-Dec-10 13:25:39

Chil1234, I don't agree about ambiguity, 12 is 12, it's very easy for an adult not to ascribe an adult take on a 12 year old's behaviour.

And whilst I agree with the aims behind this campaign it is never the fault of how children are dressed or presented that makes them more vulnerable to abuse. Abusive adults are to blame for abusing.

LeninGrad Mon 06-Dec-10 13:27:08

BP, you can't worry about extremes, marketing Playboy to children is just wrong, so wrong you have to wonder what on earth every single adult involved in the process to bring those products to market was thinking.

BadgersPaws Mon 06-Dec-10 13:37:36

"BP, you can't worry about extremes"

I think that you have to.

If some law comes in banning the sale of "Sexualised Products" to children then who decides what falls into that category. Sometimes it's so obvious that you wonder what was going through the heads of those who came up with the idea, such as you say about marketing Playboy. However what about other things that might be less clear?

The whole Internet thing showed an MP, Claire Perry, who was happy to boost her career while working with people who think that sex education is a bad thing.

So I think it is right to worry that what is a good idea is going to be hijacked by those who have an agenda of their own.

PaisleyLeaf Mon 06-Dec-10 14:03:23

<high 5>

smile

Chil1234 Mon 06-Dec-10 14:31:54

@LeninGrad... Lolita is a controversial fictional novel with plenty of ambiguity and confusion set within the themes of forbidden sexual desire. It's not a case study on paedophilia. Whilst fault is always with abusers, if we don't think wearing certain clothes or early sexualisation messages increase the vulnerability of children, why do we find the trend so disturbing?

Having said that, I am against the banning of products for similar reasons to BadgersPaws. I think there is a huge range of what is regarded as acceptable, too many grey areas, and we should be very wary that we are not bullied into narrow definitions and blanket bans. I remember reading on MN a thread about a pair of children's boots that were castigated as being 'Like a hooker would wear!!!!' Expecting to see something totally outrageous the photo-link showed something 'dressy' but quite modest.

LeninGrad Mon 06-Dec-10 14:39:18

It's not about children's vulnerability to abuse for me, kids who wear perfectly normal children's clothes are abused, it's about saying as a society that there are limits to what we will package up and sell to children. Playboy merchandise, for example, is one thing that has no place in any products aimed at children.

It's helping them navigate the world without sex and sexualisation being pushed at them all the time, they'll develop in their own time. This is all very different from having an aim of preventing adults from abusing, that's a whole different area and never the fault of how someone dresses or behaves.

hellobob Mon 06-Dec-10 15:56:23

Sex sells and that is the problem. I was shocked when I looked at my 14 year olds facebook page and the she had a page of 'likes' she was looking at and I would say 70% of them were of a sexual nature, positions etc,. She has the freeview video music channel on most of the time and I do make comments to her about the women on there and their lack of clothing (I try to make a joke of it!)but it is rammed down their throats 24/7. It drives me mad. I don't let her wear provocative clothing and thankfully she is not into looking like Jordan or that other one, Jodie Marsh, thank god! smile

jodevizes Mon 06-Dec-10 16:32:11

This really is a non idea. If you do not like the clothes, do not buy them, they will not stock clothes that do not sell.
This has taken a long time to come around. I thought they were doing this when those dreadful dolls Bratz first came out. More like slutz, I thought and would never think about getting them for a relatives children on principal.

Same with the dreadful videos. If you want your children to watch videos that are more like soft porn than a promotion of music and most are just plain degrading to women, then more fool you.

HecTheHallsWithBoughsOfHolly Mon 06-Dec-10 16:49:58

Well, I have banned the music channels. Refusing to have them on and explaining why sends the best message of all, imo.

don't like the clothes don't buy them is great! would be wonderful if there weren't parents out there who think it's ok - nah, really really cool innit - to dress their baby daughter in playboy bunny logoed clothes and tshirts that say future porn star, or a tshirt with nipple tassles on (yes, really)
I'm a tits man
I'm living proof my mum is easy
little pink knickers with the words "dive in" on them
padded bras for 5 yr olds
shall I continue?

StuffingGoldBrass Mon 06-Dec-10 17:47:58

I'm with BadgerPaws: campaigns like this are very vulnerable to hijacking by awful people woman-hating arseholes, superstition-peddlers and pro-abstinence campaigners. NONE of whom are good influences on DC.
Sex is, don't forget, nice. It's not inherently something to flee from or be scared of.
I'm not wild about 'porn star' t-shirts for todlers myself, but opposition to such things (which are not, after all, bought by many people to actually dress DC in, except for the occasional wind-up) is attractive to the dysfunctional nuts who would rather see women covered from head to foot and all mention of sex prohibited.

HecTheHallsWithBoughsOfHolly Mon 06-Dec-10 17:55:26

It is nice - I think. Not sure I can remember that far back grin

It's also not for children to be thrown into the middle of.

Teach them about it, explain about relationships, yes. Don't make them ashamed, of course. Discuss it all at age and understanding appropriate levels. That's all vital.

But it's just not right to sexualise them. And it's important, I think, to let people know that's what it is.

I don't think that parents dress their girls like hookers thinking that they are sexualising them, but that's what they're doing. So a campaign to get people thinking is good, surely? To make people pause before buying that tshirt with the nipple tassles, or the knickers with "dive in" on them?

I mean <judgypants alert> I have to wonder why you wouldn't think all by yourself. But clearly that's the case. So a little -erm, have you thought of it this way - is no bad thing, imo.

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