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Webchat with Reg Bailey, author of the government report on sexualisation of children, Friday 10th June, 11am to 12pm

(190 Posts)
KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 06-Jun-11 11:01:53

Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers' Union and author of the government’s Let Children be Children, is joining us for a webchat this Friday, 10 June, 11am to 12pm.

Following our Let Girls be Girls campaign , launched early in 2010, we’ve been asking retailers to commit not to sell products which play upon, emphasise or exploit their sexuality.

The government has now responded to our campaign and Reg Bailey’s report, which included these recommendations:

• Retailers to ensure magazines with sexualised images have modesty sleeves.

• Music videos to be sold with age ratings.

• Procedures to make it easier for parents to block adult and age restricted material on internet.

• Code of practice to be issued on child retailing.

• Create a single website for parents to complain to regulators.

• Change rules on nine o'clock television watershed to give priority to views of parents.

Please join us live to ask Reg about the report, or if you can't make it, please post your question here.

TheRhubarb Mon 06-Jun-11 11:45:14

I completely agree with all those points. However I do feel that sex education in schools is failing in its target to curb teenage pregnancies. I used to work in a primary school and I viewed the three DVDs they were showing to the different age ranges of children. I was shocked that they could tell children HOW to have sex, HOW to masturbate using words like "wanking" and telling kids that the female sex organ gets hard when aroused - surely this is way too much information too young? Only once in the last DVD did it say that you shouldn't have sex until you are 16, but this was not the main focus. The main focus of the DVDs was to inform them HOW you had sex and that it's ok to have a wank.

What about teaching children self respect? How about talking about safety and keeping themselves safe? Reporting it to an adult if they are made to feel uncomfortable or pressured into doing something they don't want to do?

I feel that we are becoming too obsessed with telling our children how to do it, to de-mystify sex if you like, without putting any thought into keeping them safe and teaching them about self respect, love etc.

When girls receive their jab for cervical cancer now they are not told what cervical cancer is, how to prevent it or how you catch it.

Perhaps the next campaign should be making sure that sex education in schools talks more about safety and self respect and where to go for help.

nailak Mon 06-Jun-11 14:38:42

i concurr

seedlessgrape Mon 06-Jun-11 17:23:06

Whilst I totally agree with this campaign I have to ask what sort of mothers (parents) would allow their young daughters to buy and wear such products. Surely it's down to supply and demand. If it didn't sell, the retailers sure as hell wouldn't stock it.

Shouldn't we therefore look closer to home?

Twiga Mon 06-Jun-11 20:20:22

With you Rhubarb! I think also shops need to look at how they divide their age ranges, take for example Next who do the baby to age 6/7 range but only stock baby to age 4/5 in their stores, was told that I'd I wanted the bigger sizes to order from directory but they didn't routinely stock. Their next range up goes (iircc) 3-16 years, which in mho is crazy, who dressed their 3 year old in what they'd buy a 16 and visa versa. I hardly find anything I'd dress my older dd in in there now she's pretty much out of their younger range.

Twiga Mon 06-Jun-11 20:22:54

Sorry about the incorrect words etc, curse of the iPhone keyboard!

poorbuthappy Mon 06-Jun-11 22:08:15

Whilst I agree with the campaign in principle it is not addressing the issue of the way in which women are seen/viewed/represented in society which had led to this situation.
You don't need any talent anymore, all you need is the complete lack of respect in yourself to take your clothes off at any opportunity.
Even the women with talent feel the need to strip off in order to sell their music rather than simply rely on their music writing or singing to be admired (ok then, make money).

TheRhubarb Tue 07-Jun-11 09:47:28

I am pleased that music videos will now be given an age rating and therefore not shown before the watershed, however we have a long way to go yet. Have any of you seen Brainaics? Hosted by Richard Hammond? It is shown around teatime and is popular with kids. That programme is rife with sexual innuendos and the potrayal of women is astonishingly sexist. Of course they would say they are being ironic, which seems to be the excuse everyone uses to brush off blatant sexism, but kids don't get irony, they just see women in bikinis being paraded as too dumb to even speak.

Catmilk Wed 08-Jun-11 08:15:01

Question for Reg - why are lads mags supposedly a problem, while womens magazines with covers full of rape murder and incest stories are nothing to be worried about? Is children's safety your paramount concern, or is the fact you are head of a Christian organisation of women influencing what sections of the media you target?

incontinentia Wed 08-Jun-11 12:23:33

I agree with Rhubarb. gotta wonder how many paedo-pervs are making the rules out there. Don't like the beauty pageant scene either for frustrated hasbeens to parade their daughters. Any mother who does that to a child wants locking up-.

zazizoma Wed 08-Jun-11 14:18:28

I'd love to hear Reg's take on the Miss Sixty ads currently plastering our train stations. You know the one I'm talking about.

Catmilk Wed 08-Jun-11 14:38:50

I'd like to ask him that seeing he's a Christian, is he that bothered about whether kids from other religions get sexualized too early, as they'll all be going to Hell/miss The Rapture anyway?

Crumblemum Wed 08-Jun-11 15:57:55

I'm broadly supportive of the report. I realise responsibility always lies with the parent, but it's actually good to say that our kids, particularly our girls are not carbon copies of what some (obviously wrong) adults think they should be.

Anyhow, my question is on music videos - will those rated a certain age be banned from pre-watershed or is it just that they will have those ratings for those wishing to buy them (which I guess since you tube is not many)?

Catmilk Wed 08-Jun-11 16:41:48

Well, watching The Box or some other music video channels top 40 countdown the last few days, I kept hearing 'Rihanna's video is a bit too rude to be shown at this time of day.'

HerBeX Thu 09-Jun-11 13:14:03

I agree with whoever said that the report doesn't address the central issue: the lack of respect for women, which has led to this grooming process in the first place. Girls are being groomed to expect empowerment instead of power. And boys' attitudes and the construction of masculinity, isn't being looked at at all. Why is sexual bullying in school tolerated, while racist bullying has to be reported to the LEA? Until the issue of women's equality is properly addressed, all these reports are simply covering over the cracks IMO.

TheRhubarb Thu 09-Jun-11 13:19:49

Agree HerBeX. There was a report on Newsbeat about the amount of time men spend looking at porn on the internet and quite shockingly a lot of them admitted that it affected the way they view sex and their relationships with women.

Girls are being pressured into having sex too young by boys their same age and it's become almost a badge of honour to sleep with as many people as possible. Which is why the sex education DVDs need to cover self respect, safety and when 'no' means 'NO'.

Amaryllis Thu 09-Jun-11 13:21:32

Where is the evidence that this will change anything? There are too many Government initiatives which are full of good ideas, but not evidence based. What could be tried on a small scale and assessed for its effectiveness?

barbiegrows Thu 09-Jun-11 15:02:54

There should be more awareness about parents' liability regarding allowing their children to watch x-rated stuff. Also childrens liability regarding showing other children x-rated stuff, or even sharing pictures of themselves.

Many many parents are too busy to care that much, but if it's put to them in legal terms I am sure they will act more responsibly, likewise teenagers and older siblings.

This is about parenting and parental awareness and understanding of the impact of uncontrolled sexual and violent images on children - boys and girls. Most people really have no idea and have the old-fashioned view that if it's not real then it doesn't count. Children have been self-censoring for too long.

My dd has a DS game in which a baby cries incessantly. I find it horrific - she is completely desensitised to it. It's not violent, it's not sexual, it's a wider issue than that - it's about taking away childrens ability to judge and react according to their instincts, have low expectations of themselves and others. Sadly it's too late for my children and although I try as hard as I can to protect them.

I've always kept the free music stations off the telly but they see the videos in the dentists waiting room anyway!

barbiegrows Thu 09-Jun-11 15:18:27

Clothing is the thinnest end of this wedge yet it is the hardest to regulate. I hope that if the other recommendations are in place it is less likely that these clothes will appeal to young girls. Childrens clothes in theory should highlight their faces and generally be comfortable and practical and an expression of themselves. If we want to get really technical about it, clothes are a form of communication and the production of clothes and their sale is therefore broadcasting and could come under the same censorship rules!

Catmilk Thu 09-Jun-11 16:25:43

"Girls are being pressured into having sex by boys their own age'

Hmm, wasn't it ever thus? Girls want to do it too - and as for 'by boys of their own age' we all know girls often go for older boys - then act surprised that they would want sex! If they just want to hold hands, there are plenty of nice boys in every class - but even/especially at a young age, do we always go for the nice guys?

HerBeX Thu 09-Jun-11 16:36:49

Viz girls being pressurised into having sex, why is the focus always exclusively on teaching them to say no? Why does no-one ever think there's any mileage in teaching boys that they shouldn't be pressuring girls into having sex they don't want? Why do we still live in a society which says boys do not have any duty to be responsible, kind or empathetic in their relationships with girls? Until we start addressing the expected behaviours of boys and men, instead of simply expecting them to be selfish, entitled predators and bringing them up to think that is normal, they will continue to pressurise girls in large numbers because they are being taught that that's how to conduct sexual relations with girls. Let's start with the boys for a change, shall we?

TheRhubarb Thu 09-Jun-11 16:51:10

HerBeX, agree completely. My point, perhaps badly put, was that there is a link between readily accessible hard porn on the computers and the way boys view sex and women - as made by Newsbeat.

Same news channel also discovered that most teenage girls regretted the first time they had sex and a lot of them reported being hassled into it by older boys.

HerBeX Thu 09-Jun-11 17:15:59

that doesn't surprise me at all Rhubarb.

It's so depressing and yet so normal. And we as a society, accept that it's normal, we accept that this is the way boys should behave and that girl's regret is just a rite of passage. When are we going to stop saying "How can we better teach our girls to say no?" and start saying "how can we better teach our boys, that they should not be coercing girls into having unwanted sex with them? How can we give them attitudes and opinions which differentiate them more clearly from rapists?"

Catmilk Thu 09-Jun-11 17:26:07

Bit much to suggest most teen boys think like and act like little rapists. IMO vast majority would not pressure a girl, and think doing exactly what a woman wants is the way to get her to have sex with them... We all know which type of boy teen girls go for. Often it is an older boy who might 'hassle' her into sex - but not all boys are like that hassly boy. How about teaching our girls to go for nice boys? Good luck with that... Girls aren't all innocent, boys aren't all evil.

HerBeX Thu 09-Jun-11 17:42:53

Nobody has suggested that Catmilk. Please read the posts more carefully. But I don't understand your argument - why should you imagine that older boys aren't as nice as younger ones? If a boy is nice, he's nice whether he's 12, 14, 16, 18 etc.

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