Diane Abbott, MP, Shadow Health Minister: live webchat about British culture becoming 'increasingly pornified', Thursday 21st March, 1pm

(84 Posts)
MylinhMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 19-Mar-13 14:41:54


We'll be welcoming Diane Abbott, Shadow Minister for Public Health and MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, for a webchat this Thursday 21 March, at 1pm.

Diane made history in 1987 by becoming the first black woman ever elected to the British Parliament. In May 2010 Diane was re-elected in her constituency and doubled her majority on an increased turnout, and in June 2010 she made the ballot for the next Labour leadership contest. She is a leading Labour politician and also has a distinguished career as a broadcaster and commentator.

Earlier this year, we read with interest Diane's comments about British culture being 'increasingly pornified' and damaging to young people. Diane has since told us that some of what Mumsnetters have said on the issue, especially in relation to our Let Girls Be Girls campaign, has been a big influence on her thinking.

Diane is interested in hearing your questions on this - and more - in relation to her role as both an MP and a Shadow Health Minister. Please join us on Thursday from 1pm and, as ever, feel free to post advance questions below.


OP’s posts: |
NayFindus Tue 19-Mar-13 16:30:53

I love you Diane! I so miss you on This Week, you're one of the few people brave enough to say what they actually think anymore. I hadn't really noticed before taking my young daughter down the local high street that there are posters of half naked women everywhere selling clothes, perfume etc and the gratuity of them genuinely shocks me. I don't want to have to stay at home because there's pictures of anorexic girls with no clothes on everywhere, but in a world where politicians are now in thrall to big business and simply ignore the voters, how can you or anybody else do anything about this?

ATouchOfStuffing Tue 19-Mar-13 20:20:53

Thank you Diane for actually tackling this issue. Us women are meant to have and do it all, as well as compete with porn stars and glamour models. Something has to give. I am sure you have seen this in the news recently, but I was wondering if a good starting place to make real women more of a feature in our towns would be to enforce a nationwide switch to these mannequins?
It is a small start but I think we need to highlight that women in porn/mags are not average and what women should 'aspire' to, and somehow become a failure if they don't comply. www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=500833883286263&set=a.360833590619627.72897.316489315054055&type=1&theater
No, I am not the page owner/creator, but A Mighty Girl is a very enlightening group on Facebook which might be worth taking a look at as well smile

JugglingFromHereToThere Tue 19-Mar-13 22:19:20

I busted a gut to get my two DC's into the best school I could (a faith secondary in our city) - and have recently heard we were fortunate enough to get the place for DS to follow his sister.
I know you've faced criticism from some for sending your DS to the school you felt was best for him (private IIRC)
Do you have any comments on the school selection system and competition for places at the best schools ? I think you'll find many MNers will have some sympathy with your approach of doing your best for your son. How have things worked out for him ? Do you feel you made the right decision for you both ?

JeanBillie Wed 20-Mar-13 11:53:12

Thank you for drawing attention to this important subject. There's so much pressure on girls (and women) to behave a certain way, and even though my daughter is under 2, I worry about what lies ahead unless we do something about it.

On a less serious note, have you recovered from your Come Dine With Me Experience?grin

worldgonecrazy Wed 20-Mar-13 12:32:00

I think the main issue is raising awareness amongst parents of what is actually out there. I guess most adults hear the word "porn" and think of the magazines that boys used to hide under the bed when they were teenagers,or hidden behind a credit-card only wall on the internet.

But nowadays porn is pretty intense stuff - really hardcore videos (rape, anal, group sex, teen sex, BDSM) are available at the click of a button with no credit card required and many children knowledgeable enough on how to delete computer history. If parents were aware of this they might do more to lock down computers. We also need to ensure that parents are savvy enough to know how to lock computers down. We can't stop children hacking into stuff, but we can put up as many barriers as possible.

However, the bottom line is "Does the Government* care?" and "What is the Government* going to do to help stop this situation?"

Government = all parties *and Whitehall.

Bramshott Wed 20-Mar-13 12:39:55

I really worry about this - particularly that my DDs (now aged 6 & 10) will have very different early experiences with relationships and sex because porn is so 'normalised' now (see threads ad infinitem about removing pubic hair for example).


mems4 Wed 20-Mar-13 13:13:11

I would also like to thank you for speaking out on this issue. Is there a dialogue taking place between politicians within the main parties with regard to the hypersexualised culture many feel that young children and young adults are exposed to? Can you give us an idea of any specific measures you or the Labour Party would like to implement to curb this culture?
Best wishes from a mother of two daughters, aged 7 and 9.

mungotracy Wed 20-Mar-13 14:18:46

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our webchat guidelines www.mumsnet.com/onlinechats/guidelines.

LineRunner Wed 20-Mar-13 16:07:19


I absolutely agree that pornification is happening and that it isbad for us all, and I say that as the mother of a teenage boy and a teenage girl. I think that it is a bit of a no-brainer to be honest.

But what can and will Parliament actually DO?

You only have to look at the hysterical and stalky pro-porn male trolls who come on MumsNet to see how determined they are to defend their 'rights' to objectify woman and girls.

CuttedUpPear Wed 20-Mar-13 16:19:32

Diane thank you for taking this cause up, I hope you stick with it too.
I'm going to leave the questions to the others but please accept my heartfelt gratitude that someone in office is taking this issue seriously.

SirChenjin Wed 20-Mar-13 17:21:11

I'm delighted that this is being raised again at Government level, but concerned that Diane's more controversial views on other issues might overshadow and diminish her ability to be taken seriously on the matter.

On the fence on this one.

moondog Wed 20-Mar-13 17:58:52

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our webchat guidelines www.mumsnet.com/onlinechats/guidelines.

JugglingFromHereToThere Wed 20-Mar-13 18:39:41

I feel as a family we can offer quite a good level of protection against the sexualisation of childhood and youth as it relates to our DC's. I have DD(14) and DS(11) and I'm hopeful they can have better journeys through the teenage years and into adulthood than I feel I did (we shall see !), through our greater awareness of issues and better more open communication with them, in spite of some negative changes there have been in society.

Basically, both at a family level, in terms of feminism, and in society as a whole I feel there have been some positive changes too. I'd say it's quite a mixed picture for our DC's entering their teenage years compared to our own experiences. Of course always frustrating that progress isn't faster, smoother, and always in a positive direction !

SirChenjin Wed 20-Mar-13 19:30:14

You put it much better than me Moondog grin

Creameggkr Wed 20-Mar-13 20:01:58

Diane thanks for raising this. I'm from Cheltenham and every race week the pubs a d clubs are allowed a special licence for strippers which I know creates the need for extra police resources to ensure the law is being followed.
However no extra resources are put in place to protect us females from the baying Neanderthal men who spill out of these places under the impression that all women are fair game.
Last Thursday I was verbally sexually abused in a chip shop at ten o'clock at night. I am no shrinking violet but was scared and extremely angry. I was threatened with sexual violence and then called names when I ignored them.
The girls in the chip shop said they'd suffered this all night as had other locals.
If councils are going to freely support the sex industry then surely they have an obligation to protect innocent bystanders from the back lash.
Verbal abuse of women needs to be treated seriously by society, police and the courts.

zwischenzug Wed 20-Mar-13 20:49:08

Is pornification a symptom of a society where white people have been playing divide and rule too much? Or is it because only black mothers are prepared to "go to the wall for their children" and white mothers aren't doing enough to combat it?

Maybe we can get Nick Griffin on next week to counterbalance Dianes views..

Darkesteyes Thu 21-Mar-13 02:10:03

Well said Creamegg.. I read your thread at the time but didnt comment.
Dianne when you have time please take a look at the ARRSE website and forum.

PlentyOfPubeGardens Thu 21-Mar-13 07:45:42

Thank you for speaking out on this and thank you for placing such a large emphasis on education for young people and their families.

However, please think very carefully about backing the opt-in porn filter. Listen to what the techy people are saying about the problems with it. Having read extensively around the issue, it's my belief that it won't work, it will end up being switched off in lots of homes when it blocks access to innocent content, leaving no protection at all. Far better to support parents to use the already existing web filters they can install for themselves for free and configure to different profiles.

JugglingFromHereToThere Thu 21-Mar-13 09:03:53

What sort of things might it block PubeGardens, innocent content wise, couldn't it be improved so this was less of a problem ?

Pennykettle Thu 21-Mar-13 09:12:45

The police and the SS repeatedly fail to protect our children. The State fails as a parent yet seem more than keen to terrorise families for the slightest suspicion so that we all live in fear whilst, when an abuser is flagged up to the authorities they more often than not do nothing. What can you do about this? Can you cause the police to change or would you have to change everyone's attitudes individually? So would online porn be a place you could start, making porn sites have to be sought for rather than them spamming under an ordinary name?

PlentyOfPubeGardens Thu 21-Mar-13 09:20:08

MN for a start, with all its discussions around porn and bumsex and liberal use of the word 'fuck'. Then, more seriously, it's likely to block sex education sites, support sites for gay youngsters, breast cancer sites ...

There's a great post from one of the numerous and lengthy MN threads on this topic here which clearly outlines the problems with the proposal.

payphone Thu 21-Mar-13 10:14:10

Hi Diane.

Did you support the recent proposal by Stella Creasy and Amber Rudd that sex ed should be given a much higher priority in schools? I'm worried that the Department for Education seem determined to downgrade sex ed when really, our children need it more than ever in order to negotiate a world in which rather rigid (and sometimes worrying) templates of adult sexuality are presented very freely, very early.

plainbellysneetch Thu 21-Mar-13 10:21:56

Is it true that you actually went to school with Michael Portillo? If so, that's rather lovely - like childhood sweethearts wink

On which note, when are you coming back to This Week's sofa? I used to love watching you and Michael rolling your eyes flirtily at each other. Now it's all just... politics and that.

LauraB65 Thu 21-Mar-13 11:38:57

Hi Dianne! First of all I am a big fan! Recently I have heard lots of people saying the NHS is being privatised through the backdoor. Would you say this is true? And if so, are there any ways we can halt the conversion and save the NHS? Thanks!

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