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Were the 1970s the perviest decade?

(39 Posts)
tinymeteor Sat 26-Nov-16 21:32:35

I hadn't heard of photographer David Hamilton before reading of his suicide today in the face of rape allegations from former child models.

But having googled a small sample of his work, what the fuck? Middle aged man makes a name by approaching random blonde children on the beach and asking to photograph them. His signature style makes liberal use of soft focus, pouting prepubescent girls and sexualised poses if not outright nudity. It's the male gaze taken to extremes. How was this ever considered anything other than pervy?

Was there something about the 1970s that made it a high point for this kind of predator, or are we just hearing about it now because their victims are old enough to cope with talking about it?

Leila78 Sat 26-Nov-16 23:44:39

It was always obvious Hamilton was a sicko.

Tbh, I think it's as bad now as ever. At least back then it was just the odd perv with a camera, now there's literally hundreds of thousands of them operating freely online. Convictions for child abuse images have gone up by about 2000% in 20 years.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 27-Nov-16 00:12:59

David Hamilton was thought to be tasteful and artistic- a photographic equivalent of Victorian artists like Edward Poynter (see The Cave of the Storm Nymphs)

There have been a couple of cases of prosecutions and convictions of possession of child porn at the lowest level relating to his books and also Sally Man's.

His (and her) books were widely available, not "top shelf" material.

quencher Sun 27-Nov-16 00:24:18

Op, to address your question, I think the 70 might not be the previest but the children of those who would not have said anything about what was wrong. The children of those who fought in the war. If bad things happened, (am assuming here), they expected people to soldier on and be strong. There was shame in opening up because it made you look weak. A lot of people took advantage of that.

I also believe that when people talk about the sexual revolution 60s+ and it's freedom. I don't think they just meant women's and men's freedom to do what they want without getting pregnant. Probably what they were talking about for some of them was the freedom to sexually abuse young children without shame and punishment. The freedom to sexually abuse young fans whose parents thought they were safe. The freedom to abuse young children in their care.

Sex being shameful act that people didn't talk about, I think might have been one of the issues. I would include, victim blaming and it's the attitude that needs to change. It's shameful that some people still victim blame.

I do believe that grand parents of those who grew in the seventies will not be as open in coming forward. That is almost a lost generation of abused young children. Most of them are dead. Some of them will not see the benefit of coming forward now. The seventies children there attackers are still out there, they have children now too and they have the means to voice their opinions on social media and lots of people will come forward to support them. They have a louder voice in bigger numbers. Lots of People are willing to listen.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 27-Nov-16 01:02:13

A child in the 70s is unlikely to have been a child of those who fought in the war. I was born in 1959, my parents were 10 when the war ended and 24 when I was born. I was a teenager in the 70s.

My take on the 70s were that the sexual revolution of the 60s really only affected a small, metropolitan /artistic/bohemian elite and only started to trickle down in the 70s but once it started old mores were sweeped away.

If you haven't lived through the 70s you may be unaware that things like Pan's People("here's one for the dads"), the Benny Hill show, Jim Davidson, Miss World being event television in the same way as Eurovision and David Hamilton were mainstream, although by the end of the 70s they were being challenged as sexist.

No one spoke up against porn except Mary Whitehouse and Lord Longford and they were ridiculed and laughed at (It didn't help that she was actually a horrible person). A very odd decade.

DeviTheGaelet Sun 27-Nov-16 08:15:04

Interesting posts quencher and lass

Lass, yours made me wonder how the current sex positive, Anne Summers, widespread porn and permatan/fake lash culture will appear in 20 years time.

Leila78 Sun 27-Nov-16 08:33:43

Lass, yours made me wonder how the current sex positive, Anne Summers, widespread porn and permatan/fake lash culture will appear in 20 years time.

As an utter embarrassment I hope Devi. The 1970's liberated sex - for men that is. Capitalism re-packaged female sexual liberation and sold it back to us, in the process sexualising female children. The likes of Saville took full advantage of that sexual culture. In many ways its only got worse; there might not be the appalling televisual sexism that you got in the 70's, but 'shag bands' are sold to nine year olds and we have, in the online sex industry, created a playground for misogynist trolls and nonces. Young boys are growing up thinking girls are objects they are entitled to use. My daughter gets asked for anal by boys at her school. She's thirteen. Everything's going backwards

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 27-Nov-16 13:35:16

Lass, yours made me wonder how the current sex positive, Anne Summers, widespread porn and permatan/fake lash culture will appear in 20 years time

I don't know- I don't know what you are referring to.

EvenTheWind Sun 27-Nov-16 20:27:40

I do see what you mean, OP.

I'm uncomfortable with the "Pervy" description as that seems almost normalising. Not sure what word would be better.

CocoaX Sun 27-Nov-16 20:49:57

There was a subset of the free love sexual liberation 1970s generation which sought to dismantle barriers between adults and children when it came to sexual matters, yes. It wasn't just pervy, it was paedophilia.

I read about David Hamilton and I don't know enough to comment fully but I wonder if photos like that went out of fashion not only as a result of feminism and rising awareness of child abuse by the 1990s but also the spread of the internet. In other words, those so inclined could get images in other ways.

I also wonder if the overt sexualisation of young people today (and there is an awareness of least that this is happening, if not enough action to address it) actually functions to hide the fact that, as ever, most sexual predators are adult men in the child or young person's family circle.

DadWasHere Mon 28-Nov-16 00:01:51

I was a professional photographer back in the 70's. We (myself and other professionals I knew) found the work of Hamilton et al to be cringe-worthy, even when we were asked by clients to replicate it. Benny Hill was also horribly cringe-worthy, but it was also very popular.

Unfortunately its not unlike the problem of blaming journalists for pestering the royal family when people eagerly buy newspapers that 'reveal all'. Where enough varied choice exists it is consumers as a collective group that dictate what products are produced for their consumption. The 70's were a decade of a very immature attitude to sex and sexuality.

OlennasWimple Mon 28-Nov-16 01:01:31

The Paedophile Information Exchange was set up in 1974. I find it hard to understand how this was ever an acceptable issue to campaign on behalf of....

CocoaX Mon 28-Nov-16 05:34:17

Thanks for the link Dadwashere. I knew about PIE, but was not going to mention it. I think they were on the boundaries of acceptability but yes, they did see it as an acceptable issue to campaign for. The whole argument was based on dissolving boundaries I think. With real consequences for children being abused and the abuse being minimised and rationalised.

CocoaX Mon 28-Nov-16 05:47:15

Though just to add, the support for PIE came from homosexual rights groups as well and the age of consent for homosexual sex was 21 which was higher than heterosexual sex. That was unfair though why this became abolish the age of consent, goodness only knows.

But I do wonder how the distinct issues (campaigns related to homosexuality and young boys and sexualisation of young women) overlap. The latest disclosures relate to footballers (boys and young men). Child protection is both sexes. Also, it happens mostly in the family, where it is hardest to prove.

quencher Mon 28-Nov-16 16:50:03

Lass you would have been under 16 by 75. You are in the age range. I know someone who would have been. You would have been in close contact to grandparents who were too. It's not far removed.

I don't think porn was the biggest problem but attitude. I doubt porn was as wide spread as it is now nor were sexualised images.

I once saw a clip of Mary WhiteHouse arguing against body building for men and how it will affect men's perception of a perfect body. That is now true.

Lass, yours made me wonder how the current sex positive, Anne Summers, widespread porn and permatan/fake lash culture will appear in 20 years time. I see porn being controlled more. I can't see Anne summers disappearing from our high streets unless people buy less from them. I don't see the sexual nature of their ads changing. It's not very different to a lot of perfume ads.

Capitalism re-packaged female sexual liberation and sold it back to us, in the process sexualising female children
I believe capitalism re-packaged a belief system that has always been there. In media history, women have been sold as sexual objects. Young females or female children have never been immune to such objectification.

Lots of things must have been at play. 1960+ seems to be very chaotic and fast moving with lost of changes in culture and perception of our society as whole accompanied with fear.
-The rise of media and it's social influence on the mass population at the time must have played a huge role. It either normalised pedophilia for some people or it brought a dark part of society to the public.

-The advertiser must have targeted a demand for what was considered ok and acceptable or pushed boundaries to moralised what was not acceptable. I don't think ageism is a new thing either. I would assume that to satisfy this demand they used what was marketable to buyers and that's young children. Young females and children were already used as sexual objects. The media just gave it a different platform.

-It wasn't long ago children were seen and not heard. They have become a commodity and little consumers, opening a whole new market that didn't exist before. Musicians (bands and singers) and movies were marketed at children. To appeal to both the young and old the children became sexualised in the process, I believe. It's a boundary that has been blurred and I believe still continues to this day even though children are considered children and not mini adults. children made to act like adults instead without the adult understanding of the world and it's dangers to them.

It wasn't until 1990 that UN introduced children's rights which the UK signed up to in 1992. I would argue that this might have changed people's attitudes to how children are seen. I also believe that it might have helped in changing people's attitudes. Children have become people with rights and someone you have to listen to when they have a problem. Government implementing laws and providing services that offers protection to children.

I don't think that children weren't being abused before the 70s or it wasn't a culture hidden or not talked about. I just think lost of them probably didn't know what to do or how to approach it. Sometimes I think, that if people don't question what is wrong, lost of people just accepts it as an issues that will never go away and it should be left how it is. The only way people can deal with such matters is teaching ways on how to protect your self rather dealing with the issue or perpetrators. Those who end up in such a horrible situation are victim blamed for not taking precautions and staying safe. This breeds silence, fear and shame, making such acts to thrive. The perpetrators thrive on this because they begin to believe they are either invincible or their act is ok, eccentric, edgy and conventional.

The above is what I assume is the case but I could be wrong. I am making assumptions based on how I see things by putting two and two together making the above.

BratFarrarsPony Mon 28-Nov-16 16:53:29

The children of those who fought in the war

well I was a kid in the 70s and both of my parents were way too young for that. My dad was 9 when the war finished and my mum was 12.

OlennasWimple Mon 28-Nov-16 20:29:48

I'm a 70s baby and my parents were baby boomers - but having said that, they were brought up by people who were brought up by Victorians, which imparts its own particular morality.

I was reading about Jayne Mansfield the other day - I was genuinely surprised that someone was exploiting "wardrobe malfunctions" and similar quite risque activities quite so early

Kennington Mon 28-Nov-16 20:33:07

Young teenage and tween girls are sexualised as much or more than in the 70s.
Those that don't dress a certain way are considered to be posh or way out or even gender neutral! The pressure to be slim, smooth and tan is horrendous.
We will look back now and be sad about this too.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Mon 28-Nov-16 20:37:57

Lass you would have been under 16 by 75. You are in the age range. I know someone who would have been. You would have been in close contact to grandparents who were too. It's not far removed.

I was 16 in 1975. My parents were 10 when the war ended. I'm really not seeing what the significance of the war is.

There was a culture of not speaking about abuse. Children ,especially girls, who displayed sexual behaviour inconsistent with their age were treated as if they were to blame, rather than such behaviour being as a result of abuse.

M0stlyHet Mon 28-Nov-16 20:44:55

Lass is absolutely right about the peculiar tension in the 70s between the "let it all hang out anything goes" attitudes of the 60s London trendy set and the still essentially totally repressed attitudes of the rest of the country. So, girls being encouraged to become sexualised because that's what you saw when Savile perved over Pan's People on TV (yes, I remember that with a shudder) and yet victim-blamed if you were then preyed on by an older man. I still remember some of the things my school contemporaries got up to (going off to hang around back stage at gigs when they were 13 or so in the hope of "getting off" with band members), and the Les Dawson style bosom hoiks of older women if anything then happened to them.

BratFarrarsPony Mon 28-Nov-16 20:49:10

the 70s was crap.
Lass is right, the war/exact age of our parents had nothing to do with it.
I will never forget the attitudes of those times.
If a girl displayed sexualised behaviour she was 'slut' or 'dirty slag' yet girls were also required to be 'good in bed'...confused

Wordsmith Mon 28-Nov-16 21:03:43

I was a teenager in the 1970s and my Dad fought in the war, so it's not impossible.

I do remember that Benny Hill, dirty old men flashing you in the underpass, casual groping and low level sexual intimidation were more or less normalised and you were expected to just ignore it. Women were there to make the dinner or flash their tits for the satisfaction of men. Feminists didn't exist, they were 'women's libbers' and famous for burning their bras. Jim'll Fix It was everyone's favourite TV programme, after Top of the Pops. Sleaze was mainstream.

Having said that I don't remember it being terrifically threatening but then, luckily, I wasn't the victim of any of it. Plus you weren't so exposed to the media as kids are today, so as a child it wasn't as 'in your face' as it is now.

What was better about the 70s than now, IMO, was that you weren't expected to grow up too fast and emulate scantily clad pop stars at the age of 13. It was accepted that you were still a child and would go out to play, not wear make up and take selfies. You weren't expected to conform and become carbon copies of the latest YouTuber. There was more freedom to go your own way.

On balance, I'm glad I grew up then rather than now.

KindDogsTail Thu 01-Dec-16 19:58:55

I was looking up about David Hamilton and came across this.
Rebecca Solnit wrote this, which is relevant to the OP question.

The dregs of the sexual revolution were what remained, and it was really sort of a counterrevolution (guys arguing that since sex was beautiful and everyone should have lots everything goes and they could go at anyone; young women and girls with no way to say no and no one to help them stay out of harmful dudes’ way). The culture was sort of snickeringly approving of the pursuit of underage girls (and the illegal argument doesn’t carry that much weight; smoking pot is also illegal; it’s about the immorality of power imbalance and rape culture). It was completely normalized. Like child marriage in some times and places. Which doesn’t make it okay, but means that, unlike a man engaged in the pursuit of a minor today, there was virtually no discourse about why this might be wrong. It’s also the context for what’s widely regarded as the anti-sex feminism of the 1980s: those women were finally formulating a post-sexual-revolution ideology of sex as another arena of power and power as liable to be abused; we owe them so much.

I know of quite a people who were 13 in 1970s when much older men 'seduced' them.

OlennasWimple Thu 01-Dec-16 20:12:35

I was 13 and in school uniform in the 1990s and got wolf whistled.

I'd like to think that 16 year olds wouldn't be on Page 3 now, and certainly no marketing campaign like the count down to Sam Fox's 16th birthday when she could finally be shown topless. (Mind you, Charlotte Church was Rear of the Year in the 2000s when she was only jsut 16, so.... sad)

KindDogsTail Thu 01-Dec-16 21:20:18

Kennington Mon 28-Nov-16 20:33:07
Young teenage and tween girls are sexualised as much or more than in the 70s.

I think you are absolutely right, but I do the think that now most people know it is absolutely not all right to have sex with an underage girl, but in the '70s it happened much too often and with impunity.

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