The Media and Subliminal Child Sexualisation
April 2009

During the last ten years, the media has changed beyond recognition, from what it was when I was a child.  The majority of the innocence,  particularly when broadcasted to the very young, has all but disappeared.

Today, sex is used to sell and add excitement to everything from deodorants to electrical goods.  The 9 pm TV watershed, aimed at helping parents protect children from unsuitable material, has been diluted to such an extent  that whatever time you turn on the TV , your can almost guarantee that young children and those in their early teens will be subliminally sexualised by what they see and/or hear. The radio is no better, not even the school run has managed to evade the norm of 'sex with everything'.

Recently,  following the broadcast of a conversation between 2 radio DJ's, (during the school run) I decided to voice my displeasure,  rather then simply accepting whatever came across the airwaves.

 A copy of  my email and the response is outlined below:-

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Email:-

I was appalled by ***** and ***** conversation this morning.
Talking about 'naked rub downs' during the school run is not acceptable.
I don't want my 6 and 8 year olds unconsciously sexualised in this way.

They need to be more aware of their audience and ensure their
conversation is appropriate.

******* ******

Response:-
 

"Dear ******

Thank you for taking the time to get in touch via the website. I am very
sorry that you thought the content of the breakfast show this morning
was not suitable for all of our audience. We pride ourselves in creating
radio that is tailored towards the family audience and we take such
comments very seriously.

In this incident I believe ***** was telling *****about a spa treatment
in Istanbul which was the prize from our dream destination promotion.
Although I believe this content did not break any programming guidelines
set by Ofcom - I will raise your comments with the breakfast team in our
meeting tomorrow morning.

Once again, please accept my apologies for causing you reason to get in
touch.

Kind regards

***** *******
Programme Controller
Tel:  *******
Fax: *******
Mob:*******"
 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I wish I could report that things improved thereafter, but sadly they didn't. A day or two later, again during the school run (this time I was returning home so my children were not in the car),  the same two DJ's had a conversation espousing the joys of topless board games; monopoly if I remember correctly. 

To be honest I'm not in the least surprised. One of of the stations jingles proudly sings 'if you don't mind me saying you would look good undressed'. 

My children now usually listen to other stations, a CD or converse with me about what they hope the day ahead will bring. Very occasionally they are allowed to listen to the offending station, because they like the upbeat music. However,  they know that when the talking starts I will reach for the off switch/change station dial.

Sexualisation is not just an issues on TV and radio. Recently Sue Palmer, an educational consultant and the author of Toxic Childhood, said of teens mags: “The reality is that children as young as 10 read these magazines, and what they are being exposed to is often horrific and entirely inappropriate.....

The very blatantly sexual ethos expressed in them is becoming normalised among young girls. Then we wonder why we have such high teenage pregnancy rates and a booming ladette culture.”

A study of the magazines conducted by The Sunday Telegraph found that they contained sexually explicit material that could be in breach of industry guidelines.

The magazine industry is self-regulated, with the Teenage Magazine Arbitration Panel (TMAP) existing to ensure that “the sexual content of teenage magazines is presented in a responsible and appropriate manner”.

Its chairman, Dr Fleur Fisher, said: “Any complaints we receive from readers are carefully checked against our guidelines, and we respond accordingly.”

Mmm, I doubt self regulation will be any more effective than my email above.

What seeds is the daily deluge of sex and nakedness planting the minds of the young?   I shudder at the thought,  while vowing that they will not be planting them in my children's psyche.