Girls on film
10 Sept 2014
I'm not generally prudish, but I think the events highlighted in Rotherham last month have shifted our perceptions of what's acceptable nowadays.
I was watching Don't Stop the Music, an interesting bit of reality TV where James Rhodes does a Jamie Oliver on school music (an interesting programme which isn't the subject of this particular blog entry) and inertia pinned me to my couch long enough for Channel 4 to broadcast a filler piece in an unsold advertising slot, branded as VIP video of the week. It was by someone called Charli XCX and featured a group of young women dressed provocatively in school attire dancing in and on a school bus, singing about school. Clearly the same form of sexualisation of school girls which this month led to the ban on a clothing advertising campaign for exactly that reason.
Sexualisation of school girls is embedded in our culture and it's time to do something about it. It's not so much, in my point of view, that these images encourage any particular behaviour in girls or in predatory men: there are plenty of other influences at play there. It's more that by making them mainstream it encourages us all to accept them as normal: the South Yorkshire police were blamed for not taking the claims of teenage victims of abuse seriously, largely because they assumed that the girls were willing participants, rather than children. It's the mainstreaming of these images that result in these kinds of attitudes without us even realising.
There are plenty of examples of this in our culture. Would you, for example (esepcailly if male), feel happy to have the Googled "schoolgirl" in your browser history? It's endemic and will be diffiult to erradicate, but we can start by getting rid of sexualised schoolgirl images from TV.
Recent blog posts