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Sexualisation of Young People Review

03/05/2011

Following the ‘hype’ in the gay press and on Twitter about the fact that the Prime Minister wants to ban lesbians kissing on TV before the watershed of 9:00pm, I recalled that psychologist Linda Papadopoulos wrote a report, published by the Home Office in 2010 on the sexualisation of children in the media.  The Mothers’ Union’s chief executive, Reg Bailey is currently compiling a report sponsored by the Department of Education which is independent of their somewhat emotive campaign ‘Bye Buy Childhood’. The Mothers’ Union released a statement today confirming that it is taking no part in the the review, and is gender inclusive. The statement can be read in full here.

Of course, any such Government endorsed report on issues of sexuality, especially with respect to children, has to be both fair and balanced. It has to acknowledge that childhood and adolescence  is an apprenticeship, and as such we should also prepare children and young people for the realities of today’s world, no matter how much we wish to hark back to days gone by.

Unfortunately, the Papadopoulos Report was not received well by the media or, indeed, by other academics and social commentators. The columnist Toby Young, writing in The Telegraph, described it as resembling “a bit of cheap electioneering rather than a serious piece of research”.  Clarissa Smith (University of Sunderland) wrote that she had “no great hopes”  for the report and it “did not disappoint”. A copy of the Papadopoulos Report can be downloaded from the Home Office archive here. Two other reports were produced just prior to 2010, one from the US (which can be accessed here) and one from Australia (accessed here). Qualitatively there are significant difference between the report published in the UK and those published overseas.

So we wait to see what the Bailey Review will bring. A link the the Department of Education’s web-page for the review is provided here.

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