Thursday, 26 April 2012

Who is sexualising our youth?

I have read a lot recently, about how the youth of today are being sexualised by the media, the internet, Paedophiles (sic) and many other external sources.

Indeed, if you were to believe the Daily Mail, that bastion of truth and decency*, you would think that 99% of Internet users are child molesters out to groom your daughter and rape her before she reaches 10 years of age. But actually, even now, more than 70% of sexual offending against children** is perpetrated by someone known to the victim, such as a friend or family member. How many teenage boys are raping their 15 yr old girlfriends, as a matter of law?

 So lets consider, shall we, where the "sexualisation of the young" claimed by the papers comes from.

Well firstly, as we are talking about newspapers, what about the Sun and the Star, where teenage breasts can be found day in and day out? Let us not forget that the Sun published the first pictured of Sam Fox the day of her 16th birthday - they must therefore have been taken when she was 15.

 To be honest, I think that the hypocrisy of the papers is not unusual, but the media doesn't have as much influence as is claimed. And I'd like to exemplify this by considering my bus journey home from work today. At the Bus Station, a couple got on with two children. The couple must have been in their 50s or 60s, and the children were clearly pre-teen, and apparently not related. Throughout the journey, the older pair were teasing the younger pair about their "relationship" asking if they were boyfriend/girlfriend. A pre-teen boy and girl...?

When I was 13, I was first asked by my father why I didn't have a girlfriend, and was I queer or something. By that time, some of the boys in my year group were claiming, in their indecisively toned voices, to have popped the cherry of girls in the same year, or even in the year below. Not only that but some of the girls in the year were already dating year 11 or higher boys. Indeed, when I was in year 12 and 13 (then called the Sixth Form), I was dating a Year 9/10 (forth form) girl, and no eyebrows were raised by either my or her parents - her father gave me a packet of condoms, this being in the heady days of the early to mid 80's, with "ADIS - Don't Die of Dyslexia" adverts on every billboard.

Lets examine Teen Chatrooms. In these places, teens talk to teens about sex, pretty much exclusively. They swap stories, boasts, images, sometimes videos. "Sexting" is rife. By 13, most teens hormones are boiling over, and they need to find some sexual release, whether that be alone, with another, in chatroom, watching porn, whatever rings their bell. It's a miracle that so many get to sixteen without having had their "first time"

And as a result, the majority of teenagers conversations in private are sexual.

I have therefore come to the perfectly reasonable conclusion that what is causing the sexualisation of our 12-17 year olds is, primarily, our 12-17 year olds; this is how life has been since even before we could speak and conceptualize the phrase "voulez vous couchet avec moi?".

Sleep well.

* This was the Daily Mail's front page, the day that Amanda Knox was freed from Jail.

** For the definition of a child, you need to look at several different pieces of legislation.
The Children  and Young Persons Act 1933 defines a child as a person under 14
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 defines a child as someone under 16 (for consent purposes)
In the Criminal Justice System you are treated as an adult for sentencing at 17, but not put into an Adult
Prison until 21. 18-21 year old's normally go to YOI, and 17 year old's would be put into secure accommodation.
The Protection of Children Act 1978 defines a child as Under 18.
For Child Benefit you parent can still be in receipt while you are at college until you are 19.

And don't forget, ignorance of the law is no defence...

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