33 5 mins 15 yrs

795151-696628-thumbnail.jpgWe live in an age that likes to appear cynical. It now seems naive to point out that the only thing that big business cares about is big bucks. And if you object that certain products demean girls and women, well, you are considered a prude. But it needs to be said, because simply saying ‘So what?’ is costing the childhood of a generation".  OK . Well said .  But frankly i dont see the harm a doll itself is.  The doll’s clothing reflects what kids perceive as cool and hip as does the spin off merchandise kids clothing.  She should probably apply that thinking to the root of it all – the trash that is circulated by mass media in conveying what is cool and hip which is acceptable: 

Apparently its  ‘empowering‘  for the likes of knickerless Britney and all the spin offs to hump the floor dressed as a schoolgirls.  I feel the same way about the female chauvinist pigs who perpertuate this myth and image as i do about their male counterparts who openly indulge it (thinking of some girating idiot on MTV holding his crotch and calling girls hoes, here, not the cabbie who calls me  ‘darlin’ ..which is to twist Mikes expression would be PC gone bezerk).   What’s with knickerless Britney, Paris Hilton and some dirty internet footage, Jordan and her boob jobs, Abbey Titmuss and Rebecca Loos celebrated as celebs for doing nothing more than shagging someone famous?  I am pretty fed up with Nuts, Zoo, Maxim, Loaded and a variety of soft porn boys magazines that set girls up on the cover like a couple of grinning bimbos (which the models themselves seem to buy into, unquestioningly, and babble on about being ’empowering’)  sold as mass consumer ‘pop’.   I dont think it makes me a prude.  Course you want to look cool, feel good about yourself and your image and a lot of what i would consider ok and fun might not be what others think is acceptable.   In the early 90s i dressed up in some tres raunchy clubbing numbers and had a blast.  As did my friends.   I dont think, maybe, we were so much influenced by something  because it wasnt mass culture. It was fun and it was unique.  Noone was dictating it to us and were old enough to know what we were wearing.  Trends are supposed to come and go though.  But one trend seems to be sticking.  Isnt it a worrying when its repackaged as ’empowering’ and some 60% of little girls want to be glamour models or lap dancers? The result of that stat is a target market for unscrupulous business. Im just not sure where and how you draw the line?  And what about boys.  They are sexualised just as early. 

The first issue of Loaded had Gary Oldman on the cover and set out with good intentions (around about the same time i think as the Spice Girls and Girrrrl power). It didnt take them long to figure out what sells.  I just read that magazine sales of mens magazines are in decline in the UK as the shift moves to the internet (mag sales in the US of the same remain strong). New media that is as good as it is bad.  Two thirds of all internet searches are for porn – which gives you an idea of what is on the net and accessible unless you’re vigilant.  Virtual sex games and their ads, trailers and free downloads could just as easily become a kids sex education.  You can say dont buy, switch off, ignore etc but in this day and age id wager that is becoming increasingly hard to do.  Whats to deflect it? Where’s the balance with some ‘better’ role models that the media will buy into?

*as i was writing this the 23 year old uni student on work experience here took a look at this and agreed she feels the same way too. Phew!

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33 thoughts on “raunch culture

  1. Alison,

    That’s a really interesting post. The "raunch culture" as I see it is the inevitable consequence of moral relativism.Where everything goes, anything goes!
    When you are young, you are impressionable, it’s always been like that, I guess. But nowadays the role models are Britney, Jordan, Jade and Abi and I think that must be causing major impacts on young minds. When I was young the media was less omnipresent and football players like Pele or George Best were the people you admired. But look how football has changed – prima donna clowns and footballer wives all round. It’s a great subject – dunno how you deal with it but it’s devastating this society.

  2. Alison: Excellent topic. There is naturally a little of "in my day we would never" when viewing pop culture but it does seem that it has gone overboard today.

  3. …and that mass media responsible for this culture of sleaze which even extends to kids is in the control of and influenced by…oh look! Who is it who screams blue murder whenever someone does deride or even worse *challenge* this state of affairs?

    Its those supposedly mythical children of Gramsci and Marx, the ‘Left-Liberals’ who so many people claim don’t even exist. Funny that…

  4. Sigh. Does everything have to be squeezed into left or right conspiracy theory? There are giant corporations responsible for a lot of this sleeze and they are clearly not leftist in the traditional context. It isn’t a left or right issue, rather a wrong or right issue.

  5. That picture of the little girl turns my stomach inside out. As a straight white male (and hence ultimately the greatest evil in society) I’d be scared to even glance in the vague direction of a wee girl dressed like that in case I was dragged off by the cops for being a paedophile. Everytime I see little girls dressed like that I want to batter their parents.

  6. I agree with Mahons, it really isn’t a left or right issue.

    Take tabloids… The Mirror is left wing, yet never shows topless women, The Sun is right wing and always shows a topless woman.

  7. Hmm,

    no doubt there’s lots of interwoven issues involved.

    to generalise, the press has always been prurient, the media and the arts have always claimed "benefit of clergy", liberty often leads to licence

    I think the sexualisation of children is tied up with the different way that children are perceived today.

    Because of the "rights culture" which applies to children as much as adults, adults are negating their traditional responsibility to make decisions for them and keep them in line.

    The idea of the "traditional family" was attacked, mainly by demonising fathers and, by extension men, as potential predators. One of the effects was therefore to sexualise children, Prior to this they were not seen in a sexual way, except by a small number of paedophiles.

    When it first came out Loaded was like a breath of fresh air. There was a collective sigh from men who were sick of being told they should be this or that. It said, don’t worry about all that "new man" s***, In this way Loaded was a reaction to what had gone before. Having achieved that initial victory, there was never anywhere for it to go.

  8. Bratz dolls don’t bother us. Nor do the nasty clothes. We’ve got 3 girls and we take it very seriously that we are the biggest influence in their life right now. We’re parents, not powerless dupes to the marketing men.
    My 5-year-old’s response to the girls in the pictures?

    "Why are they wearing such ugly clothes?"

  9. I think there are a nos of things going on and David hits upon one of them.

    Not sure you can say its left driven media as Loaded was the ya-boo-sucks to one kind of feminism (i like that expression) but when it first came out whatever its attitude, it had Gary on the cover and i thought – yeah cool, ok.

    Course it fast turned into soft porn cr@p with the easy peasy option of objectifying women. Then it went mass mainstream. Of course women like to indulge it all as its easy money and easy in this day and age to make it appear ‘ok’.

    Women were told for ages via magazines how to look how to behave whats best for you and image image image is what you are all about. That got extended.

    I see it as part of an overall dumbing down though – which is part of an agenda.

  10. Good for Libbie but thats good parenting. But it isnt this example thats the issue though it highlights the point. Its the stats i put up. Thats a whole lot of kids who want to emulate glamour models and pole dancers.

  11. I think the "loaded" culture whatever you want to call it was a backlash to the ideals imposed on men through womens magazines for years like Richard said. But now its gone far too far and i think we’re beginning to see a backlash from women as everything has been over sexualised in popular culture – the dumbing down certainly.

  12. <"The Sun is right wing and always shows a topless woman.’>

    I always thought the Sun was aimed at those eight year-old boys whose Mother had forgotten to tell them that breast feeding time was over! – or maybe those older ones that had an Oedipus complex!…

  13. You know, we ended up flicking through some of the foreign language channels on Sky a few nights ago, and an advert came on for a savings scheme, and it had all these soundbites from Asian kids talking about their ambitions – Lawyer, Doctor, businesswoman etc. and encouraged the parents to use this scheme to save for these ambitions.

    My husband remarked on the vast difference between that and the image and expectations on young people in western society. It’s lowest common denominator stuff in the UK. Put Pole dancing big bother contestants in front of kids and present it as success, and it stands to reason that’s what they’ll go for.

    Expect that teenagers are always going to be irresponsible promiscuous yobs and bend policy around that expectation, and it’s not going to be too surprising that you get what you expect.

  14. I believe it all started in the 80’s – young girl’s magazines began publishing things that young girls didn’t need to know. We had two daughters and like Libbie we took control, the magazines weren’t allowed into the house. In that era nothing was to be censored, you could watch, read or write anything you wished with absolutely no standards to be observed. MSM went along with it and derided anyone who went against this idea. It is all about ‘rights’ for children as well as adults but children to some extent do not need rights they need to gain respect – for themselves and for others. This might mean some form of corporal punishment but that would infringe on their ‘rights’. I watched a very enlightened parent telling her children how badly behaved they were and they should stop immediately…on and on she went. The children listened and went right back to doing what they wanted. I maintain a sharp rap on the backside would have stopped them immediately.

    The point of this story is that the pendulum has swung too far and we are, indeed in the process of dumbing down. Look at all the comedy shows, blatant sex and four lettered words. It is all supposed to be funny but it is crass – remembers Fools and Horses, Faulty Towers they were funny. No one is capable of producing such comedy anymore.

    Hopefully the pendulum will swing the other way.

  15. Isn’t it strange how we have never had a time when we both have amuch gretaer awareness of and attempts to deal with the threat of child sex abusers ( childline, the Sex Offenders register, heavy screening of job applicants etc) while at the same time tolerating such blatant commercial sexualisation of children.

  16. The mussies will just love it. Expect to see sales increase in mussy areas. Good market in Iran. Apparently if a doctor says a female is mature enough, even age seven, you can have penetrative sex.
    OK if not, then you can rub youself against them.
    Sick. The only good sex is with a woman who is experienced.

    Child sex, no. Perpetrators should have their dicks cut off.

  17. We’ve lost the shock value because shock is mainstream. It used to be that the stigma was on you if you wanted your porn etc etc. Noone was stopping you but it was top shelf. Now the stigma is on you if you object to it.

  18. Colm,

    Absolutely spot on!

    Alison,

    Also spot on.

    Drunkenblogger,

    "By the way if we have any parents here who would like to control the interent for their kids this is really good…"

    I dont know about NetNanny but I should warn anyone thinking of using Norton Parental Controls that it doesnt just screen for sexual or violent content but the good folks at Norton have also decided that certain types of site (guess which kind folks!) are ‘offensive’ on political grounds. So while we’re on this subject may I just say fuck you very much to Norton for censoring the *opinions* they have decided in their infinite wisdom its OK for our children to look at.

  19. when big business/corporations figured out the revenue stream available to them through children this was the inevitable result. its utter exploitation of the impressionable. its up to parents to be aware and protect against this.

    its one of those funny twists where alot of "liberals" become conservative and alot of "conservatives" become liberals.

  20. Maggie

    I absolutely agree about discipline and the powers taken away from kids.

    I also think Colm makes a good point about the double standards.

    DSD – regards Norton that is appauling and worth a post in itself.

    Daytripper – i think parents can only do so much.

  21. >>>Daytripper – i think parents can only do so much.<<<

    youre absolutely right. but as they say, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. doubly so in the case of childrens freedoms.

    there is a certain backlash starting tho, as some countries begin to roll back liberal marketing that targets the young directly. mainly because, as you say, parents can only do so much.

  22. >>So while we’re on this subject may I just say fuck you very much to Norton for censoring the "opinions"<<

    But what’s so wrong about them keeping violent and vulgar language away from kids?

  23. Colm raises an interesting point. As the paranoia about paedophilia has increased, more and more pre-teenage girls are dressing as if they are out on the pull at a nightclub.

    I would be willing to bet that most of the shrill women who shouted ‘death to nonces’ on those anti-paedophile demos a few years ago, dress their young daughters in this way.

    And as for last year’s Eurovision entry….

  24. >>>Which countries?<<<

    to be perfectly honest i cant remember off the top of my head. but i did read an article talking about curbing marketing strategies aimed directly at kids.

  25. Daytripper – i know that marketing foods to kids is banned eg junk foods and cereals but i dont think it applies to marketing MTV pop trash to kids whose shrill mothers dont like paedos.

  26. Alison

    "I just read that magazine sales of mens magazines are in decline in the UK as the shift moves to the internet"

    The shift? What’s with the extra "f"?

    Have you seen the range of Playboy merchandise for little girls? Amazing. It’s marketed like it’s as innocuous as merchandise with Coke logos or Bratz. Who would buy this sort of thing for their preteen daughters, and don’t they know who and what’s behind it?

  27. Twits would buy it i guess…but its worse – there are women behind this marketing id wager.

    I think Loaded and co are moving into online – not that its new given they are porn but they want to stay alive…

  28. Alison,

    The BBC were looking to do a piece on a local radio programme about this issue and I directed them to this "Raunch Culture" blog. They were trying to get someone from WH Smith’s come on-air and defend some of the merchandise sold in their stores. Also, no-one preaped to defend "Raunch Culture" for kiddies, apparently.

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