Why do we let our children watch this vile, sexist and explicit nonsense?

'We are desperate to stop violation of children yet do nothing about those sexualising their lives'

Share

What a sordid popular culture we are creating for our children and ourselves. We worry endlessly about whether future generations will inherit fish-filled blue seas and old oak trees, but where is the concern about all those other aspects of a good and fulfilling life - restraint, intimacy, privacy, delicacy and respect - which are being stamped on and crushed to extinction by the hooligans (advertisers, pop music moguls, fashion designers, broadcasters) who ruthlessly manipulate the appetites and desires of the population, including young and defenceless children?

What a sordid popular culture we are creating for our children and ourselves. We worry endlessly about whether future generations will inherit fish-filled blue seas and old oak trees, but where is the concern about all those other aspects of a good and fulfilling life - restraint, intimacy, privacy, delicacy and respect - which are being stamped on and crushed to extinction by the hooligans (advertisers, pop music moguls, fashion designers, broadcasters) who ruthlessly manipulate the appetites and desires of the population, including young and defenceless children?

Of course as soon as you ask this question, libertarians cry foul and accuse you of being a) censorious b) a right-wing fascist c) Mary Whitehouse d) an old fogey e) humourless f) a Victorian prude g) in my case, a Muslim fundamentalist or h) politically correct, that most effective of labels which stifles all dissent.

More of us need to stand up and challenge this offensive barrage and question what is being done to our society in the name of freedom and a laugh. We should follow the example of those who have been promoting Green issues. They too were mocked, derided, marginalised, accused of being Luddites. Yet somehow through the weight of their arguments and the power of conviction they have altered the terms of the debate and made environmental issues matter to the majority of British people.

And yet those of us who fear the growing contamination that passes for entertainment and culture remain fearfully silent, murmuring only to each other that we don't like what is going on. I hate living in a world where nobody minds that Game For A Laugh bimbettes such as Denise Van Outen have shows ( Something For The Weekend) where women and men stand behind boards and display breasts and scrotums through cut-out holes. Try explaining to three seven-year-olds (as I had to do) why these people were naked. And whatever biased research is thrown up to "prove" that these anxieties are without foundation, as a mother I know that things have got worse in the past 20 years.

My son and daughter were born 16 years apart. Both were taught when they were four that on weekends they had to look after themselves until half-past nine so the adults could catch up on sleep. They watched children's programmes, read, played, drank fruit juice and ate cereal bars. In the case of my son, the programmes were Sesame Street and the like. It was only two weeks ago when I woke up with a headache early on a Saturday that I saw what my daughter had been watching, and I was truly horrified at my own ignorance of what the various channels now put on in these early morning slots.

Let me tell you, if you are worried about sex and bad behaviour affecting children, you should control their 9am viewing instead of fretting about the 9pm watershed.

Lowri Turner, the presenter of the BBC2 series The Lipstick Years, says quite rightly that, "Children's presenters are the last bastion of pure TV totty. They... present cartoons with a pout and a giggle worthy of the game-show sidekicks of the Seventies. This is a hugely exaggerated form of sexism that exists only in this part of television and it is getting worse." To make matters worse, a number of these children's presenters are choosing to further their careers by posing nude in magazines such as Loaded, sharing with us the reasons why pierced nipples are such a turn-on.

Floella Benjamin, one-time presenter of children's programmes, who now does some invaluable work with children's charities, is also very concerned about these developments. She is researching the effects of children's television on young people as they grow up, and says that there is an oppressive air of sex that hangs over all children's shows.

The programme-makers create a carefully planned honey trap. Cartoons and harmless fun are laced through the shows so that very young children can't tear themselves away, and have to watch the other corrupting garbage. When I tell my daughter she can't watch teenage programmes, she, only seven, says: "But it has cartoons mummy, it's not for grown-ups."

One such programme is BBC1's FBi, which I suppose the Americans would call a combo. You get the spicy, seemingly brain-free presenters, hip-thrusting boy and raunchy girl bands and Rugrats. I got my daughter to turn it off after some young woman presenter began shaking her breasts. She was wearing a halter-neck top and hipster pedal-pushers. This is by no means the worst there is on offer. ITV's SM:TV Live (note that these yoof programmes no longer use normal titles. They are obviously trying to emulate Chris Evan's horribly popular adult equivalent, TFI Friday) is even worse and more enticing because the dreaded Pokémon is threaded through the hour and half of sex, babble and rock'n'roll.

And now we have research showing that radio is going the same way. A new report by the Radio Authority and the Broadcasting Standards Commission criticised Radio 1 DJ Sara Cox, who took over the morning show from Zoe Ball, for making several lewd comments about the physical attributes of a television presenter. When handing over to Simon Mayo at 9 o'clock she said: "Morning, Simon. How big is your penis, then?" Ball herself was censured for crude language and comments about sex and booze.

It is quite bizarre that we are so desperate to stop the sexual violation of children by paedophiles, yet we do nothing about those who are sexualising the lives and dreams of children and infants and generally polluting the social environment. Even shops such as Marks & Spencer have been forced to crawl with the lowest of the low and create garments for five-year-olds which make them look like tarts. Do we even stop to think how this then encourages abusers to convince themselves that it is OK to have sex with a four-year-old?

Things connect, and while I understand why so many people today are verbalising their outrage at criminals who do what they do to little children, I cannot understand why no one feels it is just as important to protest loudly against television and radio stations, ad agencies and others who are also destroying children.

y.alibhai-brown@independent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Analyst

£30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable software house is looking ...

Application Support Analyst / Junior SQL Server DBA

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...

Commercial Litigation

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION SO...

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Assistant Editor: Domestic violence is no petty matter

Siobhan Norton
 

There’s nothing wrong with GM

Steve Connor
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried