Politics Magazine

France Attacks the ‘Hyper-Sexualisation’ of Children

Posted on the 19 September 2013 by Thepoliticalidealist @JackDarrant

The French Parliament is never afraid to intervene in an issue of national concern, where other legislatures would never dare to go. The recent ban it instituted on wearing full veils in public is one such example: multicultural Britain would never dream of such a ban, but there are many who are concerned with the effect of burkhas on wearers’ ability to be a full part of our society. I could discuss that for hours, but I’ll save that minefield of controversy for another time.

Anyway, the French Parliament is considering a ban on child beauty pageants, outlawing the sale of child-sized adult women’s clothing (such as high heels and padded bras) and the imprisonment of those who beeach these laws for up to two years. The Senate has already approved the legislation, leaving the National Assembly to decide if it should reach the statute books. The move was prompted by a cover story in Vogue which was plastered with photographs of heavily made-up 10 year old girls in tight fitting dresses who were taking part in a beauty pageant.

Now, my feminist and anticapitalist instincts trump my social libertarianism in this case: I support the ban. It is true that sexualisation of children- both girls and boys in different ways- is taking place too early. It is true that it’s damaging the next generation. Young men and women alike are being made to feel insecure about themselves at a point where they already have enough to deal with as it is. And who is pushing this trend? A fashion industry which distorts our view of ourselves and our aims in life, grotesque pornography websites and a culture which places little value on children.

This is not a whinge about the ‘loss of innocence’. That children need sex education at the age of 7, the average age a boy will first access pornography is 11, and that most young teenagers know more about sex than their parents did in their twenties is all part of an irreversible trend. When over 85% of adolescents admit to viewing pornography regularly, a policy of ignoring the issue won’t work. Young people aren’t in the dark: deal with it.

The only thing to do is to teach every new generation to have an enlightened, mature and healthy attitude, before pornography and fashion teaches them otherwise. But that will only work if it becomes socially unacceptable to send the wrong signals to impressionable youngsters about how they should look and behave. If we need legislation to kickstart that process, then so be it.

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