Stories about pedophilia are filling news bulletins and none more so than the sordid tale of UK celebrity DJ and charity worker, Jimmy Savile. “Sir Jim”, as he became after his knighthood, was ubiquitous on TV when I was growing up in England in the seventies.
Top of the Pops was the forerunner of Countdown in Australia and the favourite show of most adolescents. Savile was born in Leeds and his broad Yorkshire accent was similar to mine. It was a time when it was rare to hear anyone from regional areas on prime-time television.
As part of a publicity drive for his new TV show, Jim’ll Fix It, Savile visited my school in 1975. I didn’t speak to him, but he reminded me of the Pied Piper that day, strutting around with hundreds of followers falling in behind. What I remember most about seeing him on TV is a strange sense of guilty betrayal that I didn’t like him.
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Every time another group of parents throw their arms up in despair at the kind of clothing on offer for young girls at the big discount department and chain stores, it’s tempting to think these outlets have totally misread their market.
Target is the latest in the firing line, after a concerned mother put a comment on the retailer’s Facebook page on the weekend pleading with them to provide more age-appropriate girls clothing. Almost immediately her comment had attracted tens of thousands of “likes”. Take that Target!
Where are the Facebook campaigns for “shorter shorts for six-year-olds”, ha? Well, they don’t exist, and if they did they’d be a bigger story than this one.
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Child health experts told a Sydney conference last week that children as young as six are displaying inappropriate sexual behaviour – and that violent and sexually explicit images in advertising and popular culture were to blame.
Why wasn’t this front page news?
Most disturbingly, over the past decade there has been a 20-fold increase in the number of children being referred to the Australian Childhood Foundation with these serious problems. We’re talking about sexual assaults on other children by children, and sexualised play. (Ed’s note: See the news story on Sophie Mirabella’s call for tougher advertising restrictions here.
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The fetishisation of the female backside reached royal heights this week with the global worship of Pippa Middleton’s bum.
The frenzied prostration before the bottom of HRH Catherine Middleton’s younger sister and bridesmaid highlights anew the objectification of women deeply entrenched in our culture.
This was in the Daily Mail: Many women admired her dress, but an army of male fans were happily distracted by her shapely rear as the procession went up the aisle.
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Seen at the local pool: two bikini-clad girls – around 14 - simulating a sex act in the toddler pool, then pole dancing under the toadstool fountain while their delighted boyfriends recorded (and possibly distributed) the footage on their mobile phones.
It wouldn’t have happened back in the day, and that’s not just because we didn’t have the technology for it.
Am I wearing rose-coloured glasses, or were most early-teen girls in the 80s too scared of the Grim Reaper, and just too generally innocent, to put much more than a toe in the water (with a boy or a girl) - let alone cavort around in it in broad daylight like amateur porn stars, then plaster the evidence as far and wide as technology would allow (which wasn’t very far).
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