Growing up to be a lapdancer?

A Chartered Psychologist has welcomed the strong emphasis on empowering parents in the recent Bailey Review of the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood.

Dr Jaime Craig, who led the group that drew up the British Psychological Society contribution to the review, says:

“The Society welcomed the opportunity that the Bailey review created to debate the extent to which we overtly or inadvertently expose children to information, material or messages that are developmentally inappropriate, and some of the factors that may contribute to this in broadcasting, advertising and marketing.

“There are many interacting factors in this area and the available research evidence needs to be married with applied psychological experience and opinion.  It seems clear that there is both professional and parental concern about the extent to which young people are exposed to sexualised and violent material, and the extent to which in an electronic age it is possible to protect them from harm. 

“The Society's response to the consultation also hoped to draw attention to the less overt contribution of such messages to gender stereotyping, identity and body image. Focussing on cause and effect will oversimplify this area and may prevent us grappling with these important concerns.

“However, in taking a child's eye view of the virtual and physical environments that children inhabit, we may begin to redress the balance. To this end, the strong emphasis on empowering parents is welcomed, for example providing parents with one single website to make it easier to complain about any programme, advert, product or service.”

The sexualisation will also be the subject of one of the popular Psychology in the Pub events tomorrow (21 June 2011). It is being held in the Showroom café bar, opposite Sheffield railway station, starting at 19:30, under the title “Mummy when I grow up I want to be a lap dancer”: Sexualiation and young people.

Clare Bale will present results of her recent research that examined the relationship between raunch culture and young people's health; looking at how young people engage with a broad range of sexualised culture including pornography. This will lead into a broader discussion of the issues surrounding the media and young people, whether it is harmful and/or beneficial, and what if anything should be done to protect children. Hopefully the discussion will complicate simple arguments about sexualisation.