I talked about this kind of things the other week when I addressed the topic of Miley Cyrus and her controversial change in image. My verdict was fairly simple: we shouldn’t tell her how she should dress, as it’s her choice, and since it’s the responsibility of parents to stop their kids from watching it if they don’t want them to what Cyrus did was harmless. It was also cynical, and the whole thing played out in Cyrus’ favor anyway. This, however, is slightly different, a performance by Lady Gaga on The X Factor. This is an image from the performance:
Apparently 200 people thought that this was bad enough, before the watershed, that it needed reporting to Ofcom. First, I just want to express my surprise that people who watch The X Factor have thoughts at all. Second, I want to ask a question: is there any point in protecting children from this level of sexuality any more? The music industry is just one of many that is now following the mantra ‘sex sells’ religiously, and as a result we are surrounded by imagery not much less extreme than this. As far as I can see, the only way you are going to protect the innocence of children is to shut them off from the outside world completely, which is damaging in itself. We live in a more liberal society where standards are much more relaxed than they used to be, and the transition to it would be a lot easier if people didn’t make it while kicking and screaming. It’s something we have to adapt to.
The point I’m trying to make here is, basically, that screaming ‘THINK of the CHILDREN’ at every little thing will get tiring and ineffective and will take up all of your time. If you didn’t want your kids to watch it, you should have sent your kids out of the room, but that isn’t the solution. Your kids are going to see more and more of this in the future, age regardless, and the best approach would be to get a healthy attitude to it. Then your children might also get a healthy attitude to it, which is really the best that you can hope for.
This doesn’t change the fact that the use of women (and men, to only a slightly lesser degree) as sex objects to promote products in industry is wrong, but it’s not wrong because it’s taking away the innocence of children. I think it’s wrong because it patronizes the audience (particularly the men who are treated by the media as apes who need to be kept slightly horny all the time in order to enjoy stuff) and only seeks to reinforce gender stereotypes. But that’s an issue that I will address some other time. For now, I advise that you take a more liberal approach to this stuff with regards to your children, making sure to let them know that these images and stereotypes are not true in the real world, and don’t watch The X Factor.