Are children too exposed to sexual imagery through marketing and advertising?  Having done some research on children as consumers, I am giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament on this at their request. The session is covered in the Scotsman (with lively debate from readers).

The interesting story is around Playboy. The MSPs have written to Playboy out of concern at the sale of Playboy branded equipment for children – pencil cases and the like. And the CEO of Playboy – Christie Hefner, has written back to assure parliamentarians that not only has Playboy never marketed its products for children. It has never knowingly allowed its licensees to do the same. And they have strict guidelines that says that “Playboy products should not appear instore in the vicinity of brands that are more appropriate to children.”

Well, WH Smith appears to be a licensee as it sells vast numbers of Playboy school kit, which they say is a “fashion range”. But clearly no-one’s told them that, according to Payboy, they shouldn’t be. And the photo below taken by an activist Bath teenager (my thanks) just days ago suggests that the rule on not placing the bunny-adorned items close to children is clearly also flouted – here it is next to Hello Kitty.

I wonder why would companies sell porn icons as a fashion range for children. Could it be profit?



2 thoughts on “Playboy

  1. Adult themed marketing is something I feel exceptionally strongly about. I’m all for children being children for as long as they can be (they’ve plenty of time to be adults!), so when I see a child wearing something with some form of sexual innuendo, or carrying a bag with some form of imagery relating to sex (example – playboy) it bothers me greatly. I can’t understand how Playboy say it’s not marketed to children – I don’t see a vast amount of adults going out and buying pencil tins at the start of school term. It seems that Playboy are going for a massive grey area. They’re releasing products known to be enticing to a younger age range, yet saying that it wasn’t their idea to market this way, leaving said decision in the hands of the consumer…the consumer in this case mostly being children. Argos even have bedding sets (duvet covers and the like) with the logo on it, for single beds, and I know of very few (if any) adults who have such a thing.

    I’m going to stop ranting now – I could go on and on about this 🙂

  2. It’s a brand and as such is just a logo printed on to as many things as possible. Does it really equal sexualiseation of children. No of course not. Indeed if one were to look for things which do that how about dressing children in adult styled clothes as well? What about barbie make up sets?

    These items in fact nearly all items are designed to produce and create new consumers, who will buy into and become the adult consumers of tomorrow.

    But this isn’t a new thing you only have to look at Famliy ciggerettes to see that this has long been a ploy. So why is it that these days societially we are sudden screaming as though the wool had been lifted from our eyes.

    Is it the reality that in a time where humanity within the western world has never at all levels been as comfortable as it is at the moment. However, in order that this comfortable society is maintain it needs an ever present flow of new consumers. It also needs to stoke up the fear levels an manufacture this on all levels so these soft target topics are chosen, are we sexualiseing children more quantifiably than we were 10 years ago, stuides etc would suggest that both sexual attacks assualts and abuse on children has never been lower at any point in history, yet panic about such things is at a near all time high…

    This is about the manufacture of consent really, if you are in fear you are easier to control don’t ask as many/difficult questions and will buy into whatever solutation you are sold as being correct by which ever influencing group is asserting themselves.

    Funny how at a time of heightened fear over the state of western chidlren the UK Govt has made no in roads in to a far larger, far greater risk catigory… Children around the rest of the globe.

    A while back that noble Knight Bobby Geldof tried once again to promote western apologist poltics as care and concern and we all had to get behind the drop the debt campaign. Every time I snap my fingers said Boneio … and yet what have we done to prevent the exploitation of these children?

    Nothing, a big fat zero…

    so it’s really a case of moral realitivity isn’t it Mr Mayo. Are Western Children who might be exposed to a brand logo of a pornographer more at risk than those who will make trainers and hoodies for the Western market.

    Espcially when you consider that the Logo has been on branded items for well over 30 years… has it really contributed tot he sexualiseation of children?


    Is this the most pressing issue facing children?

    Not the ever falling education standards not that testing children and limiting their choices leads to efficent but not bright carbon copy workers, not that youth clubs facilities parks play areas and all manner of other recreation is being removed from the local communities. Not that we are intent on crminialising greater and greater numbers of chidlren with asbos rather than having their parents having parenting lessons.

    it’s whether they have a bunny on their teeshirt is it?

    I must have missed that meeting…

    How much is this Scottish Parliments frivlious waste of cash (as they have no possible way of influencing Playboy to change their product line having zero Legal clout in the USA; unless it’s trying Libians for them…)?

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