The Guardian carries a report on the findings of the forthcoming review on the sexualisation of children by Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers’ Union. This sounds like a creative and welcome set of proposals and marks quite a fundamental change from a debate dominated by the denials and hand wringing of the marketing industry of past years after the publication of Consumer Kids.
That tone of that debate matters, because although it is the response of Government rather than the proposals of the review that will define what now happens, this is an issue for us all. To find a way through that is good for children and their development, with early sexuality and gender roles so imprinted in the cultural environment in which they grow up, is a complex and multifaceted challenge. The point, at heart, is for children to value themselves more for who they are rather than how they are seen.
This can only be addressed through a common sense of purpose – a social policy that is not just about Government but about all involved in young people’s lives taking their share of responsibility.