Nanny State Watch

by Chris Bodenner

A government-commissioned report in the UK recommends a variety of media restrictions aimed to "tackle the early sexualisation of children" and counter the objectification of women. Tracy Clark-Flory is sympathetic but unconvinced:

Putting racy magazines on the news stand's top shelf only makes them more alluring. The same goes for all the other targeted vices: It isn't as though kids won't eventually find out that such things exist -- and by the time they do, these adult secrets are imbued with an added electric charge. It seems a disservice to kids to so completely and thoroughly shield them from the realities of our sexualized culture, because they'll have to face it themselves eventually.

Not to mention, it's awfully hypocritical to try to protect teenagers from these "bad" things, while consuming said "bad" things ourselves -- and kids are smart, they'll notice. [...] It's less about protecting them and more about allowing ourselves to maintain a certain level of cognitive dissonance -- because, hey, at least we're looking after the children.

The report's recommendations range from reasonable nudges - "Games consoles should be sold with parental controls already switched on" - to ridiculous regulations - "Forcing airbrushed and digitally altered photographs to display ratings symbols to show the extent to which the images had been changed." But the following is downright offensive - and doesn't seem to involve children at all:

Escort agencies, lap-dancing clubs, massage parlours and television sex channels should be banned from advertising vacancies in job centres arguing that it promotes the "normalisation" of the adult entertainment industry as a "viable career choice".

Wouldn't the stigmatization of sex-related jobs actually reinforce the view that such women are merely sex objects? I think we all agree that we are much more than our jobs.