I know sex sells, but what are we selling? #safeguarding #pshe

This morning while doing my cycle I couldn’t watch the news which I normally do ( I am drained from all the politics talk) so flicked through the music channels. My 9 year old daughter was in and out of the room, it was 8am and these were normal music channel. A female singer came on, wearing very little, my daughter told me that she was pretty. I pointed out that she doesn’t always look like that. She has great lighting, makeup artist and fashion stylist to make sure that she looks great from each angle. My daughter replied, she hasn’t got a fashion stylist, she is just wearing her bra and shorts……….

The next song came on with a girl grinding. And then the next with two girls in the shower in suggestive poses and then the remix song ” let’s talk about sex baby” which was full of innuendoes, many which made me laugh at how ridiculous but others which made me feel a little sick.

I realise that this isn’t a new issue. When I was my daughters age, Madonna was singing about being a virgin, touched for the very first time, but it didn’t seem as constant. Perhaps I have rose tinted glasses. I know that sex sells songs and the video is a large aspect of this, but have we gone just a little to far. Being sexy and shocking are two very different things. Madonna used to shock with these tactics and that made the song probably cooler. Today it seems the norm to be shocking, that perhaps we aren’t shocked by it at all. So does it sell records then, should my title be Shocking sells? So we keep pushing the boundaries every time, being more and more shocking? There are songs and videos that aren’t shocking, many which are very successful. Adele, Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift are ones that come to mind. 30 minutes into my cycle Pink came on the screen.  She made me stop in my thought process for a moment. She’s defiantly shocking, but perhaps in a different way. She’s sexy but I don’t think she is using this to sell her songs. Her songs seem to make me think.  Her recent video shows her ending up in a straight coat with her husband signing her into what looks like a Mental Health hospital. She has covered topics like addiction to drugs, domestic abuse and bullying, all in a raw but honest way.  I can’t remember these being topics when I was younger, Perhaps it’s not all doom and gloom and to have music that challenges us we need to have ones to shock.  I don’t have the answers but what I do know is that my daughter ( and 13 year old son but that’s a completely different blog post) is influenced by the videos, positively or negatively. Either way I have to keep talking it through with her and hope that if she ever has any questions,  she is confident and happy enough to ask me. At the moment that’s feasible but I am not looking forward to her teenage years otherwise known as the non-communicating period.

I don’t think we can change sexual images being thrown at our students. I don’t think we should protect them in a bubble. I think they need the space to discuss. To have perspective and reality considered. They need to hear other people’s view or experiences and then have the confidence and knowledge to respond. And sometimes parents aren’t able to do this or pupils struggle to feel comfortable. Sex isn’t a bad thing and I have heard some pupils tell me that at home they can’t watch people kissing and all internet is banned so they can’t watch anything. How is this healthy? It seems one extreme to another. This is why #pshe is so important.

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Assistant Head ( DSL) at a boarding school. Interested in all PSHE and safeguarding topics.

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