Penises!!! (because men, like, have them; note: they look just as silly on tv as they do in real life). Sex, sexity, sex. Endless repetition of scenes showing a bunch of mums walking defiantly into Primark wearing menacing t-shirts only to be kicked out by security guys who have learned their lesson from the UKUncut protests. Diamante on the bum. Inappropriate clothing! Padded bras for 7 year olds. They refused to be interviewed. Communication! Sex is sex is sex. Just stop buying from them!
Sorry, that was too close a depiction of what the programme consisted of.
I’m going to focus on the two things that caught my attention about the program.
The first was the “tactic” employed by the producers of walking straight into Primark and demanding they are listened to, which resulted in the whole crew being pushed back out. This caught my attention because it reminded me too much of the tactics employed by UK Uncut. They have been doing pretty much the same thing and getting the same response. Now, do we spot a problem here? Why yes, of course. UK Uncut is a political campaign run by activists. Channel 4 is bloody channel 4. With millions of viewers and god-knows-how-much money at their disposal, couldn’t they think of anything more useful to do? Marching into a store is impressive, but not very effective. What would UK Uncut do if it had Channel 4’s platform and resources at their disposal? Probably not leaving it at “marching into stores”.
The other thing that made me think was the lack of anything that made anyone think; I could easily write a book on the subject! Here’s what bothers me: changing the sexualisation of kids should be the easiest thing to do on the menu. It is worrying that we can’t even achieve that.
The reason why crap is being sold to kids is because of the lack of regulation of companies’ behaviour. Without going into a full lecture on “regulation and the need for it”, I want to emphasize this: throughout history, societies have tried to protect children from the worst consequences of allowing companies to do as they please. The “watershed” for tv is an example, the “ratings” on movies, another. The reason: children do not know what’s best for them. Without the “knowing” they cannot exercise “free choice” and without “free choice” there is not “free market”. So we can’t allow companies to sell anything they want to children, because they will be selling them 100% sugar crunch with flavoured sugar on top. There are regulations, and they are there for a reason. This is why it is, or it should be, relatively easy to walk to parliament and demand that a law is passed to ban companies from manufacturing sexualised products to minors. This is effective.
And yet, it seems nobody is even considering the option. The reason is clear to me: for a few decades now, “de-regulation” has been rampant on every industry imaginable, from food manufacturing, to pharmaceuticals, to banks. Nobody wants to regulate because the propaganda has brainwashed everyone to believe that “letting companies sell and letting people choose not to buy” is infinitely better than “not letting companies sell bad things”. I repeat the word again: propaganda. There is no evidence that this works, and indeed, there’s plenty of evidence that it doesn’t. And it is a desperate sign of our times that we can’t even stop companies from selling things that are bad for kids. Instead we are letting “kids choose not to buy” or rather, we are letting their parents choose.
People focus on “letting the parents choose” because companies know that this approach doesn’t stop them doing what they want. Parents have limited freedom over what to buy for their kids when companies have unlimited freedom to brainwash them. Nobody is suggesting sexualised material is banned outright because that is the only thing that ultimately works.