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Tuesday, 6 May 2008


Late yesterday evening I watched "Am I Normal", introduced by psychologist Dr Tanya Byron, on BBC2. (I get BBC2 in Brussels on cable).

The programme looked a sexual behaviour and attempted to define normality. Much of it was disturbing, not least the sequences dealing with paedophilia and the sexualisation of children, usually girls.

Dr Byron spent some time examining lad mags such as "Loaded", interviewing the editor of one such publication and the female models who posed for the photographs. I was struck by the way both the young women and the equally young male editor thought the subject matter - a certain portrayal of women and a certain view of male sexuality - was quite OK, nothing out of the ordinary, just what we all do, and why not make some money out of it.

The "Loaded" approach dehumanises both men and women. It views sex as a commodity to be bought and sold via its soft porn pages. I recently read that, according to one survey, something like forty percent of teenage young women aspire to be glamour models. In my time it was air hostesses. At least there was, and still is, dignity in being an airline steward.

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