It seems suddenly everyone is noticing that the video clips on offer today are basically glorified porn depicting the sexualisation of women covered in a thin veil of being an artistic music clip.

For some time now experts have been voicing their concerns about the consequences of such blatant imagery on young people.

Julie Gale, director of Kids Free2B Kids recently told Sunrise on Channel 7 that “we know from research that even 10 minutes exposure to music video clips impacts on the self esteem of young girls.”

“Child development professionals are very concerned about young children and early teens being exposed to hyper-sexualised imagery long before they are ready… Music videos are just part of a broader cultural landscape where kids are bombarded with the message that your value and success comes from how hot you are. And to be a successful female performer now you have to present a pornified version of yourself” she said.

The latest clip from Miley Cyrus Who Owns My Heart?  has her thrashing around on an unmade bed, semi naked. She then progresses to a night club where she can be seen ‘bumping and grinding’ up against various other dancers while wearing a plunging top.

As Tim Winter president of the Parents Television Council in the USA pointed out, the problem here is that she is only 17 years old and until very recently was a pin up girl for Disney and the face of Hannah Montana whose fan base are girls as young as 7 years old.

“It is unfortunate that she would participate in such a sexualized video like this one,” said Tim Winter. “It sends messages to her fan base that are diametrically opposed to everything she has done up to this point,” he added.

Even celebrities are beginning to turn on each other.

Apparently, Solange Knowles (Beyonce’s sister) has called Katy Perry’s music “kiddie porn.” She caught her five-year-old son secretly watching Katy’s California Gurls video and twittered “Katy Perry is polluting the chirrens. It is like kiddie porn tho. All them damn colors, candy and and s*** and then daisy dukes, breast shooting cream.”

The usual suspects include Britney, Katy Perry, Rhianna and Snoop Dogg.  However newcomers include our own Jessica Mauboy and the once squeaky clean girl next door, Kylie.

Until now video clips by Jessica have been child friendly and safe territory as far as child viewing goes. However all that has changed with the release of her accompanying video for Get Em Girls.

According to News Ltd it has been described as ‘cheap’ and ‘tacky’ as she struts down a huge catwalk in a corset, ripped red tights and thigh-high boots. A cameo by Snoop Dogg almost certainly puts the seal of ‘smut’ on it with his appearance being described as ‘hypersexual’ and ‘sleazy’. Jessica described him as “hands on… around the waist… caressing the legs, it was all that … it was very cheeky!”

Kylie has also succumbed to ‘no holds barred’ nudity and adult themes in her latest clip All the lovers.  With an “R” rating on YouTube it shows a mass of bodies writhing to the beat of the song, with Kylie being the only one wearing clothes.

If the girls watching MTV are coming away with the idea that it is ‘cool to look sexy’ then what are the boys getting from it – that it is cool to ‘use and abuse’ girls and then without any feelings toss them to one side as they look for their next conquest?

The 2008 Senate Inquiry into the Sexualisation of Children in the Media reported that there was a “connection between the inappropriate sexualising of children and measurable harm, such as body image dissatisfaction, eating disorders, low self-esteem, poorer academic performance, depression and anxiety.” (Ms Melinda Tankard Reist, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2008, p. 27.)

The Inquiry further recommended that “broadcasters review their classification of music videos specifically with regard to sexualising imagery.” But to date nothing has been enforced.

SHine SA, a government sponsored agency working in partnership with health, education, community agencies and communities to improve the sexual health and wellbeing said “TV, Internet, radio, music videos, music lyrics, movies, magazines, sports media, video-games and advertising increasingly portray sexualised images which promote narrow and unrealistic ‘standards’ of physical beauty and sexual interest.”

“Females are more often than males portrayed in a sexual manner and objectified…Males are raised in a society that glorifies sexually aggressive masculinity and considers as the norm the degradation of women.”

If you want to take action visit Collective Shout, a grassroots campaigns movement mobilising and equipping individuals and groups to target corporations, advertisers, marketers and media which objectify women and sexualise girls to sell products and services.

Writer Helen Splarn. Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha
Source: 2008 Senate Inquiry into Sexualisation of Children in the Media.
SHine SA.