Diane Abbott: pornification of society damaging the family

Diane Abbott

We need a revolution in sex education to combat our hypersexual culture, says Labour MP

LAST UPDATED AT 14:00 ON Tue 22 Jan 2013

SHADOW health minister Diane Abbott will this evening launch an attack on the "pornification" of British society, arguing our "hyper-sexualised" culture is damaging the British family.

In a speech to the Fabian Women’s Network, the Labour MP will discuss a pernicious phenomenon known as "slut shaming", where young girls whose behaviour is perceived as promiscuous are targeted and bullied by their peers.

Abbott will argue a "revolution" in sex education is the only way to combat this emerging "hyper-sexualised" culture, the BBC reports.

"We need to start a national conversation between parents and their children about sex, pornography and technology," she will say.

Abbott will also argue it is time to consider "child friendly" computers that filter pornographic content, warning that without a change in culture the British family will become "marginalised".

"Young people are accessing far harder pornographic images than ten or 15 years ago. We have to ask, does that influence what they themselves put out on the internet?"

The one-time Labour leadership candidate will warn that teens putting sexual images on Twitter and Facebook could live to regret it. "The pressure of conforming to hyper-sexualisation and its pitfalls is a prison. And the permanence of social media and technology can be a life sentence."

Last month Abbott defined pornification as when young girls feel they only have value as sex objects, something they absorb "from the popular culture around them".

Today’s speech was inspired by academic Dr Jessica Ringrose who argues in her book Post-feminist Education that sexually active school girls are often "slut shamed" and bullied by their peers.

It comes after Claire Perry, the prime minister’s adviser on preventing the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood, told the Daily Mail that parents should snoop on their children’s online messages to ensure they were appropriate. · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.