Does the pornification of school culture in the UK simply reflect the adult world towards us?
Ofsted reports that sexual harassment and online sexual abuse are so common for school children that they hardly bother to report it; 90% of the girls and 50% of the boys have been sent explicit photographs (“cock photographs”). Girls, the top targets of bullying, report everything from unwanted touching, rape jokes and upskirting to being asked for nude pictures and sharing naked on SnapChat and WhatsApp “as a collectible game.”
The report was prompted by heartbreaking testimonies of sexual harassment in schools posted on the Everyone’s Invited website. It has been pointed out that an equally shocking report from the Commons women’s and equality committee in 2016 did not generate enough change. Also, last week, the OnlyFans site (which allows people to post homemade porn) was reprimanded by the Commissioner for Children for not doing enough to deter minor taxpayers. (OnlyFans states that it will meet with the commissioner and correct any misinformation).
Clearly, the pornification of not just school life, but the entire lives of children, is a twisted, multi-headed hydra of a problem that is not going away. Part of this is the curiosity, courage and foolishness of young people (boys and girls). However, for some time now, kids have had unlimited access to hardcore porn, and some of us worry about the long-term damage that highly explicit material causes on young minds too immature to process.
It’s not just about the porn itself, it’s about a pervasive porn-friendly culture
Then there is the other important factor: you. Well maybe. Because it’s not just about the porn itself, it’s about a pervasive porn-friendly culture. How, increasingly, we live in a culture that normalizes pornographic images and behavior. Ofcom reports that half of the UK adult population viewed locked up pornography. Only Pornhub was visited by 50% of all British men and 16% of women in September 2020. Despite the enormous growth of online pornography in the UK (before the pandemic), the sector has been poorly regulated, and Ofcom is investigating, among other things, regulating video-sharing platforms for the first time this year.
Typically anything to do with pornography, particularly its reduction, soon erupts into debates over individual rights and a myriad of definitions of morality. Whatever your personal opinion on pornography, it belongs only to the adult world. The point here is that, once again, there is evidence that seems to support the view that adult porn culture has become normalized to the point of seeping disastrously into children’s lives.
We could argue forever about whether pornography belongs to a civilized adult society. Now is the time to recognize how strongly the pornified culture has been installed in the lives of our children. With 90% of girls and 50% of boys already getting cock pics, what does it take?
Harry Dunn’s extraordinary parents would not be silenced
Will Harry Dunn finally get some kind of justice?
Dominic Raab says the path has been cleared for a virtual test of Anne Sacoolas, whose car struck the 19-year-old’s motorcycle and killed him, while he was driving on the wrong side of the road outside an RAF base in Northamptonshire in 2019. After the accident, Sacoolas returned to the United States, claiming diplomatic immunity as the wife of a United States government intelligence officer. Now President Biden is said to be taking a personal interest in the case. (His first wife and son died in a car accident.) Time will tell if it is something. If he does, it will be largely thanks to the superhuman efforts of the Dunn family.
Since Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn’s son were murdered, they have been through unimaginable anguish, most notably, it seems, at the hands of Raab, who, they claim, treated them coldly and contemptuously from the start. Along the way, they have felt patronized, cheated, blocked, and even intimidated. Her meeting with then-President Trump at the White House to try and discuss the issue turned ridiculous, when Trump suddenly announced that Sacoolas was in the next room, with the implication that they should meet her and it would all magically work out. Because that’s what grieving parents want: to star in an impromptu edition of Surprise surprise. They refused.
Despite all the opposition and relentless stress, Harry’s parents continued to fight doggedly, which was probably not in the script. They were supposed to put up with it, drop the matter, understand that larger international forces were at stake, mourn Harry silently, and move on with the same silence. In short, behave like little people who don’t matter. That they have refused to tell you everything you need to know about their characters. What great and loving parents to Harry Dunn they still are.
Only a heel would try to improve my perfect Crocs
Is fashion house Balenciaga tripping our feet over high-heeled Crocs? Balenciaga has produced a Croc with stilettos. I’ll stop for a moment for you to savor the elegance of the concept. (It resembles a milk carton resting on a car jack.) However, the “sexy” heel defeats the toe of the Crocs. Crocs are supposed to be ugly, sexless, and extremely comfortable. Therefore, it makes no sense to put a heel on them and make them feel uncomfortable and still sexless.
Crocs occasionally enjoy a Renaissance style; Recently, it was reported that second-hand Crocs were being hunted in the same way that people search for rare trainers. Still, Croc’s core market remains the same – all types and ages, including women like me, who have clearly given up. The seasoned Croc user has strict personal rules: for me, “classic” black or white (no funky colors), for summer use only, no fleece and absolutely no socks.
Few of us would have the audacity to try to change the comfort and genderlessness of the Croc. Fashion people may be trying to spin this stiletto like a great Croc moment, but one presumes they’ll wear them ironically. While the Croc community welcomes all newcomers, they will never be recognized as true members of our molded, foam-footed tribe.
Barbara Ellen is a columnist for Observer