Response to Taylor: The full picture of the sexualisation of children debate

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Abstract

In her review and reframing of 'the Australian public media debate over the sexualisation of children in the media', Affrica Taylor claims that 'loss of innocence is the fundamental concern', and portrays the debate as simply a 'moral panic' characteristic of the history of introductions of new media to children (2010, p.48, p.52, p.49). While Taylor is correct to identify and critique concerns about 'loss of innocence' as part of the public media debate, the debate can only be reduced to such concerns by misrepresenting or leaving aside logically independent sources of concern. Hence, Taylor provides an inadequate view of the debate to early childhood professionals who are aware of and concerned about the sexualisation of children, but who are not necessarily familiar with the full depth of discussion on the topic. I introduce the public policy debate over the sexualisation of children, which is based on both research evidence and expert opinion from those working in the areas of children's health and welfare. This debate exists both beyond and entwined with the media debate. Attention to the policy-relevant literature reveals that Taylor's reframing significantly distorts the full range of issues raised by the corporate-led sexualisation of children along three major axes. First, while post-structuralist attention to micropolitics is important, it does not render redundant appropriate attention to macropolitics. Second, children's sexuality is importantly distinct from the issue of sexualisation. Third, child health, well-being and safety are the driving concerns for professionals and policy-makers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalAustralasian Journal of Early Childhood
Volume36
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

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