Musings arguments and gig reports from your favourite Goth lesbian transsexual vegan recovering alcoholic and drug addict sceptic rationalist atheist comedian chameleon and caricature.

Monday 6 June 2011

Sex and drugs and sausage rolls.

Getting my life back on track seems to be going well, I'm back working hard gigging hard and playing hard.

On Saturday night I was in Leeds in a place where they really know how to market well, Tiger Tiger, which is right next door to an all night Greggs the bakers.  When I was there a few months ago I was informed by one of the bouncers there that he'd seen that evening a couple turn up, take it in turns to go inside and get pissed whilst the other stood outside smoking and minding the pushchair replete with baby and sausage roll sticking out the front of it's chubby face.

I do believe that one of the bouncers also works as a bouncer for that Greggs, at least he's not supposed to but he does it for free pies.

A friend of mine today told me that he and his partner are having a baby and I've been grinning from ear to ear about it ever since.  It's only the second time that a good friend has started a family, the other one I knew that they were trying for a while before she got pregnant so that robbed the moment of being told of some of it's majesty.

But in spite of the fact that I'm happy being child free and don't understand the urge to reproduce, I've been glad when both my friends said they were having kids for the simple reason I know that they'll be good parents.  They'll do their best, they'll put the welfare of their kids first and they will dote on their kids, protecting them from harm and doing the right thing.

It's wonderful really.

It's also why I think that the recent press release about Conservative plans fuelled by Mumsnet and the Mother's Union so protect children from increased sexualisation is a terrible thing.

The notion of childhood is a recently contemporary invention, until the end of the Victorian era children were seen as little money making components of every family, that each family was like a business and the more kids you could shit out the bigger your workforce working for Family inc. would be.

Then towards the end of the 1800's at one of the big expos that took place back then where countries would show off the best of their science and engineering, a massive, international, geeky willy measuring contest, for the first time ever Great Britain wasn't at the forefront.  We were losing out to the US, to Germany and so some of the European countries.  Great Britain that had forced forward with the Empire, The largest and greatest Empire this world had ever seen, an Empire where the sun never set, and we were losing to the Krauts and the Yanks?


So we looked at what they were doing differently to us to make their advances more advanced than our advances.  And what came back was a simple answer:  School.

The US since it's formation in 1776 had been a home of immigrants leaving Europe for the new world and their Manifest Destiny.  they all arrived of different creeds nationalities, languages and cultures.

The Founding Fathers had set up in the constitution "freedom of religion" even though they were mainly either atheist or moderate Christians, for the reason that the pilgrims had fled to the US to escape religious oppression in Europe.

Well they were puritans, they believed that life was to be endured rather than enjoyed and if it's fun then it's sin, and it was part of their religion to evangelise and try to recruit.  So the Catholic and heavily drinking protestant nations of Europe got pretty pissed off with these killjoys, because it's so difficult to enjoy a party with someone who doesn't drink sat in the corner telling you that what you're doing is bad for you and that you should stop it now.  So they got booted, and left for America. (and this probably goes some way to explain why Americans look the way the British and the Irish drink as being crazy)

The problem being, that when you're trying to form a new country it helps if you're all united towards a common goal and have some level of cultural cohesion.  It's all very well killing injuns and taking their land, but you also need common ground with your compatriots, you all need to speak the same language for starters.

So the US set up schooling for all the nation's children, and just to make sure that they were all singing from the same hymn sheet (so to speak, they wanted a separation of church and state and religion was banned from public schools) Every morning would start with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States.

This corporate worship of a symbol goes to explain why the flag means a lot more to the people of the US than it seems to do to people of almost any nation.

So the UK set up schools and the 1870 Education act meant that it was compulsory for children to go to school.

As successive generations went through the school system this idea of childhood being the best days of your lives took root, and over time the age at which you were expected to leave school raised and raised, and now with more people expecting to go to university, and then trying to hold on to that lifestyle until their 30s there's a generation of people who are having kids now who've held on to their own childhood for years, and they want their kids to be kept in this state of arrested development too.

It starts int eh 1950's when you've got the first generation of people between 13-20 who have disposable income, live with their parents and want to have fun, the birth of the teenager.  as time's gone by this stage has extended, in both directions.

Adults want to be teenagers again and hold on to it for as long as they can, and children want to be 18 so they can do what they want.

This is all perfectly normal.

Society is patriarchal, so a lot of what is deemed aesthetically pleasing comes from the aesthetics of those in power.  So the dominant ideology is that looking 17 is the ideal.

Kids are sexual beings.  There's no escaping that.  When you're tiny you touch your own genitals a lot for comfort, to explore and because it feels good.  You're attracted to certain things with an almost sexual intensity and certain thing as give you stirrings in your underpants or knickers for reasons you can't understand.

Most kids are told not to tell anyone about these things because they're dirty, whereas their impulse to pick up a stick and use it as a pretend weapon is perfectly acceptable.

The British are really fucked up about sex.  I'm not breaking any rules by saying that, I'm not revealing any big secret, we are.  When it comes to sex we're shy and embarrassed and don't like to talk or think about it especially not publicly.

And so as a result we get terrified by sexuality, the expression of it, what it means to us, how it affects other people.

That's why we end up with discussions about slut walks in the way we do, because we're so fucked up about sex that we have to have a march to raise awareness that when someone gets sexually assaulted that we have historically blamed the person being assaulted for inviting the attack by being sexy rather than blame the person who's actually committed the attack.

Rape is assault were sex is the weapon.

This is the crux of the problem here.

This idea that we're sexualising children is bogus, kids always want to dress like adults.  When I was little I wanted a Leather Biker Jacket just like the one Freddie Mercury had in the video to A crazy Little thing called Love, but I wasn't allowed on for 3 reasons:

1. It was too expensive.
2. I was 8 years old it would have looked fucking ridiculous.
3. Because I had parents who instilled boundaries in me, that certain things I could do when I grew up but until then I had to follow their rules.

And that's basically how it works.  It's tough being a parent.  Your kids constantly tell you that other kids get everything and they don't, and you remember what it was like when you were growing up and you don't want to be your parents you want to be understanding and nurturing and so you say "yes go on then you can." when you really should be saying, "No, I don't think that's appropriate."  and dealing with the tantrums.

The other side of this is that we suddenly seem to think that there's paedophiles everywhere and that if we sexualise children they'll pounce because we're just serving them up.

This is again, victim blaming.  It's like that Frankie Boyle gag "What's the number one cause of paedophilia?  Sexy kids."

Paedophiles sexually assault and rape children for a varieties of reasons, control, anger,  part of what it is that attracts them to children is their innocence.  That they are children.

Sexualising children doesn't make them more attractive to paedophiles, often quite the opposite.

Hiding sexual images from children isn't about what's best for children, it's about what's most comfortable for their parents.

Parents hate having to answer questions about sex, and they get all uptight with nudity on the TV and about sexual imagary and freak out about anything to do with sex, so kids don't want to ask and get their info from other kids, and then when the parent finally plucks up the courage to talk about sex with their kid it's massively embarrassing and awkward for everyone involved.

I was talking to someone the other day who was saying about how their sister had friends who were a gay couple and she asked how she had explained that to her son who saw them frequently and she said "I told him they were friends because he's far too young for explaining gay sex to him."  My friend answered, you don't need to explain gay sex to him, you just need to let him know that some couples are same sex, there's no need to bring what they do in the bedroom in to it.  but not telling him is just storing up problems for the future.

This is how I see it anyway.

There's no problem with kids seeing sexualised images, often when they see dancers on music videos they don't interpret the dancing as sexual, they just see it as dancing, and it's the parents who interpret it that way.  If kids get used to seeing sexual stuff around and their parents answer the questions as they arise, and put boundaries about what they think is appropriate behaviour for their children at each age and why it's either appropriate or inappropriate rather than expecting the government to legislate for their inability to parent properly, then we'll start making some sort of progress with stuff like this.

There's been lots of talk about teenage boys watching lots of porn on the internet and expecting anal or blow jobs as a matter of course.

Well, and again, I'm not wishing to burst any bubbles here, boys have always expected that as a matter of course, but the problem here isn't the exposure to pornography, it's poor sex education from parents and schools.  Parents like to think that their kids aren't watching porn, and by the time they know that they are it's too late to have the discussion about it and what is and isn't realistic in terms of experience or expectations.

Plus this idea that by watching porn they expect these things to happen realistically is bullshit, there's not a single teenage girl who's watched porn who's terrified to call out a plumber because she expects that she'll then have to have sex with him.  Nor a girl who's phoned round every plumber in the hope that he'll come and fix her pipes (gynaecologically).

So the idea of selling lad's mags in brown paper just brings the idea that there is some level of shame in being a sexual being, and there isn't.

It's parents wanting to legislate to make their job easier in the short term but harder for society in the long term.

Here's a long term solution for you:  compulsory parenting classes for everyone who wants to be a parent to teach them skills for dealing with, teaching and nurturing their children from birth through to the end of their teenage years.

Maybe then we'd start to see some bigger changes in how we deal with our feelings and our sexuality.

As for my friends, I wish them the best of luck, they're doing a job I don't want to do and I trust them to to it well, because they take responsibility and they care, they're good people and they'll make very, very good parents.


Jennie Kermode said...

One thing I cannot understand is why the colour of a child's underwear is supposed to make them more vulnerable to paedophiles (beyond the fact that this seems like an attempt to excuae child molestation). The clue's in the name - underwear goes _under_ other clothes. THe only person who's going to care about it is the child, and shouldn't we be encouraging children to develop their own styles and feel comfortable about themselves?

Holly said...

I kinda agree, a pedophile is sexually attracted to children. Don't matter what the child wears. What gets to me though is where do people get these ideas from?. Show me the data, show me where it's written that what a child wears makes a child more of a target for sexual abuse. I doubt there is any, it's just unqualified opinion which can be absolute non-sense. The thing about these kind of policies is the politicians are just trying to get more popular by saying the popular thing. It's like "youngsters today... Put them in the army" kind if statement.

The bit about parenting classes, though. I don't know. Ever been to a class where the people there don't want to be there?. I doubt the effectness of it. However, I've got to admit I don't have any better ideas that arn't draconian.