Girls: ‘we want parents to protect us from sex’

Teen girls have hit out at modern liberal mums who do little to protect them from ‘pornified’ boys.

“I wish my parents would say I’m not allowed to be home alone with a boy”, said one 16-year-old girl. “I wish they’d say boys aren’t allowed in my bedroom.

“They make this big deal about ‘trusting us’, but that’s not helping me”, she said. “They have no idea what goes on, and I’m too embarrassed to tell them.”

Pressurised

Many teenage girls are being pressurised by their boyfriends to engage in sexual acts taken from pornographic films, research has revealed.

Journalist Penny Marshall, writing for the Daily Mail, disclosed harrowing stories of young girls who say demands from teenage boyfriends are often both “disturbing and upsetting”.

A 16-year-old told Miss Marshall that, while many girls might moan about their parents being too strict, she actually resented her parents’ “forward-thinking” liberal attitude.

Sexualisation

Miss Marshall concluded: “We have given our daughters the education and aspiration to be a prime minister or an astronaut.

“But we haven’t protected them from the sexualisation that makes them so scared to be alone with a boy that they’ve quietly brought back the chaperone.”

Protection

The teenagers explained the notion of a ‘third wheel’, the modern equivalent of a chaperone, a friend who girls take with them to keep them safe from sexual advances.

One girl said the boy she has been going out with for four months dramatically changes when they are alone together.

“It’s awful”, the girl said. “It’s so obvious he’s copying his actions from watching porn. No boy would call you beautiful. They use words like ‘hot’ and ‘sexy’. That’s why my friends and I like using third wheels. We want protection”.

Damaging

Miss Marshall said all the girls she interviewed were certain their boyfriends’ demands were being fuelled by what they were watching online: hardcore, explicit porn.

Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos, who recently published a report into the sexualisation of children, said: “What kids are seeing today is very often violent, and it has no intimacy, no respect, no kindness, no context of sex within a loving relationship.

“It is very damaging to young people and to their relationships.”

Miss Marshall explained how the girls she met were “articulate” and “confident” yet they were being pressurised to do things their boyfriends had seen in pornographic videos.

One 16-year-old girl told Miss Marshall: “Boys just want us to do all the stuff they see the porn stars do. It’s as if we have to pretend we are in a movie.

“They want us to dress like porn stars in sexy underwear, have bodies that look like porn stars, and sound and behave like them too when we are alone. That’s why we like to have our friends around us now.”

Harmful

Dr Papadopoulos, warned in her recent report that exposure to porn was having an adverse effect on the lives of today’s teenagers.

She said: “My research has left me extremely concerned. A recent survey showed that 54 per cent of boys found porn ‘really inspiring’ in terms of sexual performance. This worries me, because of the nature of the material they are now watching.”

Schoolgirls discuss pressure of sex

A recent survey by the NSPCC revealed that one in three teenage girls aged 13 to 17 had been subjected to unwanted sexual acts while in a relationship, and one in four had suffered ‘partner violence’.

The NSPCC’s head of child protection, Christopher Cloke, has described this as evidence of a “culture of confusion about what is acceptable among girls and boys living in today’s highly sexualised landscape”.

Television presenter Fiona Bruce expressed her concern this weekend at the sexualisation of young girls.

She said: “I work in a lookist industry being in television but there seems to be so many overtly sexual images of women now and it puts so much pressure on young girls. ”

Attitudes

Last month an Australian academic who has conducted research into the subject warned that watching pornography was damaging young people’s attitude to sex.

Dr Michael Flood, a sociologist based at the Australian Research Centre for Sex Health and Society, said: “When boys are repeatedly exposed to what I call non-mainstream-sexual behaviours, they may be more likely to accept and adopt them as well”.

He also said he fears boys who watch violent porn are more likely to behave violently.

Miss Marshall said: “None of the girls I spoke to complained about sexual violence, but they did talk about the difficulty of daring to say ‘No’ in a world that expects them to say ‘Yes’.

“And some did have experience of what they called sexual bullying”, she added.

Internet safety

Latest figures estimate that boys spend as much as three hours a week watching pornography.

Dr Papadopoulos’ recent Home Office report recommended tighter controls on young British children’s access to content which could be overtly sexual.

John Carr, head of the Children’s Coalition on Child Internet Safety, pointed out that pornographic content is available in more places than just the internet.

“Kids can get it on their mobile phones, through their TV sets and iPods”, he said.

Mr Carr added: “Tragically, porn has never been easier to access.”

Last month’s Home Office report on the sexualisation of children proposed measures to combat the problem.

Dr Linda Papadopoulos, recommended that adult content should be filtered out by default on child-friendly computers and mobile phones.

Related Resources