Thousands sign girl guides’ anti-sexualisation petition

Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition calling for David Cameron to act against computer-enhanced pictures in adverts and magazines which lead to distorted ideas about beauty.

The call comes amidst mounting concern about the increasing sexualisation of the nation’s children.

Girlguiding UK has delivered a 25,000 signature petition to Downing Street calling for the Government to introduce compulsory labelling for all airbrushed images.


Gemma Hallatt, an 18-year-old guide, said: “We are pleased that so many people have supported our petition calling for a kitemark to distinguish between airbrushed and natural images.

“We each know from our own experience that the airbrushed images that you see in magazines and on advertising boards can really affect the self confidence of girls and young women.

“Most of us have no idea how significantly these pictures are altered and are shocked when they realise that the images they have of celebrities and models are not a reality.”


Miss Hallatt also said that the guides will continue their campaign to ensure that all airbrushed images are clearly marked.

The petition follows on from Girlguiding UK’s 2009 research, the Girls’ Attitudes survey, which showed that 50 per cent of 16 to 21-year-old girls would consider having surgery to change the way they look.

Over 40 per cent of 11 to 16-year-olds admitted to watching what they ate or cutting down on certain foods to excess.


The new coalition Government has promised to tackle the increasing sexualisation of youngsters.

Speaking before the general election, David Cameron said he planned to penalise companies who market their products inappropriately to children.

He said: “More and more today, sexual-provocative images are invading public space – space shared by children.

“In the Tube station, at the bus stop, on the billboard – there’s the creeping sense that we’re sleepwalking to a place where ‘porn is the norm’.”


He added: “After all, it’s our shared responsibility to protect children from aggressive commercialism and premature sexualisation.

“This is not about being prudish or old-fashioned. It’s about remembering the simple pleasures of our own childhood – and making sure our children can enjoy them too.”