The NSPCC is talking PANTS – as usual

When Genesis superstar Phil Collins and England international soccer player Gary Lineker endorsed an anti-paedophilia campaign some years back on British TV, the script had them declaring “I’m talking Nonce Sense!” As Brits will know, “nonce” is slang for MAPs, and the campaign was called Nonce Sense.
Or it would have been except that the whole thing was a satirical spoof. The joke was on the stars and other worthies who took part, including politicians and a senior police officer. They thought they were talking Nonce Sense, but as viewers soon realised, they had been set up to talk nonsense. For instance, the script had Capital Radio DJ Neil “Doctor” Fox telling viewers that “paedophiles have more genes in common with crabs than they do with you and me”, adding “Now that is scientific fact – there’s no real evidence for it – but it is scientific fact”. Labour MP Syd Rapson related that paedophiles were using “an area of internet the size of Ireland”. Rapper Richard Blackwood stated that internet paedophiles could make computer keyboards emit noxious fumes to subdue children. He was shown sniffing a keyboard and claiming he could smell the fumes, which made him feel “suggestible”. Blackwood also warned parents that exposure to the fumes would make their children “smell like hammers”.
A programme in the satirical series Brass Eye, the spoof brilliantly made the point that any old nonsense will do when it comes to attacking paedophilia. And now, as though in a deliberate attempt to make life imitate art, we find the following quote in the UK’s rabid tabloid the Daily Mail, in connection with an anti-child molestation campaign by the NSPCC. It is attributed to a mother identified only as Claire, from Swansea, with two young girls. She is supposed to have said:

“I am going to start talking PANTS to my girls, my goddaughter, nephew and all my friends with children…”

For the benefit of global friends who may be unfamiliar with what is perhaps another British expression, talking pants means uttering utter… nonsense! The Daily Mail does it all the time, and so does the NSPCC, honourably founded in 1889 to protect children from cruelty, but which campaigns these days to cruelly deny their social and sexual self-determination, wasting millions of pounds on misdirected advertising that could have been better spent on its original mission. After eight-year-old Victoria Climbié died following grotesque torture at the hands of her guardians a few years ago, the organisation was found to have been involved but done nothing to help what had been a preventable death, and then misled the official inquiry. They were heavily involved in promoting the moral panic over non-existent satanic abuse when that was fashionable.
The NSPCC’s latest wheeze is what they call their Underwear Rule otherwise known as Talking PANTS, “relaunched” this month after the initial “launch” last July, in what will quite possibly turn out to be an infinitely repeated loop of identical pushing-the-boat-out press releases, like something out of Groundhog Day. Well, why not? Like junkies seizing on a fix, the media can never, it seems, get enough of this stuff, especially perhaps when accompanied, as in this case, by a video with cute kids talking about their private parts and brightly illustrated with pictures of their pants.
As might be expected, the NSPCC is telling parents to tell their children “privates are private”, using an acronym based on “PANTS”, which is meant to stand for:
Privates are private
Always remember your body belongs to you
No means no
Talk about secrets that upset you
Speak up, someone can help you
The campaign is aimed at parents of five- to 11-year-olds. Marilyn Hawes, founder of the charity Enough Abuse, was quoted last year as saying she thought the campaign would not work on older primary school children, who would “probably laugh”. Quite! But this does not mean the campaign is funny or will be entirely ineffectual. NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless went on record as saying no one was trying to make children ashamed of their bodies, or stop hugs or other shows of affection. That, however, is very much likely to be the effect, as it fans the flames of our already paranoid culture. Here, in the same news coverage on the BBC, Netmums website co-founder Siobhan Freegard said: “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to find their child has been touched inappropriately – and no family wants to think it will ever happen to them.”
There we see it, right there in that awful cliché “every parent’s worst nightmare”, which used to have real meaning when applied to child abduction, rape and murder. Here the language has been inflated and devalued, with mere “touching” hyped as a fate equal to death, or worse.
Some of the PANTS points are unobjectionable in themselves: if a child has been really upset over anything, not just sexual matters, they should feel free to talk about it. Openness and accountability are good principles. Nobody should feel they have to suffer bullying parents or teachers in silence any more than they should put up with sexual molestation or harassment. But the giveaway as to the campaign’s unnecessary negativity towards the body is right at the heart of it, plumb in the middle: PANTS: No means no. Fine, but what about Yes means yes? Whatever else this campaign is about, it is not about self-determination for kids as regards a body which is hypocritically vaunted by the NSPCC as belonging to them.
STOP PRESS: Late-breaking news has reached me literally one minute before I was due to post this blog. Remember the Texas conference featured on Heretic TOC early last month (8 Dec) in a piece called Deep in the weird heart of Texas? As promised, video of all the sessions has now been posted on the university’s You Tube channel. See here:
FINALLY: This is Heretic TOC’s 100th blog! Hope y’all like it! Actually, I might just add a bit about the latest stats. Why not? One thing that particularly caught my attention is the global spread of interest in Heretic TOC. The blog has now received visits from around 140 countries on every continent except Antarctica. The most hits came from the United States, just ahead of the United Kingdom, followed by Germany, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Denmark, and New Zealand, making up the Top Ten. I was interested to see several European countries where English is not the first language ahead of Anglophone ones, especially Germany in third place. I’m not sure what this reflects most, the strength of English-language learning in Europe or the extent of heresy there! Either way, I find it impressive! It was fascinating, also, to note interest coming from places that seem utterly exotic to those of us in Anglophonia, including Albania, Andorra, Greenland, Kazakstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Senegal and Yemen. Who knows, maybe you folks out there in these countries are taking an interest because Anglophonia seems exotic to you, and Heretic TOC perhaps the strangest website of the lot! Or you might be heretics fully engaged with a shared culture here. Do write in. It would be great to hear from less heard voices.

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Can we start up our own charity called NSPCC (Naughty Sexually Perverted Child Cuddlers), just to piss off the real NSPCC? LOL


I cannot believe I stumbled onto this site following on from PIE on wikipedia. What is wrong with the NSPCC, or the majority of the UK’s citizens being against older adults (typically men) want to have sex with young children? From the survey of PIE members back in the 1980’sthe “favourite” age was 5-10 year old girls. Do you truly believe those children can give INFORMED consent? I and many others do not, so by definition any sexual contact is inappropriate. It sounds like several people who comment on here are open paedophiles, it is an illness and is not something that should be normalised. The reasons should be obvious because you all know of cases where an adult has sexually assaulted or raped a child and you want more of that under the slogan of no limits.


Do you truly believe those children [5-10 year old girls] can give INFORMED consent?

It seems to me that you either consent to something or you don’t. Weaselling the word ‘informed’ into the discussion doesn’t help in the least.
If people need information, give it to them.
Gillick competence allows under sixteens to consent to all sorts of things including intrusive medical treatment if they understand what is proposed.
Sexual contact (especially if non-penetrative) has very few inherent downsides apart from cultural ones – and these change with time (and place).


Clover N,
I had to look up ‘Gillick Competence’ then discovered you linked to exactly where I looked. That definition of competence seems so medical ? Persons in white jackets really do not have a good history do they? I am thinking of Nazi Doctors and the ones in our time that prescribed aversion and other kinds of therapy to change homo into hetro.
I more like to think of the competence that is built into us through hundreds of thousands of years when we were hunted by wild cats and dogs, hyenas, snakes and crocodiles. A child knows by intuition who to go to for shelter, who to go to for comfort and companionship. It is built in to him. All those posters Tom saw in Brazil warning children of predator paedos are so messed up. Those kinds of things sure did not work on me when I was a child and sought out the willing adult across the street. He died a few years ago just before he turned 85. A sad day for me and his sons. A child knows who loves him.

mr p

Now that the olympics is starting in russia,and homophobia is a hot topic there,
people are claiming the suicide rate of young gay teens is high,
this is a good time to mention the double standards when regarding young MAPs. a few blogs back on here someone mentioned society dont give a t**s about MAPs but they do care about kids and adolescents.
Also i just finished looking at the conference videos very intresting,there are too many points to mention,i wanted to finnish watching them over the weekend,but we had a chinese girl staying and she was in the next room,
because some of the accents were hard to understand i had to turn it up full volume,every now and then i would get foot steps near my door,so in the end i left it tell she had gone,i wish i could be more open about this subject but its not advised.

mr p

Good point KIT they should be honest and just say their bodies are state property until they are 16 years old.i read somewhere that spain is giong to raise the age of consent to 16 it was 13 apparently to appease the spanish gypsies,but after a child murder THOSE BLOODY MURDERS AGAIN, there has been pressure to raise, also i read when parents complained to police they declared themselves powerless.i have some personnel experience of this before they brought in those sex tourism laws,so you can only go with someone 16 or over because its 16 in the uk,unless you go cambodie then its 18 funny that.And no i did not go there for that i was working there at the time.


Interesting you should mention ‘Yes means yes’, since that’s one of the slogans of a particular strand in third-wave feminism. The idea is that simply having your ‘no’ accepted is the baseline. If we’ve got that down, we should be trying for real sexual agency and enjoyment for everyone — but, of course, they don’t really mean everyone, do they…
Now, a memory from when I was four. It is one of the fairly few really clear memories I have from that time. I was taking my bath, alone. I must have been touching my vulva but I don’t remember doing so. The memory really kicks in at the point where my mother came in, said, “Have you been playing with your weewee?” took my hand, smelt it, said “You have!” and then, seeing the look on my face, released my hand saying, “That’s OK. It’s *your* weewee.” It’s a horrible memory. The emotional content is so strong and unpleasant that I am cringing as I type. I felt exposed and ashamed. The “That’s OK…” was unconvincing: I could tell that she didn’t really mean it, that playing with my genitals was a Bad Thing in her eyes, whatever she might say. Little kids four years old have good intuition. They can pick up easily on the emotions behind what an adult says. It’s not enough to say the ‘right’ things: you have to mean them. A tall order, yes, but four-year-olds are also at such an early stage of emotional development that they can be lastingly wounded by the most casual comment — or else they may bounce right back unfazed: it’s hard to tell. So we do need to take some care.
And in any case, all this stuff about ‘privates are private’ seems calculated to produce a generation of shame-filled memories like mine. Besides, what in the world is wrong with correct and specific anatomical terms? Young girls, especially, are kept ignorant of their sexual bodies — how many people know that the clitoris has internal ‘crura’ analogous to the penile shaft? — and all this ‘privates’ guff isn’t helping the situation.
I recall reading on some blog or other about a mother’s campaign to teach her daughter to avoid Strange Men. Teddy held a piece of candy and asked her to come with him, and she was supposed to shout, scream, kick and run. This drill was repeated over and over. Sure, it’s a good idea to teach girls to be physical and assertive, but that’s the wrong way to go about it. That mother’s paranoid ideas can’t be helping her kid.
PS Kit Marlowe mentions the ‘personal bubble’ being the subject of playground satire when he was at school. I can report that the satire is still going strong. I hear kids and adults joking about ‘personal bubbles’ fairly frequently.


I’m not sure which archaeologists you are reading. I think the prevailing scientific view is that war, murder and poverty have been with us forever, and are much less serious lately than they used to be.


I should have said archaeologists and anthropologists. War, murder and poverty have not been with us forever. You asked a good question. I will get back to you.


This is going to be a learning moment for us all. We must get through our misconceptions of early human life. We goes for Bruce Rind also. He has adopted early Evolutionary Science and not adapted to new findings.
While I am waiting to directly answer your question “which archaeologists” from my friend who is an Evolutionary Psychologist perhaps he will come into this thread now and help us all out. He reads here and has contributed.
This is critical “x”, ears are listening, eyes are watching. Hit us with your knowledge. We are on high center. We need to get on with being truly helpful to man.


I refer you to “War, peace, and human nature: the convergence of evolutionary and cultural views” by Douglas P. Fry (Editor). This a recent publication of Oxford University Press described as advancing a scientific understanding of war and peace challenging the common assumption that humans are warlike by nature. This is the latest.
I must warn you, it is an expensive book. My evolutionary psychologist friend and I just ordered one to share.
He is upset that Jared Diamond has ignored the science with this issue and that Bruce Rind is still going with the old understandings.
War came in at some time. Diamond says it was with agriculture which was 10,000 years ago that war, poverty and starvation began happening. This means that before that, the hundreds of thousands of years before that these things did not happen. This was the period in which we became human.
No wonder our young people come back from war so messed up. Murder is not natural to the human species.
If war, murder, poverty, starvation did not exist it can “Not exist again”. We can be peaceful, egalitarian and paedo again. That is who we are.


Thank you for that reference, Linca. I will certainly be looking for a copy. Does your evolutionary psychologist friend recommend any particular introductory text on evolutionary psychology?
One question – in your final paragraph, you list all the things we can become – where does age fit into that, in your opinion? (I am working on the assumption that lifespan has consistently increased.)
How does the group dynamic change with all these very much older people around?
On a different note, you mentioned a flight instructor some time ago – what do you fly and are you still current?


Thank you for your Thank You. I want this to be a learning for us all.
He has told me that Hunter Gatherers had life spans as long as ours. Life spans decreased with the introduction of agriculture. I will ask him about introductory texts. Maybe Googling “War, peace, and human nature: the convergence of evolutionary and cultural views” and looking at the table of contents will help.
You can probably find one in a library close to you. Try using World Cat. That is how I found a copy 4 blocks from my apartment. I will be there this afternoon copying to PDF a couple of chapters he recommended to me.
I was discussing how we were peaceful people as we became humans with a friend just now. He said, “That makes sense. If there were only 20 of us in an area the size of our state. No war huh?” Also, “You don’t murder your cousin either. You might get mad at him if he steals your boy but you don’t murder him. Otherwise you would be expelled from the group.” Just a happy boy with two men wanting his attention.
Back in the 1970’s I owned a Beechcraft Baron 55E (Google it.) 235mph around the country with two 285hp engines under me. Guess I was in the 1% and didn’t even know it. No wonder our US Senator hated my guts. This queer paedo had no right to get around and talk to people like that. He finally did me in. I ride a Schwinn Bicycle now. That is what I will take to the library in a few. And that is good. My Multi-engine, Instrument Rated License is in a drawer: Inactive.


I have jumped in and ordered a copy of the book edited by Douglas P. Fry, having just made a start on Pinker (who is criticised by Fry for not going back far enough).
However, the search you suggested only goes back to the book (as it should since it is the title) and does not answer my question: Does your evolutionary psychologist friend recommend any particular introductory text on evolutionary psychology?
I’d really like a good recommendation in this regard as well – all inputs are welcome.
I know the Barons and have flown a few from the right hand seat, as I am not rated on them. A friend, seconds after concluding that the grass alongside the runway he was landing on needed cutting, completed his first (and only) wheels-up landing in one!
I am sorry that your license is in a drawer.
Most of my hours are on C172s, some with the 180 HP engine. I was heading for a 210 conversion when budget got the better of me. I have had the good fortune of flying the Citation V from the right hand seat as well as the Aermacchi MB-326M (as the Impala Mk I) from the rear seat.
There are few places I would rather be than in the air. Anyway, let me not turn this into an aviation forum.


OMG Peter you have got to do some flying of my dreams: An Actual Fighter.
As for further recommendations of books I am going to ask Tom to give you my email address so I can connect you with our real Evolutionary Psychologist and through him to Bruce Rind our no holds barred math genius scientist as strong as that fighter you flew.
There is a brilliant and hilarious book, “Sex At Dawn” by Christopher Ryan. This is the first book where evolutionary psychology truly “flexes its muscles” replacing our worn-out illusions about who we are with the beautiful truth of the gentle, sharing, gregarious, sex-loving and family-centered human primate —most assuredly the most compassionate of all animals. Ryan stops short though. He walks right up to us but doesn’t quite include us. Together we will get him there.
Ryan is also pals with Thaddeus Russell of “A Renegade History of The United States” who talks about the Mafia manager of The Stonewall Inn and how he ran a boy brothel from upstairs of the Inn and an Ice Cream Shop hangout and kid brothel a few blocks away. Russell does not hold back. He is short on knowledge of us. We will have to help him too. That Mafia guy was so loved by the gays of NYC especially after he provided the money for the first gay pride parades they made him Mayor of Christopher Street, crowned him and rode him in a Cadillac convertible at the head of the parades. It is all in Russell’s book.


I think, at minimum, that we can both agree that it was fortunate that, from Icarus to the Wright Brothers, none of this silly nonsense about staying “indoors” and becoming obese whilst toiling away at a PlayStation afflicting boys today ever affected them.
Had it done so, we would never have left the surface of the planet unless a tornado was the cause.
I have no problem with Tom passing on my email address.


In reading “War, Peace, and Human Nature: The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views” I came across an author who really excited me. He is ROBERT W SUSSMAN who wrote the 6th Chapter of ‘War, Peace…’ “Why the Legend of the Killer Ape Never Dies: The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views”
Sussman says in his book: “Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators, and Human Evolution”. “Man had to learn to and successfully deal with predators such as wild cats and dogs, hyenas, snakes and crocodiles.’ That gives me hope that we can learn to deal with the predator we have now: The Bankers. He says, ‘Man along with many species had to be cautious, had to depend on other group members, had to communicate danger and had to come to terms with being merely one cog in the complex cycle of life.’ Sounds like our position today doesn’t it? Bankers are truly predators. They make sure our enemies have money to attack us. My monetary reform group is in the middle of studying how bankers established Capitalism in Holland in the 16th Century, moved their model to England via William of Orange established the Bank of England and then moved their model to the USA.
Sussman also was the co-editor of a 2011 book: “Origins of Altruism and Cooperation”. I just ordered a copy on Interlibrary Loan. When you see the price on Amazon you will understand why I hunted for a library copy. “This book is derived from a conference entitled ‘Man the Hunted and the Origin and Nature of Human Sociality, Altruism and Well-Being’ held at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, March 2009”
This knowledge is exciting to me. Knowledge is the base requirement of change. Love seems to be the course we will travel to the survival of man. At least some scholars think so.


This is all so scary. We truly are being gentrified out of our neighborhoods no matter where they are. And, we are so needed, needed if man is ever going to build societies that fit who we are as humans. It is pretty obvious we do not have societies that fit who we are with murder, war, poverty so prevalent.
War, murder, poverty are not natural to humans. We had none of that during the hundreds of thousands of years we evolved into humans, none of that. Murder, war, poverty are not natural to the human race. Just look how they screw us up. We have to look no further than the young people who have returned from our wars: Suicide, violence, inability to function.
We used to be peaceful, egalitarian people. That is what the archaeologists tell us. If we were we can be again. It is up to us.
A place to begin is looking into how we create money, learning what money is and how those that create money have manipulated us for millennia and millennia. The raping of the Americas for its gold and silver was completely unnecessary. You will see that when you understand what money is.
This all relates to paedophilia. You will come to learn why the wars on paedophilia are so unnecessary. Horrors: We have done so many horrors, all unnatural to who we are as humans.
Paedos be proud of who you are. Understand why you are. There are people here who can help. But, it will take a lot of work on your part. Not easy. I am just beginning to understand.


Thanks for another nice piece, Tom, and congratulations on your century of blogs. I looked at the NSPCC videos you linked above and was genuinely shocked. They seem to have completely lost touch (Ooooh!) with reality; even outside any kind of paedophile or MAP perspective it is condescending, simplistic and sickening rubbish. Are the ‘guardian-types’ featured too young to have watched Brass Eye? I very much hope that someone sensible in the more mainstream media (if that is not yet totally oxymoronic) reads, takes note, and widens the readership for what you have written. It is hugely important that a larger audience is allowed and empowered (let’s use our opponents’ terms back at them) to realise, and finally to admit to themselves the fact that the NSPCC, probably the largest and most influential British organisation within the Child Abuse Industry Empire, is, for want of a better expression, NOT wearing any PANTS!

Mr Phil

Congratulations on your 100th — impressive both in quantity and sustained quality. Don’t know how you manage it, but it’s wonderful you do.
Interesting column, but I think your counterbalancing statement — that it was “honourably founded in 1889 to protect children from cruelty” — is too kind to the NSPCC. It was founded by Calvinist zealots and was from the start disproportionately obsessed with the horrors (“woe”) of underage sex. Its first, defining national campaign was for a new law to raise the age of consent to 16, which succeeded, after the NSPCC managed to force the government’s hand using a media panic, in 1885. As a little bonus, the same new law also made gay male sex illegal, and was the one used to prosecute Oscar Wilde, Alan Turing etc.. Thanks, NSPCC!
(Technically the NSPCC did not yet exist, but it was the same people, working in the regional SPCCs which soon afterwards merged to form the NSPCC — organically the same organisation. Richard Webster’s book The Secret of Bryn Estyn has a couple of chapters on the history of child sex panics, which cover this material.)


Incidentally, there’s a Tom Stoppard play about A. E. Housman, The Invention of Love, which deals in passing with the age-of-consent/gay male sex law you mention. Stoppard’s characters don’t seem to think much of either portion of it.

Kit Marlowe

I’m quite interested in the first two letters of that pants acronym: “privates are private” and “{..} your body belongs to you.” I think these two maxims encapsulate quite nicely one of the more significant changes in Western attitudes to the body over the last few decades in the Anglo-Saxon world. Call me a boring old dialectical materialist, but I tend to see this shift in attitudes towards the body as running parallel to other economic changes in the Anglosphere since the mid-1970s. From being a more-or-less public space, the body is enclosed and ‘privatised’; a meeting-point of private intentions and public demands becomes reimagined as the smallest possible gated community. During the 1980s the claim that “I’m in control of my body” became the mantra both of certain forms of feminism and of a free-market capitalism that appeared to offer unlimited personal choice. Sometimes this ideology assumed a startlingly literal form: when I was at school towards the end of the Thatcher years, we were told to imagine ourselves surrounded by a ‘personal bubble’ of space that nobody else could intrude upon without permission. If provoked we were supposed to shout “don’t burst my personal bubble!” I don’t know if anyone ever did utter these embarrassing words in earnest, but I do recall that they became the subject of much playground satire.
The dogma of bodily sovereignty is perhaps inoffensive in itself but like most of the economic doctrines of the 1980s it is patently false. It rests, first of all, on an untenable Cartesian vision of the mind ruling the body like the ghost in the machine. Second, it is clearly not true that we have control over our own bodies: there is a fatal dissonance between the libertarian ideology of “my body belongs to me” and the realities of how our body is constantly manipulated by outward agency. This is especially true of children, whose bodies belong to them even less than the bodies of adults do: privates may be private, but they are still under the dictat of adults; your body belongs to you, but only so long as you do what you’re told with it. I tend to have more respect for non-Anglophone countries which – perhaps less strongly influenced by economic neoliberalism – don’t even pretend to adopt this language of individual bodily sovereignty. The French headscarf ban or the Scandinavian laws against purchasing sex may be oppressive, but at least they’re openly oppressive. They freely admit that the body is subject to all manner of demands and pressures from the outside: nobody is telling French Muslims that “your body belongs to you and you can do what you like with it.” It might be more honest to adopt the French model and just tell children that their bodies can never be fully their own. That at least establishes a realistic basis from which partial, conditional liberties might be won, and it might allow for a more thoughtful discussion about the different sorts of agents at work even within the privacy of our corporeal citadel.


Very interesting, what you say here. I’m a film buff and it made me think of a view of heterosexual sex which I’ve seen often in highbrow-ish French cinema. Most notably I’ve seen it in films made by women, such as Emmanuelle Bercot’s La Puce (no English title), Agnès Feuvre’s À mains nues (no English title here either), Céline Sciamma’s Naissance des Pieuvres (English title Water Lilies) and pretty much Catherine Breillat’s entire body of work. But I’ve certainly seen it elsewhere too — some of Eric Rohmer’s stuff, for instance, presents much the same view from a male perspective. The view is basically that the sexes are at war, that men are violent and possessive towards women in various ways, that women retaliate by using their feminine wiles to ensnare men, and that you just have to expect A Young Girl’s First Time to be an unpleasant experience with overtones of rape. None of that is entirely mistaken, and not all of it is likely avoidable, and you certainly see the same view in some Anglo-American independent movies as well, such as All Over Me (US, the Sichel sisters) and Fish Tank (UK, Andrea Arnold). Indeed, Fish Tank and Naissance des Pieuvres follow much the same route when it comes to resolving the supposed sex war for their young female protagonists. But the more prevalent attitude in, at least, the US cinema I’ve seen is that we can make all of these problems disappear by standing up and saying it ain’t so, and the French cinema I’ve seen goes to the other extreme, implying that this is just how things are and we have to accept the situation and work within its confines.
My strongest instincts tell me that the ‘typical French cinema’ attitude shouldn’t be taken outside the movie theatre, because it’ll just wind up justifying a messed-up set of beliefs. On the other hand, the ‘typical US cinema’ attitude is pie-in-the-sky. I’d like to think that facts rather than US-style rhetoric would help to establish a better set-up. For instance, La Puce and Naissance des Pieuvres all deal solemnly and at length with the hymen and the breaking thereof. But in fact, reports of hymen-breaking have been greatly exaggerated. Much of the time the hymen simply wears away gradually, all by itself, well before its owner gets round to inserting anything at all into her vagina. Pain and bleeding at first vaginal entry are far from inevitable, and they are often largely caused by the girl or woman in question’s being tense, nervous and unaroused, so that the vagina is not anywhere near as relaxed and lubricated as it needs to be to make entry comfortable the first or the five thousandth time. I didn’t know this growing up. Almost all girls don’t. Yet it’s not hard to explain, and making it more widely known would go a long way towards solving the problem, since exaggerated notions about ripping and gore are a major source of anxiety at first entry for girls.
Of course I’m forgetting the Swedes…a word in praise both of Lukas Moodysson’s film Fucking Åmål, which covers much of the same ground as the films I’ve mentioned above but provides a small-scale, practical happy ending, and of the Riksförbundet för sexuell upplysning / Swedish Society for Sexuality Education. Not that theirs is a perfect society either.

mr p

on brasseye surely some of the celebs must have known it was a spoof,what about the bit with gary lineker,on this picture there is a small child in the background,if you show this to a paedophile he will attack it to try to get to the child.and like mentioned the crab scene.the nspcc complained and tried to get the repeat cancelled,they spouted the usual c**p some victims were watching and felt the need to phone up,i think they really wanted it stopped because it exposed to a point the child abuse industry for what it is.


I always read your blog under proxy, usually Tor, just because that’s my practice with all MA-related material. So I’ve probably read you from a dozen or more countries in terms of IP address. I wouldn’t be the only one to do this. Sorry to mess up the stats.

Ethan Edwards

From an American perspective, there is a third Britishism in the campaign itself that can use some explanation: “Pants” means underwear. Americans use “pants” to refer to trousers or shorts, and “panties” (girls only) or “underpants” (either gender) to refer to underwear. Out of context, my first free association starting to read your post was that girls were being told not to wear skirts or dresses. My understanding is that the “underwear” meaning to “pants” is always there for Brits, who I suppose are nonetheless used to translating the “pants” from American culture into “trousers”.
In terms of content it seems like a fairly sensitive campaign. It is not reinforcing the “stranger danger” angle in specifying who might do unwanted touching, and rather explicitly doesn’t assume parents are safe. While it doesn’t say “yes means yes”, it certainly could have said, “You should never let anyone touch you there”. In the bits of it I’ve watched, it didn’t do that, leaving it as the child’s choice. Maybe they actually don’t want to make kids feel bad about playing doctor with peers.
One can doubt just how safe the solemn assurances are that a child can never get in trouble for talking about things that bother them. I suppose on balance it’s the right move, but to assume that there is no risk in telling other people about things your parents do that you don’t like is just not true.
I continue to believe that child sex abuse is a serious problem and do not believe that making children between the ages of 5 and 11 self-reflective about sharing their genitals with others is a bad thing. Whether it is worth society’s resources to launch a huge campaign on this subject given competing priorities is something I might doubt. But I see no political hay to be made in condemning the campaign. Society hears pedophiles say, “Hey, you really ought to tell the kids that they *can* share their private parts with whoever they want (not that we have anyone in particular in mind, you understand)”. This is not going to be well received. Even if your goal (unlike mine) is to change society so that adults are free to have sex with kids, it’s not going to advance your cause.


Tom is a heretic like Galileo whose views on heliocentrism weren’t well received either, he was accused of heresy and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

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