The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has released a statement calling for the Government to enforce advertising regulations in Australia regarding the sexualisation of children in advertising. The AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton has said that “self-regulation by the advertising industry is clearly not working”.
So why is the medical association getting involved in a marketing and advertising issue? Dr Hambleton explained that “there is strong evidence that premature sexualisation is likely to be detrimental to child health and development, particularly in the areas of body image and sexual health”.
Young teens, particularly young girls, are being targeted with the marketing. An advertisement for Oh! Lola perfume, which references Nabokov’s Lolita, was banned as inappropriate in Britain but allowed in Australia. In another ad, this time for menswear retailer Roger David, a young-looking girl was featured with the word ‘slave’ barcoded on her shoulder and a union-jack disk forcing her mouth open. The image was emailed around to subscribers on the Roger David email list, but was later withdrawn after being deemed ‘inappropriate’.
With social media spreading images which are “disturbing and sexually exploitative” much further than was possible a few years ago Dr Hambleton fears that the “various health problems with kids [such as] eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression” associated with exploitative advertising and marketing will continue to rise.
Have your say
Are you as horrified as Rachel by this issue? Or is her point of view completely over the top? Read Rachel’s blog post Let children be children and have your say in the comments.