Innocence is up for sale

Innocence is up for sale

 By Patrick McGinnity, County Armagh, Northern Ireland




Patrick McGinnity often writes comments on articles concerning contemporary societal issues in Northern Ireland. He also writes letters to the Editors of several Irish newspapers. 

This piece was published on August 29, 2006 as a letter to the Editor at The Irish Independent.

It is reproduced here with the kind consent of the author.




One of the tragedies of our time is the war on childhood innocence being waged in contemporary western society.


At a time when sexual abuse of children is supposedly frowned upon, the sexualisation of nine and ten-year-olds is accepted with barely a whimper of protest. In your report 'Padded bras and sexy slogans: the latest hard-sell for children' (Irish Independent, August 26), you report that Penneys is selling padded bras aimed at girls aged just nine to 10 years, while Dunnes has figure-enhancing bras on sale for girls aged 10 and over.


Sex is big business and innocent children are seen as consumers to be targeted.

They are being dressed in provocative clothing and bombarded with sexual imagery from newspapers, magazines and television. Flogging sexy clothing to little girls who still hold colouring pencils in their hands boosts company profits.


The passive acceptance of this sexual grooming of children is in stark contrast to the hysteria during the recent statutory rape controversy. We were led to believe that the so-called spontaneous protests which took place at that time were motivated by a genuine desire to protect children. If so, we might expect that the sale of sexualised clothing to primary school girls would provoke a similar outcry.


Why can one form of child abuse generate such reaction while another is greeted with ambivalence?

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