Ss the stars and their starry-eyed fans gathered for the premiere of the latest Star Wars movie , there were fears that the £2bn blockbuster may be too frightening for the young audience its 12A
rating will target.
With villagers slaughtered, characters tortured and an entire planet obliterated in one shot, The Force Awakens paints a picture of a very violent universe. Experts say the film looks to be far more graphic
than the original trilogy from the 1970s and 1980s which was billed as a fairy tale style adventure
As the on-screen body count mounts, parents have been urged to consider whether they should take young children to see it.
And by 'experts' the Daily Mail is referring to the likes of Vivienne Pattison, director of Mediawatch UK, who wailed:
Many parents will remember the original Star Wars films of the 1970s and 1980s,
which were lower ratings. Of course, what made a PG then is very different to what makes a PG now and I think that's part of the problem actually.
They would have been under a lot of pressure actually to get a 12A because it means
they will be able to sell more tickets. It means that as a parent you are expected to go a see a film first to decide whether it's suitable for your child.
A Scottish Government survey found that young adults are three times less likely to object to porn than their parents' generation and seven times less than their grandparents'.
In a poll of attitudes, only 6%of 18-29-year-olds said that watching porn
was always wrong, compared with 25% among older age groups.
Vivienne Pattison, director of moralist campaign group Mediawatch-UK, said:
This very sad trend comes as no surprise because this is the first
generation that has had access to porn at the click of a mouse, 24/7.
In previous eras, it was little more than pictures of naked ladies; whereas today's material is often violent and misogynistic.
Government poll interviewed nearly 1,500 adults across all age groups, asking how wrong it was for an adult to watch pornography at home. In all, 21% said it was always wrong. Among the over 65s, however, the figure was 44% and 18% for those aged
40 to 69. It was 17% for people in their 30s, but only 6% for the youngest age group.
Meanwhile, those on higher incomes and with better qualifications were more accepting of pornography.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 is a 2015 USA Sci-Fi adventure by Francis Lawrence. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth.
The BBFC rated the cinema release as 12A uncut for moderate violence, threat.
The Daily Mail has a
rather half-hearted knock at this 12A certificate:
With a bombing of families, monsters eating people alive and a public execution, it hardly seems ideal viewing for children.
But film censors
appear to think otherwise, giving the latest instalment of The Hunger Games a 12A classification, meaning it can be seen by children of primary school age accompanied by an adult.
In one scene, the main characters are involved in
a gruesome fight with monsters with no eyes and razor-sharp teeth during which one man is eaten alive.
In another, young families are targeted by bombs, disguised as gifts, causing mass death and destruction. Such scenes have
fuelled the debate about whether 12A classifications give enough protection to young people.
The Daily Mail dragged up a few trivial sound bites from censorial campaigners, including a rare comment from Mediawatch-UK.
Knights, of the charity Kidscape, said of the latest film:
I wonder why it wasn't given a more robust rating. Many parents wouldn't take their children to something like this, but because it's a 12A they might not be
expecting it to be this way.
The danger is that these scenes become normal. They become desensitised and the level of gore and violence becomes normalised.
Vivienne Pattison, director of lobby group Mediawatch
The industry is terribly keen to get things through as a 12A, as suddenly you've doubled your market potentially.
There have been quite a few 12A films recently that I just don't think
you'd want to take an eight-year-old to see, although it's perfectly legal to do so.
Channels Five's new series, Body Donors features two cancer victims who have agreed to donate their bodies to medical science after they die. They consented to be filmed both before and after their deaths.
One is former diver Mike Bowyer.
Footage shows him being taken to the University of Liverpool in a body bag. His corpse is washed and shaved as he is prepared for medics and students. He is then pumped with embalming fluid to preserve his body for up to three years.
Pattison, director of Mediawatch, said: It may cause some distress.
A show spokesman added: There is an appropriate warning at the beginning.
Warning Explicit Content: Rihanna fully nude and bloody on quest for revenge in Bitch Better Have My Money music video
The seven-minute video was rated for mature
audiences for its language, nudity and violence.
The Mail then continues giving a full illustrated synopsis of the video. And strangely the description is straightforward and totally lacking in the flowery prose of Daily Mail
The Guardian adds:
Depending on which commentator or social media spat you choose, the video, viewed 12 million times since its release, is either an empowering challenge to music industry
stereotypes or a racist and gory piece of misogyny.
Predictably, BBHMM ignited a furious debate. A headline on Refinery29 declared the video Not Safe For Work or Feminists while Twitter accused Rihanna of glorifying
violence against women, and condemned the kidnapped female trope. Rolling Stone was attacked for praising the video and crediting the two minor male roles while not even giving a name to the actress who plays the main role.
general the newspapers seem disappointingly unoutraged. Rihanna needs to try a bit harder.
Update: Repulsive new video for her repulsive single
Rihanna and a video that should turn all mothers' stomachs: 'Concerned parent', [and wife of the government's chief whip] Sarah Vine, on the star's latest song that glorifies murder, torture, drug-taking, guns and racial stereotyping
When I first watched Rihanna's repulsive new video for her repulsive single, Bitch Better Have My Money , it had only had a couple of million views. It was last Wednesday, in fact, shortly after Nick Grimshaw had mentioned it
on his Radio 1 Breakfast Show.
Even Grimshaw seemed a little bit shocked -- and he's not exactly a prude. It had made him feel proper sick, he said. Hmm, I thought to myself. Better check this one out.
A civilised society learns to censor such things for the greater good of all who live in it.
Without such boundaries, we are little more than savages. And Rihanna
reminds us just how far we have fallen.
British made online music videos are to being given age ratings. The BBFC, which is running the initiative, has estimated that one in five videos released will be deemed unfit for those under 12. Video sharing sites YouTube and Vevo have signed up to
the scheme and pledged to include the warnings on clips uploaded to their sites. Vevo puts the rating in the top corner of the video, while YouTube includes it in the information beneath.
However some of the world's raunchiest performers, such as
Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, are not covered by the scheme and there are no measures in place to enforce the guidelines. A spokesman for Vevo said:
There is no signing in as such or filters -- although this is a next step
that may be added in time. At the moment this is about giving parents and users the information they need to make a more informed viewing choice and decision. To be effective it requires that parents also take an active interest in what their children
Rapper Dizzee Rascal has scored a first, his video Couple of Stacks is the first and so far the only 18 rating under the initiative for strong bloody violence, gore, very strong language . The three and a
half minute clip contains extreme violence with the rapper ripping the heart out of a stripping woman, brandishing a knife while covered in blood and decapitating a woman whose body then stumbles around the room. He also holds a family hostage and
serves a cake with severed fingers instead of candles. He is shown pulling out a person's eyeball, slitting one woman's throat and cutting another's head in half.
Vivienne Pattison, a moralist campaigner from Media Watch-UK, said:
When parents are surveyed, the two areas that came up as being particularly problematic were soap operas and music videos, those are the two areas that come up again and again as the issue. One in five, that's a huge number of videos.
What happens is one video pushes the boundaries and the next artists is under pressure to do the same in order to get people talking about it. It becomes a great merry-go-round and I think that is a fantastic illustration of
exactly where this is gone, it's quite extraordinary.
It's not a magic bullet but it's a fantastic step and I think it will really make a difference. I don't know where we will end up down the line but I would like this to act as
a kite mark for music videos. This is not a move about censorship, the videos will all still be there, but I think artists and record companies need to take seriously that if they are targeting young fans they have got to do it responsibly.
On the lack of enforcement of the ratings, she said: You can't go into a shop and buy a 15 rated film without ID and we need to see about extending those protections online.
Ann Summers has removed some Fifty Shades of Grey-style posters from its windows following whinges from mothers and bullying campaigners.
The high street lingerie chain confirmed several branches, located near stores targeted at children such as
Mothercare and Build-A-Bear, have removed the images.
The posters, which were rolled out in all 142 Ann Summers stores several weeks ago, show a woman kneeling on a red sofa, dressed in a cut-away leotard that at first glance looks like she is just wearing nipple tassels, but in fact she is wearing a bra
with a cap design over the area of the nipple.
She is holding a large leather whip and striking a pose next to a handcuffed man in his underpants.
Mothers and campaigners ludicrously complained that the pornographic images could be
easily seen by children
Vivienne Pattison of moralist campaign group Mediawatch-UK said her group had made complaints about nine branches of Ann Summers.
As a result the posters have been removed from stores in Milton Keynes, Wimbledon,
Sutton, Norwich, Eastbourne, Taunton, and the Ann Summers stores in all 18 Intu Chapelfield shopping centres. A spokesman for Ann Summers confirmed the company has had six complaints from its retail stores and fewer than 20 complaints via email or
Pattison claimed the campaign potentially breached the recommendations made by the 2011 Bailey Review into the sexualisation of children. She spouted:
We are used to seeing the windows of Ann Summers
featuring lingerie but this image, featuring a bare breasted (except for nipple tassels) model goes too far and is inappropriate for display in places which are likely to have numbers of children present.
Any child passing this
image will be subject to its overt sexual messaging and imagery. Government guidelines for retailers in the Bailey Review state that sexualised images should not be displayed in children's eye line.
This government has done much
to address the early sexualisation of children in our society and Ann Summers needs to be made aware that it too has a responsibility in this regard.
Christian pastor Paul Burns joined and said he was 'shocked' to see the display on
his way to church. He said:
I watched four separate families pull their children away from this window display. It has whips, it has a woman basically degraded with what you would expect to see in a porn film that
people buy to watch. It is not what you expect to see in a family shopping centre.
Kathy McGuinness, founder of the two year old anti-sexualisation campaign group, Child's Eye Line UK, whinged about the poster continuing to be displayed at the Staines store:
They are pushing the boundaries and it's
all about profit. They don't care about children. You've got parents wheeling children around shopping centres and they shouldn't have to deal with it. It may be okay for adults to see it, or not, but for a child it's very confusing.
They want to make as big an impact as possible, and it's pushing the boundaries. How is that fair for children? This shows a sexualised image which is damaging to children and is unacceptable in the High Street.
The guidelines are there for a good reason after extensive research. It's irresponsible in a family-friendly shopping centre. Ann Summers is refusing to act and the only reason the posters are coming down is because the shopping
centres have shamed them into it.
Ann Summers is yet to make a responsible decision and is only doing so when it is enforced where local shopping centres have applied pressure.
The Two Rivers Shopping Centre
said it had not received any complaints, but it has been in contact with the lingerie store about the poster and is awaiting a reply from its head office.
Mediawatch-UK has made the inevitable blog entry about Fifty Shades of Grey and kindly adds some fine piffle to the hype for the movie. The morality campaigners write:
The book on which this film was based glamorised
and legitimised both sexual and domestic violence. With the mainstream release and promotion of this film opinion makers, the media and celebrities are legitimising this violence too.
Sexual violence and sexual exploitation are at
an all time high, permeating our culture by way of hardcore pornography. This film further legitimises them despite the fact that making violence sexy has significant consequences to individuals, relationships and society.
This film also perpetuates the
fairy tale that women can fix violent, controlling men by being obedient and loving.
Violence is violence and inflicting sexual violence is not sexy. While this should be a black-and-white truth, this film is selling
it in all shades of grey.
The BBFC has given the film an 18 certificate because it contains strong sex and nudity, along with the portrayal of erotic role play based on domination, submission and sado-masochistic practices .
We'd like to amend this to read: Promotes torture as sexually gratifying, encourages stalking and abuse of power, promotes female inequality, glamorises and legitimises violence against women.
ITV's This Morning unveiled a segment called Bondage For Beginners , which featured a live demonstration of 50 Shades of Grey inspired sex toys
Phillip Schofield had warned viewers shortly after 10.30am that they would be discussing
bondage equipment in three stages -- beginners, intermediate and advanced -- throughout the show with sexpert Annabelle Knight. However he assured them it would be done in good taste .
And a few miserable viewers were inevitably not
amused and took to Twitter to air a few inane and trivial comments. They ludicrously described the programme's content as pornographic and ridiculously inappropriate for daytime TV.
TV censor Ofcom said afterwards that it had received 70
complaints and was assessing whether to start an investigation.
Vivienne Pattison, director of Mediawatch UK, said the show had set a dangerous example:
It's not enough to say most children will be at school [at
that time] because that's just not good enough.
Quite apart from issues of taste and the fact that people might not want to speak to their children about this, I think it is dangerous to normalise this kind of behaviour. [50
Shades Of Grey] is putting across ideas that humiliation is pleasurable and torture is gratifying and I don't think those are healthy for anybody at all.
But if it is dangerous for adults then it is doubly dangerous for children
An ITV spokesman said:
This Morning is a lifestyle programme that covers a diverse range of human interest topics. The programme has dealt with advice on sexual matters many times in
the past, and a suitable announcement was given at the start.
ITV daytime show This Morning is to be investigated by media regulator Ofcom after it offered viewers a lesson in bondage for beginners featuring sex toys inspired by hit film, Fifty Shades of Grey.
Ofcom said it had 120 complaints
from viewers about the item, fronted by the programme's regular presenters Christine Bleakely and Philip Schofield along with sexpert Annabelle Knight, featuring bondage equipment and other X-rated topics.
The regulator said it was
investigating whether the programme was suitable for broadcast before the 9pm watershed.