David Bowie was a musical genius. He was also involved in child sexual exploitation.

In the 1970s, David Bowie, along with Iggy Pop, Jimmy Page, Bill Wyman, Mick Jagger and others, were part of the ‘Baby Groupies’ scene in LA. The ‘Baby Groupies’ were 13 to 15 year old girls who were raped by male rock stars. The names of these girls are easily searchable online but I will not share them here as all victims of rape deserve anonymity.

The ‘Baby Groupie‘ scene was about young girls being prepared for sexual exploitation (commonly refereed to as grooming) and then sexually assaulted and raped. Even articles which make it clear that the music industry ” ignor(ed), and worse enabl(ed), a culture that still allows powerful men to target young girls” celebrate that culture and minimise the choices of adult men to rape children and those who chose to look away. This is what male entitlement to sexual access to the bodies of female children and adults looks like. It is rape culture.

David Bowie is listed publicly as the man that one teenage girl ‘lost her virginity’ too.*

We need to be absolutely clear about this, adult men do not ‘have sex’ with 13 to 15 year old girls. It is rape. Children cannot consent to sex with adult men – even famous rock stars. Suggesting this is due to the ‘context’ of 70s LA culture is to wilfully ignore the history of children being sexually exploited by powerful men. The only difference to the context here was that the men were musicians and not politicians, religious leaders, or fathers.

Unlike the other musicians listed above, there is only one allegation about David Bowie. But one allegation is enough. There is no sliding scale of what is acceptable for child sexual exploitation.

Those who surrounded these musicians are equally guilty of failing to protect children. Many others actively participated in the sexual exploitation of children. Others knew and did nothing. Naming musicians is a start, but we also need to fundamentally change the music industry since child sexual exploitation and rape did not end on January 1, 1980 – as the allegations against Micheal Jackson, R. Kelly and the conviction of Ian Watkins make clear.

David Bowie was an incredible musician who inspired generations. He also participated in a culture where children were sexually exploited and raped. This is as much a part of his legacy as his music.


*Her age is listed as somewhere between 13-15 depending on the sources.

We need to stop using the word paedophile

Ugandan girls giving up education in hope of being provided for – by paedophiles

This is the headline to a recent article in the Independent, which clearly demonstrates the serious failures of understanding in the differences between child rape and paedophilia. The article is actually about the sexual exploitation, grooming, and rape of teenage girls in Uganda. These girls are removed from school and then abandoned when they become pregnant or develop sexually transmitted diseases or simply no longer exploitable.

Using the word paedophilia does nothing to assist in clarifying the abuse which is happening; rather it serves only to insist on a narrative of othering perpetrators. Using the term child rape or sexual exploitation and rape of teenage girls would make the situation equally clear and would not conflate the psychological disorder of paedophilia (which is a sexual attraction to prepubescent girls and those with the disorder may not act on it) and the men, without psychological disorders, who choose to abuse, sexually exploit and rape children and teenagers.

Let us be clear, it is normal men who commit this abuse because they feel entitled to sexual access to teenage girls and who have no problem whatsoever in abandoning these girls. This is child sexual exploitation and grooming. They are denied an education and many are then isolated from their communities. It doesn’t need to be conflated with paedophilia to be considered serious. It is a serious crime in and of itself.

Liz Kelly’s Weasel Words which is published in Trouble & Strife is a must read on this topic:

Immediately the word paedophile appears we have moved away from recognition of abusers as ‘ordinary men’—fathers, brothers, uncles, colleagues—and are returned to the more comfortable view of them as ‘other’, a small minority who are fundamentally different from most men. The fact that they have lives, kinship links and jobs disappears from view in the desire to focus on their difference. Attention shifts immediately from the centrality of power and control to notions of sexual deviance, obsession and ‘addiction’. Paedophilia returns us to the medical and individualised explana­tions which we have spent so much time and energy attempting to deconstruct and challenge. Rather than sexual abuse demanding that we look critically at the social construction of masculinity, male sexuality and the family, the safer terrain of ‘abnormality’ beckons.

Even Brownies has been pornified

Small is a Brownie. I’m not overly-enthused by the commitment to the Queen twaddle in the Brownie promise but the girl-only space more than compensates for any pro-monarchy drivel. This morning, at that grand hour of 6:47, Small woke me up to discuss what my Brownie uniform looked like as a child. Being way too early, I used Safari to google images instead of the child-friendly one I normally use with her (not that the child-friendly one isn’t without problems – it doesn’t allow any images for small children so we’ve had to set the parental controls at high school so she can look at pictures of kittens).

This is what I expected to find:

Unknown Unknown 1 Unknown 2

This is what I found:

brownie 1 images 2

 imagesimages 1

Some of these are marketed as hen night outfits. It just makes me so very sad that even an outfit designed for 7-10 year old girls has been sexualised. Who finds an organisation created to help young girls grow confidence in themselves, nurture friendships and become responsible citizens sexy? At what point do people start to recognise the harms of pornography?

Because, “sexy” outfits using children’s characters is beyond creepy. It looks like child sexual exploitation – grooming children.

Nick Ross: There is no such thing as Child Porn

I didn’t think Nick Ross could say anything more offensive but it turns out he’s worse than I originally thought. He’s not just a misogynist, he’s also a racist. I’ve reproduced the Telegraph article on Ross’ appearance at the Hay Festival below. Even if the Telegraph has gone for the most extreme out-of-context quotes, Ross is a deeply hateful man. Ross has gone for the “police aren’t institutionally racist, West Indians are more likely to mug people” construction of crime. 30 years as a journalist heading Crimewatch and he thinks that skin colour and community dictates criminality . I would write further about that one comment but, frankly, that’s just the level of stupid I would expect from a man peddling rape myths in the Daily Mail.
Ross also suggests he might peruse some child porn, if offered, just to see what the fuss is all about. Yep, he wants to peruse some “child porn” to see what the fuss is about. 
“Child porn” does not exist. 
Ross wants to view images of children being sexually assaulted, raped and tortured just to see what the fuss is about.
He wants to view images of 2 year old children being raped until their pelvises break. 
He wants to view images of a 5 year old child being sodomised.
He wants to view images of a 12 year old child being gang raped.
That is the reality of “child porn”
It is the violent sexual and physical abuse of children.
It is not something that normal people view because they are “curious”.
It’s what violent, hateful men think is entertainment.
Ross needs to shut the fuck up.
The Telegraph article
Speaking at The Telegraph Hay Festival, Ross, who provoked censure last week with his views on rape, claimed that all humans were essentially curious.
“We’re all inquisitive,” he said. “I had never seen, until I started working on Crimewatch, child pornography.
“I think if someone came to me and said: ‘Would you like to see what all the fuss is about?’, I’m sorry, I probably would say yes.”
Ross referred to a study in which internet users clicked on links to extreme pornography even if they had not searched for it.
He said: “Does this tell us that we’re all awful? I think not.”
The presenter courted further controversy when he claimed some races were more likely to commit certain crimes. He argued that there was no evidence of institutional racism in the police force, claiming instead that West Indians were simply more likely to mug people.
Ross had already admitted at the festival that his views were likely to get him into “hot water” again.
Last week, he was criticised for his comments on rape, when he compared “provocatively dressed” women to a bank “storing sacks of cash by the door”.
Yesterday, he urged critics to read his book, Crime and How to Solve It, and Why So Much of What We’re Told is Wrong. He discussed the relevance of race to crime, claiming that particular ethnic minorities had a tendency to commit certain offences.
He said there was no evidence of institutional racism in the police force simply that some minorities were likely to commit certain crimes.
“We’re very bad pickpockets in this country,” he said. “We’re incredibly good at car crime. It does seem that contact crimes of the sort people don’t like, such as mugging, are specifically of some communities from the West Indies.
“Does that mean they’re worse than us? No. Does that mean they’re less moral, than us? No. It just means they’re not very good at pick pocketing, they do this sort of crime.”

The New Minnie Mouse: Just Reinforcing the Patriarchal Fuckability Test

I was fairly creeped out by these “sexed up” Sesame Street character costumes for women. I can’t think of anything worse than women dressing up as “sexy” versions of children’s cartoon characters. Turns out I’m really naive because there is a whole industry of selling these kinds of costumes. I don’t get how this is even remotely sexual and I would rather scrub these images right out of my brain. The thing is lots of retailers, including Amazon, sell these kinds of costumes. If you google search Minnie Mouse costumes, you will get links to these kinds of outfits. They are easily available for all kids to find. It’s just another way sexualise childhood for girls.

I also don’t think it’s difficult to over-emphasise the problematic relationship between these kinds of costumes and the “new” Minnie Mouse campaign of Barneys New York. She is ultra thin, tall and glamorous. She is everything that Minnie Mouse, and the other Disney characters, were not. Despite quite a lot of activism to get Disney and Barneys to stop running this sexualised Minnie Mouse campaign, the companies have dismissed concerns:

“We are saddened that activists have repeatedly tried to distort a lighthearted holiday project in order to draw media attention to themselves,” Disney and Barneys said in a joint statement to the News.

“They have deliberately ignored previously released information clearly stating this promotion is a three-minute ‘moving art’ video featuring traditional Minnie Mouse in a dreamlike sequence set in Paris where she briefly walks the runway as a model and then happily awakens as her normal self wearing the very same designer dress from the fashion show.”

Neither Disney nor Barneys want to acknowledge the problem of the sexualisation of young girls. They see only a 3 minute video where Minnie Mouse pretends to be a model. I see a culture which punishes women who don’t conform to the Patriarchal Fuckability Test. I see a culture which prevents little girls from being children by focusing on their appearance rather than their person. I see a culture which tells women they aren’t important unless they are pretty.

Disney and Barneys might think it’s just a silly video. I see the increasing pornification of society. It breaks my heart to see little girls being taught that they are worth nothing unless a man wants to fuck them.

There is a petition here requesting that retailers stop selling sexy Halloween costumes for young girls. I don’t know what it will change but I signed. Because I wanted my voice to be heard.

Sesame Street Goes Porn

Well, it’s not actually Sesame Street who have joined the porn industry but some enterprising Dude, and it’s always a Dude, has decided that Halloween is not complete without women dressed up in pornified versions of Sesame Street characters.* Even creepier is the fact that these are ostensibly all male characters. I mean, I know, Sesame Street is a male-dominated show but they couldn’t think of a single female character to pornify. Not that I want any Sesame Street characters pornified. It is just way too creepy. And, yes, I am over-using the word creepy, but, come on, this is quintessentially creepy. There is no other word to describe this level of porn.
Also, whoever came up with this idea is pretty much a pervert. I don’t like making snap judgements about people’s sexual preferences but looking at Oscar the Grouch and thinking tits is perverted. And creepy. And, probably in need of some serious therapy. 
I do wonder about copyright laws. Don’t Sesame Street have to approve the use of their images for commercial purposes or does Yandy get around this by selling the masks separately? I really, really hope this isn’t something that Sesame Street approved but nothing would surprise me now.

* If you aren’t already following the Reel Girl blog you should be. It is brilliant.