Charlotte Avery, the headteacher of St Mary's School in Cambridge is concerned that students have a very small pool of appropriate role models to choose from, resulting in pop stars, models and footballers wives and girlfriends being held up as examples to follow and media attention held up as the goal. "I do think we want a variety of role models out there, not simply models or pop stars or footballers' wives...We actually want women who have an identity of their own, say for example sportswomen. They are advocating a lifestyle which is one of dedication and hard work, and that actually failure along the way is part of the route to success."
"I think we need to look at female role models in public life, so last year we invited in Sheila Stuart, who had been mayor of Cambridge twice. I think we need to be looking at women locally, so celebrate your mother or your sister within families. Who are the role models we aspire to? A grandmother, an aunt...It's important to get local role models, models within a town or city...At the moment, there is a gross under-representation of the majority of types of people and a gross over-representation of a very false image, and I think for a society that is very toxic..."
This follows on from Jim Gamble, former head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre said he believed that sexualised pop stars were more of a threat than online porn to children.
You sung about love or you sung about sex and when you sang about sex it was very plausible.
In what some might call pop's more innocent times, when the stars would begin cracking out woolly Christmas jumpers on Top of the Pops round about now, maybe posing for teen magazines hugging a stuffed animal or frolicking with puppies things were more black and white. You sung about love or you sung about sex and when you sang about sex it was very plausible.
Nowadays the get-ups stars are strapped into are, while skimpy, in no way going to lead to a quickie round the back of the stage set. There is a suggestion of flesh but also a suggestion of never fully naked. Never knowingly nude. Never knowingly enjoying sex. And certainly never nude and happy. Rather just a hint of availability.
There is no lyricism over mutual enjoyment of sex, of discussion over contraception - something TLC proved rhymed with an infinite amount of words. It's all about presentation.
GirlGuiding's Girls' Attitudes Survey 2013 - Sexism, Harassment and equality: The Daily Reality for UK's Girls demonstrates this switch from Madonna, Lisa Left Eye Lopes and Salt N' Pepa to a different kind of sexy pop that demands attention but not attention to pleasure: but 'did you see me just kiss that girl just then?! No reason I just felt like it. But if you missed it, it's on Instagram #nofilter.'
With this survey's statistics showing girls noticing the importance placed on their looks by others - 87 per cent of girls aged 11-21 think women are judged more on their appearance than on their ability. 60% of 11-21s have had comments about their appearance shouted at them at school, while 62% per cent have been shouted or whistled at in the street. 70% of girls aged 13 and over report more intrusive forms of sexual harassment at school or college, including: sexual jokes or taunts (51%), seeing images of girls or women that made them uncomfortable (39%), unwanted sexual attention (28%) and unwanted touching (28%) - it is clear that the manner in which sex or sexuality is currently presented in pop and the media is cloaked in a mystery of perfection.
Pop isn't sex mad it's shiny surfaces mad and that's what is damaging. This isn't a case of cover up, it's a case of blowing the lid off this sanitised sexy we're being shown today.