This article in the TES discusses the phenomenon of Playboy branded goods that are aimed at children and brought into schools as stationery or clothing / accessories to be used or worn in the classroom.

The writer agonises over how this thorny issue should be dealt with. Do we ignore it because it is too hard to deal with? Or do we bin the bunny?

A local headteacher told me: “We can’t address the issue because the whole problem with it is that it creates an association between children and an entirely adult phenomenon. It is hard to explain things to children without exposing them to what we are trying to protect them from.”

It will surprise no-one that my preferred solution is – bin the damn bunny. Merchandise that is associated with the porn industry is not suitable for children to be using or playing with or wearing. And even if their parents can turn a blind eye and go along with the “oh what a cute bunny” story, the school does not have to.

Schools in the UK have banned Harry Potter; braided hair; the song “Imagine”; Christmas cards; Pokemon – remember that? I do…; and (nearly) chips. To name but a few. How much more sensible would it be for a primary school to ban porn-branded merchandise?

As for the explaining, well that isn’t hard.

You write a note to parents – schools are good at writing notes to parents – and you say that exposing children to pornography brands is not appropriate, and then request that they do not allow their children to bring Playboy items to school.

Simple.

And if your school is too wet for that, you can always try explaining it to the children. Contrary to the suggestion in the article, it is surely NOT hard to do this in a way that avoids “exposing” children to sex or pornography.

You don’t have to show someone pornography in order to explain that it is Not Cool. And, if you are dealing with pre-sex-ed* children where even mentioning sex is tricky, you don’t even have to do that either!

[* Note, come the revolution, when I rule the world, there will be no such thing. Sex education starts early in our house.]

For example, when a little girl asks you with furrowed brow: “Is Playboy rude?” you could just say “Yes, it is.” If pressed further you say that Playboy is a company that makes pictures and films which many people think are Not Cool even for grownups, never mind for children (a bit like smoking). If pressed to explain why these pictures and films are Not Cool, you explain that they show people doing adults things and they are often shown acting in ways that are not very realistic and not very loving or respectful, which is something that many people find upsetting and confusing.

Simple.

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