“It’s a drip, drip effect,” argues Linda Papadopoulos, the psychologist commissioned by the Home Office in 2010 to write a review on the effects of sexualisation on young people. “It’s seeped into the everyday: fake breasts, fuck-me shoes … We are hypersexualising young girls, telling them that their desirability rests on being desired. They want to please at any cost.”
This series of quotations discovered in the guardian prompts in me one major question and that is “this woman is a psychologist?” Not (perhaps) a raving imbecile or a demented harpy? Or a drip drip? If fake breasts are ‘the everyday’ I have not myself noticed them, but the invention of ‘fuck me shoes’ is truly sensational. Fuck me! (one might declare) when seeing some shoes, certainly, but I have never in my life come across (or into or even all over) shoes that request me to fuck them. Of course, this might be a niche for a talented marketer to explore (speaking shoes in themselves would be innovative) but even shoes that invite the viewer to engage in sexual intercourse with the wearer by subliminal messaging would have some trouble in penetrating the mind of the average man. In my experience it is women who find shoes sexy and though particular styles of shoe might enforce or at least encourage for example wiggly walking and particular body postures, tensed calves and out-thrust chests etc etc they are probably not normal footwear for even the most advanced schoolgirl and would certainly be discouraged in any known or imaginable school except one dedicated to producing fashion models. To sexualise young girls would be alarming enough, but to ‘hypersexualise’ them seems to indicate that they are already and even normally ‘sexualised’, already set up as objects of the general lust of the masses and that the ‘hyper’ attached to this (surely already disturbing) ‘sexualisation’ indicates a further increase in an already established sexualisation – or could it be a desire by the speaker to sensationalise further – even perhaps to hypersensationalise an already exaggerated and sensationalised thesis. Then, in a linguistic coup of an almost bathetic nature we are led to believe that the speaker is surprised that ‘desirability’ depends on being ‘desired’. If the meaning of desirability is that something is to be desired (as I protest that it must be) then surely and without doubt this sentence is merely self referential hyperbole of a particularly alarmist and disreputable sort. Again I protest at the notion that this woman is a psychologist. Heaven help her patients, because with this level of subtlety, intelligence and skill in the use and interpretation of language she surely will not.