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Young Girls Subject To 'Bullying And Slut Shaming' In Schools, According To Dr Jessica Ringrose

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Young girls and women are subject to "slut shaming" and sexual bullying in schools, according to research from an academic and former advisor to the Home Office.

Dr Jessica Ringrose, senior lecturer in the sociology of gender and education at the Institute of Education, writes in a book launched on Wednesday, that girls in schools are facing "gendered violence and sexual bullying."

"We found quite a lot of sexual bullying, touching up girls, pushing them down. If you have those ideas of objectification then these translate into real life.

sexting

Young girls and women are subject to "slut shaming" and sexual bullying in schools

"I don't know if it's worse now, but sexual double standards manifest themselves in new ways because of different technology. Banning mobile phones is not the issue, better sex education is the issue," she told The Huffington Post UK.

"There's a long way [for feminism] to go if you look at what's happening in our schools. Like the fact that if a girl is understood to be sexually promiscuous she is shamed whereas a male counterpart would be rewarded. Girls are morally suspect for sexual activity."

The book, Postfeminist Education, draws on two research projects structured around qualitative interviews with teenage girls, in years 8-10 (between 13 and 15), to explore the atmosphere in which young girls are growing up in today.

Dr Ringrose, who advised the Home Office during its 2010 review into sexualisation of young people, argues in her book young girls can’t do well in school if they do not have "a positive sense of self, and feel safe and free from issues of gendered violence and sexual bullying."

"Gender equality issues need to be central on the educational agenda, and throughout the curriculum," she writes.

Diane Abbott, responding Dr Ringrose's to the suggestion that sex education needed to be improved, she was concerned about the "pornification" of British culture.

"A number of recent events – including the Jimmy Savile revelations, the recent political debate around abortion, and the PIP breast implant scandal – have revealed a darker side of British culture, in which the sexualisation of women and young girls is entrenched, and yet women who fall victims to problems within this culture are often seemingly cast-aside, silenced and delegitimised," she said.

"I think we’re seeing the ‘pornification’ of British culture. Too many young girls are absorbing from the popular culture around them that they only have value as sex objects."

Responding to Ringrose, Conservative MP Amber Rudd, who is conducting a parliamentary inquiry into contraception, told The Huffington Post UK she supported better sex education.

"I wholeheartedly support the need to move forward "sex education" in schools on from the biological facts, which young people tell us they are getting, to include advice and information about personal relationships and consent in sexual activity."

Simon Blake OBE, Chief Executive of Brook said: "Young people tell us that their experiences of growing up are often very different to the traditional stereotypes played out in the media and the classroom. We know these mixed messages can undermine their self confidence and self-esteem and we must ensure that relationships and sex education in schools and the community and sexual health services address the needs of both young men and women.

"Brook believes that only by putting gender at the heart of the development and implementation of policy and practice will we meet the needs of young people, reach public policy targets and priorities, and achieve the sort of change which will enable young people to have more mutual and equal relationships."