Sexualisation's four faces: sexualisation and gender stereotyping in the Bailey Review

Meg Barker*, Robbie Duschinsky

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

    40 Citations (Scopus)
    16 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper explores the considerations of sexualisation and gender stereotyping in the recent UK government report Letting Children be Children. This report, the Bailey Review, claimed to represent the views of parents. However, closer reading reveals that, while the parents who were consulted were concerned about both the sexualisation and the gender stereotyping of products aimed at children, the Bailey Review focuses only on the former and dismisses the latter. ‘Sexualisation’ has four faces in the Bailey Review: it is treated as a process that increases (1) the visibility of sexual content in the public domain, (2) misogyny, (3) the sexuality of children, and (4) the mainstream position of ‘deviant’ sexual behaviours and lifestyles. Through this construction of ‘sexualisation’, gendered relations of power are not only hidden from view but also buttress a narrative in which young women are situated as children, and their sexuality and desire rendered pathological and morally unacceptable as judged by a conservative standard of decency. Comparison of the treatment of sexualisation and gender stereotyping in the review is revealing of the political motivations behind it, and of wider discourse in these areas.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)303-310
    JournalGender and Education
    Issue number3
    Early online date4 May 2012
    Publication statusPublished - May 2012


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