I was having a browse in the Marks and Spencer lingerie section this afternoon. I don’t personally find that M&S bras fit me terribly well, but with Belle approaching those awkward teenage years I thought I would check out the training bra section, just to see what I was getting myself into.

What I was looking for was that next step up from the crop top – something that’s barely worth wearing but that makes the teenager wearing it feel like they’re not just wearing a vest. What I wasn’t expecting to find was padded, underwired bras in a size 28AA.

Padded and underwired??

28AA isn’t even a size, so why on earth does it need underwiring? What the hell would a child need padding for??

I kept looking, sure that I must be missing something, but absolutely every entry level bra they had was either padded or ‘moulded’. I’m not sure what the technical definition of moulded is but it basically seemed to be another word for padded. It certainly wasn’t the soft, flexible cotton I was hoping for.

I asked a member of staff, wondering if I was looking in the wrong section, and even they were confused.

“Hmmm,” she said, “it doesn’t look like we have anything without wire. You don’t really need underwiring at this age.”

No, you do not, so why make teeny tiny underwired bras at all??

“I was really looking for something a little less inappropriate,” I said, “something without padding.”

The sales assistant agreed.

“Absolutely,” she said, “you want something soft and without wires.”

We both looked at the racks of mini push-up bras sadly.

“We don’t have any of those,” she said.

Am I being unreasonable to be so outraged by this? At what point did a design team sit down and think “I know, let’s create a range of underwear for pre-teens, girls barely out of primary school, that completely sexualises them unnecessarily and is uncomfortable! Hoorah!”

Just awful.

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I know that I’m not always the best of parents – Belle eats more chocolate chip brioche than is probably good for her, and I’m not known for my consistency – but there are some things I just think of as wrong. Kids playing adult video games is one of these things.

children playing adult video games

Belle likes video games as much as the next 12 year old, but she plays games that involve her designing a stable for a pony and racing it to win rosettes, she isn’t on the streets of America, raping and shooting prostitutes – she is 12 years old.

I was appalled to read today that a shocking 30% of parents admit to buying adult video games for their childrenThirty percent?? Let’s think for a minute and put that into perspective – that’s nearly a third of parents happily letting their impressionable children arm themselves to the hilt and spend their spare time being violent and abusive. I know it’s not real life, but the whole point is that at that age, how easy is it for you to make that distinction? How can we possibly be sure that exposure to violence like this isn’t going to have an impact on our children’s growing minds?

The research was conducted by My Voucher Codes and some of the other findings are just as scary – only 23% of parents would stop a child going to a friend’s house where they knew they would have access to adult video games and only 64% would stop a visiting child playing age inappropriate games in their own home; it seems our children aren’t safe anywhere.

These games have age ratings for a reason – they have been looked at by experts and deemed unsuitable for children. What parent would deliberately want to let their children immerse themselves in these worlds?

How do you feel about children playing adult video games?

Photo credit – video games from file404/shutterstock

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I heard a story on BBC Somerset last week that for some reason really wound me up. It was about three local cemeteries approving the use of QR codes on gravestones. After a little bit of research I discovered that this has been a thing for a while now, but it was the first I had heard of it and it made me inexplicably irate.

The idea is pretty harmless – scan the QR code and you can find out more about the person buried there. Nothing offensive in that is there? So why did it make me feel so uncomfortable?

Gravestones View Post

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I call myself a feminist.

I complain about the representation of women in politics and share my thoughts on pornography and the sex industry, but these are all big issues. I’m not saying they aren’t important, of course they are, but they are the bigger picture.

Recently though I’ve started noticing more everyday sexism than ever before. Partly I think it’s because I’m in a relatively new relationship and this always makes you look at the world in a new way, but it has also had a very tangible impact, not because of anything my boyfriend has said or done himself, (he is always thoughtful, courteous and kind), but because of how his presence impacts how people see me.

I’m used to doing things for myself and by myself. As a single mother I may not always be treated in the same way as a man, but I’ve not often found myself in situations where I am able to make exact comparisons. Now though, with a well spoken, 6′ 1″ man at my side, it has become very obvious indeed.

Here’s an example… View Post

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I watched The Voice last year for the very first time and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was let down only by the simpering Kylie, draping herself provocatively over every young man within a ten metre radius.

This season then I was looking forward to something different, so imagine my despair when it turned out that Rita Ora was even worse. Seriously, did you see her with the firefighter? It was pathetic.

It’s not just pathetic, it’s actually offensive. If she was a man behaving this way with women would we think it was acceptable? What would we have to say to a man who felt it appropriate to go up onto the stage and start touching one of the contestants in a bid to secure them for his team? View Post

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