Parents oppose soft porn logo marketing to teens
Angry parents and teachers in Ireland have launched a campaign against retailers in a battle to have Playboy bunny merchandise aimed at teenage girls removed from store shelves.
CatholicIreland.net reports that the emblem of Hugh Heffner's soft porn empire has become increasingly popular over the past few years, appearing on t-shirts, bags and stationery for girls as young as 12 years old. Stationery products are displayed in major chain stores amidst other items clearly aimed at younger girls, such as Winnie the Pooh.
Irish National Parents Council Post Primary vice-president Jim Jackman called the items "shocking stuff" and said, "You would wonder is there any ethics remaining in the retail business any more, or is profit and greed the only value that exists any longer?"
Martin Black, general manager and spokesperson for Eason & Son, said the products are very popular with 12-14 year-old girls and claimed young teenagers do not associate the Playboy symbol with pornography.
But Barbara Johnston, mother and spokesperson for the National Congress of Catholic Schools Parent Associations, said that "as adults we recognise it as the playboy symbol" and said the solution was "common sense parenting".
"We don't want to put our children in possibly embarrassing situations where they may be subject to comments they're not prepared to deal with," she told CatholicIreland.net.
Ms Johnston noted that with girls as young as 12 or 13, it's the parents who are buying the school supplies, and blamed the problem on "poor parenting."
Geraldine Graydon, National Parents Council Primary spokesperson, said, "People in business are looking out for ways to sell their product and they have no sense of morals. The likes of shops like Easons shouldn't sell things like this. The image of an ordinary rabbit would suffice rather than the Playboy bunny if they wanted a rabbit."
"I would urge parents not to buy these products and to request that they be removed from the store," she added.
The stationery is causing rage in England as well, where numerous Catholic schools are taking on retailers like WH Smith, urging them to remove the stationery from store shelves. The schools believe this will prove more effective than simply banning the stationery among it's students, a move they say may only serve to encourage the purchase of the "prohibited stationery".
English teacher Eleanor Kirwan from Coloma Convent school in Croydon explained: "We are worried that the girls are buying the stationery, perhaps seeing a pink fluffy rabbit and not knowing what it means. In that case, they are being exploited to advertise pornography."
Parents react to soft porn logo becoming trendy teen icon (catholicireland.net 21/8/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
National Parents Council
Playboy Bunny (Wikipedia)
Sack teacher for slap - dad (Herald-Sun 23/8/05)
Call for four school terms (The Mercury 23/8/05)
24 Aug 2005