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Bridget Jones director campaigns against ‘pornification’ of young girls with latest film

King Alfred School and the London Jewish Cultural Centre in Golders Green co-host a screening of the documentary film InReaLife with director Baroness Beeban Kidron. Picture: Nigel Sutton King Alfred School and the London Jewish Cultural Centre in Golders Green co-host a screening of the documentary film InReaLife with director Baroness Beeban Kidron. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Saturday, February 1, 2014
11:00 AM

A north London film-maker and peer has spoken out against the “pornification” of young girls and started a campaign in schools to expose the damage she says the internet is having on some young people.

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Screening her film InRealLife to a sold-out audience of parents and pupils at King Alfred School in Golders Green on Tuesday, Baroness Beeban Kidron asked whether children have been “outsourced” to the internet, becoming trapped in a digital world where privacy is abandoned, women are “pornified” and self-harming sites “unregulated”.

The film-maker, best-known for directing Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), spoke to more than 100 young people in the course of her research and took the audience on a journey from the bedrooms of British teenagers to the digital architects in Silicon Valley.

Opening with two seemingly average teenage boys describing the unrestricted access they and their classmates have to an enormous catalogue of online pornography, her film discovers their image of the “perfect woman” becoming an amalgamation of different porn stars.

As young boys struggle to scratch below the surface of physical beauty, Baroness Kidron finds the impact on young girls equally disturbing.

“The problem is that young girls are in a situation where image has become all-important, and where they’re failing to live up to the collective version of what beauty, popularity and who you’re supposed to be is,” she told the Ham&High.

“Notions of beauty have become ‘pornified’ – they come from a particular version of womanhood. And, in that failure, they do some very disturbing things.

“Some will collect around the negative, which can be pro-anorexia, self-harming or suicide networks.

“But this is a very extreme version of what many, many young girls are feeling today, which is the impossibility of fulfilling the desires as created by this collective space.”

The focus on online communities promoting self-harm has gathered pace with some calling for certain websites to be banned.

Baroness Kidron lamented the impact of “unregulated” networks and described the internet as a “failed utopia”, unable to live up to the promise of being a “free, open and democratic” space.

The next screening of InRealLife will be on February 10 at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) in Westminster.

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