‘Pornography is having an increasing impact on the lives of young people. Not just young men but women as well.’ – Headteacher, The Holt School.
What is Object?
Object is a theatre presentation and workshop that explores some of the issues around pornography. It was inspired directly by discussions, feedback and concerns young people had raised during Soulscape REAL lessons. Young people say that pornography is an aspect of modern life that affects their lives and challenges the quality of their relationships. It’s not an easy topic to step into, but we felt convicted to respond.
How does Object work?
The Object performance and workshop lasts around one hour, has minimal set-up requirements and can be presented easily in a school hall. Four professional actors lead the audience through a thought-provoking exploration of issues that surround pornography. The piece incorporates real-life stories and interviews, and gives an honest presentation of facts.
Object is designed to empower young people to make informed decisions for themselves. In the workshop immediately following the performance, we split the students into small groups to share their thoughts and feedback on the performance, and to have an open discussion about the issues raised around porn and relationships.
Object took six months to research and devise and has already been experienced by over 1,000 young people in Wokingham, receiving very positive feedback.
What is different about Object?
Object deals with pornography openly and honestly when very few people will talk about the subject with young people at all. Object is designed to develop over time in response to young people’s concerns. We actively invite young people to contribute stories, scenes, art-work and poems for inclusion. We believe it is vital to listen to their views and to incorporate current thinking so that the presentation remains relevant and meaningful.
Why is Object important?
Pornography is widely accessible. A large number of young people are turning to it to learn about relationships and sex, yet pornography does not promote relationship, can lead to unrealistic expectations that cannot be met and introduces confusion into the area of sexual consent.
Recent research shows that…
Children are exposed to porn before they have real relationships:
A major 2016 study by Middlesex University suggests that by the age of 14, around half of young people have seen pornography online. But exposure to this content is often even younger. A survey published by Psychologies magazine found that a third of UK teenagers had first seen sexual images online when they were 10 or younger.
Porn can create unrealistic expectations and harmful practices:
A large NUS survey in 2015 found 60% of young people watched porn to get information about sex. Half of these students said that issues they needed to know about were not covered in school sex education.
The Middlesex University study found that most teenage boys think porn is a realistic depiction of sex. More than a third of the 13- to 14-year-old boys said they wanted to copy the behaviour they had seen, even though 87% said that porn failed to teach them about sexual consent. The researchers said:
“We found that children and young people need safe spaces where they can freely discuss the full range of issues related to sex, relationships and the accessibility of online porn in the digital age.” *
Object encourages this much-needed open discussion. It sheds light on some of the issues, invites young people to consider the facts and encourages them to reflect on the way they view relationships.
‘Our students were fully absorbed and engaged during the Object presentation.’ – Head of RE, Forest School
* Martellozzo et al. (2016), Middlesex University.