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Bob Geldof critical of sexual content in teen magazines

LONDON - He might once wanted to feed the world's children, but now Bob Geldof is set to slam teenage girls' magazines for their sexual content in a BBC Two documentary to be screened next week called 'Grumpy Old Men'.

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According to a report in today's Independent, Geldof, father to three teenage girls, will be shown in the documentary questioning the appropriateness of features on sex and sexuality in magazines aimed at teenage girls.

"Are they any less offensive than a 22-year-old man going to an 11- or 12-year-old girl and saying 'I am going to talk to you about sex and how girls can give blow jobs to men?' If such a conversation happened, you would view it as odd, probably illegal and certainly predatory," Geldof says in 'Grumpy Old Men'.

Magazines aimed at teenage girls have been blamed in the past for a range of ills, including promoting eating disorders to encouraging promiscuity. But the editors of such titles defend their content, saying that information is the best weapon.

But increasingly, the magazines are covered with features on sex. A sample chosen by the Independent of the current issues includes: "Sex Results Survey" in Emap's J-17; "The Sexy Issue" in Sugar, published by Hachette Filipacchi; and "You+Guys & Sex" in NatMag's Cosmo Girl!.

The major publishers have agreed to a set of guidelines, issued by a body called TMAP, regarding the way that sexual issues are covered. These include stating the age of consent, discouraging underage sex and highlighting the emotional consequences of sexual activity.

However, there are criticisms that these guidelines are not well enough publicised for parents to know where to complain, should they feel that a magazine has overstepped the mark.

TMAP came about following a bill introduced in 1996 by the Conservative MP Peter Luff, which would have put parental advisory warnings on the covers of magazines had it succeeded.

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