Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

More Evidence of Body

Embarrassing Teenage Bodies

Embarrassing Teenage Bodies

As the dust settles in the wake of Embarrassing Teenage Bodies (broadcast in October) and we start cranking up for the next series in March 2009 it’s been a good moment to take stock and assess what kind of impact we had, this time with teens in particular.

In a previous post, Evidence of Body, I pointed out a special characteristic of this cross-platform initiative – unusually you can see, after very little time, evidence of immediate, positive changes of behaviour. That was with reference to the week long series of Embarrassing Bodies in April/May, but the recent 4-part series focused on teenagers yielded much the same kind of clear evidence of real public value.

A quick and pretty unscientific trawl through the comments on the website – this time there were 11,000 submitted over the 6 days around transmission! – reveal actual changes of behaviour; the building of confidence around illnesses perceived as ‘embarrassing’; the prompting of increased openness in discussing such matters; reassurance; clarification; and the encouragement of peer-to-peer support.

Here’s a brief selection to give a feel for the sorts of impact evident across the site:

Changes of behaviour

From Ellie [in Vulva Gallery]
thanks teenage bodies thanks to you i’ve had the confidence to go and have a std test

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From kathryn [in Am I Normal? video]

GREAT show. It encouraged me to go get something checked out =) & I’m sure it encouraged a lot of other teenagers to get stuff thats bothering them checked out!

Thanks so much

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Building confidence

[in Vaginal Prolapse]

This site and video is soooo useful and informative!!! I feel more confident to see my GP and look him/her in the eye and state my problem.

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[in Am I Normal? – Vagina]

I was worried about how i looked “down there” but this video made me realise everybody is different and that it’s completely normal to worry.

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From Alice [in Breast Gallery]

I always thought, since my breasts our a coned shape and not fully shaped yet or may stay like this that it isn’t normal…but in fact it is!
Gosh it is amazing to see all the different variety :)
TV models or whatever can go stuff themselves, they fooled me into believing that mine weren’t a good shape!
I feel more confident now, even if they are small :)

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From Isabella [in Enlarged Labia]

This is obviously alot more common then what people think, so lets not feel embarrassed!! Because like alot of you, I am pretty relieved that i’m not the only one! lol. and it’s never affected my sex life

:) Hope everyone feels alot more confident, by reading everyones stories. Thanks Channel 4

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Saving lives

From Sinead [in How to Check your Testicles]

After watching your show, my husband decided to check himself one night whilst having a shower. To his shock he found a lump. He went straight to his doctor and within a week he had surgery for testicular cancer, needs to have a few more scans, but thanks to the show he managed to find it in time.

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Encouraging openness

From Sarah

I think this programme and website is the best thing for young and older people. Theres not alot of publicity about embarrassing problems espesh about problems or worries down below.

Yes theres GUM clinics and doctors you can talk to but just knowing that doesnt make you feel comfortable talking about it. Maybe no one will feel confortable talking about it, i know that i didnt but i think the more publicity about it, the more people will talk about it.

I never had any sex education at school, only to tell you about the different STI’s out there and i dont think schools really do enough.

This programme is amazing. Well done everybody :D

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Prompting preventive health activity

From shannon [in Am I Normal?: After Sex]

these videos hav helped me check my self down below and now me and my friends have been comfitable talking to each other about our pubity problems!!!

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Reassuring

From Beth [in Anal Fissure]

Oh My!!! This Is Exactly What I Have Been Looking For!!!
I Was Worried Because I Was Told I May Have Colon Cancer :(
Thanks Ever So Much Guys! x”

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From Katie [in Gonorrhoea]

Hi! This program was a great help to lots of teens and raised alot of awareness. i am 16 and have only had one sexual partner, … i am worried that i may have caught something but i am too shy to go to the doctors about it. i have read the above comments and am pleased i am not alone :S

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[in Ingrowing Pubic Hair]

I find this so embarrassing… but i’m glad to know i’m not the only one.

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Clarifying what is ‘normal’

From James [in Penis Gallery]

i think this page is great.
its good to know all the sizes out there and know i am normal
thank you so much

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Peer to peer advice

From Chris [in Hyperhidrosis]

i sweat a lot under my arms, for no apparent reason. im not always even warm. i have driclor and have never properly used it because it stung. so now ive read these comments i think i’ll definately give it a go! thank you :)

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From Tom [in Dandruff]

Im 17 and I have dandruff and i use head and shoulders and it never seems to work. and its really embarrasing and annoying especially when im with the girlfriend
:( thanks to everyone for the tips i shall try them out

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[in Enlarged Labia]

I have it too… Lol, This is well embarassing. I’m only 14 so I haven’t had any sexual experience but it does make me worry a little bit what a future boyfriend might think…however, some of these comments are quite empowering…thank you all, I feel a little better now!

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From Matt [in Testicular Cancer]

BLOKES, GO TO THE DOCTOR, IT TAKES LIKE NO TIME AT ALL, I HAVE BEEN ABOUT MY GENITALS LOOOADS OF TIMES AND IM ONLY 19.

NOW IM WORRY FREE =]

i posted this for some support :D”

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[in Enlarged Labia]

i am so glad i’ve actually found this website, because it has really helped me reading all these comments about other people that have this problem. i haven’t actually told anyone, and i’ve never been in a proper sexual relationship because i am so embarrassed about what they would think. … i’ve tried to mention it to my friends when we watched the program, but they all found it weird and strange – so i didn’t dare say that i had it too. i have no confidence but it has helped me reading all your comments! thank you :)

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Helping diagnosis

From Mellissa [in Tinnitus]

omg! hooray to your program for quite alot of years i have learnt to live with tinnitus not knowing what it was until now docters just say there’s nothing wrong and my ear is clean. i had explained i had a pulsing in my ear and i’ve been ignored watched your show and came on to your site only to find out what i have been suffering with im glad to say it’s not caused by loud music in teenage life i did bang my head really badly and i’m sure thats when it started i feel relieved but disgusted that my docter shrugged it off. … thank you so much i’m going to have it looked at anyway just to be sure. x

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Engaging content

[in Consultation: Breast Reduction]

A very very brave lady. that video is very interesting in fact i think all your videos are very interesting. good on ya girl

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From James [in Penis Gallery]

Great site. You just don’t see this sort of thing anywhere else and it’s really important

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Raising awareness

From Becca [in Problem Piercings]

Personnaly I think that teenagers in todays society need to be more aware of all aspects of problems in and out of the body. More needs to be done to ensure that this is happening. This programme is really helping me and my teenage friends. Thank you and please continue helping other people.

Update 17.12.08: You may like to comment on the above – or address some further questions about how preventive healthcare is most engagingly presented – over on The TV Show website at Channel 4.

Right On

Jack exercising his influencing skills

Jack exercises his influencing skills

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Seems like a good moment to republish it here as exhorted by the UN General Assembly at the time of declaration, to ‘disseminate and display’ the text. Its brevity belies its gravity and significance. How come no-one ever taught us about it at school? Do they teach it these days?

But first I’m going to pick up on one particular right – Article 5, the one relating to torture. I promised some time back (see Hunger) to write a few lines about Philippe Sands’ recent book (published this spring), Torture Team, on the subject in relation to Iraq and post 9/11. Philippe is one of the country’s foremost human rights lawyers – I know him a little through my best friend, a fellow lawyer, and from occasional encounters in local playgrounds with our kids.

To me, torture represents the very lowest the human being can descend to. Once you inflict that on a fellow man or woman you make yourself less than human. In torture the abyss, the heart of darkness, cracks open.

Torture Team focuses on the contravention of Article 5 in Abu Grabe and Guantanamo Bay. Tracking a single memo, Philippe traces how Bush decided in the wake of 9/11 to undermine Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention to be able to use what are euphemistically called ‘harsh interrogation’ techniques; how the terms ‘torture’ and ‘abuse’ were redefined, giving rise to the sanctioning of a catalogue of 18 techniques in 3 catagories; how this sanction came from the very top, not the fallguys/gals like Diane Beaver but from Rumsfeld & co. The redefinition meant anything short of ‘the pain associated with organ failure’ no longer counted as torture. Of the 18 techniques No. 1 was ‘yelling'; by No. 3 you’re already at waterboarding, the infamous technique which creates the perception of drowning. In 1863 Lincoln confirmed: “the US military does not do cruelty”. A far lesser president a century and a half later inspired the Jack Bauer age which showed ‘torture works’. Beaver, who gave legal sign-off to the techniques, confessed that 24 - produced by Fox TV, no surprise the malign influence of Murdoch is not far away from human degradation – had “many friends down at Guantanamo”. Kinda scary, no?

On that cultured note, here’s the birthday boy…

“Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all member countries to publicise the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.”

PREAMBLE

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8.

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11.

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14.

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15.

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.

(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18.

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21.

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22.

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24.

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27.

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28.

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29.

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30.

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.”

In purely literary terms there are better declarations:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Irishmen and Irishwomen: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.

but this is the Universal one and a key achievement of the post-war period.

Update 13.12.08: Just been watching Oliver Stone’s W and there’s a good scene in the middle of the movie where Dick Cheney tries to sneak out the reinterpretation of Torture past W and the government by trying to get Jnr to sign it off without proper perusal so it can pass through the system when key politicians are in recess. When the torture techniques are explained in a glossed over way to him, W can only associate it with his frat house initiation (captured in an earlier, frankly horrific scene which clearly indicates how people can descend so low – the fraternity scene suddenly thrown into relief in the light of the later White House Bush/Cheney lunch scene) and W is relieved the paperwork gives him only 3 pages to read.

That was the week that was

Golightly

Golightly

Gowest

Gowest

Not the easiest of weeks as I walked around half deaf and drowning in my own snot but here we are, Friday evening, made it. And it had its moments. Highlights included two awards ceremonies. Last night I presented the Multi-talented Award at the friendliest awards in town – the 4Talent Awards – to Oli Lansley who combines acting, writing and directing in the theatre and on TV in a way full of energy and promise (“that dirtiest of dirty words” – just been watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the first time, Holly Golightly is my beloved sister-in-law Bronagh, right down to the take-out cwofee). I judged this category with Dan Jones of Maverick TV – we have both been building  4Talent (formerly Ideasfactory) since the early days, over the last 6 years painstakingly developing it across the UK with James Estill and the dedicated crew to the point where it has the warm, creative vibe that was suffusing the room yesterday evening. Oli has a new series going out on ITV2 early next year called FM based on the Comedy Lab he did for Caroline Leddy at C4 in 2006. He also has a series in development at the Beeb with Matt King of Peep Show called Whites. On top of all that, he leads his own theatre company called Les Enfants Terribles who did a show entitled The Terribles Infants at Edinburgh this year and last, due to tour it in 09. So a multi-talented, multi-channel man to keep an eye on.

The 4Talent Awards  were hosted with great aplomb by stand-up comedian Jack Whitehall, talented well beyond his 19 years, with fine comic judgment. Other entertainment came from the versatile jaw of Beardyman.

Winners were a rich mix ranging from Hollyoaks’ Emma Rigby for Dramatic Performance to Rose Heiney for Comedy Writing, from Dan & Adrian Hon of Six to Start for Multiplatform to Robert Glassford & Timo Langer for Directing (this last presented by my colleague Peter Carlton of FilmFour with whom I had a lovely rabbit before the presentations, the two of us equally infectious so no danger of adding to overall global germ activity).

To start the week I had the pleasure of attending the announcement of this year’s Turner Prize winner at the Tate. I arrived with Jan Younghusband, fellow Commissioning Editor for Arts & Performance TV, who introduced me to the ITN team that was shooting the event live for Channel 4 News. The looming gothic cowboy with the handle-bar moustache who walked by me with his looming gothic girlfriend was Nick Cave. He first entered my life with the Bad Seeds on The Firstborn is Dead over two decades ago now. On this night he passed by in the flesh like an extra from Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (which I watched again recently – fabulous film, Kris Kristopherson was perfect as the Jim Morrison-style gunslinger-cum-rock messiah).

A while later another messiah, model for that humungous roadside crucifixion that is the Angel of the North, Antony Gormley introduced me to Grayson Perry who was wearing a fetching art student-designed post-it note dress. Not too often I get the chance to say stuff like ‘Antony Gormley introduced me to Grayson Perry’ or spout my theories about avant-garde art 1900-1970 to two luminaries of that world but we had a great chat and a consensus on how difficult it has been to innovate in the wake of that huge Modernist arc that went to the roots of every aspect of painting and art over those seven decades.

That was, of course, the Biggie but other chats included John Woodward of the UK Film Council (who agreed, through not quite gritted teeth, that FilmFour has had an awesome year with its string of Irish tales of waiting), and TV types like Roy Ackerman of Diverse and Michael Waldman (Operatunity). Art critic Richard Cork (The Listener – why on earth don’t they bring it back?), Alan Yentob of BBC’s Imagine (the Woody Allen of British TV, gets to make whatever he wants, quietly, no questions asked), Hans Ulrich Obrist of the Serpentine, were all swilling around. Enjoyed the walk home past the neon courtyard of the Chelsea College of Art and through the rainy backstreets of Pimlico

A final high point of the week takes us from art to architecture. I was having a meeting with RDF, who make Secret Millionaire, and Zopa, the interesting online finance service (interesting and finance – not words I often invite out to the same sentence). The fella from Zopa was asking about the Channel 4 building as we headed up the particular red of the stairs (the colour is lifted from the Golden Gate Bridge which is a delightful thing to think about every morning) – were Channel 4 the first occupiers? was it purpose built? etc. – I told him what a fine building it was bar a few flaws which I’d love to pass on to the bloke who designed it, like there’s no Gents on the side of the floor I work on, two Ladies instead. The delicious irony was that the RDF rep was Zad Rogers, son of Lord/Richard, the architect of C4 HQ in Horseferry Road – we revealed this after a while of course as – as in that essay on Iago by WH Auden in The Dyer’s Hand (Joker in the Pack) which velvet-jacketed Mr Fitch (RIP) drew our teenage attention to – there’s no satisfaction in a practical joke without the final revelation.

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