TV Review: The Feed – Season 2, Episode 66 (Taboo Week) – 29th May 2014 (SBS2, Australia)

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It’s been an incredible and thought provoking Taboo Week on The Feed, and episode four certainly didn’t disappoint. In addition to the headlining stories, the team also touched on the leggings-as-pants phenomenon (no, it’s not okay), iPhones being hacked and remotely held of ransom, and Christopher Pyne wanting to posthumously tax the population. For those who were following our live tweets, this news piece resulted in one hell of a terrible pun that I’m immensely proud of.

Our first taboo topic of the night involved the sexualisation of children in advertising. This was a two pronged topic as it involved both marketing to children and using inappropriate photography of child models in advertisements. If any of you watch as much Toddlers in Tiaras and Dance Moms as I do, you’ll be well aware that this is an incredibly apt and poignant problem that necessitates discussion.

The team discuss the issues with photographers, parents and neutral observers alike, and the overwhelming majority believed that the advertising industry is taking things too far when it comes to little girls in particular. Many companies seem to be taking advantage of impressionable minds to simply sell shit to them. Furthermore, they often utilise pre-teen models and dress them up in a way that can unfortunately be described as ‘baby prostitutes’. As always, The Feed team remain professional and remain as balanced and unbiased as possible. I applaud them for this feat because it certainly struck a rage-nerve in me. I also suspect that there would have been a great deal of enraged parents in the audience.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a week full of taboo if religion wasn’t touched on, and The Feed team found a fascinating subject in Peter Kennedy. A former Catholic priest, he spent four decades in service of the church before being given the boot for his unorthodox teachings and beliefs. His “crimes” included being overly inclusive within his congregation, changing the stipulated text during baptism and generally just being opened-minded and liberal. There have been pedophilic priests who have received more support from Rome than than this guy has.

During his interview, Kennedy refers to traditional religion as a “business” and goes so far as to question its validity in the modern world beyond the realm of simply bringing comfort to people. Furthermore, he poses the question that atheists and children alike have been asking for years: If there is a God, why does he/she allow so much pain to occur in the world. He takes this concept a step further by suggesting that no God would allow it, thus there probably isn’t one. Surprisingly, despite his disbelief, he (along with the majority of his former congregation) has started his own church. Before jumping to any Jonestown conclusions, I can assure you that it doesn’t have kind of cult-vibe attached. It’s simply a place for people to gather, commune with one another and offer support. Basically, it takes the best bits of religion and leaves the bullshit negativity and exclusion at the door. Is Kennedy’s endeavour the only future that Christianity has in an increasingly secular society?

Once again, The Feed provided a fascinating look at some modern taboos that likely sparked debate amongst families and the Twittersphere alike. My only disappointment stemmed from the lack of a third taboo story. At the beginning of the episode it was announced that they would also be looking at the controversy surrounding the burqa and those who state that it should be banned. I’m not sure if this was a mistake or if they simply ran out of time, but I would have been incredibly interested in that segment. My disappointment in itself is a testament to the quality that the team has been producing during Taboo Week, so it can definitely be taken as a compliment.

Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

The Feed airs Monday – Thursday 7:30pm (repeated at 10:30pm) on SBS2