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The Child Pornography Debate And The Theology Of The Child

Fact was largely eschewed in favour of emotive supposition, the actual was ignored in favour of the potential and the remotely possible was selectively interpreted as imminently probable. (McCarthy and Moodie, as quoted in Suzanne Ost, Child Pornography and Sexual Grooming) The hysteria around the issue of child sexuality speaks of a deeper cause. When the authorities are having some success at smashing child pornography rings and the incidence of child sexual abuse is actually in decline, the panic over the sexualisation of children is about something more. I am clear that this is all about adult fears projected onto [...]

Child Pornography: The Contradictions (2)

It goes without saying that art reflects the culture and time in which it was made. It can therefore be an invaluable tool to the historian. In relation to the theme of the childhood culture wars, art provides us with a pictorial representation of childhood through the ages. It also tells us something regarding attitudes toward child and adolescent sexuality. Bartolmeo Veneziano, the adolescent Lucrezia Borgia, who was first married at age 13 The problem with the current debate over the sexualisation of children is that it lacks historical depth and cultural breadth. It is often a demand [...]

Defining Child Pornography: The Contradictions

There is no agreement as to what constitutes child pornography. The reality is that various jurisdictions pursue often arbitrary campaigns based on the level of local moral panic. In most cases this amounts to the persecution of innocent parents and legitimate artists. The purpose of this persecution is to satisfy the irrational howls of the mob who desire a scapegoat. If they can't get their hands on a genuine child abuser, they target anyone they don't understand. All of this is a distraction from the real problem. In America there have been several cases where local police and prosecutors have [...]

The Naked Child As Model: Shauna

Where I can I try to provide the words of children who have experienced modelling nude. According to the moral conservatives the only possible reaction is shame, yet I have provided a number of examples where the response has been pride. Here are the words of Shauna, written some years after the photo was taken. It was part of The Century Project by photographer Frank Cordelle. Like any work containing images of naked children it was controversial, yet, for the most part, it was well received. I especially like her concluding words: The image looks like a protective position where [...]

Inquiry Into The Education Of Gifted And Talented Students

I was pleased to see the Victorian government publish the Inquiry into the education of gifted and talented student . It is long overdue. The people who have followed this blog since its inception will know that I am interested in the education of gifted and talented children and occasionally I will do a post on these children. Behind everything I do on this blog is a complaint that conservatives deliberately hold back children as a form of control. The childhood culture wars are ultimately about creating children in the conservative image. Gifted and talented children are a problem because [...]

Defining Child Pornography: Real And Imagined Harm

In an earlier entry on this subject I said that child pornography was evidence of a crime against a child; documentary evidence  of child abuse. For this reason the authorities that prosecute this crime now call such evidence child abuse material. And despite the moral panic around this area, the police have been very effective in tracking down the victims, the perpetrators and those who enable this crime by trading in these images. To be even more effective the police need more resources. They do not need distractions. Yet, this is precisely what the moral conservatives demand: placing more resources [...]

Defining Child Pornography

The problem with the term child pornography is that it is poorly defined and too easily misused. Because of a natural desire to protect children, the accusation of child pornography has considerable emotive impact. The problem is that moral conservatives easily resort to accusations of child pornography to censor images that are clearly not either of children or pornographic. Over the last few decades these accusations have been used to create a climate of fear and doubt. In 1968 Italian director Franco Zeffirelli made an award winning film of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In the play Juliet is 13 and [...]

Daphnis And Chloe: Adolescent Female Sexuality And Male Beauty

This is a sort of interlude to my longer discussion about child pornography. I think it is an important digression that compares the classical approach to adolescent sexuality with the censorious Christian approach. The story of Daphnis and Chloe was reportedly written in the 2nd Century AD by Greek romancer Longus. The story takes place on the island of Lesbos, long associated with the poet Sappho. It tells the story of a young goatherder, Daphnis, and a young shepherdess, Chloe. As children they formed a close friendship and roamed the fields playing, but in this story they have entered puberty [...]

Revisiting My Little Princess, A Film By Eva Ionesco

After discussing Maladolescenza starring Eva Ionesco, I thought it was important I revisit her recent film, My Little Princess. After a closer look I now think this film makes a critically important contribution to the debate around the sexualisation of children. This is because it is a semi-autobiographical account by the one person who pushed the boundaries much, much further than anyone else. Not only did she pose nude for her mother, photographer Irina Ionesco, she notoriously appeared in Italian Playboy at age 11 photographed by French glamour photographer Jacques Bourboulon. He posed her as he would an adult model. [...]

Using The Fear Of Child Pornography To Control Adolescent Sexuality

In her book Child Pornography and Sexual Grooming Suzanne Ost points out that the effect of legislation passed under pressure from moral panic has been to attack the sexual rights of older adolescents and even to criminalise behaviour that was once legal. This has been achieved by a number of laws and provisions that has increased the definition of a child to anyone 18 or under, even when the age of consent in most countries is 15/16 (as a median, the range is 12-21). This means that in most jurisdictions the rights of adolescents who have reached the age of [...]