Moral Conservatives

/Tag:Moral Conservatives

Who are the moral conservatives? This series names them, examines their ideas, and shows they way they support each other.

Tyza Stewart – The Law Is An Ass

This is a clear example of where the moral panic over the sexualisation of children has gone several steps too far - thanks to clumsy laws written by politicians to appease the moral outrage of the ignorant. It seems that young Brisbane artist Tyza Stewart has had some of her art removed from the Sydney Contemporary art fair on advice from lawyers. Why? Because Tyza's work often transplants the head of a girl onto the adult bodies of men, thus allegedly sexualising a child. The only problem is that the head of the child is Tyza herself and she is [...]

Graham Ovenden (2): Persecuting The Models

Persecute: harass, hound, pursue, pester, badger, distress, victimize, bully. It's an odd thing how those who claim to be acting in the best interests of child models end up being the very people who cause the harm. In this blog I have detailed a number of examples. When Hetty Johnston pursued the photographer Bill Henson she paid no attention to the harm it would cause the model. When former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd described a photo as disgusting, the young model Olympia Nelson came out to defend her image. Then there are the highly articulate thoughts of Jessie Mann, daughter [...]

Concluding The Naked Child In Art Series

Because I'm returning to writing I'm concluding the naked child in art series (although I may resurrect it at some point). The simple fact is that whilst I have a great deal more material on hold (I haven't really begun to consider contemporary art or film) I no longer have the time or inclination to keep posting. The reason I started this project was to correct the extraordinary ignorance about the subject evident in recent controversies over the naked child in art. I think I have more than adequately provided a great many examples (far more than I originally expected) [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

The Moral Politics Of Child Pornography

I have already discussed the issue of sexual grooming after having read Child Pornography and Sexual Grooming by Suzanne Ost. Now to approach the difficult topic of child pornography. Why difficult? After all, shouldn't we be able to have a rational discussion about such an important issue? Well, as I will argue, the reason it is made difficult is precisely to discourage a rational discussion. This is part of the politics of this issue. As Ost reveals in her book, the issue of child pornography has been largely decided under the pressure of moral panic. As a result the debate [...]

Internet Grooming And Unintended Moral Hazard

The problem with all moral debates is that they are usually generated by moral panic. In her book 'Child Pornography and Sexual Grooming' Suzanne Ost argues that policy on these issues had largely been driven by moral panic which exaggerates the extent of the problem and often demands a quick, simplistic solution. The media cynically whips up the panic to satisfy the public's prurient interest and sell newspapers and politicians act simply to appease public perceptions. Ost argues that this creates the moral hazard of bad policy and she cites the moral panic over internet grooming as a prime example. [...]

Sexualisation And Sexual Abuse

It has been a week when child sexual abuse has again featured in the news. There have been three stories. The case of newly released sex offender caught phoning children; the scandal surrounding Sir Jimmy Savile; and the continuing saga of child abuse in the Catholic Church. I've chosen to comment on these stories because they disprove the narrative of the moral conservatives. That narrative argues that men are inspired to sexually abuse children because sexualisation somehow gives them permission to see children as sexually available. This assumes that there is a way children can act to send a signal [...]

Tweens And Sexualisation In The 1950’s

I have long argued that the current sexualisation debate lacks historical perspective. It seems largely to be driven by anxious middle-class mothers who view the issue within their narrow cultural and generational perspective. Their anxiety leads them to believe that 'things' are worse now they they have ever been. Thus children, specifically girls, face more pressure at an earlier age. But is this really true? I actually think the situation is better than ever before. Boys and girls today have far more options, far more role models to choose from. Yes, there is the constant pressure from commercial interests, but [...]