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Lecture 20

HIST 3010 Lecture 20: Notes 02.14.17

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HIST 3010

Week 6: Anatomies of Harm Works: Harris Mirkin, “The Prohibited Image,” Porn 101 Mardia Bishop, “The Making of a Pre-Pubescent Porn Star” in Pop-Porn HARRIS MIRKIN, “THE PROHIBITED IMAGE: CHILD PORNOGRAPHY AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT,” PORN 101 • Starts with how porn today would have been unacceptable before WWI • There is sex everywhere in books, ads, art, etc. • Where children are involved, “policy has moved in the opposite direction” • Children are clothed now and it is illegal to merely posses an erotic photograph of a nude youth or a clothed picture with focus on the genital area • This happens in other countries that are more sexually permissive than the USA (e.g. England, Canada, Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands) • Japan only allows pictures of nude girls but not boys • USA’s strong emphasis on free speech conflicts with moral attitudes • Mirkin wants to emphasize that child porn is a form of speech and not an actual action • Compares disgust to child porn similar to disgust of some at adult porn or by “racist or sexist or blasphemous speech” • Debates whether adult porn should be treated differently than child porn • Mirkin again compares child porn to racists and sexists; that people don’t want them to speak but that they have the right to, as child porn has the right to exist and be circulated • Summarizes and counters the different justifications for prohibiting child porn: o Protects youth, Mirkin says this is false and doesn’t hold up to analysis; provides no data o That youths are incapable of giving consent or resisting adult authority o That youths are innocent and non-sexual; says that this belief contradicts with the belief that youths will also seek out porn if they have the chance o Claims that these contradictions exist to justify censorship and to control youth instead of protect them • Claims that definitions of child porn are (purposefully) muddy which allows mild and common activities to be equated with rare and hurtful ones AN IMPRECISE (AND ALWAYS CHANGING) DICTIONARY • Child: argues that lack of specificity on whether the youth is an infant vs. adolescent gives people the wrong impression o Argues that people who say youths can’t give consent or resist adult authority don’t think of the “rebellious adolescent” • Pornography and obscenity: says that Supreme Court has been protecting more porn if it has literary, artistic, political, or scientific value since the 1930s o Mirkin claims that the representation of the act is often more illegal than the act itself • Child porn: Supreme Court explicitly separated two categories so that child porn is prohibited whether or not is has literary, artistic, political, or scientific value o Claims that judges believed that child porn could never hold any real value o Complains that definition of child porn covers broader range of material today than it did before o Brings up example of 19th century pictures of naked children as images of innocence, that only images including pubic or body hair were bad o With that example says that adult nudity is more acceptable now than youth nudity • Child abuse: that child porn is equated with act of hurting a child o Child abuse has been linked to sexual abuse/violence when before it was more about child beating o Uses “The Battered Child Syndrome” as example as to why child abuse linked to child beating; idk how this example is relevant to sex but okay o Concept of child abuse became associated with sexual offenses in 1970s because of child models and actors in photos and films o Congress tightened down on child porn o Claims that before, child abuse wasn’t connected with sex and that laws limited family’s power over the child o Now, policy focuses largely on sexual issues and these “perceived problems” gives family more power over child THE ASEXUAL CHILD IN CONTEXT (A HISTORICAL DETOUR) • Complains that youths have laws imposed on them that would be unacceptable to put on youths o Curfew o Can’t show porn to them o Can’t make porn from them • Child has been made into image of innocence that isn’t true o Claims that most teens have sex before 16 (male) and 17 (female) o Claims that most teens engage in sex play or masturbation before 12 o Lack of media representing that is a distorting representation of real youth o That even “male teen hustler” made to look like victim of his customers o That children who do erotic pictures (to “show off”, “get approval”, get money, or “are eager to be photographed”, “even if they are nudists”) are always victimized as being hurt because they can never give consent • That now child nudity in photographs and youths participating in sex is frowned upon when before it was allowed and celebrated as art • That nude females are staples in art and sexuality of young boys were celebrated in Greek and Roman art • That youthfulness has been and still is eroticized • Yet, in real life, people who fantasize about sex with youths (supposedly mostly American males who are alllllways thinking about sex) never bring these fantasies to reality • Mirkin asks why CURRENT POLICY – FROM STANLEY TO FERBER TO OSBORNE • Stanley vs. Georgia case: home of Robert Stanley searched for illegal bookmaking but child porn was found o Stanley argued that he had right of privacy and Court unanimously agreed o State regulation of obscenity could only cover distribution • New York vs. Ferber case: blurs line between speech and activity; differentiates between adult and child porn; prohibited distribution as means of controlling production o Justice White argued that child porn made to sell, and selling of child porn is part of creating it o Defined child porn as commercial product (as illegal as producing it) instead of speech • Osborne vs. Ohio case: expanded Ferber decision in two ways: broadened def of child porn and made possession illegal as viewing, sale, and distribution of child porn o Made it so that any naked pic of children was considered porn o Justice White said that state was trying to protect child actors, not minds of viewers, by eliminating the market • The claim that there is a direct connection between downloading and production o Claims that downloader is so far removed from images’ creation that one can’t argue that downloaders play great factor in production o Claims that since neither profit nor prestige comes with anonymous distribution, images are for personal enjoyment and “indirectly for circulation” so that makes everything okay • The claim of harm to the child models o Mirkin claims that reposting of old pics doesn’t put the model in new danger o That youths in porn would be unrecognizable as adults and don’t have to worry about people looking down on them o That models won’t be ashamed (or fucking traumatized) because they would view it as glorious or cool o That only people who are repelled by child porn have low opinions of it o Mirkin claims that most youths participate eagerly and want to have their picture taken o Example that owning Marxist book was acceptable even during Communist scare so it’s unfair that child porn is outlawed just because so many people dislike it CONCLUSION: FORBIDDEN IMAGES • Brings up again that prohibiting child porn m
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