Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Child pornography in society

For as long as there has been artists, there has been controversy about art. If art is meant to challenge society, not all art work will be pleasant. If art is meant to reflect society, not all art work will be pleasant. If art is meant to entertain society, art work will be frivolous.

Almost 2 years ago now Bill Henson displayed a photo of a naked 13 year old girl. She didn't wear make up or strike a seductive pose, she wasn't lit provocatively- but she was naked. This caused a fury about child pornography. The girl was nude, therefore it was porn, was the general gist of the news articles i read on the subject.

In a few days Miley Cyrus will turn 17. She is not yet at the legally be of the age of consent. About one month ago, she released the video 'Party in the USA' which (it can be argued, and i do argue) sexualise her. The song opens with her in short shorts and the camera panning up and down her legs. While the video refrains from showing her naked, it does sensationalise her sexuality even though she is not 'legal' in the United States, presumably where it was shot.

Why was there no outrage over this? Why is there no outrage when underage celebrities gyrate for a camera or an audience?

Perhaps the fault lies with the belief that naked = porn when in fact titillation = porn. If the object of pornography is to arouse the viewer, then Miley's video makes a good effort. If the object of pornography is simply to show a naked body...then shower gel commercials should be banned.

My point is not to say that Bill Henson was blameless to display images of a naked girl. My point is to question our values as a society. Perhaps while we were busy boarding up our house from the obvious we forgot what we were really trying to keep out. We've inadvertently attempted to gag those who want to talk about our exploitation of children and paid the exploiters extra for more shows.

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