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Waarden en seksualiteit

Seksualisering (rapporten en artikelen)

Emma RUSH / Andrea LA NAUZE
Corporate Paedophilia - Sexualisation of children in Australia
The Australia Institute, Discussion Paper Number 90, October 2006, 62 blzn.; ISSN 1322 5421

(vii) Summary

(1) Introduction

"Corporate paedophilia is a metaphor coined by Phillip Adams to describe the selling of products to children before they are able to understand advertising and thus before they are able to consent to the process of corporate-led consumption. The metaphor draws a parallel between actual paedophilia, the use of children for the sexual pleasure of adults, and corporate use of children for the financial benefit of adults who own and manage corporations.
In this paper, the metaphor of corporate paedophilia is used more specifically to refer only to advertising and marketing that either seek to present children in sexually suggestive ways, or seek to sell products to children using overt forms of adult sexuality. It encapsulates the idea that such advertising and marketing is an abuse of children and contravenes public norms." [mijn nadruk] (1)

[Dat is meteen de kern van de zaak. Het pleidooi is gericht tegen het bedrijfsleven en zijn marketing voor en met kinderen tot en met 12 jaar.]

"Broadly defined, sexualisation is the act of giving someone or something a sexual character. Childhood development includes a distinct sexual dimension prior to puberty, so the acknowledgement that children have a sexual dimension is not in itself of concern. However, the sexualisation of children documented in this paper captures the slowly developing sexuality of children and moulds it into stereotypical forms of adult sexuality. When we use the term ‘sexualisation’, it is this capturing and moulding process to which we refer. It is essential to ask whose interests such sexualisation serves and at whose expense it occurs." [mijn nadruk] (1)

Die seksualisering is zorgelijk omdat kinderen het gevoel krijgen dat ze er uit moeten zien en zich moeten gedragen als volwassenen (wat leidt tot "body image concerns and eating disorders" - 3). En immoreel omdat kinderen als middel gebruikt worden voor de doelen van volwassenen.

"Children’s general sexual and emotional development is affected by exposure to advertising and marketing that is saturated with sexualised images and themes. Moreover, to the degree that children focus on sexualising themselves rather than pursuing other more age-appropriate developmental activities, all aspects of their development may be affected. Sexual representations of adults in advertising and marketing often occur together with the treatment of women as objects, the understanding of sex as either a commodity or an instrument, and the linkage of sex with violence. The messages children receive about desirable behaviour and values thus incorporate ethical effects that go well beyond simply how to dress. Finally, the sexualisation of children also risks normalising and possibly encouraging paedophilic sexual desire for children." [mijn nadruk] (2)

[Kijk, hier zie je toch meer waarden en normen om de hoek komen. Is het zo gemakkelijk om vast te stellen wat 'bij de leeftijd hoort'? Een seksuele dimensie bij kinderen wordt niet ontkend - zie hiervoor - , maar hoe ver mag die voor de auteurs gaan? Het is met name ook de vorm van seksualiteit die volgens de auteurs een slechte invloed heeft: vrouwen als objecten, seks als koopwaar of als een middel om andere dingen voor elkaar te krijgen, seks in combinatie met geweld. Ander bezwaar: die geseksualiseerde beelden van kinderen bevestigen of versterken 'pedofiele' seksuele verlangens naar kinderen. Maar is dat laatste aangetoond of gewoon subjectieve weerzin tegen het sexy vinden van kinderen? Ik zelf zou een stuk banger zijn van de 'commercial gaze' dan van de 'male gaze'.]

Is dit een morele paniek waarin ontkend wordt dat kinderen seksuele wezens zijn of die niet ziet dat elke samenleving een andere status geeft aan de kinderwereld? De auteurs wijzen dat bezwaar af.

"Firstly, it is acknowledged that the important process of human sexual development begins during childhood; the problem with the sexualisation of children is that precocious and unhealthy leaps towards the end of this developmental process are encouraged by advertising and marketing." [mijn nadruk] (3)

[Ook gemakkelijk normatief: wat is vroegrijp? wat ongezond? Er wordt dan wel niet ontkend dat kinderen seksuele wezens zijn, maar - nogmaals - waar liggen hier volgens de auteurs grenzen en waarop zijn die grenzen gebaseerd?]

(5) 2. The sexualisation of children in Australia

De beschreven trend is er vooral in de VS. Maar dus ook in Australië.

"This section presents evidence of the sexualisation of children in Australia from three types of cultural material: advertising (both in print and on television), girls’ magazines, and television programs (including music video-clips). These three types of material are interlinked by their participation in ‘the culture of celebrity’, and they cross-reference each other, sometimes explicitly."(5)

"As will be seen from the review of material below, girls are sexualised to a much greater degree than boys."(5)

[Tja, en dan komen de voorbeelden van advertenties en zie ik het gewoon niet zo scherp meer. Als het om kleding en opsmuk gaat in ieder geval niet.]

"Clothing that emphasises specific parts of the body, often at the expense of inhibiting movement or comfort, can have a sexualising effect. For girls, examples include: bolero cross-over tops and low necklines, both designed to emphasise the breasts of adult women; ‘crop tops’ which draw attention to the waist and navel area; dangling jewellery from necks, ears or wrists, dangling belts from the hips or waist, and rings on the fingers, again designed to attract attention to sexually differentiated features of adult women, and some styles of dress or skirt, most particularly very short skirts, and dresses held up by thin straps. For boys, examples include suit jackets designed to emphasise the shoulders of adult men. The children pictured at a party in the Myer catalogue advertisement in Figure 2 illustrate some of these.
In addition, sexualised girl models (like adult women models) almost always have long hair, a social indicator of sexual difference in the Western world, and it is usually worn loose to emphasise it. In contrast, sexualised boys have short hair, which is carefully styled, with evident use of hair styling gel, spray or similar aid.
Girls are sometimes pictured with adult-looking handbags, presumably to carry the cosmetics that are now heavily marketed to children, as in Figures 3 and 5."(7)

[In Figure 2 lijken de kinderen wat op volwassenen zoals in films en tv-series met rijke mensen. Ze zien er leuk uit. Is het te bloot? Worden specifieke delen van het lichaam benadrukt? Is het uitdagend? Ik vind van niet. Fig. 3 en 5 ook niet. Maar als je los haar of kort haar al kenmerkend vindt voor seksualisering van kinderen, mijn hemel, dan is elk kind overal geseksualiseerd. Dus als een meisje kort haar heeft is er geen sprake van seksualisering? Wat aanvechtbaar. Ik zou er meer op tegen hebben dat de voorbeelden voor kinderen steeds weer gezocht worden in de (Amerikaanse?) rijke milieus, bij de beroemdheden van sport en muziek en film en tv-series. Niet bepaald de ideale rolmodellen. Over die 'celebrities' gaat het bij de auteurs verderop ook wel.]

"As with clothing, poses that draw attention to specific physical features can have a sexualising effect. We are accustomed to seeing these poses adopted by adult models, but they are now being replicated by children, who have not yet developed the adult physical features such poses are calculated to show off."(9)

[Die poses zijn gewoon de poses van alle modellen. Fig. 4 en 6 laten wat mij betreft gewoon twee meisjes zien die er leuk uitzien. Maar seksualisering? Het probleem is veeleer dat er iets verkocht wordt via die advertenties, dat kinderen bijvoorbeeld gezien worden als een afzetmarkt voor wie we speciale verkoopkanalen als tijdschriften en zo maken, als een groep die we van alles willen aansmeren. Zouden we dit goed vinden als alle kinderen in die advertenties er fatsoenlijk / ongevaarlijk / niet sexy bijliepen? Nee, ook dan is het een probleem. Het probleem zijn namelijk de advertenties zelf - of er nu volwassenen of kinderen in zitten -, het probleem is heel die leugenachtige wereld van de marketing. En dan moeten we echt aan de bak, met een veel fundamenteler kritiek dan 'o je, we zien blote schouders, een blote navel, ze staat in een uitdagende pose'.]

"In our survey of advertising material, we discovered that children were sexualised for two quite different kinds of purposes: to sell products to children, and to sell products to adults. ‘Child-selling-to-child’ advertisements (CC ads) sexualise children to sell products primarily aimed at children, and thus implicitly legitimate precocious sexual behaviour in children. ‘Child-selling-to-adult’ advertisements (CA ads) sexualise children to sell products primarily aimed at adults, and the implicitly paedophilic connotations of this are even more disturbing." [mijn nadruk] (11)

[Hier worden oorzaak-gevolg-relaties gelegd die er misschien wel helemaal niet zijn.]

"In our analysis, material related to beauty (products, tips, make-overs), fashion (products, tips, admiration of), celebrities, or romance (crush) was identified as sexualising content. The celebrities included in the magazines are usually people famous largely for their appearance, such as actresses or models. Musicians also appear, but only those who are also young (aged from their teens to their early thirties) and sexy. Only two sports stars appeared in the magazines, and they were as sexualised and dolled up as the most successful catwalk model (Barbie Magazine, p. 64; Total Girl, p. 25). In contrast, book reviews, fictional content, pen pal noticeboards, pictures of readers, and advertisements for food or movies were identified as developmentally appropriate material.[noot 6]" [mijn nadruk] (15)

Noot 6 hier:

"It is developmentally appropriate for children of primary school age to be interested in food and movies, although there is a further question about whether it is appropriate to advertise anything, including food and movies, to children who have not fully developed their cognitive capacities (Linn 2005). The broader question of whether advertising to children should be permitted at all is not considered in this paper."(15)

[Maar dat is juist de kern van de zaak. Heel jammer. En wat betreft wat 'appropriate' is voor kinderen is er eeuwig discussie waarmee je volgens mij niet zo veel verder komt. Is dat ooit overtuigend hard te maken - dit wel, dat niet? Ik vind die aanduidingen hierboven - uiterlijk, mode, het dwepen met beroemdheden, verliefdheden en romantiek - niet per se seksualiserend.]

"The magazines do not stop at encouraging young girls to idealise a narrow selection of role models – they also encourage them to emulate their styles."(17)

"Lip gloss, body lotion and hair products are represented as essential purchases for readers, despite the fact that the vast majority of these readers are still at primary school."(17)

[Allemaal belachelijk, dat vind ik ook, maar seksualiserend? Ik zie niet zo veel aan seksueel suggestieve zaken. Het lijkt me erger dat kinderen een wereld van glamour voorgezet krijgen waarin alles draait om uiterlijk vertoon en materialisme binnen een conservatief waardenkader dat ook nog eens rolbevestigend is. De auteurs hebben daar maar halfslachtig bezwaar tegen en het lijkt er op dat ze de verkeerde insteek kiezen door het over seksualisering te hebben in plaats van over commercialisering.]

Hierna volgen dezelfde bezwaren tegen televisieprogramma's. Kinderen kijken - blijkbaar - veel uren televisie.

"Some programs that are rated as suitable for general viewing [zoals muziekvideo's / clips - GdG] contain high levels of sexual innuendo, including programs screening music videos which air during the mornings on weekends, a time when many children are likely to be watching television."(25)

"It is perfectly consistent to have no objections to adults and even teenagers viewing such material, but to also consider that ongoing exposure to such material may be harmful to children’s development. The distinction between art and pornography is subject to contest, but given the particular vulnerabilities of children, a more cautious approach would seem prudent."(27)

[Het bezwaar gaat weer de verkeerde kant uit: het gaat er niet zo zeer om dat kinderen 'beschadigd raken' (toon dat maar eens aan), het gaat er om dat media dit soort domme rolbevestigende clips maken (dat ze rolbevestigend zijn is heel gemakkelijk aan te tonen). Je moet dingen verbieden om de goede redenen.]

"The idea that culture in any form could be regulated by a puritanical check-box approach is ridiculous. Would we insist that dancers are covered neck-to-knee and that choreography not include hip or rib isolations? The list of criteria would be difficult to articulate and impossible to apply. However, there is something equally ridiculous about the idea that concentrated and explicit sexually suggestive behaviour and appearance such as that in The Pussycat Dolls’ ‘Buttons’ video ... "(27)

"Exposure to highly sexualised material such as that contained in some music videos, combined with the messages saturating all kinds of advertising that sexiness is highly desirable, leads children to mimic this sexy behaviour, sometimes to the dismay of the adults who seek to protect them."(28)

[Als je dat laatste niet wilt, zul je toch moeten reguleren. Maar de auteurs vinden zo'n puriteinse censuur tegelijkertijd belachelijk. Wat willen ze nu eigenlijk?]

(35) 3. Risks to children

Onderscheiden wordt tussen fysieke schade, psychische schade, seksuele schade, de 'opportunity cost', en ethische gevolgen.

"An increasing emphasis on a particular body type as the ideal is central to the evidence of sexualisation presented in the previous section. For girls, the ideal body is based upon the ideal woman’s body – slender but shapely, dressed somewhere between prettily and provocatively, with clothing emphasising certain body parts. For boys, the ideal body is based upon the ideal man’s body – muscular, with ‘broad shoulders and well-defined upper body, but flat stomach with narrow hips’ (Tiggeman 2005, p. 362). Recently it has been found that a muscular ideal now applies to women and girls as well, although to a lesser degree, with both sexes now focused on achieving ‘a slim, toned body’ (McCabe and Ricciardelli 2005, p. 573)."(35)

[Rolbevestigend dus.]

Dat als ideaal gepresenteerde lichaam leidt al bij kinderen tot zorgen over hun lichaamsbeeld en tot eetstoornissen, omdat ze zich bijvoorbeeld te dik vinden. Ook leidt het tot onzekerheid, minderwaarheidsgevoelens, rebellie en aandachttrekkerij (dat laatste ook via seks).

"At present, attention-seeking sexual behaviour appears to be more of a concern for older children and young teenagers. For example, when psychologists Lamb and Brown discuss their research with middle-school students (approximate ages 10 to 15 years), they describe ‘the girl who wore a see-through shirt to school and the girl who wore only her underwear and a trench coat’ as making ‘extreme pleas’ for attention (Lamb and Brown 2006, p. 47). As popular culture becomes more sexually explicit levels of attention-seeking sexual behaviour could escalate and attention-seeking sexual behaviour could become more common among older children and teenagers. Moreover, as images of sexualised children become more common in advertising and marketing material, it is also possible that younger children will also develop more attention- seeking sexual behaviours (2006, p. 48)." [mijn nadruk] (37)

[Terecht voorzichtig taalgebruik, want dat die samenhang er is is nog helemaal niet zeker.]

"There are two types of sexual harm to children that may be linked to increasing sexualisation. The first is related to the risk that the sexualisation of children could promote paedophilia. The second is related to the long-term trend for sexual activity to occur earlier in the teenage years, with associated increased potential for unwanted sex and contraction of sexually transmitted infections. If this trend continues, it will eventually affect children as defined in this paper (those aged 12 and under). A discussion of the legal age of consent is relevant to both these risks, and so it precedes consideration of them below."(38)

[Dat laatste levert de bekende tegenstelling op tussen mensen als deze auteurs die niet geloven in de 'agency' van kinderen, wijzen op groepsdruk, en ze willen beschermen tegen alles wat macht uitoefent en andere auteurs die kinderen voor voller aanzien waar het gaat om het kunnen inschatten van wat ze zelf willen, wat anderen willen, het maken van afwegingen het geven van instemming. Geen overeenstemming mogelijk, zo lijkt het.]

"Images that portray children as sexual agents who accept or even desire sexual interaction suggest, if only implicitly, that children are capable of meaningfully consenting to such interaction in the way that adults do. However, consent implies a fully informed understanding of the consequences of an action.(...) Consent also takes into account the need to minimise substantial power differentials (as exist between adults and children), because these are all too likely to lead to coercion in the guise of consent. (...) Although there is some debate about exactly where the age of consent should be set, given normal human maturation processes there seems little doubt that to set it under 16 [in Australië is dat 'the age of consent' - GdG] would be to increase the possibility both of consent being given without full understanding of the consequences, and of substantial power differentials playing a role in coercion."(38)

"Lumby draws on the metaphor of a double-edged sword of dependence and powerlessness to ask: ‘what’s the relationship between the desire to protect and the desire to control?’ (1998, p. 52). In the context of a more general critique of links which are commonly made between popular culture and paedophilia, she takes issue with the suggestion that ‘teenage girls are entirely powerless’ and argues that one of the ways in which they exert their power is by experimenting with their bodies and their ‘emerging sexuality’ (p. 52).
This position fails to acknowledge the limited capacity of children and teenagers to process information and their vulnerability to commercial and sexual exploitation."(38)

Vervolgens weer de kwestie dat de geseksualiseerde inhoud van al die media pedofielen aantrekt.

"Although a direct causal link between the sexualisation of children and their vulnerability to paedophilia has not been proven, the possibility of such a link has already caused widespread concern."(40)

"However, because paedophilia and child sexual abuse are complex social problems, it is difficult to isolate clear evidence of a causal link between sexualised images of children as discussed in this paper and paedophilia, and still more difficult to isolate a causal link between sexualised images of children and child sexual abuse. We discuss these issues briefly below but conclude that given the difficulty of obtaining strong evidence in such areas, and given that children are among the most vulnerable citizens in the community, the sexualising of children should be avoided. Our research suggests that this conclusion is the prevailing view among both experts and commentators." [mijn nadruk] (40)

[Dit is in hoge mate suggestief. Er volgen allerlei bronnen met verontruste geluiden. Maar het punt is: er is geen bewijs voor. Het is een mening. Bovendien doet het iets raars: het lijkt nu net alsof pedofielen als groep van een afstand dichterbij gehaald worden door die seksualiserende media. Maar degenen die kinderen misbruiken zijn zoals bekend en zoals de auteurs ook zelf aangeven voor het grootste deel te vinden in de eigen familiekring van de kinderen waar ze dus al toegang hebben tot die kinderen. Zouden die blaadjes en eventueel het geseksualiseerde gedrag van die kinderen nu zoveel toevoegen aan het gedrag van dat soort misbruikers?]

En dan de kwestie dat seksualisatie seksuele activiteiten op steeds jonger leeftijd promoot.

"In summary, although evidence for a causal relation between exposure to sexualised images and earlier sexual activity in teens is still very limited, the available evidence suggests that such a relationship does hold. Further research is currently underway."(41)

"Research on the effects of sexual content in the media on sexual attitudes and behaviours in adolescents is extremely limited, and studies of effects on children are virtually non-existent. Strasburger notes that, while the literature on the effects of violence in media content is now well developed (with over 3,000 studies on the harmful impact of media violence on children and adolescents), the literature on the effects of sexual content in the media is still underdeveloped, with only eight studies at the time of writing (2005, p. 276). However, these studies all indicate significant correlations between viewing of sexual content in the media and sexual activity, including testing positive for sexually transmitted diseases." [mijn nadruk] (41)

[Wetenschappelijke onderbouwing is dus nog beperkt.]

"The age of first sexual intercourse (defined in studies as vaginal intercourse) has been steadily falling in Australia during the last 40 years, consistent with trends in Europe and the United States (Rissel et al. 2003). This is sometimes advanced as a reason for lowering the legal age of consent. However, there are some significant risks associated with sexual activity, which any argument for lowering the legal age of consent must confront. Two such risks are of particular concern: unwanted sex and sexually transmitted infections. Both of these have the potential to cause serious long-term harm." [mijn nadruk] (42)

[En daar gaan we weer. Misschien zouden de auteurs ook eens moeten nadenken over andere dingen dan de risico's. Zouden er misschien ook positieve zaken kunnen samenhangen met vroegere seks? Genieten van je lijf? Je lijf leren kennen en daar zelfvertrouwen aan ontlenen? Gewoon lol hebben, stout doen, lachen? De auteurs zien alleen maar beren op de weg in de vorm van risico's.]

De 'opportunity cost' slaat op het gegeven dat kinderen door alle aandacht die ze besteden aan de media / aan hoe ze er uit zien / etc. minder tijd besteden aan andere dingen die wel passend zijn voor hun leeftijd.

En dan nog de ethische gevolgen:

"Common media messages about adult sexual behaviour normalise the treatment of women as objects, present sex and violence as linked, and show sex as a commodity (Linn 2005, p. 130). These messages mean that the sexualisation of children goes well beyond matters of appearance to include the promotion of particular ‘behaviors and values, especially related to sex’ (Linn 2005, p. 132)." [mijn nadruk] (45)

"That children themselves are now being sexualised in advertising and marketing material in ways that emphasise male domination seems likely only to increase the risk that the ethical values that foster healthy relationships will be undermined, in particular for boys."(46)

(47) 4. Who benefits from the sexualisation of children?

Kinderen volgens de auteurs in ieder geval niet: uiterlijk en seksualiteit geven kinderen niet meer macht tegenover volwassenen.

"For children seeking to become empowered in an adult world, a more promising route would be to focus on developing cognitive and emotional capacities that enable them to negotiate power relations more maturely and with less risk to themselves. Such capacities also enable young people to choose to use their sexuality in a respectful way, rather than for seeking to gain an advantage over others." [mijn nadruk] (47)

Ouders ook niet. Die maken zich zorgen over deze trend en hebben niet de tijd en de energie om hun kinderen op dat punt de goede richting uit te sturen. Vooral niet als het gaat om 'culturally or economically disadvantaged children'.

De bedrijven profiteren ervan. Die zijn steeds op zoek naar nieuwe markten en kinderen zijn in toenemende mate zo'n 'markt' geworden.

"Kleinhans records that when Abercrombie for Kids was criticised for selling g-string underpants to girls as young as seven years, the ‘company responded that [the underpants] were intended for 10-year-olds, an age at which, according to the company, girls are style conscious and want underwear that does not produce a visible panty line’ (2004, p. 18). But of course there is no evidence anywhere in the world that ten-year-old girls have ever approached companies requesting the production of g-string underpants for children. In such areas the reality is far more likely to be that companies invent new products and then rely on advertising to attract a market for them."(49)

(51) 5. The need for public debate

Een publiek debat is volgens de auteurs nodig.

(53) References

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