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Seksualisering (rapporten en artikelen)

Gail HAWKES / R. Danielle EGAN
"Landscapes of Erotophobia: The Sexual(ized) Child in the Postmodern Anglophone West"
in: Sexuality & Culture (2008) 12, p.193–203

[De abstract is bijzonder duidelijk:]

"The issue of ‘child sexualization’ is widely addressed in the mass media of the Anglophone West. It is a topic on which many voices, both lay and professional, pronounce upon with conviction. Almost universally the judgment is that this is a damaging and unwanted consequence of the ‘modern world’ that cannot be avoided, so that protection of ‘the child’ is the only recourse. This introduction argues that this hegemonic discourse entails unchallenged and naturalized assumptions. We identify three: the normative distinction between ‘proper’ and improper sexualization––where the former involves the staged transmission of approved knowledge from adult to child; while the latter is the consequence of a ‘free market’ in exploitative imagery and inappropriate expectations of the unprotected child in the adult world. Second, the sexually agentic child is not only missing but logically excluded. Paradoxically the very capacity essential for growing to full citizenship is denied the citizens of the future. Finally, that though ‘the child’ is deemed at risk, it is girls who are the naturalized victims within traditionally gendered framings. We develop these themes in relation to the work of the other contributors, whose work strengthens and deepens the necessary critical challenge." [mijn nadruk] (193)

"The easy usage of the word sexualization belies the complexity of ideas and assumptions that it has come to represent, many of them with much older ideological pedigree."(194)

Die vanzelfsprekenheid in hoe erover gepraat wordt, wordt afgeleid

"from cultural assumptions about the innocence (that is to say asexuality in mind and body) of children and even young adolescents (Cross 2004; Kincaid 1998). Two older ideas are further implied, namely, that innocence is equivalent to asexuality, but that nevertheless, the same individuals are by definition highly susceptible to the acquisition of premature or inappropriate sexuality (Foucault 1980). Anyone who challenges the ‘taken-for-grantedness’ or raises questions about the validity of the naturalized assumptions contained within ‘sexualization’ risks being marginalized as an apologist for pedophilia ..." [mijn nadruk] (194)

[Het zijn ondoordachte standpunten die zichzelf immuun maken voor elke kritiek. Dat is bijzonder zorgelijk, vind ik. Hierna herhaling van standpunten uit eerdere artikelen zoals dat die angst voor seksualisatie van 'kinderen' typisch genoeg alleen wordt toegepast op meisjes en 'agency' - het maken van bewuste keuzes voor iets - geldt overal in de ontwikkeling van kind tot volwassene, maar typisch genoeg niet voor seksualiteit:]

"This history of the pathologization of female sexuality lies behind, but is never recognized within, sexualization by its exponents. Gendered sexual danger thus becomes naturalized by proxy, the instability and vulnerability of young girls assumed, and, again, any dissenting or critical voices are marginalized." [mijn nadruk] (195)

"In sociological terms, agency connotes a level of self-consciousness and independence from and even resistance to restricting social structures within which the agentic individual is positioned (Giddens 1984). In this sense, agency can enable both conformity and resistance, but the key variable is conscious choice. Anglophone Western cultural definitions of development from child to adulthood (whether or not it is articulated in these terms) entail the acquisition of this capacity – seen to be a marker, if not the marker, of competent adulthood. Except, that is, in relation to sexuality."(195)

[Iedereen is blijkbaar doodsbang voor die 'sexual agency' van kinderen.]

"The issue of whether or not young people can or should make choices about their expressions of sexual sensibility or desire remains central in the ‘landscape of erotophobia’ in wider culture generally and in the works in this issue in particular." [mijn nadruk] (195)

"In our contemporary culture, the question of whether or not children are normatively erotic, as opposed to having a ‘sexual instinct,’ is currently hidden beneath a range of concerns about inappropriate representation of and information about sex. The content and timing of sex education has been a major issue in the past (see Epstein and Johnson 1998; Levine 2002; Irvine 2002) and continues in a more polarized form in the ‘abstinence only’ movement in the United States." [mijn nadruk] (196)

[Met andere woorden: jongere kinderen mogen van veel volwassenen niet eens iets weten over seksualiteit, laat staan dat ze zich als een 'sexual agent' zouden gaan gedragen.]

"Since the first conceptual distinction between adult and child, age has been a central normative marker. Yet in practice this category is a highly adaptable category: ‘age’ can be normatively adjusted ..." [mijn nadruk] (196)

[Dat gebeurt de hele tijd, bv. als het gaat om de stemgerechtigde leeftijd. Maar als het om seksualiteit gaat gaat de 'age of consent' alleen maar omhoog.]

"If young ‘non-adult’ people are normatively incapable of sexual self-determination and choice, then any sexual relationship with an older adult will by definition be exploitative and one-sided. As in other discourses about the child, the organizing, defining and normalizing feature of age, is flexible (Evans 1993; Waites 2005; Postman 1994). Child sexual abuse (CSA) discourses frame age as a universalizing and immutable category that denies the possibility of conscious and especially of chosen and erotically focused participation of the young man [de auteurs bespreken een artikel over relaties tussen mannen en jongens, maar natuurlijk bedoelen ze het ook in het algemeen - GdG]. There is no room in the CSA discourse for the consideration of reciprocity in inter-generational sexual encounters. Any suggestion that there is another interpretation – that such categories are socially constructed and therefore mutable – is outlawed as at best naı̈ve and at worst collusive." [mijn nadruk] (197)

"Respondents from studies undertaken on younger male participants in man/boy relationships between 1987 and 2004 by different researchers in different countries (Sandfort 1982; Mrazek 1991; Leahy 1992; Yuill 2004) all raised questions over the age/power relationship as well as over the degree to which these encounters were initiated by and in the erotic interests of the older men."(197)

[Volgt opnieuw een beschrijving van de opvattingen over wat een 'proper' en een 'improper' vorm van seksuele ontwikkeling en seksualisatie is zoals in eerdere artikelen.]

"Proper sexualization is that which is sanctioned within the discourse of development, a staged acquisition of approved knowledge from external (adult) sources. ‘Improper sexualization’ occurs randomly, derives from unsanctioned sources, or, worse [naar het idee van allerlei auteurs die hier bekritiseerd worden - GdG], from within the imagination or experience of the young. The boundaries between the two are naturalized and implicit in the oft repeated mantras of innocence, exploitation and inappropriate premature sexuality." [mijn nadruk] (199)

"As the sexualization panic progresses, public responses become less rational and more infused with ‘self-evident truths’."(199)

[Als voorbeelden geven de auteurs de protesten tegen de expositie van Bill Henson van naaktfoto's van 12-13 jarigen. Het is allerlei andere fotografen ook overkomen: David Hamilton, Jock Sturges, Sallie Mann zelfs. Dat zijn nu echt 'moral panics'.]

"Sexualization panic uses the specter of the pedophilic gaze to render such artistic displays morally unacceptable while stigmatizing and marginalizing those who ‘invaded’ the child’s body in this manner. In this most recent example, the contradictions within the discourse of sexualization panic can be seen clearly. On the one hand, the protest centers on the prurient invasion of the child, innocent and in need of adult protection. On the other, it was claimed that the child’s rights were being compromised: it (she) had not given consent. Yet when the child did speak, the evidence of her subjectivity and agency were ignored. The significance of nudity also illuminates some less evident but, we suggest, consistent features in the panic: that the perceived ‘harm’ being done is identified and measured in terms of adult, not child perceptions. Despite the constantly reiterated primacy of ‘child protection’; these discourses we suggest are for and by adults. The second ground for condemnation of this and other works of art was that such images display the body of the child for pedophilic consumption. Here there is another adult-driven assumption: first, that nudity equals sexuality; second that the display of nude bodies renders the child’s innocence vulnerable to external danger, while simultaneously awakening within it (her) a premature and inappropriate sexuality." [mijn nadruk] (200)

[Echt heel goed op een rij gezet. Tot slot volgt weer hun opvatting dat heel die paniek alleen maar over meisjes en hun seksualiteit gaat en dat jongens op dat punt 'buiten schot' blijven. Wat het hele argument over de gevolgen en gevaren van seksualisering totaal onderuit haalt.]

"For example, in the recent Henson case, the offending exhibition contained nude images of both sexes, but in the media coverage, it was only the image of the torso of the female subject that was repeatedly displayed. Such framings are culturally very familiar, if not entirely naturalized; even in the post-feminist era they appear unchallenged providing they are twinned with the context of age." [mijn nadruk] (201)

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