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Consuming Innocence

Pornography and the Sexualisation of Children Debate

Bill Henson

“We have made the child we are protecting from sexual horrors into a being defined exclusively by sexual images and terms: the child is defined as the sexual lure, the one in danger, the one capable of attracting nothing but sexual thoughts”.

“The child was figured as free of adult corruptions; mortality and sexuality; … Childhood, to a large extent, came to be in our culture a coordinate set of have nots, of negations; the child was the one who did not have. Its liberty was a negative attribute”.

Issues conflated in the debate
1. That children are being depicted in ways that suggest they have an adult understanding of self and sexuality 2.That children are being encouraged to behave in an adult sexual manner 3. That popular images of children are fuelling child sexual abuse 4.That children are being exposed to adult sexual material

Lumby and Albury recommendations
• More transparent complaints process with government and industry working together • Educational resources for parents and young people re media consumption • More research into what meanings children take from popular culture around gender and sexuality • National sex education curriculum that includes popular culture and takes an