Art Or Child P*rn?

Bill Henson is getting a public flogging for the depiction of semi-naked girls in his Sydney exhibition. Rumours abound that he may even face criminal charges. Is this fair?

Larissa Debriski writing in The Age challenges us to ‘find an image of a naked 13-year-old beautiful, moving or thought-provoking’. Here’s another delightful aritcle from the lovely Larissa on why she loves the word ‘cunt‘. Memo to Larissa – if you’re an adult male and you find photos of semi-naked 13 year-olds ‘beautiful’ or ‘thought-provoking’, then you need help.

Michelle Grattan, in the SMH, thinks it’s all a big publicity stunt by Kevin Rudd to win back some votes. Andrew Bolt responds to Michelle here.

Miranda Devine, on the other hand believes that artists, perverts, academics, libertarians, the media, advertising industries and the porn industry have ‘successfully eroded the special protection once afforded childhood.’ In no libertarian handbook that i’m aware of does it condone exploiting minors, Miranda.

So who is right? Are Bill Henson’s photos of 13 year-old girls, naked from the waist up, art or kiddie porn?

Whilst art may be in the eye of the beholder, child porn is child porn, even if people like Larissa find it ‘beautiful‘.

The main argument being touted by the ‘ban it’ brigade are that these photos might end up in the hands of kiddie-fiddlers. This is ridiculous. Henson rightly replied that such a person could head down to Bondi Beach and see a lot more child flesh on display if they so wished. Alternatively they could spend a Saturday night at the Manly Hotel and watch not only semi-naked teenage girls but drunk ones too.

The central issue is whether a parent has the right to consent on the behalf of a minor to show nudity. Personally i cannot understand why any parent would give such consent. Is there anything they wouldn’t do for a quick buck? But if both parents and daughter consent, should that be the end of the matter? I personally don’t believe it should. Thirteen year olds cannot and do not think like adults. That’s why they are not granted the vote. They are unaware of the consequences of their nude bodies being Googled around the world.

Until they reach adulthood (say, age 16), their naked bodies should remain in the home.

nb – the photo above is much tamer than the ones causing such heated debate. the word ‘p*rn’ is asterisked to avoid the spam filter melt down. (censorship is the only thing not liberally applied round here.

Update I: Art certainly is in the eye of the beholder 😉

Other opinions from Kim at LP, and Helen Dale looks at some of the legal ramifications for Henson.

63 thoughts on “Art Or Child P*rn?

  1. So Gary Glitter can go out and buy a camera and become a non-pedophile? I don’t think so, what we have is the mainstreaming of pedophile, and there is a reaction to that,

    I’ve always thought Hanson’s work was sinister. It is very icky and creepy stuff, it is scary to see it by accident, I don’t seek it out, because I am not a pedophile.

    If the issue is simply whether or not he is good with a camera, what’s the point? The law has to be the same for Hanson as it is for a 65year old with a twelve dollar disposable.

    This sort of pernicious sexual photography encourages pedophiles to think they’re aesthetes.

  2. But if both parents and daughter consent, should that be the end of the matter? I personally don’t believe it should. Thirteen year olds cannot and do not think like adults.

    That’s the central issue. Who has a superior right to overrule them, if the parents and child both voluntarily agree? Politicians? Police? Media know-it-alls? What they are doing might not be anyone else’s cup of tea, but who has a right to dictate to them?

    In any case, the chances of a successful prosecution are virtually zero. Henson will probably be able to claim damages from the cops eventually.

  3. “Until they reach adulthood (say, age 16), their naked bodies should remain in the home.”

    Would you suggest that children under 16 be forced to cover up at nude beaches and naturist resorts?

  4. “Until they reach adulthood (say, age 16), their naked bodies should remain in the home.”

    What about nude beaches and naturist resorts? Should children there be forced to cover up? What extent of nakedness do you imagine is suitable beyond their homes? Are bathing suits appropriate… what about just a bit of gaffer tape over the naughty bits?

  5. This issue does not just affect the child and her (or his!) parents. It affects the community as well. Communities need to have moral codes and child p*m (or art) shouldn’t be acceptable. Who says the parents know what they are doing any more than their child does? Some adults can certainly be irresponsible in regards to their children and what they let their children do.

  6. It affects the community – err, but how? You can’t measure this kind of thing. All in all, the work won’t be misused and very few of us will see it.

    We can get a grasp of: if the parents are off their rocker or if the kid is being exploited.

    The basis of child protection should be to protect children, not to protect “the community”. Otherwise it would be called “community protection”, right?

    I think pedantically Henson is correct, but nevertheless I think it is exploitation. I bet that nearly all of the girls will regret this when they are adults.

    Yes the issue is over consent. But what can your parents give consent for you to do? I don’t think they can or should be able to give parental consent to this.

  7. And where are the boundaries? The Premier recently stopped a young model from working, because he thought she was too young. Do we leave this up to the politicians? I think it should be up to parental consent, until children reach the legal age of Adulthood.
    If we do anything else, aren’t we validating the ‘For-the kids!’ argument for expanding government powers?
    Personally, if someone were to shoot Henson, I would hope for one of those overlenient juries who let them off with a slap on the wrist.

  8. If nobody had mentioned the age of the models we would not be any the wiser and the artshow would never have come to the attention of wowsers.
    For God’s sake, leave the art to those who appreciate the work and arrest the paedophiles who commit crimes against kids.

  9. Here’s a solution to suit most people- hire adults who look young! I was shocked to learn that Pia Miranda is not a teenager, because she still looks incredibly young! (She was 30 recently, but she could still play a teenager successfully!) If she, as an adult, agreed to do some nude shots, even though she would look like a 13 or 14 year old, then we have kept the state out of the picture.
    Someone should tell this to the artist- he doesn’t have to use young models, they just have to LOOK young.

  10. If Hanson and all the businesses that have made money out his photos are not prosecuted, the floodgates will open, every paedophile in the country will be claiming that the photos they have taken are “art”.

    Hanson may well have “artistic” intentions, but we have laws that protect children from predators who exploit them, cross the line and you break the law. 18 years of age is the line – once the model reaches 18 they can do whatever they like, under that age then the law needs to make an attempt at protecting children from exploitation.

  11. David Leyonhjelm,
    Who has the right to overrule the child and her parents? Normally the answer is no one, but obviously there are exceptions to the rule. We don’t complain when the Dept of Children’s Services removes a child (against her will) from a prostitute mother and the pimp father, or the heroin addicted parents, or the parents with multiple convictions for child endangerment. We just have to decide where the line is between interference and saving those not yet of maturity from serious harm, and I think in this case the general pubic would declare (correctly) that underage nudity with sexual overtones has crossed that line.

    Dr Berman,
    This IS a crime against a kid. She is exposing herself very publicly without full knowledge (not old enough to know) of whether or not she wants to do it. For the same reason she cannot legally consent to sex, she cannot consent to certain acts of a very public and possibly embarrassing and traumatising nature.

  12. Dr. Berman (doctor?)

    Philip makes a good point. A 13 year-old is prevented from having sex because she is not mature enough to understand the consequences. She is also prevented from voting for the same reasons. But you’re ok for her to strip off for you and your friends who ‘appreciate art’?

    I’m sorry, but if you ‘appreciate’ these photos, then you need to see one of your colleagues.


    Lord Pommy

  13. What about nude beaches and naturist resorts? Should children there be forced to cover up?

    Yes! Jesus man, you want to see naked ten year-old girls on the beach?

  14. Haven’t studied this issue in any depth, but offhand, I think this Henson fellow should be prosecuted and thrown in jail. Libertarian philosophy doesn’t apply to minors or those of unsound mind.

    I don’t go around advocating that drugs should be legalised for minors, even though I believe the utilitarian arguments against prohibition for adults apply equally to minors (in both cases you get a blackmarket).

    Similarly, although there’s research that suggests freely available pornography reduces the incidence of rape, issues of consent prevent me from calling for the legalisation of child pornography.

    A more interesting question is the one raised by Gabriel Buckley above. What extent of nudity are we willing to accept? How about highly suggestive but non-nude underage modelling sites (see news story)?

  15. lo… the last couple comments from pommy sum up my view. I can’t believe someone would ask about children at nude beaches. I can see this is a slippery slope issue though – in both directions.

    If this “art” is allowed, then pedos will claim all sorts of crap as equally legitimate (regardless of whether Henson’s intentions are pure or not). On the other hand, disallowing this – even when both the “subject” and their parents are OK with it – is itself a slippery slope. Parents smacking their kids? I’m OK with that, though some would disagree. Parents allowing their (barely) pre-pubescent kids to be photographed nude? Not so much…

  16. sukrit – it’s an interesting point – what ‘extent of nudity’ is acceptable. i don’t know the answer to that but i am pretty sure that topless photos of 13 yr olds have crossed the line.

    let’s hope this furore doesn’t sully the good name of adult porn, though.

  17. Botticelli, Michelamgelo and Leornardo would today end up in jail if we go by the moral and the views of the people criticizing Henson.
    What’s wrong with the body? And are you serious when you say a 12y old girl or boy has no idea of what is wrong and what is right? The argument is the same that was denying the right to vote to women in the old days.
    Let them do their choice and learn by themselves what life is about.

  18. And are you serious when you say a 12y old girl or boy has no idea of what is wrong and what is right?

    Yes, i am.

    The argument is the same that was denying the right to vote to women in the old days.

    No it’s not. It’s completely different.

  19. And are you serious when you say a 12y old girl or boy has no idea of what is wrong and what is right?

    Yes, i am.

    Some 12 year olds are quite capable of knowing. Even the law recognises that. Under the common law, the principle of doli incapax is only absolute at 7 or below. Statute has raised it to 10 and incapacity is a rebuttable presumption above that to 14.

    I don’t think this is a time for dogmatic assertions of rightness. The issue is whether and when free expression should be circumscribed. This is also a libertarian blog, which means here of all places the presumption must be on the side of liberty. The onus is on those who would limit freedom to offer justification.

    Being a caring parent is not relevant. The issue is as old as civilisation. Does anyone seriously think Botticelli painted from memory? What if Botticelli had been a photographer?

  20. I’ve tried to address the consent issue over at my place, and keep the legal issues separate from the libertarian issues. Like David, I think the presumption must be in favour of liberty. I also think it’s handy to be one group of people who remain relatively unmoved by the emerging moral panic out there on this issue.

  21. Helen

    I wasn’t sure from your piece what your conclusion was on the issue of consent. Can a parent consent to nudity on behalf of a minor? Can a minor consent?

    David – the issue is whether 12 year-olds can think like adults. To have sex with a 12 year-old girl is rape, whether she consented or otherwise. the reason is that 12 year-olds are not mature enough to understand the fuller consequences of sex at this age. the same must apply to the display of their bodies.

  22. “the principle of doli incapax”

    I wouldn’t use this as an argument for or against — its just a legal way of trying to delineate things perfectly in a rather fuzzy world, which is why the age differs in different countries. Its interesting to note that in the UK, they are trying to reduce this so that little kids that murder other little kids can be held responsible. The flipside of this argument is that if really young kids can be held culpable then I imagine the assumption must be that slightly older kids can make decent decisions (unless you want to start defining on which issues they can and can’t decide).

  23. David – the issue is whether 12 year-olds can think like adults. To have sex with a 12 year-old girl is rape, whether she consented or otherwise. the reason is that 12 year-olds are not mature enough to understand the fuller consequences of sex at this age. the same must apply to the display of their bodies.

    I agree that 12 year olds are not capable of consenting to sex. But the display of their bodies is a far more contextual matter. “Must” is not a word to be used here.

    All bodies are beautiful in their way, especially those of the young. We think nothing of seeing naked newborn babies. A pubescent girl or boy is also indisputably beautiful. There is nothing controversial about that.

    Admiration of the human body is also quite normal. Artists and photographers have been capturing images of bodies ever since it was possible to do so. Many of them naked.

    When it comes to pubescent girls, the issue is one of intention. I haven’t seen all the Henson pictures, but I understand they clearly fall into the admiration category rather sexual fantasy. We are not talking close-ups of labia minora.

    An obvious question is why should it be OK to photographically admire naked babies and 18 year old girls, but not pubescent girls? What is so special about them that warrants the removal of freedom of expression and the admirer threatened with criminal prosecution?

    Consent is given by the parents in the case of a newborn baby. By the age of 12 consent tends to be negotiated, but parents are still largely in control. In the Henson case, there is no dispute that consent was given by both parents and child.

    Admiration of the human body is not rape. It is mostly not even violative. And freedom of expression is too precious to throw out on the basis of loose reasoning.

  24. I think parents should not be allowed to voluntaryily let their kids do porn. That would be insidious child abuse.

    However I agree with David’s comment.
    Henson’s work is definitely in the art category, not porn. So you can start by saying, art is the primary motive. Does it also have an inappropriate sexual (child porn) component to it? I’m not sure because I haven’t seen the art works properly. But I doubt it. Because I don’t think the human body becomes somehow sexualized just because it’s naked.
    We’ve all got a naked body and many emotions can be expressed by nakedness in art so it’s not surprising the naked form at all ages is common in art works.

  25. Regarding context- I said earlier that the Artist should have used adults with a juvenile look. If we have a gategorical edict against all childlike depictions, does this mean that “Garage Days”, an Australian movie starring the above-mentioned Pia Miranda, should be banned, because she portrays a Uni student who is briefly topless, and this might cause pedophiles to have fantasies, since she has small (though very nice!) breasts? The star of ‘Somersault’ was above-age, but looked younger than 18, so let’s strip Abbie Cornish of her awards and arrest her and the whole film crew! Where will it end, if it ever does?

  26. It used to be that by 13, girls would already be married or were planning on it.. The human length of life has changed, however, and girls/women now have the ability to choose when they want to have childrem, even well into their 40’s and 50’s.

    Back in the day, this couldn’t be done because people didn’t always make it to 20. When this was the case, there was no real problem with it as a whole. Though, now we all worry about the rights of those young women and how people may look at them.. But, if they don’t see anything wrong with it and neither does the artist, then what is the problem?

    When are people going to grow up and find the human body–no matter what age, shape, or color–is a work of art in itself and should not be idealized as a purely sexual vessel? Why should people feel ashamed of their bodies just because they are different or unclothed?

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  28. Lady – Even in the 1600’s in England the average age at which woman had their first child was higher than 25. Early marriages may have been the norm once but it was a very, very long time ago in a far off culture.

    For what it is worth I mostly agree with DavidL. The human body can be beautiful at any age. And as far as nude beaches go I think the young ones should be free to feel the breeze like everybody else. However I haven’t looked at the current crop of photos to form any form of opinion about this specific case. Obviously I oppose the exploitation of children.

  29. Somebody suggested using older models that look young. But if the reason for the uproar is that these photos provide fodder for paedophiles… then it is only the look (and not the reality) that matters. Consequently, according to that reasoning, it should be illegal to be photographed naked if you *look* young.

    Here’s a solution. First, allow absolute discretion with the child & parents. But allow such photographs to be used as grounds for an investigation into whether the parents are fit to raise children. This provides a dissincentive… could perhaps help to identify children at risk… but allows perfectly well-adjusted and understanding people to pursue their “art”.

    As for what is appropriate nudity… this is obviously very culture specific. A Saudi gentleman would be as angry as Pommy if soembody saw his daughter’s shins… while a san bushman would be confused by the uproar because his wifes and daughters have never worn clothes. Currently acceptable clothes for girls in the west would not have been tolerated in Elizabethan times. I don’t feel comfortable with the government being the “protectors of current culture”.

  30. Lots of things provide fodder for paedophiles. Including the Bond’s undies catalogue. The consent rules are there for the participants, not the observers.

    With regard to Pommygranate’s question, if I knew the answer to that question, I’d be an even better lawyer than I already am (and I’m vain enough to think I’m not too bad at my job).

    Consent has now been blurred by a new section that casts a much wider net than was the case with the previous legislation (all the relevant bits are linked in my post or the comments). One effect is that people are now erring on the side of caution, which means that Henson’s stuff is now right on the borderline legally.

  31. The shins of a Saudi girl must be very erotic. Far more erotic than those of a western girl. And clearly being eroused leads immediately to wide spread criminality and violence. So perhaps I can see the Saudi gentlemans point. 😉

  32. I don’t feel comfortable with the government being the “protectors of current culture”.

    neither do i. i prefer to accept the wishes of the majority of a particular culture. in Oz culture, photographing a naked 12 year-old is called soft child porn. and Oz is notably more prudish about nudity than in europe where it is the norm for women to sunbathe topless. Incidentally his clothed photos are, even to my untrained eye, clearly not bad at all and even quite beautiful.

    However, the photos were displayed in Oz, hence the photographer must accept the cultural norms of the society he lives in. If he showed these photos in Saudi Arabia, he would probably be flogged.

  33. If 9,999 people had viewed Bill Henson’s photographs of a naked young girl and admired them for their portrayal of the innocence of youth, by the use of shadow, compassionate use of balance, texture and vulnerable yet sensitive pose, that would not be a problem. However, if one person who viewed those same photographs became aroused, filled with sexual desire and uncontrollable urges, then the “problem” is surely with that person, not the photographs, the camera or the photographer.

    If 9,999 people who own firearms treat them with respect and care, as a piece of metal and wood, used as a tool of trade, or a piece of sporting equipment, that is not a problem. However, if one person takes the same firearm and it arouses in him so much hatred and anger that it causes him to take it and shoot someone, surely that one person has the problem.

    But our government introduced gun bans, rather than tackle the one person in one thousand who may have a deep seated psychological problem. So, as a result we now have another knee-jerk reaction and witnessing extreme censorship.
    Mind Control, brought to us by the same people who brought us Gun Control.

    What’s next? A Camera buy back and crushing program?

  34. welcome peter 🙂

    i don’t believe the issues are comparable. my objection is not to the 1 in 10,000 who will get excited by these pics (if they want child porn, they’ll damn well find it) but whether an adult has the right to give consent to the showing of nude photos on behalf of a minor.

    though i think you are right that most of the fuss has been created by the ‘there’s a peado round every corner’ brigade.

  35. Temujin, many people objected to the age of the models, and wondered what sort of parent would give consent to their children posing as models. My comment answered that objection- use adults who can pose as youngsters. Nobody here objects to adults using their bodies as they choose. If some adults happen to look younger than they are, they would still have the right to pose nude. At least, I think they would.
    As to paedophiles, they probably get their jollies from all that ‘classic’ art, and those ‘cherub’ statues.

  36. very good article from Miranda Devine in this morning’s SMH on the artists’ response to the Henson affair. she wonders why such a ‘creative’ bunch have such uniformity of views. good point. miranda also correctly points out that the fear of being branded a ‘moral conservative’ is so terrifying as to stifle all debate.

    nb – if the girl was a Muslim, of if the photo was of a Koran in a toilet would the artists’ response have been the same?

  37. If it’s art it’s not p*rn. And it seems to me all the moral outrage is just another excuse to tighten the government control. How come people who will stand up for the danish cartoonists want to see this artist prosecuted? In what way is this moral outcry different to the islamist anti-freedom of speechers?

    If we have a paedophillia problem we need to address that. Blame-free counseling and treatment for those who seek help and a short sharp lethal injection for those who actually interfere with kids. But we don’t need to be going through art galleries painting on figleaves, FFS.

  38. Tim

    If it’s art it’s not p*rn

    rubbish. some porn is crap, some is very artistic.

    How come people who will stand up for the danish cartoonists want to see this artist prosecuted?

    i would actually phrase this question the other way round.

  39. And again, if it has artistic merit, it isn’t porn. Pretty much by (my…) definition. Even if you find it arousing.

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  41. Being an artist, I feel very strongly about this one. There are some things I’d like to point out, in hope of persuading you to at least consider thinking of this differently. True, art is the eye of the beholder, and you can choose to like or dislike Henson’s work, according to your personal tastes, but to say it is “immoral” is to not critically think of the entire issue, I believe.

    The first thing I notice here is that there is a stigma against women–has no one else pointed this out? I went through and looked at some of Henson’s work. He features young men in his photos as well. I found a lovely picture of a 16 or so year old boy in his swim trunks in front of a lake. This hasn’t caused an uproar, but a similar photo of a young teenage girl has. Why is this? Well, obviously because their is a stigma against breasts in Western society and the automatic–and I argue wrong–assumption that they can only be viewed sexually. Why is Henson considered a child pornographer for showing a topless girl, yet an artist for showing a topless boy?

    There is also a fear of sex going on here. You will notice that no one cries “pedo” when it is a naked baby picture. I haven’t seen Anne Geddes having to defend her photos of children and their bared bums. And parents, of course, are giving consent there. Is the possibility of pedophilia against naked babies not as important as the possibility of pedophilia against teenagers? Why is society so unnerved by a photo of a half-nude young woman? Well, I argue it’s because the West is a little afraid of sex. Despite all of our sexualized imagery in advertising and media, we actually feel sex is quite taboo (thus the reason it’s featured in so much media in the first place). A teenager is at the start of their sexuality, and so a nude/half-nude photo of a teenager becomes much less comfortable for a lot of people than a picture of a naked baby. Yet, arguably, there isn’t a great difference. Skin is skin, it’s all contextual and parents are still involved in the consent for both.

    As for issues of consent, I do not see a problem here. We are saying it is a problem, because we are somehow worried that these girls will grow up and deeply regret their participation in nude art photography. However, if it is tasteful, a celebration of the human figure (no matter age), not sexualized at all, what on earth could a grown woman be ashamed of? Why would a grown woman, who had participated in something artistically nude in the past, be suddenly ashamed of her body? It’s just her body being shown, not her sexuality. Those who have a problem with it themselves have chosen to sexualize it. I wonder if it has ever occurred to these people that their sexualization of her body may be the only thing she becomes uncomfortable and/or shamed about when it comes to the photograph.

    Then there is age. I know 40-year-olds that don’t think about their decisions, and I have seen 11-year-olds that cannot stop thinking about them. Culturally-defined ages of adulthood, consent and wisdom are so arbitrary and general that it pains me. If the argument is truly about the thinking ability of the person, then I know some adults who shouldn’t be allowed to do things.

    To say that it’s okay for a boy to bare his chest, but not for a girl; or to say that a naked baby is cute while a naked teenager is perverse; or to say that an 18-year-old is inherently wiser than a 13-year-old; is to generalize too much and wish for the world to be simpler than it is. Issues of morality are more complex than that and should be studied more critically.

  42. You are quite right Indie Thinker. Some of the arguments on this thread are highly moralistic and a long way from libertarian. It’s good to hear an artist defending freedom and I agree entirely with your points.

    I hope you apply the same reasoning to other issues relating to freedom. Quite a few of your fellow artists are, shall we say, just a little inconsistent.

  43. OK, I’ve now read a lot of what people have had to say and looked at a few of the pictures. They are certainly quite disturbing, but that would be that art thing. I believe the artist is saying something about the vulnerability of adolescents and the awquard awakening of teen sexuality. It is great art, even if I’m not sure I like that kind of thing.

    What makes the naked body of a teenage girl pornographic? Seriously – original sin? The deviancy is in the eye of the beholder.

  44. The law has to be consistent. Minors aren’t really subject to the libertarian program. And we appear to be awash with sickos. So its a matter of drawing a line in the sand. I think this fellow was on the wrong side of it. Because if he isn’t then where is the line drawn? I who lack an international reputation in photography could never get away with this behaviour. If he’s broken the law he’s got to face the consequences. And the art gallery too. If the law itself is wrong thats something that can be repealed.

    I don’t think what he’s doing is art. Its got some light and shade skillfulness to it for sure. But it strikes me as thematically barren. Scared nude children in a dark world. You take away the peadophile angle what’s left to it?

  45. this whole thing has got right out of hand.
    sensible people screeching on about peadophiles? artists being censored for photos which are no way sexual?
    fucking crazy if you ask me.
    a step backward for this shitty country.

  46. In the UK it is child pornography, to have it squirted all over the internet, is unhelpful.

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  48. The Henson material is used by pedophiles, that’s the primary constituency, as if it could be any other way.

    It has destroyed the credibility of the so-called artistic community in Australia, they’ve been abandoned by their smarter colleagues in LA, NYC, and London.

    That’s why Henson is being defended by his parochial tribe and avoided by the heavy hitters in Europe and the USA.

  49. Pommygranate, how do you feel about child actors? Is it ok for them to act, if their parents have given their consent, even though childen don’t think like adults?

  50. I suggest that the problem with child pornography is the exploitation of children to create it, not the existence of pictures that sick fucks masturbate over. So whether pedophiles are downloading Henson’s pictures is really irrelevant to the question of whether it is art and whether it should be legal.



    05 June 2008



    The Irish Anti-Trafficking Coalitions is dismayed that the Australian authorities have cleared for publication an uncensored nude photograph of a 13 year old girl. This closely follows the Classification Board’s green light for photographers to take pictures of naked under-age models after backing down on an investigation into a fashion magazine. Australia is closely emulating Japan in its failure to regulate indecent images of children.

    The decision by the Classification Board is in violation of Australia’s obligations under the UNCRC, CEDAW and ICCPR. This is the first occasion anywhere in the world that a nude photograph of a female child who was subject to a police investigation relating to a sexually motivated crime has been cleared for publication. This decision is also a fundamental breach of Australia’s reponsibilities as partner nation of the Virtual Global Taskforce.

    /// END

    Gregory Carlin


    Irish Anti-Trafficking Coalition
    4 Downfine Walk
    Northern Ireland

    (UK) 44 (0) 2890 963164


    U18 topless photographs are classified as child pornography in the United Kingdom.

    The IATC was a consulting partner with the UK govt. in relation to the SOA 2003

  52. This is ridiculous and people are dumbfucks. Children are not a blanket group of “unsound, naive babies” they are far from stupid they just haven’t been around as long as older people have, that’s it.

    A 7 year old might not be mature enough to decide certain things for himself/herself that have any bearing on major things going on in his or her life, but good god, the child is a person! He or she has thoughts and feelings! There are some genius 10 year olds out there, with college degrees nonetheless and some retarded (in more way than one) 30 year olds who still live in their mom’s basement and can’t hold a job.

    Children are NOT innocent a people need to realize this, many 11, 12, 13 year olds have WILLINGLY had sex before, girls included in fact some of them are the perpetrators! This does not make them immature automatically because of their age!

    In fact, before we determine anyone to be immature or incapable of doing anything for themselves we should have a talk with each and every one of them we deem to be “minors” and then we’ll see who is immature.

    Also, when someone under 18 (ex: 17 and 8 months or 14 years old) takes naked pictures of themselves and post them on the internet (note: they took them on their own free will, thus no exploitation has occurred) everyone cares, OMG CP!!!! and it becomes a crime (will they be prosecuted? I’ve heard of one girl who was) But as soon as they turn 18 and take naked pictures of themselves no one cares.

    Who’s the one being immature here?

    All I’m saying is we can’t blanket everyone under the “age of consent” to be stupid and incompetent it is not true nor right to do this to someone. It’s wrong and I’m sick of it. Yeah kids do stupid things but fundamentally they’re NOT stupid, everyone just thinks they are.

    Oh and abstinence-only-programs are a waste of time and money, you cannot deny nature, you can’t make it go away.

  53. nicholas

    huh? child actors are not allowed to do nude scenes for the same reasons that child models shouldnt be allowed to pose nude for photos.

  54. This sort of shit was fine before the ‘Baise Moi’ fiasco. Art house societies would have screenings of this stuff which would be attended by the soy latte clique and it was predominantly ignored by the authorities even though it hadn’t been classified by the board of ‘I know better than you what you should view’ and pretty much most of the mainstream didn’t know or care.

    I’m perfectly fine with that and happy to have child porn laws which get applied to the guy caught with these photos mixed with a few from his daughters pre-school, and leave the art house clique, who have the same photos mixed in with their study of 20th century nudes, alone.

    Although I’d say freedom of expression has got to be in the top three things we should hold most dear.

  55. On the front page of today’s Australian it says Bill Henson is not to be prosecuted. I expected that, although I was even more confident he would be acquitted if charged.

    Which raises the question as to how much compensation Henson and the Gallery are entitled to receive, given that police seized most of his exhibits and forced it to close.

    I suggest it should be quite a lot. That might keep the police out of art galleries for a while, at least until the next moral panic strikes.

  56. A telephone can be used to plan a bank robbery. Clearly bank robberies are illegal and generally would be considered bad for society. So we should ban all telephones because they might be used to plan a bank robbery?

  57. pommy, at what age can a young person be considered old enough to make decisions for themselves? I ask, because people say the models were too young to know the full consequences of their actions. Therefore, should all young people be forbidden from any job? At what age are they responsible? Are they responsible if they choose to act in, for example, movies? And what is pornography? If child actors go swimming in a movie, is that an enticement to pedophilia?

  58. So, is it art or child porn? The answer to the question is both, depending on your point of view. Michaelangello’s David, which is a nake man, is thought to be a work of art (sorry for the mispell). Yet as soon as we cross the 16 year old age barrier its raged as child pornographic. The pictures in fact show a sign of vunrability and also a sense of free will. Is this what adults are afraid of, showwing children as they are. It is only pornographic to those who use the images as such. Im sure the child was perfectly aware of the photos been taken, and fact that she would have agreed, and so must the parents, shows that she was well aware of what they are, she might be 13 but shes not a completetly mindless, or have a voice of her own and say no. Those who dont like them, dont look at them, dont impose your ‘ideals’ on other people and stifle there work or insperation. ‘Nuff said.

  59. Onlookers at Jellie Park Newzealand got an unexpected strip show from a Catholic school’s new-entrants class.

    A mother who was at the Christchurch City Council-run aquatic centre in Burnside on Tuesday complained to Jellie Park staff, and the St Bernadette’s Primary School class was told to use the changing-rooms in future.

    The mother, who did not want to be named, said she was appalled by the school’s actions.

    “I’m not a prude or anything but I just think it is an odd thing to make kids do,” she said.

    “If the parents of those kids knew they were being paraded nude in front of the public at a swimming pool, they would be horrified.

    “I just can’t understand why they wouldn’t use changing-rooms. That’s what they’re there for.

    “If they haven’t got enough teachers to supervise them getting changed, have they got enough to supervise them in the pool?”

    St Bernadette’s principal, Maureen Moore, said the school would co-operate with the request from Jellie Park.

    “I went over today and spoke to them,” she said yesterday. “They told us we can’t do it and that’s the end of it.”

    She said the class of 15 five-year-olds had only one teacher, so they changed beside the pool after swimming so she could keep an eye on them.

    “We don’t see it as a big deal. It was purely for safety reasons, Moore said. “I understand someone wasn’t happy, so we will stop it.

    “I think it’s been blown out of proportion. Put it this way: it wasn’t children running around naked.”

    The class will have its last learn-to-swim class today at Jellie Park.

    City council western area recreation manager Simon Battrick said it was not normal practice for people to get changed alongside the pool, and the school had been told this.

    “Our lifeguards were watching the water, so didn’t see what was happening,” he said.

    “But we’ve now had a chat with the school and made sure they have better systems in place.”

    Battrick said it was not something that happened regularly at council pools.This is Copyed From Stuff news paper From David rs Greer comments Rember We must not Feel good About or bodys .some one might have dirty thorts.Lets wrap every thing in cotton wool and run along God might be watching we must live in totol anxiety !
    You can olny go nude in the natonal greographic book If you a Black (Fact)..Please comment oh god how we live in fear..

  60. reading all above i don’t see the problms about nudes – are’nt we al born without any clothing and is’nt human body the crown on creation ? we should be proud about our bodies and for me the nude body is best of all – esp those of kids till some 17 …

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