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Is this naturism, photography or soft-core child pornography?
November 9, 2002 6:50 PM   Subscribe

Is this naturism, photography or soft-core child pornography? If you search for photographers like Sally Mann or Jock Sturges you'll come across this entirely legitimate purveyor of naturist books and videos. In the Fifties and Sixties nudist magazines, like Health and Efficiency, were an excuse for looking at naked bodies. Now that porn is legal, have nudist publications made a comeback as an excuse for looking at photographs of naked children? Their website is itself well concealed - the front page looks innocent enough but, the further you click into it, the more unsettling it becomes. Or are we all becoming to paranoid for our own good? (I'd say NSFW)
posted by Carlos Quevedo (110 comments total)

 
>(I'd say NSFW)

I'd say not safe for anytime...

Yeesh, this is a tough call. IMHO, it's child porn unless they add a "censored" box over the offending areas...
posted by shepd at 7:01 PM on November 9, 2002


If it wasn't a weekend, I think this thread would already be gone.
Any wagers?
posted by 2sheets at 7:01 PM on November 9, 2002


We've been through this before.
posted by PrinceValium at 7:03 PM on November 9, 2002


I don't want to be weird about this, what with this being my first comment posted and all, but did you just link to pictures of naked children? We all know there's naturalist photos all over the internet - did you really need to provide us with a quick 'n easy link to some?

(btw, I'm all for nudism, even children. I'm not trying to be any sort of moral crusader. I guess I was just a little suprised that you linked to said pics on Metafilter.)
posted by item at 7:05 PM on November 9, 2002


Christ, now I am fearing the FBI will come knock down my door. Thanks a lot. Really though... naked pictures of children are fine in my opinion. I don't think you should punish a mother for photographing her babies taking a bath and such. Publication of these pictures on the internet, however, seems like something that the child should be able to decide once they turn 18. Naked pictures of children in sexual circumstances is quite a different story, as there becomes questions regarding consent... (although most of this is bullshit if the child is at the age of reason). Virtual child porn... that seems legitimately fine in my opinion. I'd rather have pedophiles looking at virtual porn than stealing children and hurting them.
posted by banished at 7:11 PM on November 9, 2002


Ooh, this is a toughy. The website is certified, after a fashion (scroll to the bottom of the home page), but on the other hand the video descriptions sound disturbingly like ad copy for tobacco water pipes.

On the other hand: the families in these videos ARE nudists, and the activities filmed are what nudists normally do. Regardless of who these videos are marketed to, no one is being exploited or abused here -- pedophiles will whack off to the JC Penny Kids Catalog if they have to. And as everyone who's ever masturbated to a non-sexual image knows, that's certainly not hurting the subject of the photography (or filming, etc.)

And finally, if pedophiles can buy this sort of material, hopefully there won't be as much of a demand for images and films which DO explicitly exploit and abuse children. I'd much, MUCH rather have a pedophile whack off to something I find unsettling than molest children, wouldn't you?
posted by tweebiscuit at 7:11 PM on November 9, 2002


Banished -- I don't think there's a law against this. It's the "Girls Gone Wild" principle -- if you do it in public, it can be filmed and sold without your consent.

I also wanted to add that a good way of checking this out would be to see if there's a community of hobbyist naturalists who actually enjoy watching these videos for other than sexual purposes. It seems unlikely to me, but since the internet is a natural gathering-place for such things...

Finally, shepd: Just showing naked pictures of children isn't pedophilia. The content has to be specifically sexual in nature to be illegal (or immoral, in my opinion.)
posted by tweebiscuit at 7:14 PM on November 9, 2002


Carlos, I don't see the point of this post. If any Mefite wanted to find videos on Russian/East European nudists and their kids, this would turn up in google. Ok, so there's no sexual activity displayed (on the links you provided anyhow), but... who would buy this? Other naturists? I doubt it - they're living the life, not looking at strangers.

Inevitable question I'm afraid: How does this meet the guidelines? - A good post to MetaFilter is something that meets the following criteria: most people haven't seen it before 1, there is something interesting about the content on the page 2, and it might warrant discussion from others 3.

1. Those that have sought it out: those that didnt, didnt want to.
2. Interesting to whom? Why?
3. The discussion - for as long as it lasts - will not win many converts to Naturism/Nudism (which I fully support as a recreational activity in safe surroundings), but likely will garner considerable outrage.

I give this thread a few hours, tops.

Finally, what, to you, is the value in posting it?
posted by dash_slot- at 7:15 PM on November 9, 2002


the video descriptions sound disturbingly like ad copy for tobacco water pipes.
they smoke naked kids now?!?!?!
posted by quonsar at 7:18 PM on November 9, 2002


Dash; I'm 52 with a 34 year old daughter. Only 30 years ago there was no problem with naked children. In South America and Southern Europe all children go naked on beaches and nobody notices. But lately (I remember the controversy with Sally Mann) we've all become more sensitive to this, because of the relatively recent surge (or media surge?) about pedophilia.

Argentina (my country) and most Latin countries are just now drafting laws about pedophilia - it was assumed it didn't exist. My post was to question our preconceptions - are we becoming too protective and paranoid? In the UK, in the early 80s, there was actually a pamphlet advising fathers not to bathe their baby daughters or cuddle them for more than X minutes.

I find this disturbing - but I agree that photographs like this might (but how do we know?) excite pedophiles. All the photographs on this website are allowed by a nudist organization. I think it is an interesting question.
posted by Carlos Quevedo at 7:25 PM on November 9, 2002


Soft-core child pornography followed by Farm Sluts. Overall an odd day for Metafilter.

And I also am strangely amused about how now my name is going to be seen when someone googles for "Farm Sluts and Child Pornography" now.
posted by Stan Chin at 7:25 PM on November 9, 2002


dash_slot

I find it interesting and I have never seen it before and it definitely warrants discussion! Not only do I question the motives of the creators of the videos on this site as perhaps catering to pedophiles, but it raises some questions such as how much could this company get for selling their customer list to the FBI??? (Which I do not support but with things like the Patriot Act going around, they probably can do this already.)

Not only that, but it has at the very least made me curious about Naturism/Nudism, and curious to know why these people believe in / want to be naked??? Why do they?
posted by banished at 7:26 PM on November 9, 2002


When Radik is called to serve in the army, a group of his closest friends throw him a party to send him off with fond memories

60 bux for this?
posted by RubberHen at 7:27 PM on November 9, 2002


2. Interesting to whom? Why?

I find it interesting, fucker. The question is, how does your comment fit the (unwritten) guidelines: "If you think a post is pointless, boring, or stupid, IGNORE IT." If you don't want to talk about this, stop wasting space so the rest of us can get on with it.

quonsar, not sure if you actually wanted clarification or if you were just joking, but just in case, I was referring to the practice of describing a product as obstensibly for one thing but dropping hints that it's for another (presumably illegal thing.) Example: "Trippy tie-dye swirls, and a stem that won't get clogged with resin. (Uh, tobacco resin.)" etc. For other example, just visit the links in the original post, they're all over the place.
posted by tweebiscuit at 7:27 PM on November 9, 2002


I find it interesting, fucker.

That's a little excessive.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:36 PM on November 9, 2002


I agree, but I tend to become annoyed when someone questions my existence. Making a "this thread is boring/pointless/stupid" comment after a discussion has already begun is incredibly rude, arrogant and insulting. I responded similarly.

(By the way: I primarily use such words as a way to express my own anger, to not attack someone. I'm not really saying anything about dash_slot as a person, just expressing that I'm pissed off.)
posted by tweebiscuit at 7:40 PM on November 9, 2002


Thank you, tweebiscuit. In my search I did find a lot of dubious "erotic" websites with photographs by Sally Mann and Jock Sturges (doubtless unauthorized, for their integrity is well known) but they were not worth posting, of course.

This website may be entirely "above board" and my comments may be even unjust and insulting to them - as it is an officially approved site by international nudist organizations and there is no sexual activity or even suggestion of any kind.

It's like that comment in English: "There's nothing dirty there - it is you who has a dirty mind". I don't know anything about nudism, except it's a family thing and nobody in the movement thinks twice about it.

I admit, like Rubberhen says, that the high price of the videos sent me a signal that something might be suspicious - but I'm not sure. I think I have justified myself enough now, so I'll sign off unless someone wants a direct response for me.

It's a cultural question, to do with political correctness perhaps, of which I am a more than willing "victim", I add!
posted by Carlos Quevedo at 7:41 PM on November 9, 2002


I'd say you're getting paranoid, to be honest. For one thing, I note the heavy Russian flavour - and I seem to remember that they have some pretty funny ideas about health, cold, snow, sunlight and nakedness. For another, I didn't see anything particularly sexualised. It's just a bunch of severly underdressed people.

Perhaps my inner pervert is too blase these days. I don't really know what would really appeal to yer genuine child molester, but I'm betting they prefer stronger wank-material than this.

As the father of a girl, I think that the fear that otherwise innocent nakedness provides fuel for paedphiles is sort of cutting off your nose to spite your face. If I have to moderate perfectly normal behaviour to avoid triggering fantasies in a tiny minority of deviants, then, um, the terrorists have already won.

As to the relevance of the post, I think it's quite a reasonable subject for discussion. I find it interesting. And I've not seen anything like it on the web before.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:42 PM on November 9, 2002


Not everyone who claims to be a "nudist" or "naturist" is. Heck, naturists and nudists can't even agree on what makes them the same, or different.* Most would still agree, however, that pictures of children posed specifically so as to be prurient don't fit their definition.

There are indeed legitimate journals of naturism/nudism, such as "N" magazine published by The Naturist Society of Oshkosh. I know the publishers; I've even been published in it. I wouldn't have consented to this if I believed it was just another stroke book for pedophiles. (Do some pedophiles use it as a stroke book anyway? Probably. Aside from having gone to great efforts to make it not appeal to them, can the publishers do much else? Not really.)

My point is this: don't take one site that sits, if anywhere within the naturist spectrum, on the fringe to be indicative of the way all naturists think. Then again, I'm just one naturist, who just made his first Metafilter post. Take it as you will.

* We all agree, however, that a "naturalist" is something else entirely. Naturalists want the Audobon Society, not the Naturist Society.
posted by gnudist at 7:43 PM on November 9, 2002


The Dairy Cow: Agricultural Commodity or Barnyard Temptress?
posted by quonsar at 7:51 PM on November 9, 2002


Yh, really. I made my comment as a member who is wondering the fitness of the post at all. In what way did I piss you off enough to get that response? I myself may find Naturism interesting: I'm questioning why it was posted here, is all. "I responded similarly." [snark] That's all right then. [/snark]

The subject could have been raised without linking to actual pics like are in the post: I'm not gonna google it, but I assume some Naturist sites have non-nudes on their homepages, and online video stores: that would do the trick. Don't please cast me as a prude or a censor: i'm not. I question why this was linked directly from the front page, to a site earnestly asking itself: what is good to post here?.

Finally, if this site, and it's video sales, are aimed at bone fide Naturists, a mailing list would do the job. I question why it's on the web at all.

Over & out.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:54 PM on November 9, 2002


quonsar: I'm having serious doubts about you now, man! ['This old man, he's on crack, he's a lactophiliac'! The scene where Farmer Brown is , er, milking the cow is well, hilariously sub-porn!]
posted by dash_slot- at 8:00 PM on November 9, 2002


60 bux for this?

That's what I was thinking. Why the hell would these videos be worth so much money? They must know that there is a very select market for this type of stuff and people are willing to pay exorbitant prices for it. It sets off a few alarms for me.
posted by velacroix at 8:01 PM on November 9, 2002


I agree that some of the captions are (maybe unintentionally?) euphamism fodder.
"Full family participation."
"Visiting with European nudists at home is pure joy."
"...a teen dance routine exhibition."
If you're not into looking at nude kids, these videos sound crushingly boring to me. So, allowing for the benefit of the doubt and assuming there is a non-pedophilic market for this stuff, what's the alternative explanation? Who's buying?
posted by normy at 8:04 PM on November 9, 2002


Seems pretty straightforward to me. This is child porn. It shouldn't be spread, on MeFi or elsewhere.
posted by alms at 8:09 PM on November 9, 2002


This is child porn. It shouldn't be spread, on MeFi or elsewhere.

Isn't porn about sex? This isn't about sex. Foot fetishists may find Manolo Blahnik advertisements highly arousing - but it doesn't make them porn.

The danger is if everything which may arouse a small minority of people is deemed "porn" then you risk there being no distinction between child porn (children engaging in sexual acts) and photographs of naked children.

The danger is confusing content with reaction. For instance, a naked 3-year-old on the beach. The child is happy and unabused (as are those on this website). The fact that someone finds it sexy is beside the point. Or should be.
posted by Carlos Quevedo at 8:21 PM on November 9, 2002


Hmmm, on the other hand the heavy emphasis in the still on adolescents seems a bit suss.

(on preview) what CQ just said.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:24 PM on November 9, 2002


The danger is confusing content with reaction. For instance, a naked 3-year-old on the beach. The child is happy and unabused (as are those on this website). The fact that someone finds it sexy is beside the point. Or should be.

Normally I'd agree with you. We definitely are too paranoid about these things.

But "full family participation" sounds a little too much like code for "there are naked kids in this video" and everything about it suggests there's something good about these videos we don't know about. I'm sure the content is technically fine, but why else would you buy videos of naked people doing everyday stuff - especially not at the prices they're asking - if not for the naked people?
posted by SoftRain at 8:28 PM on November 9, 2002


Yeesch. Why are the people getting naked always the ones that shouldn't?
posted by xmutex at 8:37 PM on November 9, 2002


As others have pointed out, the fact that they are charging $60 for what would otherwise be boring home movies is a tipoff that they are appealing to a specialty market of people with an obsession. You may argue that the obesssion, in some cases, may be wholesome. But that seems not the most plausible explanation to me. Given the likelihood of abuse, I don't see the point of posting the links, especially the series of links leading down the garden path.

I could post links to sites selling rape videos. I've unfortunately had to experience some of those because of my work. To the extent they're even worth mentioning, they're certainly not worth providing an invitation to. I'd put this site in the same category.
posted by alms at 8:38 PM on November 9, 2002


I'm sorry can someone explain to me again how nude pictures of folks are unsettling?

Alms how exactly can you put a nude picture of someone playing volleyball next to someone getting raped and find equivalence?

Xmutex I think the point of naturism is that who should or who shouldn't be naked is completely irrelevant.

Always interesting to watch folks squirm in their seats and explain why a post is not appropriate.

Some worry about the $50 cost for these home videos. How about explaining how someone could spend 50k on a new car. I don't understand that at all yet to some it makes perfect sense. Perhaps if you are not the type of person who enjoys being a part of "the lifestyle" then you are not exactly the type of person to decide whether a video of families kayaking in the nude is actually worth $20 or $60.

You folks with problems with nudes to the point that you actually belief it is both worthwhile to search for naturists sites without nudity on there front page (as though there were such a thing) and appropriate to the FFP at issue need to really get over your prudent Aunt Bee routine. If you want a world with nudeless links you need to build your own censorware and leave the rest of us out of it.

BTW the folks in these videos surely knew they were being filmed. It is considered proper etiquette in naturists communities that no filming happens without the permission of all involved.
posted by filchyboy at 8:59 PM on November 9, 2002


This thread is the MeFi equivalent of "Aaargh! This milk is sour! Here, try it."
posted by Xkot at 9:01 PM on November 9, 2002


As I get the impression nobody here knows zilch about naturism or (thank God!) child pornography, I find myself entirely agreeing with flichyboy - we're reading into instead of reading; thinking about perverts' reactions to the website; instead of just seeing it for what it is.

On a sideline, I have to say that the assumption that the fact that the videos are expensive is a sign they're suspect is a paradoxical manifestation of the priority Americans (whether Southern or Northern) attribute to money.

I.e., if the videos were only ten dollars each, it would probably be OK. This, to me, is truly telling (and strange). ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:07 PM on November 9, 2002


MORE BARNYARD SLU.... oops, wrong thread
posted by hama7 at 9:08 PM on November 9, 2002


It'd be nice if some MeFi'r were a naturist/group nudist, and tell us whether those "in the lifestyle" tend to purchase videos of other nude families.

Myself, I can't imagine the appeal of watching someone else's family. But, then, I don't see any appeal in porn videos, either. Nor the hockey playoffs. Why watch, when one could get out and participate?

But that's just me. I know there are vast numbers of people who watch televised sports, watch porn vids with their wives and, for all I know, sit around watching Johnny's friends send him off to the army.

I am fairly certain there can't be any actual kiddie porn in these vids. The site would be busted pronto if there were.

And I'm also fairly certain that some people purchase these vids for the express purpose of whacking off to the sight of Johnny's naked friends singing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow."

That someone would use the material as porn doesn't make it porn.

If it did, ye godz! The things we would have to label as porn -- from shoe ads to teddy bears, and from The Man from Snowy River to synchronized swimming.

Fact is, someone somewhere is bound to find something completely unerotic/nonpornographic to be sexually exciting and desirable.

Disturbing? No more so than "Don Cherry's Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Hockey Fights" series.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:17 PM on November 9, 2002


As I get the impression nobody here knows zilch about naturism.

So enlighten me (and others who are curious) Miguel? Are Naturists generally in the habit of buying other Naturists' home movies?
posted by normy at 9:22 PM on November 9, 2002


The things we would have to label as porn [...]from The Man from Snowy River to synchronized swimming.

Or horror!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:22 PM on November 9, 2002


Nobody includes me, normy! I don't know any naturists either - I've seen them on beaches, that's all.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:24 PM on November 9, 2002


Fact is folks in "the lifestyle" do buy these vids. Just like football fans will buy stupid videos of drunken retards with face paint making fools of themselves in the stands at games.

I feel the same way as you five fresh fish. I don't watch sports at all. I only have an interest in actually participating or it is worthless to me.

I love being nude around others but have no interest in buying videos of same. Some buy them to scout out new locations and groups to travel to. Some buy them as part of educational tools to show others with interest in "the lifestyle" that its not about sex. There are as many different reasons I suspect as there are folks that buy them.

IMHO the interesting thing here is not that these videos exist or what their price point is but rather why do they make so many people so obviously uncomfortable? And what can I, as a sensitive individual, do to make those folks even more uncomfortable?
posted by filchyboy at 9:27 PM on November 9, 2002


Oh and btw Shepd "it's child porn unless they add a "censored" box over the offending areas..." What exactly are the offending areas?
posted by filchyboy at 9:34 PM on November 9, 2002


IMHO the interesting thing here is not that these videos exist or what their price point is but rather why do they make so many people so obviously uncomfortable?

I don't see much evidence in this thread that the contributors to it are uncomfortable with nudity. Some do seem to be uncomfortable with the manner of promotion used by a website selling videos that contain child nudity. It's not about the content, its the presentation.
posted by normy at 9:39 PM on November 9, 2002


Isn't the question of consent central to all this? These seem to be videos of naturists who are fully aware of the camera's presence and are not being forced, paid, cajoled or otherwise constrained to be filmed in the buff with their friends and children.

I know little or nothing about pedophiles - but if the definition is anything to go by, they get off by watching children presented in a sexual manner, usually with the participation of a sexually motivated pedophile adult.

Would family videos, where children are accompanied by their mothers and fathers, in normal day-to-day situations, be exciting to them? Somehow I don't think so.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:52 PM on November 9, 2002


For the record, I spent most of the summers of my youth swimming at a naked beach on Martha's Vineyard with people of all ages. I also enjoy being naked with other people as an adult (e.g. Harbin Hot Springs). I don't have any problem with people being naked. I also, in most cases, don't have any problem with people looking at pictures of other naked people, in sexual or non-sexual circumstances. I don't have a problem with Jock Sturges. His books of youthful nudes are very beautiful. But I do have a problem with this site. The fact that it focuses on naked children, the lack of artistic quality, the manner in which the site presents the images (e.g. categories like "naked mothers and daughters"), and the cost of the tapes all make me feel that the site is designed te encourage things that shouldn't be encouraged.

But you tell me: why do you think they have a "naked mothers and daughters" category? Who do you think that category is designed for?
posted by alms at 9:52 PM on November 9, 2002


People from northern climates have a culture of nudity that is more common from living in extreme cold and darkness for much of the year. There is probably some anthropolgical explanation about checking for tribe health, mate selection, etc.. The idea is there are no secrets in the tribe, clothes create secrets which in a tribe is devisive and unlike their southern brethen have few opportunities to display their bodys outside of 6 inches of heavy wool. The idea of pictures showing up on the net Im guessing would not bother these people its part of the reason for doing it to reveal that which is hidden creates harmony amoung the group. Only in modern times do we see it as the opposite as creating disharmony because we are no longer tribal and not everything is shared out in the open.

Theres a book somewhere on this subject that says tribal communities in Europe started to come undone with the advent of the printing press which allowed secret knowledge amoung tribal members for the first time, before which everyone knew everything about everyone through word of mouth (gossip).
posted by stbalbach at 9:55 PM on November 9, 2002


Or friendly reminder of how ugly uncircumsized penises are!

(this thread is just not getting enough flames)
posted by delmoi at 12:32 AM on November 10, 2002


PUT YOUR FREAKING CLOTHES BACK ON.
posted by xmutex at 12:36 AM on November 10, 2002


It's pretty obvious that there's more here than meets the eye; first of all, almost all the videos are of children and adolescents, second, the videos are unjustifiably expensive (fifty dollars to see a family watching TV?), and third, the people are all "European". The fact that many of them are Russian doesn't make it look any better. Pedophilia is a pretty sick thing--nauseating, actually--but there is a HUGE market for this sort of thing. Seeing a naked child is as exciting for a pedophile as seeing a naked woman is for a normal, heterosexual male.

It is worth noting, however, this sentence in the disclaimer: "All publications, books, and videos sold by Enature.net (Body-n-Mind) have been reviewed by 3 independent attorneys and no item contains any visual depiction of "lascivious exhibition(s) of the genitals or pubic area," clothed or unclothed.".

Even if it is legit (which I seriously doubt), I still think it's worth discussing...might draw some attention to the ethics of the whole thing.
posted by Zulujines at 12:43 AM on November 10, 2002


I know I'm here late in the game, but I'll throw in my 01c anyway...

A while ago one of the American states declared that nudity wasn't public indecency unless you could see her genitals (breasts were not counted for this).

For this reason I'd be edgy about showing immature weeners, but not immature boobies (god I sound like fark).

In the end, this is legal. Sho is wearing pointed heel shoes. If some pervert is going to get off on a 12 year old gilr wearing high heels... (there's a link in there... it's strained, but you can see where I'm coming from. It's 9.30 Sunday morning for fucks sakes...)
posted by twine42 at 1:23 AM on November 10, 2002


Summing up: The material itself is fine, the way it is presented is creepy. Full family participation sets off all kinds of alarm bells for me.
posted by hippugeek at 1:51 AM on November 10, 2002


five fresh fish: It'd be nice if some MeFi'r were a naturist/group nudist, and tell us whether those "in the lifestyle" tend to purchase videos of other nude families.

Your wish is granted (I love when I can do that!).

I've been a "card carrying" nudist/naturist (there's eternal, tedious argument over the terminology) for almost 20 years (I belong to both major American n/N organizations). Also, through a strange combination of luck and coincidence, I also did both undergraduate and graduate work that directly related to children and nakedness/nudity, and then later went on to become a law enforcement officer. You could say this topic was made for me . . .

So, for fff's question, yes, some people "in the lifestyle" do buy such videos, and some don't. Those who do tend to be either new to it, and want to see "what other people do," or are the type who would buy videos of whatever hobby/interest they had (someone mentioned screaming, face-painted football fans, I believe). Buying videos like these doesn't "make" one a nudist, nor does it "prove" they're not a nudist. In fact, I have purchased a video from this company -- one of the Russian "family at home" videos -- because I wanted to brush up on my conversational Russian, and because I was simply interested in how nudists from another culture went about their day. I can assure you that this particular video is about as sexually-stimulating as the average home movie, except that the family happens to be unclothed. I can't speak to other selections, though.

As for these videos being "whack material" for pedophiles: I seriously doubt it, even though the marketing on the web site looks like they're trying to capitalize on that "market." My reasoning: I can find at least a dozen active USENET newsgroups *right now* carrying hard-core child pornography, including color-and-sound videos, all for the cost of monthly Internet access. I would wonder why someone wanting sexualized images of children would bypass that low-cost, nearly-anonymous channel in favor of expensive, non-explicit material. And even if some did, what would you [generic "you"] propose we do about it? Ban the videos? Pedos masturbate to children's underwear ads and diaper commercials on TV (sorry to even bring that into your collective consciousness, but it's a fact); do we ban those, too?
posted by wdpeck at 2:03 AM on November 10, 2002


the funny part is no one has any clothes. this might seem obvious...but the fact is the pressure of these situations make it wrong to wear anything - no matter what you believe. this is Fascist. well, u know.
posted by lightweight at 2:17 AM on November 10, 2002


This thread has actually been pretty interesting to read, but some people appear to be confused between the legalities of thought versus action.

One of the biggest fears of older non-nudists who wish to become nudists is that they'll become 'sexually aroused' when they first enter that environment. Most don't, but it's impossible to judge whether, even if just for a minute, that that person has looked at other nudists in a sexual way.

Likewise, it's impossible to tell really just how many of us have looked at other people (under a 'legal' age or not) and found them either attractive, sexually attractive, and so on.

However, what people think is of no significance. I admit that as a younger man I saw girls I thought were really 'fine' only to find out that they were underage. Girls are like that nowadays, they look older than they are. What's important is that you don't act on your thoughts, if you know they are illegal.

Likewise, I've seen younger girls who I've thought are really pretty, but I'm not sexually attracted to them. But even if you are sexually attracted to them, there's nothing wrong with that (us humans have less control over our emotions than we think) as long as you don't act on your thoughts.

Face it, we all harbor lots of unexplainable (and often just plain tasteless) thoughts about many people, (how many people have you dreamt of murdering?) but as long as we don't act out our thoughts, they are not illegal. Only action and consequence makes them so.

So, be a pervert in your mind, but just don't bring it into real life, okay?
posted by wackybrit at 3:14 AM on November 10, 2002


The body-n-mind website has been online for at least four years that I know, and their copyright extends back to 1995. If any of their content is illegal, they would have been busted long ago.

As for $50 per video, that does not sound that outlandish a price if the reproduction is high quality and the market is relatively small, regardless of content.

What I find most shocking is the level of ignorance shown in this thread as to what constitutes child pornography. Pictures of children naked ain't it! This is one of the reasons why the feds cannot touch the child models sites, which feature girls who while posed provocatively, are still clothed.
posted by mischief at 4:45 AM on November 10, 2002


Well, this thread became surprisingly more informative toward the end. Thank you all, I have fewer doubts now than I did at the beginning, but... no - I'll leave it there.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:53 AM on November 10, 2002


Interesting comments. Maybe I missed it, but I don't recall anyone talking about informed consent. Yes, I see the adults understand they are being filmed. But, can a 12 year-old really understand the ramifications of nude family videos being peddled to the world?

I don't begrudge a family making home videos. I do question the motivations of selling your home videos to strangers. Are nude family videos the only type being sold?
Are there websites selling home videos of fully clothed mothers and daughters fixing a lawnmower?
posted by ?! at 6:57 AM on November 10, 2002


I thought it was a lovely site. I also think too many people are far too inhibited where nudity is concerned. I believe we, as a species, began wearing clothes to protect ourselves from the elements, not to hide anything. But I digress... admittedly, at first I didn't understand the video sales-thing either, but pedophilia never crossed my mind. I raised four children and yes, there were always concerns about that issue, but what I saw at this site didn't bother me in the least. I saw families living an alternative (to the "norm") lifestyle. So what? No doubt someone, somewhere will find it arousing, but that shouldn't stop these people from living as they choose to. Of course, if there's actually anything perverse in these videos, I retract my support of this site.
posted by LouReedsSon at 7:25 AM on November 10, 2002


I'm all for people being naked any time and anywhere, but cannot fathom making and selling videos of naked people in a non-prurient context. My limitation, perhaps? Several people have compared these to regular home movies. Are there sites selling home videos of clothed strangers? What a ghastly notion!
posted by rushmc at 7:55 AM on November 10, 2002


rushmc: the voice of reason.
posted by dash_slot- at 8:23 AM on November 10, 2002


the only thing more repugnant that those fully-clothed mother-daughter lawnmower-fixing videos is that god-forsaken tv commercial where female family members gather around some horrid ron popiel sex device and engage in vegetable mutilation. fully-clothed. and smiling. i'm sorry for being so blunt, but if we don't speak out against these things we are as evil as those who perpetrate them.
posted by quonsar at 9:00 AM on November 10, 2002


But, can a 12 year-old really understand the ramifications of nude family videos being peddled to the world?

Possibly not, because children (and even teenagers, to an extent) see things in a naive, black and white way. If the child feels that being nude on video isn't embarassing, and that they have no problem with it, they'll consent to being on the video.

However, shouldn't we look at things this way more often? Why should you care if someone is watching a video of you and getting their jollies from it? After all, you don't know the person. It's a bit like people who don't like having their picture taken for fear of other people thinking they're ugly/weird/etc.. but if you don't know and never meet said people, it shouldn't really matter.

Naivety can actually be a gift.
posted by wackybrit at 9:04 AM on November 10, 2002


Here is an interesting dialogue on the topic at hand over at nerve.com:

'The Zoning of Child Sexuality in Art'

The issue isn't if old perverted men are beating off to the artwork, that doesn't matter, (men can, and will, beat-off to whatever they want) the issue is if children are being exploited, sexually, against their wills, for the purpose of this artwork. The answer is almost clearly 'No.'. There are two clear ways to verify this:

A) Ask the children - Yes, believe it or not, children are autonomous, thinking and feeling beings. Children who are the subject of nude artwork do so willfully. If they were subjects against their wills, then they would protest, and we would have your lawful violations.

or, if we are to believe children aren't yet endowed with the faculties to truly understand what they want. Why don't we just:

B) Ask the children, retroactively, when they're all grown-up - Aperture magazine did just that in a feature entitled 'Jessie at Eighteen'. Sally Mann's daughter, star of so many controversial photographs defends her mother in an interview with the photo magazine. She says she regrets nothing, and celebrates her mother's work and her own role as subject in it.

Seemingly, there is nothing else to talk about. For more on, actually including children, in both their current and retroactive forms, in decisions that relate to sexual policies, read Judith Levine's 'Harmful to Minors'.
posted by dgaicun at 9:05 AM on November 10, 2002


On a sideline, I have to say that the assumption that the fact that the videos are expensive is a sign they're suspect is a paradoxical manifestation of the priority Americans (whether Southern or Northern) attribute to money.

I.e., if the videos were only ten dollars each, it would probably be OK. This, to me, is truly telling (and strange). ;)
.

If videos were free or cheap, it could just be passing curiosity that causes people to watch them; if they're expensive, it implies a deeper motive. Sexual obsession is an obvious contender.

it isn't a "paradoxical manifestation of the priority of money" (whatever exactly that means) - it's simply a question of how important your having the thing is. Is it worth one hour of work? a whole day's work? Or is it only worth the trouble to look something up and wait for it to download? Would people spend $50 on a regular home movie? What about from some particular subculture (hippie home movies, or fundamentalist christian home movies)? The way the site is seemingly focused around getting you to buy these expensive videos does make it look a little weird.

I'm all for comfort with nudity of whatever ages, and when I was growing up, my parents and their friends were often naked if we were in an environment where that made sense (eg, at a local swimming hole, or on a really hot day, just on our land in the country) & there are pics and probably videos from that time where people are nude, but I would be freaked out if anyone talked about buying or selling images from then - not because I think of them as private; I'd be fine with people I know seeing them for free... I guess it's like if you have to pay me to show you, then I must not be fine with showing you to start with. if I have to pay these families $50 to see them naked, it implies that it's not worth their while to let you see for less - like the difference between prositution and having sex.

I dunno, maybe there's a non-sexual fascination with nakedness that is worth that kind of money to some people, so that watching those videos is like watching the discovery channel or something, but the site's owner's must know that teenage boys wack off to natural geographic, so there's no doubt in my mind that the possibility of pedophiles getting into this is an issue they're aware of - and it looks like they're trying to take advantage of it, which seems unfair to the kids in the videos.
posted by mdn at 9:34 AM on November 10, 2002


mdn... there are no ethics in business. It is called profit-maximization, and catering to pedophiles may be good business. I have no problem with the company trying to get the highest price for the product, my issue was with the product itself. As several people have explained, the product is not illegal, and it IS bought for legal reasons such as demonstration, curiousity about naturism, etc. Whether pedophiles buy the product is moot. A few people brought up the idea that clothed people don't go around buying home videos of other clothed people, but that argument is ridiculous because naturism is a lifestyle we are not all constantly exposed to and therefore is interesting and maybe even appealing to some.
posted by banished at 10:02 AM on November 10, 2002


PUT YOUR FREAKING CLOTHES BACK ON.

That sentence should not have the word "back" in it, since it implies that we were wearing them in the first place. But we're all born naked. The word "back" therefore belongs in the sentence "TAKE YOUR FREAKING CLOTHES BACK OFF."
posted by kindall at 10:09 AM on November 10, 2002


Selling non-pornographic materials to pedophiles is as ethical as Wal*Mart selling Vaseline to rapists.

(And it's funny to see people get more worked up about bedroom pedophiles who wouldn't touch a fly but just have screwed up minds, than people who actually do damage to people's lives.. like rapists or muggers)
posted by wackybrit at 10:23 AM on November 10, 2002


dgaicun, who I, in haste, and without reading closely, so very unfairly picked on in his Shel Silverstein post--and who then went on about it at such length in so many places here that, jeez, I gotta say And I thought I had a big ego: a statement I never expected I'd ever make here--has got it right here. (Man, I so regret so unfairly picking on him now..)

As I have belabored the point elsewhere, there is nothing more sanctimonious and priggish and completely obsessive than the way we Americans, and those elsewhere infected by our obsession, go on about child pornography. It becomes, after a point, a sort of child pornography by default, an indirect way of endlessly sexualizing children while endlessly moralizing on the topic while wallowing in it.

Any excuse will do-- mean, Jesus, do you think any Catholic priest anywhere is going to allow himself to ever be by himself with any child, let alone touch him or her in the swimsuit area, with all the public furor going now about what happened ten years ago but. is. not. really. happening. now? Not that we shouldn't be horrified that it ever happened at all--but, c'mon, we'll drone on and on about zero tolerance policy this and Catholic bishops that until the last ding dong of eternity. To paraphrase the lyric I mistakenly and unfairly put upon dgaicun:

Let's Talk About Sex With Kids
Until The Cows Come Home...


Pedophilia is bad--well, Duh...
And talking about it endlessly is so very very creepy.
Get a life, you moral paragons--this hog wallow is dried up.
posted by y2karl at 10:37 AM on November 10, 2002


Everyone seems to be making such a big deal about how expensive they are and how that "must" mean that they are catering to more prurient interests. I think I'd be more concerned it they were $10 and affordable enough for every perv to buy.
posted by Orb at 10:48 AM on November 10, 2002


I don't think that's a very good comparison, wackybrit. If the question were, "Which do you think is worse, a rapist or someone who masturbates to videos of naked children but never actually harmed a child?" you'd get a pretty clear answer. But that's not really the issue here.

dgaicun: Glad to see someone acknowledging that children do, in fact, have minds and opinions. I doubt, though, that even the most well-informed 8-year-old really understands the implications of potentially sexual material. And by the time a kid grows up and can be retroactively consulted, any damage is done.
posted by hippugeek at 10:52 AM on November 10, 2002


...the possibility of pedophiles getting into this is an issue they're aware of - and it looks like they're trying to take advantage of it, which seems unfair to the kids in the videos.

I think I see what you're getting at, but I question how it's unfair to the kids in the videos. If it's fair to sell these videos of them, then it's fair to sell these videos of them. I don't see how the motivations of the purchasers enters into it. Besides that, it seems pretty unlikely that the kids will ever be directly affected by it, anyway.

And pretty much what y2karl said. I find it really sad that we've become so hair-trigger about issues like this that we see evil lurking everywhere, it reminds me of Victorians covering furniture legs.
posted by biscotti at 10:58 AM on November 10, 2002


A few people brought up the idea that clothed people don't go around buying home videos of other clothed people, but that argument is ridiculous because naturism is a lifestyle we are not all constantly exposed to and therefore is interesting and maybe even appealing to some.

The lifestyle consists of doing all the things we all do on a day-to-day basis--only doing them naked. Therefore, there is nothing to learn by observing a video of the lifestyle; it is only the nakedness that is novel.

with all the public furor going now about what happened ten years ago but. is. not. really. happening. now?

I was with you up until this remark, y2karl, which strikes me as naive in the extreme. Human nature doesn't radically alter in 10 years (or 100, for that matter). The particular instances coming to light and being "punished" now may be from the past (which certainly doesn't diminish them, in my mind), but it's a huge leap from acknowledging that to claiming that the problem is entirely in the past and no longer exists.
posted by rushmc at 11:09 AM on November 10, 2002


"But that's not really the issue here."

Er, what is the issue here?

The videos are not pornographic. A naturist has unequivocally stated that those "in the lifestyle" do purchase these videos. Another person has indicated that $50 for high-quality duplicates is a reasonable price.

The price and content seem to be legitimate, then.

So what's the issue?

In defining the issue, please use the Sears catalog's children's underwear section as a counterexample.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:11 AM on November 10, 2002


nudists should shut up and get castrated. there's no point in walking around naked in modern society if you aren't on tv or the beach.
posted by wantwit at 11:11 AM on November 10, 2002


The lifestyle consists of doing all the things we all do on a day-to-day basis-- only doing them naked. Therefore, there is nothing to learn by observing a video of the lifestyle; it is only the nakedness that is novel.

This isn't actually true.

I know a fellow in Europe who sells videos of MX bike trials. Those that purchase these videos are, in fact, MX bike riders. Likewise, there are countless vids of skateboarding, snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, snorkeling, surfing, mountain biking, etcetera -- all purchased by enthusiasts of those sports, and by virtually no one else.

He also sells videos of his vacations in Canada. There's nothing particularly exciting about these videos: he's hiking or canoeing or sitting around a campfire. Personally, I find these to be a yawn -- but there are people in Europe buying these things up.

These videos all consist of people doing the things they do on a day-to-day basis. They're not even doing them naked. And they're purchased by people who do these things on a day-to-day basis!

I don't know why my snowboarding buddy, who's damn near pro-level, would want to purchase a video of some other guy riding snowboard, but, hey, there ya have it...

(He's also paying $30 for these vids... so the $50 price of the naturist ones, given their limited sales, probably isn't at all unreasonable...)
posted by five fresh fish at 11:22 AM on November 10, 2002


hippugeek,

I doubt, though, that even the most well-informed 8-year-old really understands the implications of potentially sexual material. And by the time a kid grows up and can be retroactively consulted, any damage is done.

Are you saying it should be illegal to distribute naked pictures of children, because the children don't understand that people could use them sexually?

I have a question: Should it be illegal for Robert Zemeckis to distribute Forrest Gump, because 6-year-old Haley Joel Osment didn't understand that old men might masturbate to the scenes featuring him?

Retroactively, child actors and children who were the subjects of controversial art usually have the same positive opinions of their participation now, that they expressed when they were children. That should compel one to think that artists such as Sturges and Mann aren't doing anything criminal. If their work isn't criminal, distribution of it shouldn't be either. If production and distribution isn't criminal, purchasing it shouldn't be either.
posted by dgaicun at 11:30 AM on November 10, 2002


These videos all consist of people doing the things they do on a day-to-day basis.

I don't see it. All the examples you cite are of people doing specialized activities that appeal to other like-minded hobbyists. A snowboarder would have a plausible interest in such material to study technique, review locations, or simply enjoy watching someone proficient in his activity (like watching any sports).

It seems a stretch to me to argue that watching people cook dinner, talk on the phone, play video games, watch tv, etc. falls into the same category or meets the same criteria. We all do these things all the time. The only thing that differentiates those doing it on these videos is their nudity.
posted by rushmc at 11:41 AM on November 10, 2002


Seeing a naked child is as exciting for a pedophile as seeing a naked woman is for a normal, heterosexual male.

I get the homosexsual male bit, but normal?
posted by ginz at 12:08 PM on November 10, 2002


Oh dear. I seem to have unclear in my earlier comment.

dgaicun: No, I'm not suggesting any of that. I don't think of Mann, Sturges, or Zemeckis as remotely criminal, and I don't quite see how you concluded that from my comment. But if there is serious question about the legitimacy/artistic purpose of the children's nudity (as there is not in your examples), I don't think you can gloss over the sexual possibilites by saying the kid said it was okay.

fff: I think you misunderstood--I thought wackybrit's equation of discussing this thread with ignoring rape was awry, and was not quite sure how rapists and muggers got into this discussion. Perhaps I communicated my puzzlement badly. I never questioned the price or the content of the videos. If you look at my first comment, in fact, you'll that my only concern is over the way the website presents the material. The Sears catalog's children's underwear section usually doesn't use phrases like "full family participation," "teen dance routine competition," "A Saturday with the guys/for the guys only/for the guys/All male," "A fun filled video that will leave you smiling," and "The Night of Love." I dare say the content of all those videos is both legit and perhaps dull to even the most easily-amused pedophile, but I also think the site is delibrately tweaking the descriptions to appeal to a certain audience.
posted by hippugeek at 12:14 PM on November 10, 2002


I seem to have been unclear, that is.
posted by hippugeek at 12:17 PM on November 10, 2002


hippugeek,

I don't think of Mann, Sturges, or Zemeckis as remotely criminal, and I don't quite see how you concluded that from my comment.

Well, you said:

I doubt, though, that even the most well-informed 8-year-old really understands the implications of potentially sexual material.

That indicated to me that you didn't believe that an 8-year-old is capable of giving informed consent, and therefore that any material that he consented to being in, was unlawful. If that's not what you meant, then what practical implications should follow from your comment?

I dare say the content of all those videos is both legit and perhaps dull to even the most easily-amused pedophile, but I also think the site is deliberately tweaking the descriptions to appeal to a certain audience.

This is no doubt true. Wackybrit said:

Selling non-pornographic materials to pedophiles is as ethical as Wal*Mart selling Vaseline to rapists.

But a more fitful analogy for what's bothering some people here, is if Wal-Mart started marketing Vaseline to rapists, (i.e by advertising it with pictures of crying, bruised women).

Clearly some websites, like the hypothetical Walmart, are actively marketing their content to certain shady demographics. While this may rightfully disgust people, there is only one issue that is interesting to me:

Are children being abused anywhere in the production or distribution of this material?

If the answer is 'Yes.', then the specific abusive adults who hurt specific children need to be brought to justice (and no one else). If the answer is 'No.', then what else is there to discuss: That some old perverts masturbate to pictures of children? That some websites are marketing pictures from the Sears catalog, Forrest Gump, and Sally Mann to these old perverts. Why is that interesting?
posted by dgaicun at 2:10 PM on November 10, 2002


hippugeek: You make some good points, but I don't see what your presupposed answer is to this question.

If the question were, "Which do you think is worse, a rapist or someone who masturbates to videos of naked children but never actually harmed a child?" you'd get a pretty clear answer.

I would say the rapist, by a long shot. What is your implied 'clear answer'? The same?

As far as I'm concerned, people can do whatever crazy crap they want to themselves (take drugs, slash their wrists, get off on inoocent pictures of naked kiddies), but when it comes to directly hurting other people, that's where things go wrong.
posted by wackybrit at 2:11 PM on November 10, 2002


Legal or not, I'm gonna clean out my computer with bleach before I take it in for repairs again. Last thing I need is for some freaking neighborhood watch member to go snooping through my deleted files and call the FBI on me.

That is only a slightly sarcastic comment. I would actually never take my computer in for repairs, because I have anti-American images and texts saved on it. It's bad enough that I have a "teen lesbian sluts" directory ... having actual pre-teen girls, clothed or unclothed, genitals exposed or out of frame, some joker would call the Feds for sure. Seriously, how many of you have had someone look over your shoulder while you viewed this? You are so busted. Hide all your drugs and firearms.

I really am shocked at these pictures. That's a big collection. Normally you have to click through all kinds of hidden links, and there are pop-ups for other child porn sites. I mean, uh... That's what I've heard.
posted by son_of_minya at 2:20 PM on November 10, 2002


PUT YOUR FREAKING CLOTHES BACK ON.

I wonder if the cameraman was in the buff during taping? I mean, from the images, nobody seems to notice him/her at all, so he is obviously not a friend of the family.

And selling tapes to strangers seems a bit excessive, and is almost certain to invite criticism.
posted by hama7 at 3:19 PM on November 10, 2002


tweebiscuit: a toughy
MiguelCardoso: we're reading into instead of reading; thinking about perverts' reactions to the website
(etc.)

I don't think the intentionally pornographic attraction of these videos is very heavily disguised here! We're talking about a site that offers, together with [insert justificatory phrase for wonderful naturist lifestyle] material, such titillatory promises as:
This new video title, sold exclusively by Body-n-Mind, is a well done amateur video that presents the distinctive bathing attire of the Brazilians in Rio de Janeiro's most infamous beach, Copacobana -- home of the G-string bikini.

I mean, this is clearly material for masturbation (no relevance to naturism) advertised together with all the kiddie stuff on the first page linked by CarlosQ. Why would we doubt that the rest of it (the naked children) are intended as anything besides masturbatory aids?
posted by Zurishaddai at 3:23 PM on November 10, 2002


hippugeek: I agree regarding the tacky labeling on the website. I also think it's kinda funny. Those who think "full family fun" is code for kiddy porn and thus send off their fifty bucks are in for a surprise, eh? The best part is they're not even gonna demand a refund, and their name goes into a big database of people who've purchased the videos, which I'm sure the cops could well be interested in.

Hell, maybe the site is run by Interpol. That'd be a lark. :)
posted by five fresh fish at 3:30 PM on November 10, 2002


Check out this expose of the naturist movement and try to craft a cogent argument that the nudist movement is not a haven for pedophiles.
posted by mygoditsbob at 3:44 PM on November 10, 2002


mdn... there are no ethics in business.

I disagree. There are ethics in any human interaction. Everything we do with one another invites us to ascertain who got more and who got less. There are certain areas where people have more or less agreed that "anything goes" - love and war are famous ones, along with business - but the truth is, we often disagree first of all on what "anything goes" means (we now hold trials for war crimes, e.g.) and secondly on whether we ever said that to start with. Business isn't separate from the rest of life. If you're not ethical in business, you're just not an ethical person. it's like saying, I'm not ethical on Tuesdays.

I think I see what you're getting at, but I question how it's unfair to the kids in the videos. If it's fair to sell these videos of them, then it's fair to sell these videos of them. I don't see how the motivations of the purchasers enters into it. Besides that, it seems pretty unlikely that the kids will ever be directly affected by it, anyway.

yeah, I actually pretty much agree with you. I don't think it's horrible and tragic or anything; it just seems kind of unfortunate that the parents of these kids would market their nakedness that way. The example of selling the vaseline with pictures of bruised crying women was a good one. That wouldn't be illegal, but it would be depressing. I mean, I guess this is more innocent than that since it doesn't directly suggest anything sexual, but it's just kinda too bad that they'd capitalize on it. But it's true, it won't really have any effect on the kids. Except maybe it'll pay for their college education... :)
posted by mdn at 4:17 PM on November 10, 2002


I don't have answers as to whether this is child porn, but some context...

The organization all these videos came from is the "Holy Nature" movement of St Petersburg. A website explaining their philosophy is here. Their naturism & new age paganism also emulates the Russes, who lived in Russia thousands of years ago.

In an interview on their site , a founder responds to American "Nude and Natural" magazine criticizing their website for "presenting images of pretty females in their early 20’s." That magazine "opines that art and photography of Naturists should be for documentary purposes only and not reflect the artist’s personal perception of beauty." The founder counters "We consider, that people would first like to see the Beauty and then the photos and reports form the events..." (their philosophy emphasizes "beauty" -- they can apparently find beauty in young children being naked as well as older people -- but they find nudity natural & there appears to be no sexual context to them).

What do the kids themselves think of naturism? There's an interview with 10 year-old Alla & she's enthusiastic. Would she make her future children be nudists? "I would give them the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not to be Naturists."

Various websites sell these videos -- they all use the exact same descriptions of the videos. They're probably badly translated from the Russian, & present a unique Russian cultural context.

None of this answers whether this is 'child porn' or not, but certainly, the people involved see the videos as a non-exploitative depiction of their lifestyle, judging from their website.
posted by F4B2 at 4:37 PM on November 10, 2002


That indicated to me that you didn't believe that an 8-year-old is capable of giving informed consent, and therefore that any material that he consented to being in, was unlawful.
You're right, there is a contradiction there. I think the major issue here is intent. Mann, Sturges, and Zemeckis certainly didn't create their art with the aim of marketing to people who like pictures of naked kids (or clothed kids--how did "Forrest Gump" get in here?). I seriously doubt the families who were filmed did, either. The filmmakers? I don't know. The site organizers, yes.
The fact that M/S/Z's work was created explicitly as art also results in a situation that requires consent (older children would recognize this, but I'm don't think younger one would). Most of the site's videos seem to have be taken during moments of ordinary life, when I think it might not have been clear to people that they needed to give consent. (I have no idea what the laws on this kind of thing are in Russia--would the adults have to sign anything or give verbal permission?)

...if Wal-Mart started marketing Vaseline to rapists, (i.e by advertising it with pictures of crying, bruised women).
That's almost a perfect analogy, except for one thing: the Vaseline will never find out what it was used for. If most child actors/nude art models still feel good about their work as adults, that's great. But I know that I would be extremely upset to discover that my family had sold home videos of me nude to a group that may target pedophiles, whether my parents knew that's what they were doing or not. Maybe I'm just oversensitive.

I would say the rapist, by a long shot. What is your implied 'clear answer'? The same?
Yes. I'm sorry, I truly thought that was obvious. What I meant was that the fact that rape exists and is a horrific thing doesn't mean we should stop discussing other, more minor topics. Everyone pretty much agrees about rape; this topic is interesting because there's a range of views about it. If that is not remotely what your "And it's funny to see people..." comment meant, I apologize and would be interested to hear a restating of it.

I'd be happy to discuss this further over email, if you would like--I think I may have already exceeded my blue space quota for the day.

Thanks for the info, F4B2.

Hi, Interpol!
posted by hippugeek at 4:47 PM on November 10, 2002


Or friendly reminder of how ugly uncircumsized penises are!

Twit
posted by Scoo at 5:38 PM on November 10, 2002


Check out this expose of the naturist movement and try to craft a cogent argument that the nudist movement is not a haven for pedophiles.

Thanks for that link, mygoditsbob. There's some very disturbing content there and it's certainly altered my opinion of the naturist/nudist establishment. Something that caught my eye for its relevance to this thread was this:
'Pedophiles use "Family Nudity" as a catch phrase to indicate their interest in child pornography.'
posted by normy at 6:13 PM on November 10, 2002


Wow, this thread certainly answered my questions and doubts - and added new ones I'd like thank all the people who contributed so much to this thread and prevented it from going awry as it could well have done, given the subject matter. Thanks!
posted by Carlos Quevedo at 11:03 PM on November 10, 2002


Check out this expose of the naturist movement and try to craft a cogent argument that the nudist movement is not a haven for pedophiles.

Disturbing. But there's no difference between that and saying "Check out this expose of the Catholic clergy and try to craft a cogent argument that the priethood is not a haven for pedophiles." Sure it is, for a few individuals. But let's not over-generalize.
posted by hippugeek at 11:17 PM on November 10, 2002


I can see at least one seriously troubling aspect of these videos; pedophiles are drawn to organizations that allow them to interact with children, and clearly if those organizations allow them proximity to nude children, the allure is that much greater. Videos such as these will certainly be used as "training material" by abusers who want to gain entry to naturist clubs, and the suggestive titling certainly isn't dissuasive. Above and beyond any other philosophy, moral code, or social more is the parents' responsibility to protect their children, and it appears that many of the parents in these groups are almost criminally naive. This is not to say that other, non-nudist, parents are not, necessarily, but many of the parents who participate in these organizations are unquestionably placing their children in situations of heightened risk.

mygoditsbob's link illustrates this, as does this one, the testimony of Joseph Francis Henry, a convicted child molester who had once been caught molesting girls at the New Jersey nudist camp he managed, but against whom charges were not filed by the club or by the girls' parents.

If you read how this man manipulated his prey, you will be reminded how vulnerable children really are, and I would argue that no, children are not in a position to give informed consent for either videotapes of them that are being sold as commodities, or even, necessarily, participation in nudist organizations (see also here). I am a strong defender of personal freedom, and believe that as long as one's choice does not interfere with the welfare of another, pretty much anything goes; however, the choices of parents are intrinsically tied to the welfare of their children, and on this issue I find myself rather unbending.
posted by taz at 2:25 AM on November 11, 2002


But let's not over-generalize

If the first parallel that springs to mind is the Catholic Church then I think I'm correct in my assessment that there can be no valid argument for the inclusion of children in naturist activities or video mementos of those activities.

The point is not that all priest's (naturist's) are bad. It is that the administrative branch of the organization is actively denying that a problem exists. This has the effect of creating a haven for the bad and a risk for the innocent.

These videos are thinly disguised child pornography, pandering to pedophiles. Indefensible.
posted by mygoditsbob at 4:34 AM on November 11, 2002


[this is grody]
posted by adampsyche at 5:52 AM on November 11, 2002


mygoditsbob: Check out this expose of the naturist movement and try to craft a cogent argument that the nudist movement is not a haven for pedophiles.


Bwahahaha! Yeah, Nikki Craft is about as objective and fact-based as, say, the Weekly World News. Other than that fact that her "crusade" was generated by her spurned relationship with a major figure in the American nudist movement, and none of her "damning" material is newer than 15 years old, yes, it's quite an "expose." The fact that anyone in the nudist movement who disagrees with her in any way is automatically labelled by her as a "pedophile enabler" speaks volumes, as well. Google her, and then ask yourself why she's been booted off half-a-dozen ISPs over the last 4-5 years.

Seriously, she is John Grubor with internal plumbing. Her "proof" is innuendo and personal attacks, most of which (with a few notable, aberrant exceptions) were never found to be violations of criminal law or civil torts by any judge or jury. If the nudist movement, and, specifically, nudist/naturist clubs, are such hideous, dangerous places for children, how can they afford to continue operating? Why hasn't the "think of the children" mainstream media stumbled upon this goldmine, as they most certainly did with the McMartin-fueled 80s, or the more recent Catholic church debacle? Certainly any hard evidence should be worth hours of air time, wouldn't you think?

Here's my cogent argument to refute your claim: peer-reviewed, academic study (specifically, Okami's longitudinal study, Finkelhor's many studies, Story, and Goldman & Goldman, to name just a few) demonstrate that not only is social nudity *NOT* harmful to children, it has potential benefits, and children raised in either nudist families, or nudity-tolerant families, are less likely to be sexually abused. Okami and Finkelhor are highly-respected experts in the area of child sexual abuse. If they say it ain't so, I would take their word for it over Nikki Craft's in a hot New York minute.
posted by wdpeck at 10:54 AM on November 11, 2002


wdpeck: you seem to be well-informed; I'm wondering if you could link to any of those articles you mentioned above. I'd be quite interested to read them.
posted by Zulujines at 11:37 AM on November 11, 2002


From the FPP: "Is this naturism, photography or soft-core child pornography?"

The answer, it appears, is all three. It depends on whether you're a naturist looking for vacation ideas and lifestyle affirmation, or a pedophile looking for wank-material.

Anyone here grow up with nudist parents?
posted by five fresh fish at 2:41 PM on November 11, 2002


wdpeck: While you might have stated a cogent argument regarding the inclusion of children in naturist activities, you did not address the portrayal of children in these naturist videos, let alone the marketing of these videos on an international scale.

I'm not a naturist and probably never will be, but it is unimaginable to me that parents would willingly parade their children in front of some stranger with a video camera knowing that the resultant tapes would be marketed on the internet for $60.00 each.

On a straight forward risk/benefit analysis, children and naturism weighs in on the side of too much risk.

The videos are still indefensible.
posted by mygoditsbob at 3:33 PM on November 11, 2002


mygoditsbob: On a straight forward risk/benefit analysis, children and naturism weighs in on the side of too much risk.

The videos are still indefensible.


First of all, simply repeating an opinion in bold doesn't make it valid or correct. "Indefensible" says you. I find it entirely defensible.

Second, on what data do you base your "risk/benefit analysis"? Certainly not on the data of respected professionals in academia or law enforcement who actively research such things.

Third, have you *seen* any of these videos? Do you own any? Do you know anyone who has seen one? I have, as I stated above. I know other people who own other similar videos (though sold by different outfits). Is your claim that *any* video which portrays nude children is, prima facie, pornography? Or is your test whether pedophile might jerk off to it? Because if that's the case, you must then find Pampers ads "indefensible," and the parents of infant and child models equally as responsible for their childrens' images' misuse.

By the way, do you "parade" around your house often? Why do you assume nudist parents "parade" themselves or their children around for "strangers" shooting a video? I've only paraded anywhere maybe three or four times, and those have been during actual parades. Is this maybe a case of "weak point - pound pulpit"?
posted by wdpeck at 4:05 PM on November 11, 2002


WD, you're skirting the point here. What's the market for these Naturists Gone Wild! videos, which go for about $60 per hour of material? Why would a naturist want to order naturist home videos, or even, for that matter, "structured" (i.e. non-home) videos (i.e. tapes of naturist events)? What's the analog to the non-naturist market? What other subset of society might I belong to where I would pay that kind of money to watch others in my subset taking a judo class, or celebrating Petra's birthday? From a logician's standpoint, or a legal standpoint, this may not be a sufficiently ironclad argument, and there's nothing particularly salacious about the video descriptions, but when you read ones like

Christmas Jamboree
A special day for the hundred of so juniors, followed by the young at heart, who lined up to be greeted by Santa Claus


or

Parents-Teens Valentines Dance
A Valentines Day Dance Festival bringing together the energy of naturist teens with the spirit of their loving parents.  Terrific atmosphere.


or

Let's Work That Body
3 different exercise aerobics classes capture on video.  Naturist people young and old sweat and strain to the intense workout of awaard winning aerobics instructor.  Hundreds participate.


or

Join this large group of naturist guys as they spend a rainy saturday together.  The kids went wild for video games and electronic darts.  Kids, teens, and dads squared off for billards while a live country music band kicked out the tunes.   Even a breakdance exhibition took place.  All male.

I don't think it's out of line to suggest that prurient interests in particular are being catered to and capitalized upon. For your Pampers defense to work for me, you're going to have to come up with a compelling justification for these videos at these prices.
posted by blueshammer at 4:58 PM on November 11, 2002


blueshammer -- I've been into aikido for a few years, and occasionally buy an aikido magazine. You would not believe the prices of VHS tapes, and now DVDs, sold in that mag. It's a relatively low-volume, low-interest market, so I would expect the per-item price to be higher than, say, your run-of-the-mill VHS or DVD release. Same with these nudist videos.

I do agree that some of the video titles appear questionable -- which is unfortunate, since I own one of the videos in question, and I can attest it is extremely "un-sexual" in nature. I can't guarantee the same for *all* the videos, but since this outfit has been in business by mail for longer than they've apparently had a web presence, I can't imagine they're selling anything more legally questionable [because they would've been busted by now by postal inspectors and/or customs, who are big into child porn interdiction].

I got my $45 (several-years-ago price) worth out of my video, and I didn't masturbate to it . . .

As to diaper ads, I'm not going to link to the sites [because I think they're nutjobs, and don't care to spread their paranoia and illness], but there is more than one "organization" devoted to outlawing any form of print or broadcast nudity of any child, and they really do call for a boycott of Kimberly-Clark because they show baby buns in their Huggies commercials. That scares me *waaaay* more than the idea that some theoretical pedophile is going to bypass free, hard-core USENET child porn, spending big money instead to masturbate to a non-explicit, fairly-expensive video -- because I find that idea extremely unlikely.
posted by wdpeck at 5:30 PM on November 11, 2002


Actually blueshammer, you're going to have to spell it out. I honestly don't see where prurient interest is being appealed to. Unless you see the words "young" and "teen" as inherently suspect.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 6:08 PM on November 11, 2002


wdpeck: I still haven't seen the cogent argument setting out the rationale for showing nude children in the videos.

I'm not saying naturism is morally wrong on some absolute scale, but the taping of the activity presents a broad opportunity for corruption of the ideals of the avocation.

I've tried to leave the argumentative language out of this comment. That said, the other choices that came to mind when drafting the last comment included the word "exhibiting" as an alternative to "parading." Any way you cut it, taping naked kids and selling the tapes on the 'net for $60 a pop raises eyebrows.

I could now digress into a long discussion of the First Amendment and how naturist publications, back in the 1950's, were an covert attempt to skirt obscenity laws, but that segue is really off topic - so I won't. But I find it an interesting parallel that naturist "publications" are now being used to circumvent laws prohibiting child pornography.
posted by mygoditsbob at 7:06 PM on November 11, 2002


wdpeck: you seem to be well-informed; I'm wondering if you could link to any of those articles you mentioned above. I'd be quite interested to read them.

posted by Zulujines at 11:37 AM PST on November 11
posted by Zulujines at 7:20 PM on November 11, 2002


Zulujines: I'm actually away from home for two weeks, so I'm without my usual desktop-full of bookmarks and so on.[And, actually, I have a web site that lists journal references for these articles (and more), but it's currently down due to a billing dispute between me and my site host. Still, once it's back up, it's at http://www.plimu.com/biblio.htm] However, if you Google the name "Paul Okami" you should find at least two very on-point studies he and a research team at UCLA conducted over an 18-year period. To summarize: exposure to nudity/nudism in the home, and among the social peer group, is not only not harmful but offers some surprising benefits to a child's self-esteem and body self-concept. His work duplicates in part, and expands upon, prior research by Marilyn Story, Ron & Juliette Goldman, Alayne Yates, Robin Lewis & Louis Janda, David Finkelhor, and more. Google any of them, too, to find journal references.

mygoditsbob: I guess I don't know how to intensify my cogitation . . . nudism is also called "social nudism," as in "practiced in social settings by social units, including families." Many families have children, and many of those children accompany said families in their participation at nude recreation sites. Why you would find it objectionable or "strange" that videos of nudist families would, by definition, contain images of nudist children is what I guess I'm not grasping. Do you think it's exploitive or wrong beause the price of the videos is high? I've given an analogy in my own finding of aikido vdeos: small market = higher unit price. Is it because you feel there's a lack of consent? I don't know a photographer or videographer, even in eastern Europe, who doesn't secure model releases for all his subjects, including children (who cannot, by definition, enter into bining contracts, and so whose consent is given by their parents). Is it because you feel the videos will be used by ill people as masturbation aides? So is the Sears catalog; so are TV diaper commercials. You will, I'm sure, be horrified to learn I've run across a web site devoted to "collecting" video captures of such commercials in pondering my responses to this thread. I'm not thrilled about it, either, but I also don't believe in "harm by proxy," better known as voodoo (i.e., a child in a diaper ad, or in a nudist video, is somehow "harmed" by an unknown act of sexual deviance aided by his/her image). The fact that a mentally ill or criminal person would use an innocent product to further his own ends does not make that product any less innocent. C.f. the comment someone made about Haley Joel Osment movies (or Macauly Culkin, or any other boy-actor over whom swoon "boy-lover" fan sites).

I *am* disturbed that this web site seems to be trying to play to that "market" -- that's a given. However, owning one of these videos, I can assure you that any would-be pedo masturbator would be very, VERY disappointed upon viewing it, just as people who visit nude beaches or clubs hoping to find wild orgies are also disappointed. Nudists, ironically, tend to be kind of "nerdy," home-body types.

And, you still haven't answered my question as to why someone seeking sexualized images of children would bypass USENET, a cheap, nearly-anonymous avenue where many varieties of hard-core child porn are available immediately, in favor of [as you state] rather pricey videos of simple nudity.
posted by wdpeck at 9:04 PM on November 11, 2002


mygoditsbob: I could now digress into a long discussion of the First Amendment and how naturist publications, back in the 1950's, were an covert attempt to skirt obscenity laws, but that segue is really off topic - so I won't. But I find it an interesting parallel that naturist "publications" are now being used to circumvent laws prohibiting child pornography.


[So many thoughts about this thread, and so little brainpower available for me to keep track of them all! ;-) ]

No, actually, they aren't. Current case law and statutes do not consider children's simple nudity to be in any way child pornography. I believe the most recent pertinent case was regarding the magazine "Health & Efficiency" from England, over which a company called "Allesandro's Smile" (?) was charged. A U.S. District court (and I believe it went to a Circuit Court) found that the portrayal of children's nudity, even if the children were the "main item of interest" in the frame/set, did not pornography make. Compare that to an earlier ruling by another U.S. District court in which a conviction was upheld on child pornography statutes because an image of clothed children "lingered over" and "accentuated" the genital area. Thus, it was the apparent intent of the photographer/publication, and not the content itself, that was deemed to have violated the statute. Same with the more recent Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch ads, even though neither of those was charged with a crime, and both used models over 18 (though many of them appeared much younger).

BTW, though we seem to disagree on some fundamental things, thanks for the good debate! It helps keep things honest! ;-)
posted by wdpeck at 9:35 PM on November 11, 2002


wdpeck, I'm mostly convinced by your argument (I guess it shows my naivete that I actually thought child porn was hard to acquire), but the aikido analogy still fails me. I'm sure, in purchasing your aikido video, you're watching people doing aikido. And I can see the appeal of that. But would you pay the same price to watch those same martial artists throw a big pizza party? I mean, they're your aikido guys, who you liked so much when they were on the mats! And they really had a a good time at this pizza party!

I just have a hard time imagining that you would. Now, obviously, where aikido videos demonstrate aikido, social naturism videos demonstrate social naturism, and so perhaps it's observing that very socialization that makes the videos of interest to social naturists. But -- no offense -- that seems dumb to me. That's too academic a taste. Rather, I suspect it's the nakedness that makes the videos appealing. I'm not implying prurience, but instead those values of nakedness that appeal to naturists. I can't claim to be familiar with those, but I presume it's some combination of (asexual) aesthetics and freedom from social constraint. It's on this last point that I can see where these videos could enable some (again, nonsexual) fantasies for naturists, like, "Boy, I wish I could go to the bowling alley naked."

Mr. Spleen: It's not that I think "young" and "teen" are inherently suspect, except that I do. Again, I'm speculating here, but I suspect for certain types of sexual predator, the idea of having the godlike ability to peer in on the objects of your affection while they're going about everyday routines -- except that they're naked and are utterly unself-conscious about it -- would be intoxicating. Watching a bunch of pre-teen and teen boys do judo seems like the epitome of this. And so while there's nothing particularly overt in the descriptions, to toss the addendum "All male" to the end of a synopsis gives me pause.
posted by blueshammer at 6:03 AM on November 12, 2002


I daresay that, just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is pornography.

You see the pix as material for wanking, and it disgusts you.

As such, it's not so much different from diaper videos.

wdpeck sees the pix as a documentary on Russian family life.

As such, it's not so much different from other family life documentaries.


It's the mind of the beholder that makes the videos what they are. Just like the Sears catalog underwear sections (or, better, the Victoria's Secret catalog!)
posted by five fresh fish at 11:34 AM on November 12, 2002


wdpeck: thank you! I'm a psychology major, so these sorts of things are of great interest to me. Please e-mail me all the relevant links when you get a chance...I would really appreciate it.
posted by Zulujines at 11:47 AM on November 13, 2002


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