December 30, 2001 3:14 PM   Subscribe

Um... can someone explain to me how a parent could do this to their child? Check out some accompanying links and tell me how this isn't child porn and why these parents aren't in prison right now.
posted by tsumo (54 comments total)
Yes, I know the link is old. I caught it when I visited Wired's Sexchart article and thought it merited some discussion. Flame away.
posted by tsumo at 3:16 PM on December 30, 2001

Actually it's been discussed here. I had to run a google search to uncover it though.
posted by geoff. at 3:21 PM on December 30, 2001

I believe this has been discussed here before on MeFi, but I'm not sure.

These sites are clearly marketed at pedophiles, no doubt, and one imagines the parents can see that. At the same time, its a bit of a touchy area -- you and I "know it when we see it" that these girls are being posed in a sexual manner with their clothes on -- but how do you legislate that?

There was a case a year or so ago (I'd find it, but I'm not about to search the web for "child porn") of a woman who was arrested for having perfectly innocent pictures of her own kids playing in the bath.

Maybe they could go after these guys on child labor laws? I'd have no problem with shutting that down, while they are at it, shut down the child beauty pagents, olympic gymnastics, and the other psychotic stuff people do to their kids.
posted by malphigian at 3:26 PM on December 30, 2001

I like cute kids, but these sites (links new or old) seem to have the children in fairly provacative poses - not to mention the lack of clothes. There is a fine line between modeling and pr0n - lots of men get kicks/off from looking through the underwear section of the sears catalog too.

My children will never be seen on pay websites.
posted by tomplus2 at 3:28 PM on December 30, 2001

The picture that gets me is at the top of the first link of banners, of the 14-year-old whose posing is more provocative and sexual than I will ever look to be.
posted by GirlFriday at 3:39 PM on December 30, 2001

Is it kiddie porn?
It's kiddie cheesecake which is uncomfortably close. No doubt these sites are aimed at pedophiles(who should be fed feet first into woodchippers as far as I'm concerned.) Unfortunately, they also carefully skirt that thin line between legal and illegal, and I wouldn't want to go the panic route and wind up charging people for taking snapshots of their kids in the bathtub, which happened recently.
Maybe if these sites have guestbooks we can take down the email addresses and comments and forward them to pedos wives and bosses! A little electronic frontier justice would be cool in this case.
And tsumo, if the parent's are involved they're either insane, sociopathic or pedophiles themselves in which case prison is too good for them.
posted by jonmc at 3:45 PM on December 30, 2001

Parents who could pimp their daughters on the Internet like this are probably capable of worse. This is legal? If so, it's time for the feds to jack these parents up and make them think twice.

What has this done to these girls?
posted by sacre_bleu at 3:48 PM on December 30, 2001

It's sick. It's absolutely disgusting, for the parents are, yes, sexually exploiting their children. Take them away, give them to foster parents.
posted by aaronshaf at 3:53 PM on December 30, 2001

"This is legal? If so, it's time for the feds to jack these parents up and make them think twice."

Whoa, Nellie. Aren't the members of this site, for the most part, against jackbooted thugs hassling law-abiding citizens?

Distasteful as these sites are, I doubt few, if any, could be shut down for being illegal. If someone wants to pimp out pictures of their pride and joy cavorting in a bikini, then in my opinion they're vile scum, but that hardly merits sending in Federal law enforcement agents.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:56 PM on December 30, 2001

Wow, I had always thought that the whole child modeling beauty pagent circuit thing was exploitive. This is FAR worse, though not illegal. It certainly offends public sensibilities and might, depending on the exact content on the website, meet many local definitions of obscenity, but it's not illegal. At least the content isn't. It may well be illegal to exploit the child for financial gain. Here's one of those time it'd be darned handy to have gone to law school.
posted by shagoth at 4:23 PM on December 30, 2001

Interesting where the line is drawn between acceptable and unacceptable images of kids.
We recently had a media frenzy about pedophiles in uk.And one of thoe named and shamed got murdered,which is by way of an aside.The point is a satire which must have been discussed on here was then made by Chris Morris.Cue another feeding frenzy and calls for Morrises head.Disgraceful to find such stuff funny.
Charlie Booker who co wrote it has pointed out that the most vociferous compainers at the same time carried pictures that were saucy to say the least and and articles that largely encouraged the expression of pre teen sexuality.
His article which provided more evidence than I am able to provide was in the Guardian,but I cant find it on the web.
posted by Fat Buddha at 4:32 PM on December 30, 2001

Fat Buddha:

You're talking about Brass Eye, no?

I found a whole page of links about it here.

Fascinating stuff.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:50 PM on December 30, 2001

Actually it's been discussed here. I had to run a google search to uncover it though.

You went so far as to run a Google search for what reason exactly?
posted by KLAX at 4:55 PM on December 30, 2001

You went so far as to run a Google search for what reason exactly?

KLAX, what kind of response is that? Maybe he ran one because, like me, he remembered a previous thread, where we could see what everyone said last time at least. Secondly, right on the search page here at mefi is a suggestion to use google if the mefi search times out.
posted by malphigian at 4:59 PM on December 30, 2001

A lot of those pics look photoshopped to me, maybe simply because those provocative looks on 10 yr old bodies just look so weird. It's definitely creepy, but I don't see how it can be regulated; it's not blatant enough. Having a member fee to a kiddie site is a giveaway, but only because it's "common knowledge" that people only pay for porn sites (except for the tiny Salon contingent). There's no real defense for not allowing people to pay for pictures they like etc if the pics aren't technically illegal.

I guess simple moral censure is all we can offer.
posted by mdn at 5:12 PM on December 30, 2001

And people wonder why things like the Jon-Benet Ramsey murder happen...
posted by manero at 6:28 PM on December 30, 2001

Isn't the "" (in the links section of "lil amber")site also on The WunderBlog? Just something I thought about pointing out.
posted by Katy Action at 7:00 PM on December 30, 2001

Is it paranoid of me not to follow this link for fear of what government database i might show up in?
posted by nagchampa at 7:12 PM on December 30, 2001

And people wonder why things like the Jon-Benet Ramsey murder happen...

Why did it happen, manero? Enlighten us.
posted by rodii at 7:13 PM on December 30, 2001

You saying she was asking for it, manero? sheesh.
posted by nagchampa at 7:16 PM on December 30, 2001

nagchampa - as a libertarian it pains me to say this but the regulars at those sites belong in a government database.
posted by jonmc at 7:21 PM on December 30, 2001

Egads! This is some sick stuff. I may seem to be thinking one sided on this topic, but this is not for the sure modelling part of it. You just DO NOT PUT PICTURES OF YOUR KIDS WEARING THIGH HIGHS ONLINE!! Why in the sam hell are 12 year olds wearing thigh highs in the first place!?!?!?

After a quick search for federal laws about child pornography, I found a website that was for adult websites, and went over the laws that apply and which ones not to break. Section 5, U.S. vs. Knox, seems to make clear that the courts would consider the majority, if not all of these sites as child pornography.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 7:31 PM on December 30, 2001

..."The photographer videotaped the girls dancing, and zoomed in on each girl's pubic area for an extended period of time. "

That's the portion of US v. Knox that's pertinent, Jake, as "lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area" is one of the definitions of "sexually explicit conduct" as defined by the statute.

A picture of a ten-year-old girl in a bikini, or a site filled with said pictures, would still not qualify as kiddie porn, unless the genitals or pubic area were exhibited "lasciviously". Indeed, the defense attorneys in Knox argued (unsuccessfully) that since the genital areas were covered that the statute did not apply at all. While their argument failed, it is pertinent to note that in the appeal of Knox, the appellate court ruled:

"Thus, we conclude that a "lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area" of a minor necessarily requires only that the material depict some "sexually explicit conduct" by the minor subject which appeals to the lascivious interest of the intended audience. Applying this standard in the present case, it is readily apparent that the tapes in evidence violate the statute. In several sequences, the minor subjects, clad only in very tight leotards, panties, or bathing suits, were shown specifically spreading or extending their legs to make their genital and pubic region entirely visible to the viewer."

Now, without personally checking out every one of those sites (no, thanks, I don't want to be on any government watch-list either) I'd be willing to bet that most would still not qualify as kiddie porn under U.S. law. I'm fairly unwilling to believe that Mom and Dad are shooting spread-legged shots of their daughters.

An in-depth analysis of the Knox case is at which deals with the appellate court's ruling in affirmation of the original verdict, after it had been vacated and remanded by the Supreme Court.

Also, the complete statute is at, but you have to be willing to wade through several pages if you want to read the whole thing.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:04 PM on December 30, 2001

Now if this were a discussion about homosexual webpages, those responding with emphatic disgust would be shouted down as latent homosexuals. Is it just me who has noticed this sharp break in debating technique?
posted by Real9 at 8:06 PM on December 30, 2001

Not likely, Real9, because the homosexual analogue would be 12 year old boys in speedos being pimped out by their parents for payola, which is just as reprehensible as parents pimpng out their pre-pubescent daughters.

(Alliteration and consonance completely unintentional.)
posted by headspace at 8:14 PM on December 30, 2001

Now if this were a discussion about homosexual webpages, those responding with emphatic disgust would be shouted down as latent homosexuals. Is it just me who has noticed this sharp break in debating technique?

Well, I don't think we can carry this analogy too far, but yes, this is an interesting question. Of course, few (myself included) wish to appear proponents of paedophilia; so few are bold enough to point this out.

I just don't understand.
posted by SilentSalamander at 8:26 PM on December 30, 2001

Real9, where are you getting this view of reality, Rush Limbaugh? If this was a homosexual site (i'm assuming you mean of consenting age) and people were bashing it, I think the majority of us would assume the bashers were ignorant, and bigoted, not latent homosexuals.
posted by Doug at 8:59 PM on December 30, 2001

Generic Britney Spears comment goes here.
posted by coelecanth at 9:02 PM on December 30, 2001

Doug, Accusing me of listening to Rush Limbaugh and then using words like "bashing" and "ignorant" is laughably reactionary hyperventilating. Perhaps you would have me listen to the quiet voice of desperation otherwise known as NPR.
posted by Real9 at 9:26 PM on December 30, 2001

jonmc: No doubt these sites are aimed at pedophiles(who should be fed feet first into woodchippers as far as I'm concerned.)

Really? For what? For the sin of having been born with sexual desires that cannot be accommodated, legally or ethically?

I can't imagine that any pedophile chooses his perversion, any more than a gay man chooses to be gay, or someone who likes Jerry Lewis films consciously chooses to like Lewis rather than Bergman. Some men, for reasons unknown, are sexually attracted to children.

Some desires can be ethically acted on, some cannot. Gay men can have a sexual relationship with another adult; Jerry Lewis films can be rented at Blockbuster. But pedophiles can't ever have what they want. Sexual relationships between children and adults are generally recognized to be exploitative, at the very least not fair to the child, and often harmful.

I think pedophiles are tragic figures. They can't ever have sexual satisfaction that is legal or ethical. And they can't stop wanting what they want.

I am not arguing against jail or hormone treatment for pedophiles who act on their desires and molest children. Children must be protected against exploitation. But all we know about these sites' users is that they find early-teen girls attractive. How many actually act on their desires, and how many just dream? Who knows.

I agree, the sites we're talking about make me feel squicky, and the parents, who surely know what is going on even as they deny it, are creepy. Maybe, though, these sites provide an acceptable outlet for pedophilic longings. If pedophiles can get their rocks off on jpegs rather than molesting real girls, maybe that's a good thing.

Or maybe it's not. The proliferation of these sites might also be seen by pedophiles as validating or legitimizing their desires. I don't know.

I do know, however, that the world is full of desires that cannot be fulfilled for one reason or another, and that everyone who has bad thoughts can't be fed into a woodchipper, or the world's population would be sadly depleted.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:29 PM on December 30, 2001

some of these girls even seem to be knowingly taking advantage of their visitor's pedophile nature. just wrong. seems like a safer/more-high-tech way to be a whore.
posted by lotsofno at 9:38 PM on December 30, 2001

just to play the devil's advocate for a moment ...

put aside the kind of people who view these sites, and think about the children involved. given the current cultural climate vis a vis images from Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, where women are taught from a very early age that their bodies are to be hidden and covered, where physical expression is stifled, how can we say out of hand that this sort of thing is bad? we often pay lip service to the kind of sexual repression and alienation from self that is fostered in most every society on earth, but then images like this are met with disgust and protest. where is the line between an anti-sex, anti-body society that teaches girls to feel shame, and a society that strings up girls as meat for those who would exploit them?

i'm about to become a stepfather ... i was sitting around with my own mother one night, something came on tv with Destiny's Child or some group of their ilk. i commented that i would be fine if my stepdaughter dyed her hair green, pierced her nose, got a tattoo, listened to any kind of music, read any kind of book, but i would have a very hard time if she wanted to own an album by that group, or brittney, christina, anyone of that ilk. shit, i read burroughs when i was 12, i have no problem with the idea that young people should be allowed to explore their bodies, sex, physical expression, i would never want to raise a child who felt blocked off or stifled from that aspect of his or her existence.

so where is the third option? we don't want shame or repression, but neither do we want objectification like this? but how do we tell little girls that what is portrayed in these pictures is wrong, but at the same time tell them that their bodies are beautiful and nothing to be ashamed of? where is the line between positive self image and self expression, and objectification? how do we say that they are the masters of their own bodies, that nobody has a right to decide for them what is 'good' and 'bad,' but still try to instill some sense of morals or appropriateness?

these pictures make me feel ill, but not as ill as the sight of women living their lives covered head to toe. is that wrong?

p.s. - what Slithy_Tove said
posted by hipstertrash at 9:43 PM on December 30, 2001

{note to self: mr_crash_davis must be an attourney or closely interested in the field, heheheh}

mr_crash_davis, I know there seems like there are some loopholes in the system, but as you probably know already, it says there doesn't have to be nudity, partial nudity, heck they can still be fully clothed, but just need to be lavacious in nature. As noted in a previous comment, these sites are NOT directed at modelling agencies and talent scouts. The use of terms such as portfolio and the like are just smokescreens to cover up the greater fact of a site designed to get money from perverts in the world.

Why would a person with wishes to be a model make a talent scout pay to see their portfolio? Simply put, they wouldn't. If I wanted to be a model (I have no aspirations of this, I assure you, I'm ugly) I would let anyone and everyone see my portfolio, with a bunch of photos to view. Making people pay to see a so called portfolio that will get you hired appears to be a way to hide child porn or something close enough to get you scared. And in my eyes, if it's close enough to get you scared, then it's close enough to send you to prison too.

Yeah, there may be legitimate modelling sites out there, where people are truly trying to be models, but I bet you they don't require a membership. And I bet their models aren't wearing thigh highs and showing off thier panties.

It's kind of sad that even these girls' parents are affraid of giving out thier own names. If they're doing everything by the book they should have nothing to fear. That and they say they don't know who falls into their market demographic, but all the memberships probably ask for ages, and they need to be signed up with a credit card or check. As "Jessi's Mom" says, "her daughter's site is geared toward other children." What child has a checking account or a credit card? Who's parents would let a kid sign up for this trash? What kid would make a nick 'Cum ta poppa'?

"Or maybe it's not. The proliferation of these sites might also be seen by pedophiles as validating or legitimizing their desires. I don't know."

This part I agree with, let a guy or gal get their jollies here and then they get the courage to go ask the kiddies at the playground if they want to be a star or whatever pathetic scheme they'd use.

There's a song that's played on the radio fairly often now called "Hey Mister". At the end of it, they singer repeats the line, "I hope I never have a Daughter." At the rate this is going, I hope I don't either.

I dunno, but is reeks of trash, and it's all coming from these sites and ones like them.

As a side note, I'm not some extremist who thinks they have the only correct pov. I just don't give on any of my big issues. This is one of them. Pedophiles, whether they act on it or not, should not exist. This garbage just contributes to thier existance by providing a venue for them.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 9:48 PM on December 30, 2001

Real9, come on, admit it, you DO listen to Rush Limbaugh! Anyway, I don't really listen to NPR much. I think you should listen to Phil Hendrie, personally.

Slithy, you raise some very interesting points. The whole issue is very complex. It's a lot to think about.

If these girls were naked, but doing things like eating cereal, or doing homework, the pictures would probably be considered porn. These girls have clothes on, but are posing in a very suggestive manner, and I doubt they would ever be considered porn by a court. I'm assuming laws against child pornography are enacted to protect children. But what is more damaging? Having your mom take a picture of you with no top, or your mother dressing you up like a french maid and having you bend over for the camera?

and then they get the courage to go ask the kiddies at the playground if they want to be a star or whatever pathetic scheme they'd use.

Jake, is there any evidence to support this? And as Slithy said, can you really punish people for being attracted to something? Actions are one thing, but what someone finds arousing is another. But then again, those people attracted to child pornography do create a demand for it.

And yet, that is also the absurd reasoning behind the war on drugs. And that worked fantastically.
posted by Doug at 9:54 PM on December 30, 2001

Slithy_Tove: I actually see your point but I don't agree. What if you can do nothing but think of killing people? Are you a tragic figure also? You see people every day and can never act on your desire to hack them up into little pieces and wear their skin. Are guys who beat their wives tragic figures too? At what point do you stop being a tragic figure? At some point, you just have to say that if you have a few screws loose and you don't seek hormone therapy on your own or some other form of treatment, then you leave the tragic column and enter the scumbag column (or the woodchipper as jonmc would have it).
posted by billman at 10:04 PM on December 30, 2001

Doug, they are acting out their attractions, they're going to these websites that promote little children acting seductivly. If you think they aren't sedictive and sugestive, check out the link in lotsofno's comment. Sheesh. As far as proof that these sites are specifically what causes people to molest children, I have none to offer. I can offer that they can be an entry point. Like weed, the lesser of the same evil. Get hooked on weed and your 250% more likely to try heavier drugs, than someone who has never had any narcotics before.

billman, great comment.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 10:16 PM on December 30, 2001

billman: first, you're mixing two categories. The guy who can think of nothing but murder causes harm to no one but himself (until he commits murder), while the wife-beater definitely causes harm to another.

Whether or not either is 'tragic' has no relationship to the need for society to protect its members. And yes, all of us have an ethical obligation not to act on bad desires. If we do, society must try to prevent us from harming others, if our actions pose risk.

Individual tragedies because of destructive desires are all around us. They become publicly apparent mainly when the individual is exceptionally talented or high-profile. Is the wife-beater tragic if he is Jackson Pollock? Is the alcohol abuser tragic if he is Dylan Thomas or F. Scott Fitzgerald? I would say yes. That doesn't mean we shouldn't issue a retraining order against Mr. Pollock, or take away Fitz's driver's license if he is DUI.

Is Macbeth, Thane of Glamis, murderer, tragic? I'd say.

Sex is a core human motivator, and one of life's joys. I'd say that to be born with sexual impulses that can never find a legitimate outlet is tragic. Like being born without legs, and never being able to run.

Oh, I'm being bad here, I'm mixing up the classical definition of 'tragedy' with the popular one. Macbeth is a tragic figure not because he had bad impulses, but because he acted on them, and 'fell from greatness'. I think you could consider Pollock's spousal abuse or many writers' alcoholism in the same way. In this sense, the pedophile wannabe isn't tragic until he acts on his impulses. (And he still isn't tragic unless he was 'great' to begin with. Example: Roman Polanski.) Nonetheless, even if he never acts on them except to masturbate over jpegs, he's an exceptionally sad and unfortunate individual, 'tragic' or not.

The question no one can answer, myself included, is what to do about the guys who frequent kiddie cheesecake sites, like these. A few will act on their desires. I would guess that many, probably most, won't. (But I don't know for sure. Anyone else have data on this?) We would like to stop them before they act. How do you do that without rounding up tens of thousands of pitiful, but (probably) harmless masturbators? To say nothing of every MiFi'er who clicked through those links out of morbid curiosity.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 12:09 AM on December 31, 2001

Slithy_Tove: I think you're missing my point here. I understand the various meanings of tragic (actually, thanks for elaborating because your examples made me think about other issues). And you're right, there are actually two issues here:

1. People who lust after children


2. People who have relations with children.

So, where do you draw the line. Where I draw the line is when you have someone who is mentally ill in their desire. Like you point out, mental illness has many forms. There are alcoholics who realize the dangers of their behavior and seek treatment and there are those who will never quit (actually they do quit when they die, but that's a different story). So if I can't stop thinking about having sex with ten year old girls/boys, I know I have a sickness. I know there's something fundamentally wrong. Even serial killers know on some level that killing people is wrong which is why they go to great pains to cover up the evidence. So, if you know that wanting (yes, the wanting is wrong too) to have sex with that little ten year old at the playground is wrong, and you don't seek treatment then you are simply an opportunity away from being a child molester. It's not that you wouldn't. It's that you can't get away with it. It becomes an issue of working up the courage to do it.

So, if pedophilia is an illness and this illness has a significant likelyhood of the patient becoming a risk to themsleves or others, they should be locked up. If they aren't a risk to themselves or others, they would be rational enough to seek treatment so that they didn't become a threat to anyone.

Now you mentioned Roman Polanski as being a tragic figure but I prefer to look at him as an accomplished film maker who is also a f*cking lowlife scumbag pedophile. Being great at one thing does not preclude you from being a scumbag. OJ Simpson is a football legend who also happens to be a murderer. Is his case tragic? No. Nicole Simpson's case is tragic. OJ's life is nirvana considering the fact he's still roaming the streets. I think we (as a society) need to quit idolizing people to the point of glossing over serious flaws in their personality. Murderers are murderers. Child molesters are child molesters. What other contributions they made to the world doesn't make them more or less tragic. What if Hitler had been a gifted painter? Would his killing 6 million Jews have been a tragic sidenote in his life?
posted by billman at 1:18 AM on December 31, 2001

JakeXtreme: Like weed, the lesser of the same evil. Get hooked on weed and your 250% more likely to try heavier drugs, than someone who has never had any narcotics before.

Of course, the relationship is not necessarily causal. It could be (and I think it is) that the type of person who is likely to try marijuana is also likely, from the beginning, to try heavier drugs. Anyway, the use of the phrase "hooked on" contains some assumptions that this infrequent pot user might not agree with. I know it's just an analogy, but it doesn't work.

billman: Being great at one thing does not preclude you from being a scumbag. OJ Simpson is a football legend who also happens to be a murderer. Is his case tragic? No. Nicole Simpson's case is tragic.

I think this is just a semantic misunderstanding. "Tragic," to us English Lit. majors, means something different than it does to USA Today. A tragedy in a classic sense is a case of a great person falling from greatness, through their own actions. The novel An American Tragedy, for example, is about a guy (very likeable at first) who kills his pregnant girlfriend so he can marry a rich debutante. And the title refers to the plight of the murderer, not his victims. This kind of thing goes back to Oedipus and the rest of early Greek theater, which is, I believe, where the word "tragedy" comes from to begin with. In the modern American media, the same word is used to refer to tornados destroying buildings, and other unnatural or arbitrary events, which is really almost the opposite of its original meaning.
posted by bingo at 5:02 AM on December 31, 2001

Yeah, yeah, I read all the above statements about "how disgusting" you find these sites, but I have to wonder how many of you followed every single link. Hypocrites!
posted by mischief at 5:47 AM on December 31, 2001

mischief, hypocrites we are not. Did any of us take up membership to these sites? No, or at least I did not. From some of the responses around here I think there may have been a huge membership jump at them though. Sadly the truth is that this is not morally acceptable to the majority of the world. The people who find it ok should see a psychologist. I can't send everyone to jail over this, I wish I could, but I can't and no one else would do it either.

I also think that if anyone wishes to classify this under a sickness then by all means go ahead. Just treat it completely like a sickness. If you see someone with this so-called sickness, then they need to be treated, wether they know it or not. Put them all in a building and get them to like women. I don't know how that could be done in a cost effective and timley manner, so I think I'll stick to the woodchipper.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 6:37 AM on December 31, 2001

I think pedophiles are tragic figures. They can't ever have sexual satisfaction that is legal or ethical. And they can't stop wanting what they want.

Boo frickin' hoo. I like to look at the gray area of things just like the next guy but really. C'mon. Tragic figure? When my niece is old enough to know what that means, I'm sure it will numb the pain she feels after being molested. Or maybe if she reads Macbeth this will help to. On one hand I appreciate your willingness to throw this into the discussion but the human being in me reacts with disgust at such a theory. Such is the beauty of debate. Now if you will excuse me, I need to fire up the wood chipper.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:08 AM on December 31, 2001

Slithy_tove you may think they are tragic figures until you have young children and learn suddenly that your nextdoor neighbor is a pedophile. Like I did.
posted by luser at 7:37 AM on December 31, 2001

Kevin -

As someone who has been where your niece is, I hope to god that she can grow up into some variation of this view. I hope that she can realize that the person who did this to her was sick, and sad, and pittiful, and I hope that she forgives him. For her own sake. Otherwise, she will lead a haunted, bitter, angry life. I've seen it happen, seen people who went through the same thing go through life unable to move past it. Your anger and hatred is understandable, but it is ultimately wrong, I think.

Look at the statistics on how many victimizers were once victims. As much as we talk about 'protecting the children,' the villification and demonization of their abusers is probably not the best way to break the cycle. This is just my take on things ... but it seems that the victims often end up paying for society's attitudes toward the abusers. Perpetuating hatred and blind rage will only keep those events in the forefront for the child, and the longer that they live with those events in their immediate realities, the more of an impact that these events will have on them for the rest of their lives.

I'm not saying that we should be soft on them, or not lock them up or force them into hormone treatments. But we have to learn how to accept sickness and forgive, if only to allow our children a chance to live life without the constant burden of their past. They can't move on until we do.
posted by hipstertrash at 7:51 AM on December 31, 2001

the truth is that this is not morally acceptable to the majority of the world.

That is just PC blather. You know full well that if this thread had started off with a couple pedophile jokes instead of condemnation, 50 more would have been posted by now.
posted by mischief at 9:06 AM on December 31, 2001

Yeah, we are in a bad semantic ditch here. And digging ourselves deeper.

Obviously, I shouldn't have used the word 'tragic'. The problem seems to be that 'tragic' has positive associations for many people. Too much use in conjunction with the word 'hero', maybe, or decades of media sympathy for victims of 'tragedies'. Wrong word, wrong word. And then I compounded the confusion by dragging in its Elizabethan meaning. I suck.

Let me try again. Pedophiles, because their sexual desires can't be ethically or legally consummated, are pitiable wretches. How's that? Better? Or not?

Please read all of what I wrote earlier. Just because they may be wretched, doesn't mean they shouldn't be prosecuted when they act on their desires. Or that they shouldn't be 'chemically castrated' with estrogen injections, if that has been shown to control their behavior. Or that tools such as 'Megan's Law' shouldn't be enacted to help parents keep their kids safe. I am not defending pedophilia. Okay? Whatever one's desires, one has an ethical obligation to control one's behavior. Got that? How can I make it clearer?

You know, I thought I said all this before. KevinSkomsvold and luser, you seem to be taking individual lines out of context, and ignoring the rest of what I wrote.

billman: I do think that O.J. Simpson is a 'tragic' figure, in the Elizabethan sense. He was a winner: an American sports hero, wealthy, with big endorsement contracts, a beautiful wife, and a role model for kids. He lost it all, because of a tragic flaw: jealousy. If life were a play, he would have been executed, committed suicide (after a long, anguished soliloquy), or killed by Nicole Brown's family. But life isn't a play, so the denouement is less clean. But Simpson is clearly a tragic figure. He's also a scumbag. The two things are not incompatible. Macbeth is also a tragic figure, and a scumbag, who richly deserved death.

On reconsideration, Roman Polanski doesn't quite make it as 'tragic', because he fled to Europe, and never really suffered.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:11 AM on December 31, 2001


What a staggeringly terrible comment. (Come on -- you know you all loved those sites!--was that really your point?). You can take a look at my browser history, or you can just believe me: One look at one of the links in this thread was enough to put a chill in my spine, and I'm done looking. If you think these pages are a secret thrill, then just say so.
posted by argybarg at 11:57 AM on December 31, 2001

I'm really bothered by this story...but the pedophile aspect is a tiny part of what bothers me.

More than that, what bothers me is the objectification and sexualization that is being trained into these girl's heads...and any other kids that stumble across these pages. (Although, I'd bet money that the majority of "subscribers" are men with little girl fantasies and sticky keyboards.)

I mean, did these girls parents give no thought to how this would impact their children for the rest of their lives? Good lord, I really think the parents should be horsewhipped. (I also think that child pageants and the like should also be stopped...and that anyone who paints a 4 year old girl up like a bad Dolly Parton look-alike should be beaten with pointed sticks.)

I agree with earlier posters, I think an aggressive prosecutor could prove "purient" intent...not only that, I think someone should try.

Children are not objects, they are not sex kittens, they are not poseable bendy toys. They are real people, with feelings and thoughts and needs. They should never be forced into prostitution, even if it is virtual.
posted by dejah420 at 12:48 PM on December 31, 2001

This is the kind os subject where I always worry about getting myself into trouble. Oh well...

I think bringing Roman Polanski into this might be problematic - Polanski seems to have coerced and manipulated into sexual relations (a bad thing in itself, certainly by the morés of recent years) someone he viewed as a very young woman, rather than seeking sex with a child. He probably took the law on Age of Consent as seriously as everybody in Hollywood at that time took the laws that prohibited the use of Cocaine and other narcotics. And he was wrong to do so.

But a paedophile is someone who wants to have sexual relations with children - pre-pubescents - as children, not as young adults. There are many men who are attracted to very young women (and powerful enough to attract them). Although there may be little legal distinction between someone having sex with a woman who is under the legal age of consent and abusing a pre-pubescent, one might perceive a difference of desire. The problem is that there is a grey area, becoming larger and greyer with the increasing sexualisation of prepubescent girls.

Even so, the Age of Consent is there for a reason, and ignoring it is (and should be, most of the time) a criminal offence. People under that age are not capable by law of making decisions as regards sexual behaviour (whether or not we consider them competent enough to make those decisions as individuals).

However to confuse the two issues is highly problematic, since it serves to obscure the issue of paedophilia.

A documentary by the journalist Dea Birkett in 1997, in which she interviewed paedophiles (related article here, but be warned that although the article originally appeared in the Guardian this is a "paedophile emancipation" site. Interesting article though) attracted almost as much opprobrium as the Brass Eye Special, for daring to suggest that these "monsters" might be human beings too. Seriously fucked-up human beings, but human nonetheless. But unless we are simply going to remain at the level of discourse parodied by Brass Eye Special ("Stay away from the man with the funny eyes!"), admitting this fucked-up humanity is the only way we can begin to address the issue.

(For clarification, I think the age of consent might be flexible as regards prosecution when the participants are close in age - for example 15 and 16 years old.)
posted by Grangousier at 1:24 PM on December 31, 2001

As a minor, I feel I have to reiterate this point that another poster already made:

Do you realize how many of the models you lust after are 15, 16, or 17 years old? How many adult men have been attracted to Spears or the Tomb Raider model, both of whom began their sexual careers as minors? Even Playboy uses underage models for their clothing sections (and don't tell me the purpose of those sections is not to arrouse).


And now for my own take on things:

It seems that a basic problem we are dealing with is that human beings react to sexual maturity while the law deals with mental maturity (and barely even that, to be honets). Additionally, bowing to the reality of highschool, 18-year-olds can legally have relationships with 14-year-olds, at least in New Jersey. This further blurs the line between what we find acceptable and what we find reprehensible. Remember, there was a time when we were all attracted to 12-year-olds (I'm assuming that you didn't spring fully-formed from the womb) -- some people just never outgrew that stage.

Moreover, much as many intellectually-oriented people find those on the cusp of mental maturity to be "mentally attractive" if you will, it makes sense that sexually-oriented people would find those on the cusp of physical maturity to be sexually attractive.

I'm currently 17. I'm attracted to people older and younger than me, some a lot older, and some a few years younger. And I'm not so short-sighted as to have forgotten what it was like to be a 12-year-old, attracted to people a lot older and a bit younger than I was. Am I still? No. Is it still understandable to me that some people would be? Quite.

Do I condone the exploitation of minors? No. Personally, I find it disgusting that men in their 40's practically proposition one of my female friends, even though she's but 8 days from major status. But the fact remains that it is immoral, unconstitutional, and just plain impossible to prosecute people based on their thoughts and desires. Saying that they should seek treatment is equally ridiculous -- just as GWB is not evil because he didn't go to AA (though he may be evil for other reasons...), someone attracted to minors is not evil just because they attempt to control their impulses on their own.

There. Now you have an opposition argument; maybe some of you can get off the bandwagon.
posted by Ptrin at 1:49 PM on December 31, 2001

And Grangousier makes me archaic. Thanks, man. Much appreciated :)
posted by Ptrin at 1:55 PM on December 31, 2001

Internet Leash Can Monitor Sex Offenders (NY Times) "For years, computer safety experts have recommended that parents who worry about sexual predators online install software like Cyber Sentinel, which was designed to restrict or monitor the Internet communication of young users. What Sangamon County [Illinois] officials have decided to do is use the same tools on offenders' machines. The manufacturer and law enforcement officials believe that this is the first time such software is being used this way...Whenever the system detects suspicious activity, it captures whatever is on the screen at the time, stores it on the user's hard drive and sends an e-mail message to the county probation office." Beats preventive detention!
posted by Carol Anne at 3:37 PM on December 31, 2001

So, they aren't allowed to look at porn? Seems like the oddest of behaviors to regulate. Oh well, I suppose they'll be using the adult section of the video store a bit more often...
posted by Ptrin at 3:54 PM on December 31, 2001

Re: the internet leash

Seems to me that anyone with even basic computer knowledge could disable that pretty easily...
posted by dejah420 at 6:41 PM on December 31, 2001

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