Debate: Ban all child porn!

Submitted by AWL on 8 February, 2003 - 1:11

Gerry Byrne’s ideas about child pornography (Solidarity 3/23) sit unhappily alongside each other.
She says:
1. All child porn is abusive
2. Should people be prosecuted for simply looking at images?
3. Maybe there are images made in which real children are not really abused.
4. All commercial sexual use of children is abuse.
5. Oppose book burning; the way to combat bad ideas is counter-argument.
6. Maybe products in which real children are not abused should carry labels saying “no real children were involved in sexual acts”; this would stop people being punished for thoughts, rather than for contributing to the exploitation of children.

I’d like to suggest that it is right that those using child porn — any child porn including those in which the images do not involve real children — are prosecuted; that we should, in this case, favour “book burning”.

Attempts to make a parallel with porn made by and for consenting adults are not useful. Despite the pitiful quality of such material under capitalism it is, in general, positive that this type of porn is available. In general we should favour sexual freedom and attempts to escape the strange restrictions this fucked-up society attempts to impose.

But child porn is different. Or, more exactly, paedophile sexualities are different. We should favour the stamping out of this porn because we see its existence (commercial or otherwise; and “non-abusive” too — if such a thing can be proven to exist) as a symptom of sexualities which, in turn, we want to see “repressed”. By “repressed” I mean not only repressed by the state but also — if at all possible — by the paedophiles themselves.

I’m not for a “flowering” of this sexual orientation, I’m for its abolition.
But does this stand contradict freedom of thought? Isn’t it better to argue against paedophilia? That would make more sense if paedophilia were simply a choice — like some people choose to be Tories. But paedophilia is not a choice; it is a fixation.

Peter Sharp, Leicester

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