Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kid Porn -- Barebrush Contributor Against "Fabricating A Moral Panic"

Paul Rapoport is the publisher of "Bodies and Souls: The Century Project" and an early and avid supporter of barebrush. Here is the article he wrote for the national post (Candada). Thank you, Paul.

Paul Rapoport on Nude Children in Aussie Art: Kids need protection, but art isn't porn

Two recent Australian fiascos are edifying for North America. At issue in both: photographs of naked children by well-known art photographers.In May, Bill Henson found that police had raided and closed an exhibition of his work at an art gallery in Sydney. The catalyst: the picture of his on the gallery invitation, of a nude pubescent girl standing in near-darkness.

In response to the furor over that incident, the magazine Art Monthly Australia created another. Its July cover features a nude six-year-old girl sitting on a rock. Her mother, Polixeni Papapetrou, made the photo. Her father, Robert Nelson, also an art critic, painted the background.The public response was frantic. Hetty Johnston, director of a child protection group, declared that Bill Henson “has a tendency to depict children naked and that is porn.” The police went to other galleries in Australia that possessed similar photographs by Henson and advised them to keep the works in storage.....

The goal of protecting children should have no argument. But making children afraid of all nudity doesn’t protect them. It makes them anxious, insecure and more susceptible to poor body image and other problems, including abuse....

Australia’s insidious media frenzy in these fiascos may seem exaggerated to us. But the censorious attitude is also found in North America. To develop real child protection and teach teens about responsible sexual health, we must stop misconstruing photographs, oversexualizing children and fabricating a moral panic.

Dr. Paul Rapoport is professor emeritus in the School of the Arts at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., editor of the magazine Going Natural / Au naturel and a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.

For complete article and large version of the controversial image, click here

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