As Abhorrent as the Real Thing
You’ve probably heard about the FBI’s recent crackdown on computerized child pornography. The investigation led to over a hundred arrests and generated enormous publicity. But here’s the ironic part. Even as our government prosecutes these pedophiles, the entertainment and advertising industry is eroticizing children with impunity. Let me illustrate what I mean.
Movie director Adrian Lyne is currently shooting a major motion picture of Nabokov’s novel Lolita, a story about a middle-aged man who seduces a young girl. Lolita is played by child actress Dominique Swain. But Newsweek magazine assures us this isn’t really child pornography—because a 21-year-old body double steps in for Swain’s sex scenes while she is off the set.
That's preposterous—because the effect on the viewer is exactly the same. If Adrian Lyne shoots a scene meant to portray a 12-year-old having sexual relations with a 40-year-old man, that’s child pornography.
Newsweek's attitude illustrates the hypocrisy surrounding this issue. Child pornography is prosecuted, but simulated child pornography is not. We've seen it recently in Calvin Klein’s latest ad campaign featuring young models in seductive poses. The Calvin Klein ads are blatantly suggestive. In one television commercial a young man undresses while an adult voice comments off camera on how nice his body is. Calvin Klein escaped prosecution by arguing that his young-looking models were at least 18 years old. The FBI was forced to conclude that although the ads look like child pornography, no laws were broken because the models were in fact of legal age.
The entertainment industry uses the same defense to justify portraying children as objects of sexual activity. It's okay, they insist—as long as older doubles step in during the sex scenes. According to Newsweek, Dominique Swain was chosen to play Lolita because she looks younger than her actual age of 15. Her 21-year-old "body double" was selected because she can pass as an adolescent.
Meanwhile, the outrage of child sexual abuse continues—fed by deceptive images that are increasingly saturating our culture—of children engaging in sexual activity.
Cardinal Jaime Sin, the archbishop of Manila, has spoken out against this simulated pedophilia in the Philippines. "Images feed our minds and hearts," he said, "and come to define what values I should embrace."
Images of sexually active children promote the kind of "values" expressed by the motto of one outspoken pedophile organization: "Sex before eight—before it's too late."
What an abomination! As General Paul Rader of the Salvation Army has warned, "the `soft-porn erotica' found in movies such as Lolita lowers resistance to more bizarre and deviant sexual images."
We cannot remain silent, for it is defenseless children who are the victims of this unscrupulous glorification of pedophilia. Write Calvin Klein and demand that they withdraw their scandalous advertisements. And urge your representatives in Congress to pass strict laws against the simulated portrayal of children engaged in sexual activity.
After all, when it comes to pedophilia, imitation child porn is every bit as abhorrent as the real thing.