photographers as Wilhelm Von Gloeden and Guglielmo Pluschow in order to

Shield characterizations of the bare male youth from being comprehended as the obscene
-- police interpreted the images as pornographic, thus focusing the court

proceedings and both the media and academic discourses on whether or not
'Nude pictures of kids typical of family albums' are pornographic
(Bowles et al., 1998: 5--6). In similar cases throughout America, persons
who are found to have family snaps of nude kids are frequently detained for
the possession and production of child pornography (Kincaid, 2000). The heated-
ness encircling the breakdown of the custom of distinct circumstances that
Independent nakedness from the sexual feeds the craze around the discussions over
'pornographic' characterizations of children. This region functions as a useful example of the
instability around circumstances in which nakedness could be viewed as separate from the
Child pornography -- an issue which, according to Laura Kipnis, is so
1996: 5) -- is difcult to dene. According to the Campaign to Stop Child Prosti-
explicit reproductions of a child's image -- including sexually explicit photograph-
graphs, negatives, slides, magazines, films, video tapes and computer discs'
(ECPAT, 1996: 4). For the Australian Ofce of Film and Literature Classication,
child pornography is characterized in the following scheme: (1) texts featuring
(hardcore); (2) pictures of nude models under 16 which have sexual over-
tones such as sexually suggestive poses; (3) texts committed in the main to nude
Kids in a nonsexual context. Such recent determinations of what constitutes
child pornography concentrate on the textual image and are not concerned with
In that
Regard, child pornography is generally dened through its reading rather than its
Generation, and most legislation of western states governing the criminality of
child pornography possession, screening and distribution determines the interpre-
tation of the image according to what the allegedly 'reasonable' person would
nd offensive (Hartley, 1998: 12; Cover, 2000: 108).
While it's surely true the practice of recording sexual abuse of
record of a nude kid can now be qualified as obscene because it is under-
stood to sexualize the child. For example, in a case in California, authorities were
called in by a photograph programmer when he detected 'family snaps' of an 8-year-
old boy and a 6-year old girl together in the bathroom eating sausages. What alerted
the programmer and caused the authorities to consider the photographs as 'indecent' and
'degenerate' were the sausages, despite the fact they weren't, as James Kincaid
puts it, 'being licked, stroked or fit' (Kincaid, 2000). In another case
identied by Kincaid, a woman:

... turned in bath-time pictures of her 8-year-old daughter to a Fuji lm processing laboratory in
Oberlin, Ohio. The laboratory contacted the local authorities, who discovered the photographs 'over the line' and
arrested the mother for, among other things, snapping in the same framework with her daughter a
showerhead, which the prosecution seemingly planned to relate somehow to traces of mastur-
bation. (Kincaid, 2000)
These are two cases in which the record of youth nakedness under the gaze
of the parents was deemed to be obscene through procedures of sexualization or,
a sexual one. The signiers that recontextualize the shots as sexual are, in these
two cases, the phallic sausage and the apparently phallic showerhead. No such
signiers are necessary for the sexual reading, nonetheless, as testied by the instance of of
the visual arts student and many other recent cases of charges or arrests for kid
Porn creation.
What is occurring here is a destabilization between the frame in which the
parental gaze at the nude kid (and its lmic record) is presumed benign, and
the framework in which nakedness is viewed as sexual.
the meaning resides in the reading. In Tony Bennett's post-structuralist formu-
lation of reception theory, the meaning is not held by the text, but actively
reader. For Bennett, the productive activation of significance is regulated by the
'reading formation' or the 'set of intersecting discourses which productively
activate a given body of texts and the relationships between them in a specic way'
(Bennett, 1983: 216). Such readings of innocuous pictures of naked kids

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