The problem, he said, is that child porn laws never contemplated "children sharing images of themselves," and youthful sexters have little concept of their actions as a crime. "You can literally see the shock on their faces," McCarthy said.America is certain of one thing and one thing only regarding adolescents: they do not own themselves; they do not possess independent moral agency; their sexuality is by definition victimhood, even when practiced volitionally; consensual sex and forced prostitution in the under-18 population are essentially inextricable.
-Reported in WaPo
The business model of pimping is remarkably similar whether in Atlanta or Calcutta: take vulnerable, disposable girls whom nobody cares about, use a mix of “friendship,” humiliation, beatings, narcotics and threats to break the girls and induce 100 percent compliance, and then rent out their body parts.
“Just because you’re wearing high-heeled sexy shoes doesn’t mean you should have a baby,” said Neil Cole.
I believe we can all rally around this sentiment.
Cole is the head of Iconix, a company that makes the Candie’s line of teen fashions. A couple of years ago, under fire from critics who accused him of dressing high schoolers like tarts, he established the Candie’s Foundation, which fights teen pregnancy. And there he was on Wednesday introducing the foundation’s new teen ambassador, Bristol Palin.
Palin is not in any way to be confused with the new Candie’s brand spokesperson, Britney Spears. Bristol is the one endorsing abstinence; Britney is the one promoting “hot bottoms.”
I ask because teenage sexuality is one of the leading causes of illegitimacy, which believe it or not is more pandemic than the swine flu and more damaging to the institutions of family and marriage than any same-gender commitment ceremony in California or Iowa.
The solution to so-called underage prostitution is to legalize prostitution, to allow people to exchange money for sex, and, if necessary, to subject that profession to the same child labor rules that we enforce in other professions at far lesser expense and to far greater effect, principally because as far as laws go, child labor laws are rational and enjoy such broad consensus that they effectively enforce themselves . . . unless I am unaware of some ongoing scourge in the newsies industry. The solution to "sexting," or more particularly to the problematic application of draconian pornography censorship to teenagers who send each other titty pics or parents who take cute pictures of babies' bums is to end entirely the prohibition on pornography, including so-called "child pornography," which criminalizes a product rather than the damaging acts that may go into its production. Kidnapping, rape, molestation, harassment, etc.--the statutory bases for prosecuting adults who actually abuse children to produce exploitative sexual video and photography exist, but by instead availing ourselves of our preposterous prohibition on a whole vast, subjective category of media images, thoughts, and expressions, we end up with the priggish absurdity of prosecutors threatening jail and lifelong repercussions to teens for sharing nudie shots.
It's also worth noting that although they're not usually aware of its illegality, the kids sharing these pictures do so precisely because our culture persists in making mere nudity thoroughly titillating. But the old aphorism is instructive: familiarity breeds contempt. Not that I wish to see us grow contemptuous of each others' naked bodies, but a society able to cure itself of the view that nakedness is inherently prurient is one in which exhibitionism escapes censure while declining in currency.
As for pregnancy, we live in a miraculous technological age in a fantastically wealthy society in which we are able to exert nearly full, conscious control of human reproduction, usually with the most minimally invasive measures, and despite the caviling of that commune of queasy fetishists tolerated with mild amusement by the real Romans (as are the feral cats in the Forum), the solution to "the crisis of illegitimacy" is simply to allow women not to get pregnant.