Children in the media are continually scrutinized for the way they are represented. The idea that children in the media limelight are sexualized is becoming more prominent through time and this allows the term corporate pedophilia to become more prominent and used when talking about children in the media. Corporate pedophilia is, according to Emma Rush from the Australian Institute, “a metaphor used to describe advertising and marketing that sexualizes children in these ways. The metaphor encapsulates the idea that such advertising and marketing is an abuse both of children and of public morality”. Emma Rush discusses this in relation to advertising for children as well as magazines that have a target audience of pre-teen girls which are aged between 8-12 years of age. It claims that this sexualization of girls at a young age can cause serious mental health issues and psychological problems.
A highly prominent case study of this term is the 2015 video clip by Sia called Elastic Heart. This video clip created uproar about its content as a 12 year old girl danced with a man. In an article by People, it is said that many people believed the video bordered on pedophilia due to the attire of both in the video as well as the movement itself claiming the video clip to be “inappropriate and having sexual undertones”. The divide on whether the video is art or pedophilia has sparked debate and the intent of the video, and whether that is a justification of its content. However the video clip has also been defended by some, such as Michelle Geslani who says “Interpretive dance is just that – interpretive. Also, as we’ve come to learn more about Sia and the kind of artist she is, I think it’s safe to say that the art which she puts forth always has a deeper meaning. Skin doesn’t always = Sex. Touching doesn’t always = Lust. Dancing doesn’t always indicate something carnal.”
Different opinions of children in the media always comes back to how the images are read and this reintroduces the idea of semiotics. If an image is viewed in a sexualized way it is going to be read by others in the same way. This also changes from person to person therefore making this concept very subjective to each individual person. The context of an image or video is a highly important factor in determining whether it is pornography or not. An image in a catalogue or advertising material for children is very different from something that was intended to contain perverse images of children.
This issue is continually debated around this world and as sex and sexuality is a topic more openly talked about in recent years this idea of sexualizing children has become more prominent with it. What is the fine line between images of children and pornography and how relevant do you believe corporate pedophilia is?
Rush, E 2006, Corporate Pedophilia The Australia Institute, viewed 15th April 2015, <http://www.tai.org.au/documents/dp_fulltext/DP90.pdf>
Nelson, J 2015 Sia Apologizes for ‘Elastic Heart’ Video Controversy, People, viewed 15th April 2015 <http://www.people.com/article/sia-elastic-heart-apologizes-pedophilia-controversy>