We need to talk about 'teen' porn

Guest blog by James Evans*

The porn industry has turned the realistic depiction of child grooming, molestation and rape into entertainment – and governments and regulatory bodies have allowed it.

Most of us collectively recoil in horror every time we read a story about child sexual abuse in the media.  There is universal agreement that the sexual abuse of children is wrong. We constantly hear of these crimes, the most common perpetrators of which are men in positions of trust to the victims: teachers, relatives, clergy, sports coaches. In some cases, there are sophisticated trafficking networks engaged in the pimping of minors.

Most people flinch at the idea of minors being abused.  And yet, all over the internet, right under our noses, there are commercially manufactured, completely legal movies depicting these same criminal, abusive scenarios.  Very young looking women, presumed to be 18, are dressed and made to act like minors.  They are made to wear their hair in pigtails, like little girls. They are surrounded by plush toys and decor normally associated with early childhood. They are made to talk like children.  

The young women are always in a vulnerable position in relation to the men in the scene. They are (step) daughters, schoolgirls, hitchhikers, babysitters, a daughter's friend.  The men in these scenarios even use the same language that real life abusers use: "Don't tell Mommy or Daddy" or "This is our little secret".  This is the world of 'teen' porn, one of the most widely consumed genres of porn online. The porn industry has turned the realistic depiction of child grooming, molestation and rape into entertainment – and governments and regulatory bodies have allowed it. 

The porn industry’s treatment of the bodies of women and girls has spilt over into the mainstream. Melinda Tankard Reist wrote on the eroticisation of child sexual abuse, asking how it was that as a society we condemn the abuse of children, while normalising it for profit. To quote,

“We are destroying cultural norms that once taught male adults that children’s bodies are off-limits to sexual use. We cannot fully address child sexual abuse until we reject a culture that glamorises it.”

That was back in 2014. And it’s become worse. 

As Collective Shout has documented, major global e-commerce platforms sell child sex abuse dolls - replica infants and babies for sexual use - fuelling paedophilia.  Just last week, Collective Shout exposed the vintage, handcraft online store Etsy for selling incest and child abuse-themed merchandise.

Sign and share the petition calling on Esty to

stop selling incest and child abuse-themed merch here!

No one who cared about the welfare of children could argue that it is acceptable for men to reinforce their sexual arousal to girls in scenarios that would be considered illegal and abusive in real life. Even if it is a 'fantasy', as porn apologists always retort, what does it say about a man that fantasises about these scenarios?  

What is known about porn use is that it is an escalating habit.  Porn users who have been consuming it for years escalate in their frequency and severity of content in a process of desensitisation, requiring harder, even more brutal content to get the same hit. This results in even more victims being brutalised in the trade. 

The advent of high-speed internet and smartphones has made it possible for anyone of any age to watch simulated child abuse.  If we want to protect children, then we need to challenge the depiction of realistic, simulated child abuse, and of young girls as ‘wanting it’, the production and distribution of child sex abuse dolls and the eroticisation of incest as for sexual entertainment and profit.

James*, 36, works as a research scientist in Oxford, United Kingdom and is a Collective Shout supporter and activist

*Name has been changed

See also

Petition to Etsy: Stop selling incest and child abuse themed merch!

Beyond fantasy: How Etsy’s child-abuse and incest-themed products put girls at risk

‘Daddy’s little c*ck whore’: How Etsy profits from child abuse + incest-themed products

Why men need to de-radicalise from porn - I was one of them

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  • Collective Shout
    published this page in News 2021-02-01 14:25:07 +1100

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