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Sexualizing the child: The strange case of Bill Henson, his 'absolutely revolting' images and the law of childhood innocence

Sexualizing the child: The strange case of Bill Henson, his 'absolutely revolting' images and the law of childhood innocence

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Published by Joanne Faulkner
In 2008 internationally acclaimed Australian photographer Bill Henson planned to
exhibit some of his work at a Sydney Gallery. This included photographs of a naked
12-year-old child. When one image was used in publicity to promote the exhibition it
came to the attention of the organizer of a child advocacy group who complained to
police that the image constituted child pornography. The subsequent seizing of the
images gave rise to a community debate about artistic freedom, what constitutes child
pornography and the capacity of children to consent. Although these events coincidentally
occurred at the same time as a Senate inquiry into the sexualization of children
in the media, the issue of childhood sexuality was a muted aspect of the ensuing public
debate.
In 2008 internationally acclaimed Australian photographer Bill Henson planned to
exhibit some of his work at a Sydney Gallery. This included photographs of a naked
12-year-old child. When one image was used in publicity to promote the exhibition it
came to the attention of the organizer of a child advocacy group who complained to
police that the image constituted child pornography. The subsequent seizing of the
images gave rise to a community debate about artistic freedom, what constitutes child
pornography and the capacity of children to consent. Although these events coincidentally
occurred at the same time as a Senate inquiry into the sexualization of children
in the media, the issue of childhood sexuality was a muted aspect of the ensuing public
debate.

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Published by: Joanne Faulkner on Jun 05, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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06/05/2014

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