Feminism

Reddit Hasn’t (Has?) Pulled the Plug on Child Porn Haven

UPDATE 3/30/14

This factual post describing an incident on Reddit from 2011 has been deemed “too sensitive” by Adsense. It has been mirrored here.

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Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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146 Comments

  1. I won’t judge these “ephebophiles.” Some people have weird fetishes, you know? If I don’t complain about them, hopefully they’ll show the same respect to me and my fellow “amphibophiles.”

    Now if you’ll excuse me, these stolen pics of scantily-clad salamanders aren’t going to masturbate to themselves!

  2. I love that I’m now studying Legal Issues in Communications and the First Amendment…because it further emphasizes my knowledge of how little people really know about the Freedom of Speech and what the amendment guarantees.

    1. It guarantees the right publish pornography, for one. It doesn’t guarantee the right to publish “obscenity,” and “obscenity” is a very small class of things.

      Images of clothed teenagers is not obscene, and it’s not even pornography. If the images were nude, then if the persons depicted were under the age specified in the child pornography laws (I think US law covers Reddit) then it would be a criminal offense. But, it’s not against the law to post pictures of clothed teenagers, even if creepazoids get their jollies from it. Or, am I wrong about that?

  3. Thanks for posting this, Rebecca! This fungus of humanity called pedophilia (no matter how they try to soften it with term like “ephebophilia”) cannot stand the sunlight. The more we expose these creeps, the less they will find a home on the internet.

    1. Ephebophilia is a term used by many psychologists and researchers to differentiate between those who have an attraction to post-pubescent adolescents from those who have an attraction to pre-pubescent children. It is only less offensive because it less known. The fact that some of these assholes have latched on to the distinction doesn’t make it untrue. The two phenomena should be studied individually and better understood by the public.

      1. Of course, I’m aware of that. The point is that these predators are using the distinction to legitimize their behavior. And it’s working – look how some are inferring that it’s somehow less worse than younger-attraction pedophilia. No, it’s all just as bad, and equally reprehensible.

        1. I find your view to be highly intolerant. Maybe you’re confusing pedophile/ephebophile with child sex offender. One has an attraction to children pre or post puberty, something they do not control (much like heterosexuality or homosexuality). The other acts upon those feelings harming a child in the process. Note the difference and use it in any further discussions about this.

          1. I think you might be deliberately missing the point. Sure, there’s a distinction between someone who has an illegal attraction and someone who acts on those illegal attractions, but saying that those are the only two options is a false dichotomy. For example, someone who solicits sexual imagery of a child might be considered less “bad” than someone who actually commits statutory rape; but they are still supporting and perpetuating a chain which leads back to people who abuse children. The distinctions get blurry the closer you get to the age of consent (although distributing pictures of your ex is pretty close to illegal even if she isn’t overage), but the point remains.

            I have a great deal of sympathy with paedophiles (and ephebophiles) who are trying to refrain from harmful behaviour, but just because all a person does is find the images and look on them does not mean they are not culpable, and I believe, does not mean they *should* not be culpable.

        2. And yet again you show that you don’t understand how reddit works at all.

          Its all about gaining karma points. Being a grammar nazi, perfectionist or just trying to get a one up over the previous poster is all that matters. So by pointing out that pedophilia is not ebephelia sp* is just their way of trying to be anal retentive and get more karma points.

          Don’t trust everything you read on the internet and don’t think that you know the meaning behind everything people say when you show an utter lack of understanding the mentality of your average reddit commentor.

      2. @zyxek: “The two phenomena should be studied individually and better understood by the public.”

        Do you have any good links to study this? Up until now I would have been with The Gripester, because it seems that most people that bang on about ephebophila on the internet turn out to be apologists of some sort.

        Yours is the first comment I have seen that appears genuine.

  4. I get it, I really do.

    If you’re an emotionally stunted, sexually inexperienced man whose last realm hope of being successful with women was dashed in high school, I guess fixating on girls that age makes sense. The world seemed bright and new, and there still seemed to be a window where you could break out of the loser bracket and become someone special, someone worthwhile. Now that window is closed so you beat off to the same girls you beat off to when you discovered that your dick was for more than peeing, and dream of what might have been and now never will be.

    1. It’s much worse than that, IJ. Predators have a mental disorder – it’s not just a case of being a loser who slowly degrades. It has less to do with sex than fantasies of power over a helpless victim. Maybe a loser might fantasize about having sexual power over the winners, but in the case of pedophilia, it’s almost always something more than just a history of maladaptive behavior. Usually, it has to do with being a link in the chain of a cycle of abuse.

      1. Oh, I thought I was talking about “ephebophiles” and not “pedophiles”… thanks for correcting my mistake about what was happening in my head at the time. :P

        I’m not saying that they aren’t both twisted, but they are different twisted if that makes any sense. Finding sexually mature but underage people attractive is normal and natural, it is the fixation and/or acting on it that is abnormal and a warping of the natural feeling. That’s different from being sexually attracted to children before they reach sexual maturity, which is just all fucked up from one end to the other.

        1. I’m not okay with saying ephebophilia is “normal” in the least (and I don’t even want to touch the natural aspect to be quite honest). You can’t legally consent until you’re 18, and you know what? Even if puberty hits you like a ton of bricks, you still certain childlike features until you’re actually done maturing. In other words, if you’re 13-17 it doesn’t magically make you an adult even if you’ve begun to mature. And I’m speaking as a survivor of abuse during that very age period. Yes, pedophilia is disturbing on another level, but don’t jump the line into apologia, because that’s what you’re doing with that line of thinking. :/

          1. That’s not apologizing for anything. Hell, I was actively mocking the freaks with this fetish. There’s a difference between being honest about the fact that youth is attractive, and that if you didn’t know any better a lot of 15-16 year olds can pass for over legal age. There’s nothing inherently wrong with seeing a hot person and noticing that they are hot.

            The wrong comes from fixating on the age part, making a fetish on the age rather than the appearance, and definitely it is wrong to act on those feelings. I mean, if you’re an adult with a fixation on youth that’s your business as long as the youths you actually engage with are over the local legal age of consent. Some places it is 16, others 17 or 18. It’s still weird if the age difference is really big, but let’s not group a sometimes-legal fetish with an illegal sexual deviancy or with sexual assault. We can condemn all of those things without pretending that they are equivalent.

          2. Actually the age of consent is 16 in a majority of US states, and <=16 in the vast majority of the rest of the world. 18 is the cuttoff for porn in the US. So 16 year olds in most states are allowed to have sex but not allowed to take revealing pictures of themselves.

          3. That’s not exactly correct.

            First – it depends on the jurisdiction. Many European countries have ages of consent at 16. Some US States also have 16 as the age of consent, and even one or two, I think, have it at 15. 18 is by far not the norm.

            Second – teenagers may always consent to sex with someone their own age, except, I think, in one or two weird jurisdictions where two 15 year olds that have sex with each other consensually are both guilty of statutory rape. That, of course, makes very little sense, but I think it’s only in like California.

            Third – some jurisdictions break it down into age brackets. Like, if one is 14, then one can consent to sex with a 13, 14 or 15 year old, but not 16 or above. If one is a 16 year old, then consent can be given to an 18 or 17 year old but not above that, and then for anyone 17 or 18, consent can be given to a 19 or 20 year old. That’s what some jurisdictions do.

    1. The reason given for the shutdown of jailbait on reddit: “This subreddit has been shut down due to threatening the structural integrity of the greater reddit community.”

      Also, the war should continue, I suppose, since “malejailbait” is still alive and kicking. Let’s see how much the outrage continues…

  5. Whats wrong with looking at pictures of dead babies? aww are you offended? wow what a bunch of self righteous ass holes. if there are not images of underage nude girls then what’s the issue? If you think you are outraged at that reddit site then don’t got to 4chan! I have never been to reddit and I don’t care to i have more important shit to do like study for math finals. But I just had to say something about people & their getting offended at every damn thing that they see that doesn’t agree with their “sensitivities”
    Oh and wheres the proof that those photos are stolen? WOW

    1. When was anyone talking about looking at pictures of dead babies?

      The issue was that underaged child pornography was indeed being transmitted by and to redditors in the /r/jailbait subreddit. What are you beating off to that you forgot to completely read the article before posting? Something in /b/ at 4chan?

      Or, stop trolling.

      1. There’s another subreddit called r/picsofdeadkids.

        Does what it says o the tin.

        dillinger9999 might be trolling, or may be making a commentary on how r/jailbait was shut down due to media attention while r/picsofdeadkids remains active.

        It’s not the only one of it’s kind, either. There are quite a few other subreddits dedicated to “jailbait” and other unethical subjects which are currently flying under the radar.

        Quite a few redditors seem unable to understand the difference between boards dedicated to subjects which cause harm (such as sharing erotic and nude photographs of individuals of varying ages without legal or ethical consent) and subjects which are illegal but ethically neutral (such as those dedicated to some people’s enjoyment of illicit substances).

        They’re comparing the latter type of board to the former, as though they’re ethically and legally equivalent.

  6. Rebecca Watson,

    This is rather disturbing. Pedophilia is evil, period. You can’t be a practicing pedophile without being a rapist. A child is not mature enough to consent, and all non consensual sex is rape. For the people behind Reddit, to not care that they might be encouraging pedophilia is rather disturbing.

    By the way, you wanna know what else really ticks me off? When people try to compare homosexuality to pedophilia. Off course that’s another topic entirely.

      1. Really? Your stance on pedophelia comes from shitty standup?

        Child porn is great! Because no one gets fucked! Because kids in porn aren’t being fucked! USE THE PORN IT’S BETTER THAN FUCKING KIDS! No really, if you don’t believe me, just watch this comedy routine about myspace. See? I’M RIGHT, YO!

  7. Nuanced as always.

    First off; the age of consent varies throughout the world. To take the American standard of 18 years and pretend that it applies on the internet as well is ridiculous.

    Secondly; “stolen images of sexualized underage girls”? Taking pictures off a public site and reposting them on Reddit is unethical? You might as well close Reddit down immediately since 99% of it reposted material.

    1. So it’s all good fun, because somewhere else age of consent may be different? No, because pornography is restricted and child pornography illegal in most countries so it’s not just an US standard even if it did matter. As it is, it comes under US law and it’s still not right even if consent laws don’t apply to 14 year olds or whatever other age elsewhere.

      The reddit required a person to click that they were over 18 to go in. That courtesy was not extended to those whose pictures they used as masturbation material. This wasn’t teenagers posting pictures of themselves, but pictures pilfered off Facebook pages, distributed by ex-boyfriends (etc) without the consent of the person whose image it was. These images weren’t intended to be public property and shared, let alone used like this, by the person in the image.

      Not the least, as a response to a near nude image being shown of a 14 year old stating that there were more there of them nude, many people were asking for the nude ones. It’s pretty simple, that is illegal.

      1. Taking pictures off of FB and reposting them on reddit doesn’t magically turn it into pornography and it doesn’t turn a teenage girl into a victim of sexual abuse.

        As for the requests for nudes; yes. Spreading CP is illegal in most places. It’s silly to think the removal of this reddit did anything to stop that, though.
        Further more, you can’t exactly compare spreading nude pictures of a 14 year old by her ex-bf with copying pictures of a clothed 14-year old, posted on her public FB profile, though that’s exactly what this post is doing.

        1. Actually it does turn it into pornography. That’s the intent of taking the images and that’s how they are being used. A person doesn’t have to be completely unclothed for an image to be sexual. It doesn’t turn the person themselves into a victim of child abuse (assuming a lot of things, like that it wasn’t a very much older person exploiting them so they could get the images) but they are being victimised by their images being taken and after that, losing control over how they are used and where they are used. They say the internet doesn’t forget after all, and seems like they made the most of taking the images and using them as wank fodder.

          That it’s only one place that this could happen doesn’t count, it’s still one less place that gives the opportunity to abuse others by stealing their image for their purposes and to trade images of child pornography. It’s a fallacy to claim the problem is too big so ignore it when it does happen. Anyway, it’s just apologetics for their actions after all. Maybe instead, these people and their actions can be called to account for their dubious behaviour and use of stolen images and eagerness to get their hands on child pornography.

          1. An image is either pornographic or it isn’t. It can’t be non-pornographic on Facebook, but pornographic if posted somewhere else by someone with lascivious intent. Some people are dendrophiliacs, and are sexually aroused by trees. That doesn’t make it pornographic for them to post pictures of trees.

            Think about it – if the intent of the person posting an image is determinative of its pornographic nature, then any image is subject to becoming pornography if posted by the right creep. That isn’t the law.

    1. • asianjailbait
      • bustybait
      • chestybait
      • jailbait_nospam
      • jailbaitarchives
      • jailbaitGW
      • malejailbait
      • malejailbaitarchives
      • pro_teen_models
      • teen_girls
      • teengirls
      • trapbait

      All still there. So no, they haven’t removed anything, really.

  8. I used to know a guy named Gord Beyette. He lived down the street from me, and some other people I knew lived in the building. We’d hang out, watch movies, etc. Nothing weird. We watched anime, but it was normal stuff, like Ranma. He moved away to another city. Some years later another friend moved to the same city, and sent me this:
    http://www.crcvc.ca/njn/njnu_nov06.pdf (“Self-described “fetish master” jailed”)
    This was….I don’t even know how to describe how that felt. It makes me want to throw up. The worst part? He was totally unrepentant. He came on Facebook (under his real name) and tried to get the people he used to hang out with on his friends list (needless to say that and a news article a friend scanned got passed around to make sure everyone was aware of what he’d done). Someone did some searching and found that he was active in a community for “older men and younger women” and found some of his postings showing that he was utterly unrepentant about his crimes and more than willing to do them again. Someone contacted Facebook and had his profile removed (registered sex offenders are banned from having a Facebook profile), but a site such as this is likely one he hangs out on.
    He is a sick and dangerous person. He really, honestly doesn’t see that there’s anything wrong with his behaviour. He hurt real people in the real world, and having access to porn would only encourage him. Finding support among others will reinforce that it’s not wrong, it’s just “the man keeping us down” or whatever. For someone like him, it’s only a matter of time before he gets caught offending again. Sick fucks like this need no encouragement.

  9. I’m slightly disturbed to see commenters referring to pedophilia and ephebophilia as “evil”. I’m sorry, but since when did skepticism turn into thought policing? Imagine the HELL of being sexually and/or romantically attracted to individuals who are unable to respond in kind without any kind of coercion. Pedo- and ephebophilia is no more a choice than any other -philia — including homo- and heterophilia! Being a pedophile or ephebophile does not make you a child molestor. I suspect the majority of pedophiles live with gigantic guilt complexes and would never, ever touch a child, because they are people like us, with empathy and a moral centre like us. They need HELP, not to be branded as “evil”.

    The subreddit is sick, the people who think it’s ok to treat children that way are morally fucked up, yes. But let’s employ both a bit of skeptical thinking and some empathy before we paint everyone with the same brush, yeah?

    1. You are correct regarding the emotional conflicts that are present within a lot of pedophiles. I have read dozens of psychological evaluations of pedophiles and while sympathy does not describe my reaction to the plights of some of these men I can say I understand how emotionally devastated many of them are by what they’ve done. The problem is that for most pedophiles no amount of self loathing and depression will prevent them from reoffending given the opportunity. That’s why community supervision of convicted pedophiles is mostly about prevention and strict limitations being in place to prevent opportunities for reoffending. There is also some evidence in the literatures that if deprived of visual stimulation some pedophiles are less likely to seek out victims.

      1. Watched ‘The Woodsman’ the other night which is a great movie about a paedophile who gets out of jail and is trying to return to society.
        The problem with the sorts of groups Reddit is allowing is that it creates a space where this is considered acceptable behaviour. That is enabling.

        ps disturbing to hear CNN hosts referring to corporations as citizens… but that is an aside.

      2. You are doing exactly what I was calling for people not to do – equating pedophilia with child molestation. I don’t have any figures to back this up but I think it’s a fairly safe bet that the vast majority of pedophiles don’t act on their desires. What you have read are evaluations of pedophiles who ended up molesting children at least once and are as you say quite likely to do it again. I’m talking about the hidden numbers of people who DON’T do anything untowards, but are vilified because of their entirely involuntary desires.

        As for the whole deprivation thing, that strikes me as strange. As far as I’m aware (I may of course have gotten this wrong), rape figures go down where people consume porn. Why should it be the opposite for pedophiles? I agree that online communities like that subreddit are probably – most likely – harmful though.

        1. I’ll tell you why it’s different – the very act of viewing an image of child porn for sexual purposes is a compliant participation in one of the most brutal forms of child exploitation. It is joining in with the sexual assault of a child. And the worst thing about it is that its anonymity allows the offender to multiply their fantasies and compulsions in the safe haven of their home. I would say that a pedophile, thus saturated with materials like this, would be more likely to eventually act on their fantasies.

          You object to the demonization of pedophiles – fair enough, though some of your argument is admittedly lacking in data. But I think if you ask enough survivors of molestation, like myself, you will hear some very pointed arguments that those who stole their innocence did so knowing that it was wrong and not caring about the consequences to their victims. If that is not “evil,” I do not know what is. While it is true that a good person may suffer from unnatural feelings, the encouragement of those feelings is reprehensible. And to act on them is to throw away your membership in the social contract.

          I think part of your confusion may stem from equating the viewing of adult pornography with child pornography, and from your definitions of what pedophilia is. Make no mistake – pedophilia and ephebophilia are both about power, in which sex is used as a reward for the predator. It is the psychological enslavement of a minor.

          1. Exactly. Providing a market for the people who sexually abuse children is hardly morally better than sexually abusing a child oneself.

            Now, if you want to talk about purely digital artwork that in no way involved an actual child, you have a good debate on your hands. But if a person is viewing a child being sexually abused, that person is complicit in the abuse.

          2. Well said. If someone consumes child porn, they are taking part in that assault.

            And I can’t especially muster much sympathy for the poor tortured souls *sobsob* who hang out on places like those subreddits, getting their shit enabled and normalized.

          3. Please don’t get me wrong. I have at no point condoned the subreddit in question, and I think child pornography involving real children is absolutely abhorrent. ALL I am saying is that pedophilia in itself is not a crime and shouldn’t be one. This isn’t the only sexuality which is impossible to realise and other people make it work. The very REASON I think this is important is that I think there would be fewer molested children if pedophiles were treated with compassion and encouraged to seek help instead of having to live in shame.

        2. While it’s true that not all pedophiles actually commit sex crimes based on the current diagnostic criteria, most do and there is a large portion of the treatment community that feels a diagnosis of pedophilia should require having acted out on the impulse. Also ALL treatment modalities recognize that there is no effective treatment and that treatment is only methods of management such as avoidance of ongoing stimulation and avoidance of offending opportunities. And anyone who is sexually attracted to children is a risk to the community they live in. Also pedophiles are often committed through mental health laws for extended periods of time regardless of offending history if they are deemed to be a significant risk to the community. And I would never trust a pedophile who reported that they had never offended. Also adult (post adolescent victim) rape is not a good comparison for sex crimes against children committed by a pedophile. These two types of sex crimes usually have very different types of clinical profiles.

    2. Yes. I honestly doubt that pedophilia is a freely made choice. Who would choose to be almost universally ostracized?

      That’s not to say there’s absolutely nothing that can be done about personal sexual desires, but I think that it requires (1) a willingness to change, (2) years of psychological therapy, and (3) substantial social support from peers. Pedophiles typically have/receive none of this.

      I do not understand what people think content policing accomplishes in the broader context. In my view, that drives the issue ever further underground and makes the individuals involved ever more desperate.

      Sites should remove unauthorized photos, though, as soon as they’re aware of them. Copyright law already requires that site owners respond to unlicensed use of photographs (among many other things). It’s an act of mass disobedience that even among popular sites, the law is rarely followed. Part of the problem is there is no foolproof nor automated way to check what (if any) license a particular work is available under. People are also able to lie, and without already knowing the copyright owner there is no way to verify the status.

      If we were to change the law to require proactive and signed license statements for everything (even user-submitted content) to be published, one might be able to at least pretend to address the issue. However, a surprisingly large chunk of the internet will disappear since it is in fact illegal and unlicensed. Sample YouTube at random sometime and take estimates of what percentage is authorized content…

      The glaring problem here is that even when the material in question is obviously illegal, there is no effective enforcement mechanism. I’ve yet to see anyone come up with a method that would permit only legitimate content without placing an excessive burden on the publisher to prove their identity and copyright holdings before being allowed to speak.

      One other thing: if it is the government and not an private entity which will be doing the enforcement, there is a significant First Amendment difficulty in a default deny policy for publishing.

      1. There is no effective treatment for pedophilia and the primary goal of treatment is reducing the likelihood of offending behavior. A pedophiles willingness to change means nothing based on decades of research and attempts at treating pedophiles. A pedophiles willingness to engage in a plan to address other mental health issues and follow rules has been shown to reduce incidents of acting out. The desire to have sex with children cannot be treated out of a pedophile any more than the gay can be prayed out of a gay person. And yes this is unfortunate, but community safety must trump any and all pedophiles feelings.

        1. Statistics please. My understanding is that the recidivism rate depends on the specific crime, and some of the things lumped under “pedophilia” have recidivism rates in line with any other sort of crime where we assume people can be rehabilitated.

        2. You may be right that treatment typically fails. It often fails in many other contexts, too, including drug abuse. Does that mean we stop rehabilitation programs? No, of course not.

          The “alternatives” to attempting to help these people are exile, permanent imprisonment, or brainwashing. Those are not acceptable options.

          For most people, I would agree you won’t change their sexual orientation even with extreme methods. However, there are still rare exceptions and one shouldn’t give up merely because the data suggests otherwise.

          Comparing homosexuality (or polyamory, or consensual incest, or…) to pedophilia doesn’t make sense. The entire issue with pedophilia is that it’s not possible for one or more of the agents to consent. No other orientations of any kind have this problem, so trying to ‘treat’ or replace them has no actual justification.

    3. I’m rather inclined to agree that having pedophilic or ephebophilic desires is “evil”, and to a certain extent I do feel a bit of sympathy and pity for these people, but… there’s really no ethical way for those desires to be realized. Child pornography does hurt the children involved. They’re usually being sexually abused anyway, and the photos are just part of that process of exploitation. One thing I don’t think I could ever stand to see is the eyes of a child in a pornographic pic.

      And having a consumer demand for that kind of material will contribute to that kind of material…consuming child pornography is participating in the exploitation of those children.

      So… we kind of have to think… if there’s no way for these desires to be consummated in an ethical way (except maybe drawings? Those would be gross and creepy, but not necessarily harmful…unless a strong argument were made that child-pornography of any kind normalizes or contributes to pedophilic/ephebophilic behaviour)…and if these people’s desires aren’t ever going to go away…and if there’s ALWAYS going to be a risk…

      I mean, we shouldn’t demonize people for their sexualities, but we need to consider safety and controls. As said, we need to prioritize prevention of actual exploitation / sexual assault over consideration for the pedophile’s feelings.

      Jacob:

      There actually IS a fairly effective treatment for it…

      Cyproterone Acetate!

      Oh, and by the way, I think someone said earlier that the word “ephebophile” was a stupid word or trying to “soften” it or whatever. Actually, it’s a rather important distinction. A pedophile has sexual interest in pre-pubescent children. An ephebophile has sexual interest in adolescents. It’s not any “softer” than the other term; sex with people unable to provide full consent, or sex with people with whom you have a notably imbalanced power relationship (adult/child, teacher/student, boss/employee, guy-with-gun/tied-up-woman, etc), is still wrong. The different term just refers to a different specific paraphilia.

      1. Well, again; I am absolutely, completely, unequivocally against child porn that involves real children. If my original post in any way implies to anyone that I am not, I fail at communicating, but I think I was quite clear on that it is the THOUGHTS and DESIRES we shouldn’t brand as evil. ACTING on them is. Just as someone fantasising about cutting up and eating their lover isn’t necessarily evil — they might just be a normal, moral person saddled with a completely hopeless fetish for gore and vore, which they know they can never do anything about (save extremely exceptional circumstances).

        Although I should admit I don’t particularly like the word “evil” as such, I think we all understand it to mean “morally reprehensible”

  10. The day before she turns 18 = OMFG DIE IN A FIRE IF YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO HER
    The day she turns 18 = perfectly ok.
    (also what about 16 yo boys who want to look at girls their own age?)

    Don’t confuse an attraction that people don’t choose (in the same way lesbians don’t choose to be attracted to other women) with actual harmful actions such as:

    1. Distributing pictures without the consent of the people in the pictures (though this applies to most of the pictures on every subreddit).

    2. Manipulating or using people too much younger than yourself (this is abuse of power like a boss or cult leader shagging one of his reports).

    If you want to advocate for reddit to require every subreddit to provide copyright/permission info for every image they post, go right ahead. Otherwise don’t use that as the argument against r/jailbait.

    Reddit has long had a policy of allowing any subreddit that doesn’t break the law to exist (and non-nude photos are not illegal), but now they are backpedaling on that policy by allowing media coverage and public outrage to dictate policy. It’s right to be concerned about Reddit’s implied new rules. Atheism, as another community with an unpopular point of view, ought to be sensitive to that. Reddit previously hacked their algorithms to get /r/atheism off the default front page. Reddit has lots of atheists, but what if it goes super mainstream and grows to the point that it’s only 5% atheists and the knuckle-dragging bible-belt majority demands /r/atheism be taken down? If free speech is subordinate to public outrage (no matter whether you agree with the particular instance of public outrage), then every minority POV is in danger.

    If ShitRedditSays is merely idle complaining or moral suasion, then more power to them. But if they intend to get more things taken down and censored from reddit, then fuck them.

    1. Wow, talk about straw men. Nobody is saying that.

      Maybe you’re not read up on ephebophilia, but the targets are most commonly younger adolescents, not 17-year-olds. It is perfectly natural to feel attraction to someone who is physically mature. However, it is still illegal to exploit them because our legal system recognizes the slippery slope between the age of consent and the age of adulthood. And, um, it is questionable for someone in their mid-20’s and older to sexually target teenagers 16-17 because it means that you’re pathetic, and you a.) need the emotional support of someone who sees you as the answer to all their problems, and b.) are incapable of forming a meaningful partnership with a sexually mature person.

      1. “However, it is still illegal to exploit them because our legal system recognizes the slippery slope between the age of consent and the age of adulthood.”

        Who’s exploiting a teenager who takes pictures of themselves and puts them on a publicly viewable website. Everyone knows that when something is put online, it’s there forever. So forgive me if I don’t feel bad for these teenagers that posted pictures online.

        If it is “illegal” to “distribute” these images on Reddit. Then shouldn’t it be illegal for them to be posted on Facebook? Wouldn’t a parent be a criminal for letting their child post these pictures? Would a teenager not be tried for a misdemeanor for posting “sexual like images” on Facebook? It’s so ridiculous to see logic thrown out the window when, “ItZ 4 TEH CHILDRENZ!”

        Pictures were taken off these girls Facebook sites. And although it sucks, it’s not illegal. And for a site like Reddit to start this kind of censorship, it’s a little sad.

        1. Cool your jets, dude, and read my comment for what it is – a general statement rather than specifically addressed about FB culling. And maybe it cannot be prevented, but it’s still illegal to use people’s private photos without their permission.

          1. Perhaps you should be reading the Facebook TOS again, because anything you post onto facebook, regardless of your privacy settings or not, becomes intellectual property of facebook. Facebook could do what ever it wanted with those pictures, they could open a new r/jailbait and it would be completely legal because you sign away any right you have to object when you sign up for facebook.

  11. “The day before she turns 18 = OMFG DIE IN A FIRE IF YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO HER
    The day she turns 18 = perfectly ok.”

    We’re talking about 14 year old girls, NOT 17 year olds. We’re also talking about a man sending nude images of a 14 year old girl to anyone who asks him for them.

      1. My post wasn’t directed at you in particular, but at this whole thread where many have demonstrated their bigotry by making no distinction between desire, porn viewing, and actual abusive behavior involving real persons, and painted them all with the same brush.

        internet censorship is:
        1. technologically futile
        2. wrong on first amendment grounds
        3. counterproductive to the purpose of reducing rape and child abuse (proof: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/everyday_economics/2006/10/how_the_web_prevents_rape.html)

    1. We’re talking about the banning of an entire subreddit. That was just one thread, in which there was no evidence that the OP even had any nudes though a few commenters begged.

    2. “We’re talking about 14 year old girls, NOT 17 year olds. We’re also talking about a man sending nude images of a 14 year old girl to anyone who asks him for them.”

      First off, I agree that distribution of NUDE images of a 14 year old girl is disgusting. However, this issue is not inherent to Reddit. It could happen in any public forum. If there was an issue at all, moderators of Reddit should have banned and deleted all posts, and informed authorities. The complete removal of r/jailbait seems ridiculous. Not only that, but hypocritical, considering there are various other r/jailbait variations on Reddit.

      Secondly, attraction isn’t a choice. Take this for example.
      A 14 year old boy is attracted to a 14 year old girl – OK

      A 16 year old boy is attracted to a 14 year old girl – OK

      A 20 year old boy is attracted to a 14 year old girl – Not OK

      WTF? In this example, a boy is attracted to a girl. He can’t help it. And it’s ridiculous to think otherwise. Nothing changes in the man’s desires after he hits puberty. His opinions can change, but his primal attraction doesn’t. What is wrong with a man being attracted to a post-pubescent female? Nothing.

      As a skeptic blog, shouldn’t we look outside the box on societal issues like this? What is exactly wrong with a 14 year old girl having sex with a 24 year old man? After one hits puberty, should they not be considered capable of making choices?

      1. “What is exactly wrong with a 14 year old girl having sex with a 24 year old man?”

        Wow, MikeFromCanada – that is the most unbelievable question. Let me answer it by saying that I wouldn’t let you or your friends anywhere near my daughters. You are one scary son of a bitch, and you should take a good look in the mirror before you end up on the front page of your local newspaper.

    3. The men repeatedly asking for nudes of the underage girls was a raid from something awful, their intent was to get the subreddit removed by making a bunch of puppet profiles.

      Not trying to say that I wish the subreddit was still there, but reddit isn’t some haven for law breaking ephebophiles. Its just trolls.

  12. I find it amazing that some topics just seem to really make people throw off their skeptic hats. Hats off to Felicia for trying to approach this rationally & skeptically, and to Rawr as well. I DO think that topics like pedophilia and the teen equivalent are more nuanced and complicated than OMG MONSTERS! *POINT* *POINT*

    People who are attracted to children have a sickness. I have a lot of empathy for people who have this because it must be absolutely horrible to be wired that way & have no control over your thoughts & feelings. We only ever hear of the ones who get caught. What about the ones that have to live with this all their lives, and control it, and keep a part of them locked out? I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to live with this. In any case, we should be trying to provide help, and support networks, and safe environments where people can come forward & try and get help, not burn them at the stake. The more we shout & flail, the more likely it will be that problems like this will remain a dark, dirty secret.

    We also need to stop telling children to look out for bad men & monsters that drive around in white vans. The odds of a child being snatched up by a monster in a white van is much less likely. Victims are usually cultivated over long periods of time by people that they know. If children spent less time being scared & scarred by The MONSTER, then they might actually begin to recognize that they being groomed by that uncle who likes to touch children in the funny places. The Monster mentality DOES NOT HELP.

    Another factor that we need to consider is that children are not these blank angel slates upon which we put our adult perversions on. Children, like it or not, are sexual beings too. This is not to say that we should encourage children to have sex with each other or with adults, but rather, just recognize that children have a natural curiosity about their bodies, and we should stop trying to pretend they’re little sexless angels. I mean, there were some cultures that celebrated different dynamics with children than we do today. Just as there are still some cultures that don’t think ephebophila is a big deal.

    I for one, come down less on ephebophila that some people. Age of consent in some places is 12. In New Zealand it is 16. I knew 12 year olds that were having sex. I knew 13 year olds that were having sex. I was having sex when I was 14. The reality is that the age of sexual maturity (which is NOT menarche) occurs at different ages for different people. Teens should be making informed choices about their sexual partners, and some of those choices might be with having relationships or sex with men who are much older. As long as both parties are both consenting, I do not have a problem with this. AGAIN, sexual maturity varies among individuals. I am NOT talking about menarche here. IMO, there is still a lot of misogyny flying around with regards to ‘protecting’ the virgins. Teens don’t need to be protected by some authority/father figure. They need to be educated to make informed choices.

    One final note: the relationship between a pedophile & their victim is complicated too. I seriously recommend for anyone who wants to get an honest account of one person’s experience with pedo/ ephebophila to read “Tiger Tiger” by Margaux Fragoso:

    http://www.amazon.com/Margaux-Fragoso/e/B004ANWZ38

    At times it is painfully excruciating to read, but it’s also sweet too. Like it or not, these “monsters” are usually filling a void in the victims lives. It’s not all butt fucking in a dark room. Sometimes it’s friendship as well. I was a victim of child diddling, and for me, it was nice to have someone to play with. So there was some weird touching stuff? Well, there was also someone giving me undivided attention, and willing to play games with me too. The reality is that pedophilia will affect victims differently. Some children will be scarred for life. Others like me, come out of it not even necessarily knowing or caring that it was supposed to be such a big deal.

    TL;DR: the issues around pedophila, ephebophila and age of consent are much more the complicated & nuanced and we should try to approach the issue rationally & skeptically.

    1. Jeez… do we say “sorry you were abused” or “well, at least you found a friend”?!?! (black humor to cover feeling uncomfortable)

      But yeah, there are a whole lot of different, complicated issues wrapped up in this that can’t be waved away by just saying “Bad bad bad BAD!” and feeling satisfied that you’re occupying the moral high ground.

      I’m pretty sure that I have been in a situation that my completely legal sexual activity would have been completely illegal if I had engaged in them just two dozen miles up the road and across a border. And I’m pretty sure that many of us have at one point or another seen a hot-bodied guy or gal at the mall and then realized that they were jailbait and looked away. It isn’t like either of those things make me a bad person, a predator, or anything else like that. It does make me a little more aware of the fuzzy gray areas involved.

      So what we’ve got here is pictures of people who may or may not have adult physical attributes, being looked at by people for whom sex with those people may or may not be illegal depending on jurisdiction, and the only confirmed potentially illegal activity is posting pictures without permission, and transmitting pornographic images in private messages or emails instead of posting them to the site itself.

      Yeah, it is really complicated.

        1. Although I guess it should be noted (I think a poster above did point this out) that by closing these sites down, you aren’t actually stopping these actions, you’re just driving them further underground. I honestly don’t know what the solution to this is. I do know that arm flailing, and shaming probably isn’t helping. But then ignoring these situations DOES create an enabling culture too. I dunno. Lots of thoughts on this. Hard to see a solution.

          1. Well, that’s also part of the complicated nature of it.

            The picture-sharing part seems pretty simple, as we’ve both noted. No consent for the sharing, no right to post them… whether they are pictures of young girls in sexy poses or fingerpaintings done by chimpanzees.

            There is an issue of creating an environment where this is made to seem more acceptable than what it is, and that is a reasonable basis for pulling down the site. Do you drive them underground, does that slow them down at all? You can’t simply ban photographs of people under the age of 16-18 everywhere on the Internet, which means that someone who is aroused by pictures of underage people will never lack for material. But maybe you don’t treat it as acceptable behavior either. Maybe it has no effect on the problem, but it removes your complicity in it.

    2. “As long as both parties are both consenting, I do not have a problem with this.”

      Well, that’s the crux of it, isn’t it? As a society we have determined that children are legally incapable of making an informed decision about sex. They cannot legally consent to it, period. Many US states also have an age of 16; others are 17 or 18. We have legal measures in place because kids are easily manipulated by adults. It’s why they also cannot legally enter into contracts. It doesn’t matter if 12 year olds are having sex or experimenting with each other. It’s the adult’s responsibility to do the right thing, as the adult.

      And the “complicated relationship” that you describe is nothing more than grooming, which is what a sexual predator does to his or her victim to make them more compliant for the purposes of sexual assault. Teens are emotionally immature; everything is high or low for them. When they’re in love, it’s the love of their life. When something bad happens, it’s the end of the world. Their emotional immaturity makes them prime targets for these predators.

      There is a lot of shame and secrecy that goes along with being the survivor of sexual abuse (I was abused by my female daycare provider). One way of adapting is to try to rationalize what the person did you and pretend that it wasn’t all that big of a deal, or didn’t hurt you all that much, or maybe that you brought it on yourself somehow. So it doesn’t surprise me one bit that there are survivors who honestly consider themselves to be completely untouched by what happened to them. It’s how they deal with things and I can’t judge that. And honestly, maybe their lives are easier than mine. To this day I do not trust people and have a hard time maintaining relationships.

      1. Thank you for your honesty. I am sorry that you had to go through that.

        I guess my key take-home point overall was that the topic was a complex one, and to keep polarizing the issue was to overlook how we could look at understanding & resolving the problems related to abuse. Sweeping generalizations & finger-pointing, and shouting MONSTER! help precisely no one (with regard to pedophilia and abuse of power in relationships).

    3. I think you’ve brought up a lot of really excellent points, and stuff very much worth thinking about… that this isn’t a case of horrible monsters destroying innocent little angels.

      But… the issue of consent is a really tricky one. For me, a lot of it boils down to the power dynamic between the two parties. Like, we could imagine a male employer hitting on his female employee. The employee flirts back, and “consents” to sex with him. But what makes it problematic is that the boss has power over her… he controls her livelihood. So her consent was likely complicated by fear for her job, her future, her career, etc.

      Since you were pretty open about your own experiences… I was once a victim of a sexual assault where my attacker told me to top him. On a certain level one might think “how can that really be rape / sexual assault?” The thing was, he had a knife. And was drunk. And bigger, older and stronger than me. I was afraid of getting cut. The power dynamic was what mattered, even though a certain kind of physical “consent” (not struggling) was necessary for it to happen.

      Yes, children can be sexual beings. And they can, and do, choose. They can often learn VERY early about the ways that sex can be used to manipulate people, get what you want, get attention, get love, etc. They may, in their heart of hearts, genuinely *want* the sexual relationship and find it rewarding. But the problem is the power relationship… the adult has almost all the power in the situation, the child has almost none.

      It’s these kinds of considerations that complicate consent. It’s not that a child (especially an adolescent) is mentally incapable of knowing what they’re doing or choosing. It’s that there’s too many inequalities in the situation to say that the consent is fully genuine. For a consensual sexual relationship to be ethical, there CAN’T be complexity or nuance to the issue of consent. It has to be clear.

      There’s lots and lots of situations where these considerations come up… one person is severely intoxicated while the other isn’t, one person is the other’s boss, one person has a weapon, one person is physically intimidating, one person is a teacher the other a student, one person is a cop or other figure of authority, one person is a priest or spiritual leader, etc.

      In all of those situations, the victim of the sexual exploitation (or assault/rape in more extreme cases) is capable of understanding sex and technically capable of consenting to it or declining, but there’s other considerations that complicate it (like what happens if they decline).

      So, I guess what I mean is, pointing out that adult/adolescent or adult/child sexual relationships are very complicated and nuanced is certainly true, but that’s actually part of the reason it’s a problem.

      Do you know what I mean?

      I appreciate the ideas you’re getting at, and appreciate trying to bring the conversation to a level where we start thinking about WHY this kind of thing is a problem and don’t just cling to the emotional gut level “THOSE MONSTERS!” type reaction (as strong as that emotional reaction may be), but…well, you know: there are answers to that question.

      1. Some really good points regarding the age of consent, and the power-balance. I had actually considered tangenting off on those as well, but my reply was already quite long at that point. :)

        I don’t disagree with anything you wrote there, but I would like to add that as with any kind of relationship, it really comes down to the individuals in the relationship (which I alluded to with the sexual maturity comments).

        1. Yeah… I agree, and I know what you’re saying. But almost every larger social issue ultimately comes down to what happens to and between individuals, yeah? Like the issue of misogyny, for example, matters not so much in some abstract sense of right/wrong, but more in the sense that it ends up actually effecting and harming actual woman, actual human beings. So when we discuss ephebophilia, it’s a little bit of a given that what we’re actually concerned about is actual teenagers being exploited or harmed. Are there exceptions, where both parties are sexually mature, where consent is clear and genuine, and there’s no real imbalance of power? Probably a few. But that’s not usually the case, would clearly be an exception rather than what really defines the problem we’re trying to address (and would actually be one of those kinds of exceptions that helps illustrate what’s wrong with the unexceptional cases), and it’s *certainly* not the case with this particular issue, the sub-reddit and the stolen pics (and yeah, I know you already know that, don’t worry ;) ).

  13. I really appreciate the comments of blitzgal and BeardofPants because I know how difficult it is to share one’s own experiences.

    Your contributions are of great value in understanding this difficult question.

    It is particularly interesting that you are aware of the variable reponse of an individual.

    However I doubt whether it is ever a case of “zero harm”.

    I doub

    1. Damn, interuptions! Work turns feral very quickly.

      Was going to say I count myself very lucky to have escaped one or two situations relatively unscathed. Things could have turned extremely ugly so easily.

      I was able to escape and denounce one sick pedo before he got too serious i.e. beyond fondling.

      Older boys OTOH can be real bastards who rejoice in causing pain and humiliation – and I still have never talked about that.

  14. I don’t get it. I followed the links to the picture of the supposedly 14 year old girl’s butt, and it was a picture of what appeared to be a girl’s or woman’s butt, but it was clad in underwear. The clothing would have been acceptable for a 14 year old at the beach. I’m not certain what the hubbub is about that.

      1. Fair enough. I did. From the article, it appears that the picture was of a clothed butt. The person who posted it apparently “claimed” to also have nude pictures, which some creeps begged to get via private message.

        I’m still not seeing anything suggesting that reddit allowed child pornography to be posted on its website. People can exchange child pornography, if they want, by email attachment, facebook or myspace message, or on any number of forums that allow private messages.

        The Anderson Cooper piece also does not suggest that there was any pornography posted, does it?

        If you wouldn’t mind, could you clarify what I’m missing from the article?

        1. Ah, it appears as though you’re missing the fact that people cannot “exchange child pornography, if they want, by email attachment, facebook or myspace message, or on any number of forums that allow private messages.” That is illegal.

          1. I understand that.

            Right now, yahoo and facebook don’t check each of your messages to make sure you’re not sending something illegal. Generally, what happens on any forum is that if someone posts something that “crosses the line” or that violates someone’s rights in an image, then that is called to the attention of the website operators and the offending image is removed.

            There isn’t anything illegal about threads or forums about jailbait and other offensive things. There are forums about all sorts of illegal things around the web – like pro-drug websites, where people discuss the merits of doing illegal drugs. Nothing illegal about that at all.

            Groups like NORML are protected by the first amendment, even though they specifically advocate a currently illegal activity. Even though pedophilia is gross and disgusting to me and most other people, the ACLU defended NAMBLA’s right to free speech. http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/aclu-statement-defending-free-speech-unpopular-organizations

            The key factor here is “child pornography.” The 14 year old butt in the underwear was not pornographic. If that were illegal pornography, we’d have to shut down the beaches and the swimming pools, because people are walking around dressed pornographically.

            Were there obscene or pornographic images posted?

  15. Also – being attracted to teenage girls or boys is not pedophilia, technically speaking. Pedophilia is the mental condition of being sexual attracted to prepubescent children. Being attracted to teenagers is not that.

    Posting the picture is, to me, creepy, inappropriate, not cool, etc. But, it’s neither pornography, nor pedophilia.

    1. Well, some people always have to make the worst case associated with “not as bad but still creepy an potentially illegal things”… which after spending time online seems to be a natural reaction to people who will claim that anything that isn’t the worst thing is really not worth discussing.

      Plus, in this case there’s a couple of other issues, including lack of consent from the people whose pictures are being posted and corporate responsibility to not take part in or provide a forum for shady and probably illegal activities. And the fact that the ages go down to 12 makes it definitely overlap with the kiddie part of kiddie porn.

      1. Don’t get me wrong – it’s all worth discussing. I just don’t think characterizing something as pedophilia or child pornography that isn’t those things is very helpful to the discussion.

        The issue of posting things without person’s consent is common to every website, including this one. No internet forum knows in advance what things being posted have a person’s consent. Lot’s of copyright infringement goes on all the time. If the website has a reasonable process for people to report stuff that isn’t proper to post, and the website will act on such reports, then that is generally accepted as reasonable and acceptable behavior.

        Based on the article posted above, and the links provided, I don’t see a shred of evidence that anything illegal actually was done. There was the allegation of the 14 year old butt in the underwear, and that picture was apparently taken down by redditt. There was the claim that the person who posted that 14 year old butt had nude pictures too, but no claim that anything was actually shown or distributed.

        And, we don’t even know that the butt picture was posted without consent. If you take a picture of yourself and distribute it, any right to control it is usually lost.

        If the ages go down to 12, the Devil still remains in the details. Were there nude pictures or pictures of them in sexual acts. Every person that I know that has children has boat loads of pictures of their kids, some of them in swimsuits and even in their underwear. Are those pictures illegal? Probably not. It all depends on the picture.

        If one takes a picture of a 14 year old girl on the beach, and all she’s doing is walking and wearing a bikini, then that’s not child pornography. If it is posted on the internet, and some creep drools over it, it still isn’t child pornography, right?

      1. Understood. I am a bit puzzled by the degree of outrage here. Yes, that reddit thread was creepy and many of the guys on there were a bit scary. However, all one need do is go to the googles and google for images with the words “teen porn” and google will give you hardcore images of what appear to be, quite clearly, girls under the age of 18. Can one “prove” that a particular pig-tailed and teen-looking girl is actually underage – it’s difficult. But, on a “know it when I see it” basis, they do look very young.

        Why wouldn’t there be outrage at google for allowing these images on their website?

        The image of the 14 year old girl’s butt, was, in reality, an image of “a” butt. There is no way to know the age of the girl. The person who posted it SAID it was a 14 year old girl. We don’t know that it was, and the fact that he said it doesn’t mean anything.

        So, compare the picture of a butt wearing underwear, with the endless stream of “Teen” images on the googles – oral sex, ejaculation all over, vaginal sex, anal sex, the whole ball of wax.

        Here is something to consider: http://hitsusa.com/images/high-school-girls-poster.jpg

        That’s a picture of three females in bikinis (no porn, just the same as you’d see at the beach) – and underneath it it says “High School Girls.”

        Now, I’ve just linked to that here on Skepchick – is that something Skepchick.com should be shut down for? Did these people give permission for their pictures to be posted? Are they over 18? Does it matter?

      1. No, you’re most certainly “allowed” to talk about any topic you want to talk about. Pointing out incongruity in reaction is not in any way limiting your right to discuss what you want.

        Don’t you think it’s interesting that there is, however, no more discussion about it, now that the one thread is gone? I wonder why that is?

        But, you are correct – it isn’t the most important issue.

        A more important issue is how the picture that seems to have set this firestorm off would be PG rated, if it was a move. A female butt in underwear? Even if the girl is 14, it wouldn’t be “porn” or anything close to porn.

        I suspect what really got certain folks up in arms was the fact that men were apparently titillated by it. Well, that may be nauseating, but it doesn’t turn a butt in underwear into the money shot of Jenna Jameson movie. It’s still a butt in underwear.

        I mean – there’s a psychological condition where people fall in love with inanimate objects and even have sex with them. I think men and women have fallen in love with automobiles and ferris wheels and stuff. If they’re jacking or jilling off to inanimate objects, it doesn’t turn the objects into porn.

        1. Who cares how clothed or “PG” the picture is? If people have stolen and distributed the picture for the sake of sexual gratification, that is an extreme violation of her rights, and counts as sexual exploitation.

          Are there other messed up subreddits? Yep. Is r/malejailbait equally creepy and inappropriate, and probably being used for similar exploitation? Yeah. Is r/trapbait creepy and inappropriate, and has the added ethical implications of outing people who may be stealth, and putting their school-lives, education, employment, friendships, relationships, family connections and physical safety at risk? Yeah. Do all the various jailbait subreddits contribute to the demand for child pornography and the sexual exploitation of minors? Yes. Should these sites be looked at, and the potential distribution of pornography and/or stolen photographs looked into? I’d think so. Does that in any way diminish from the validity of addressing this particular issue, or detract from the harm that was done, or mean it was any less appropriate to shut down the subreddit? Crotch no.

  16. Because violation of a copyright is not the same thing as “child porn.” If her right to the picture was stolen, then that could very well be a legal issue, criminal and civil. But, it doesn’t make it porn, let alone “child porn.”

    Also, has it been established that it is stolen? We don’t know that. If she posted it somewhere herself, then it may well be in the public domain. Legally speaking, if you have a facebook page open and post pictures there, you may have put the pictures in the public domain, and it’s not illegal for men or women to jack or jill off to pictures.

    You’re right – it is perfectly legitimate to complain about jailbait reddit. However, what isn’t legitimate is calling something child porn, when it isn’t.

    And, I further take issue to overreacting to the butt/underwear image, when it really is tame compared to much of the rest of the internet, and even what’s seen on network television. Some perspective is in order. Google “teen bikini” and see what comes up. Are you seriously suggesting that pictures of teenage girls in bikinis or underwear is “child porn” because some creeps jack or jill off to it?

    Come on, let’s be real here. A picture of a person in clothing that would be allowed to be worn in public can’t possibly be child porn. Can you at least agree on that?

      1. So, you think that anything posted for the purpose of creepy guys getting off is porn?

        My suspicion is confirmed…

        Well, news flash – guys, creepy and non-creepy, can “get off” on things that are non-porn.

        Did you ever see the movie “Fast Times At Ridgemont High.” It’s a classic from the 1980’s, and one of Sean Penn’s first movie, also has Judge Reinhold, Eric Stolz, Jennifer Jason-Leigh, Phoebe Cates, and even bit parts with Nicolas Case and Anthony Edwards.

        There is a scene in the movie where the Judge Reinhold character comes home from work a bit dejected and stressed out, and he heads upstairs while his sister and her friend (Phoebe Cates) are at the pool. He is in the bathroom and sees Phoebe Cates in her bikini. He becomes aroused and starts masturbating (it’s not shown explicitly, but you know what he’s doing).

        Is Phoebe Cates in a bikini “porn.” If the scene was put in the movie to titillate and arouse, is it “porn”?

        Does the fact that men have “fapped” to that scene of Phoebe Cates make it porn?

        Or, are you going to suggest that Phoebe Cates in a bikini, popping open her bikini top, in a titillating scene is not porn, but underwear-butt is porn, because “creepy guys” jack off to it?

  17. So, you believe that an image can be porn on a subreddit and the same picture at the same time is not porn if displayed in an underwear advertisement?

    So, you think this underwear ad is porn, if it is put somewhere and men or women get off on it? http://regent.blogs.com/.a/6a00d8341ca4b653ef011570296dad970c-500wi

    You realize that CAN’T be how porn is defined, right? If your definition is true, than any image used by anyone to “get off” is porn. Is that what you’re saying?

      1. It’s not a picture of teenage girls in their underwear. It’s a Calvin Klein advertisement with a man and a woman featured, and one you probably saw in a magazine. This illustrates the lunacy of the outrage about this issue. Your all reticent to view what is nothing more than an ad in Cosmopolitan or Rolling Stone.

        And, whether a particular picture is pornographic is not dependent on where it is posted and who looks at it. If it’s context dependent, then the same picture can both be and not be pornography at the same time, which is nonsensical.

        By your logic, a dendrophiliac (a person who is sexual attracted to trees) turns a picture of a redwood forest into pornography by “getting off on it.” Surely you don’t think that’s what makes something pornography, do you?

        Another example would be Maxim magazine. Maxim is a magazine that features pictures of women, which men look at. The women are fully clothed, and no images of sex acts are portrayed at all. Just women in bikinis and lingerie and the like. By your logic, if men masturbate while looking at Maxim magazine, it is pornography. Bottom line, Maxim is not pornography no matter where it is viewed or by whom.

        1. Yes, something CAN be pornography under certain contexts and not under others. That’s not non-sensical. That’s just the way subjective terms work. Lots of things work like that. Social sciences aren’t maths.

          What makes something pornography isn’t SIMPLY whether or not someone gets off on it. It’s a combination of the intent or purpose with which the image was created or distributed, in tandem with the way it is received by the audience. It works kind of like words. There’s nothing inherently obscene about the word “motherf—er”, but it’s lent that meaning (and obscenity) by how the speaker and listener perceive it. That’s sort of how pornography works. It’s a particular kind of semiosis, and like all signs, is entirely dependent on context.

          Let’s take this the other direction: are you arguing that something is ONLY pornography in the event that someone is completely unclothed? Would that mean pornography built around particular kinds of clothing fetishes: uniforms, french maids, cross-dressing, etc. aren’t pornography at all? And perhaps that pictures of unclothed people are pornography? Would that make the entirety of nude art pornographic?

          And really, whether or not this is “pornography” under whatever definition you’re using really has nothing to do with what really matters here: that a minor’s privacy was violated for the purposes of sexual exploitation. And you really think the guys on this sub-reddit are ONLY distributing pictures of girls in their underwear?

          These pictures were EXPLICITLY distributed for the purposes of sexual gratification. Underwear ads in Rolling Stone aren’t… they may titillate, and maybe some poor teenagers might use them as porn, but the context is entirely different. How you can sit there with a straight face and say this isn’t porn just because she had her underwear on is totally beyond me.

          1. Where do you get this definition? “What makes something pornography isn’t SIMPLY whether or not someone gets off on it. It’s a combination of the intent or purpose with which the image was created or distributed, in tandem with the way it is received by the audience.”

            A picture of a French maid who is fully clothed and not engaged in a sex act, can’t be porn.

            No, I’m not saying all nude art is pornographic. I’m saying that a nude is either pornographic, or not pornographic. Michaelangelo’s David is nude, and not porn. It doesn’t matter what Michaelangelo’s intent or purpose was in creating it, and it doesn’t matter how an audience receives it. If it did depend on those things, then we could have no idea whether David was pornographic, because Michaelangelo is dead and never disclosed his intent.

            As for privacy violations – you have no idea whether her privacy was violated. The picture was apparently posted on facebook previously, and if it was put in the public domain, then her privacy was not violated.

            I don’t know what guys on sub-reddit are doing, and they may be distributing nude pictures. But, if they’re not posting them online, then you don’t know what they’re doing.

            So what if the picture was explicitly distributed for sexual gratification?

            I can sit here with a straight face and say that a picture of a butt in underwear is not porn because it’s not porn. It may be creepy, and it may be inappropriate, but it is not porn. If it’s porn, then the girl distributed porn by posting it on facebook. It simply can’t be perfectly fine and non-pornographic when she posts it, and suddenly it’s porn when someone else posts it. That is, again, nonsensical.

          2. So if a porn start dresses up as a french maid in a porn magazine called “Big Busted French Maids”, that’s not porn, as long as she keeps the french maid outfit on?

            …I guess it would be cool to sell that picture to kids, then?

    1. Would a picture of porn star, fully clothed in a maid outfit, not engaged in any sex act, be pornography because it was pictured in a pornographic magazine? No, of course not. And, if you cut that image out, and handed it to a child, you would not be handing him porn. You’d be handing him a picture of a woman in a French Maid outfit, and I’ve seen women dressed in little French Maid outfits on prime time television.

      Porn stars are not pornographic just by wearing French Maid outfits, or even lingerie.

      1. So as long as no sexual anatomy is exposed, and no sex act depicted, it can’t POSSIBLY be pornographic in nature?

        I’m sorry, but I find your definition is really, really off the mark from what pornography actually is and is actually all about.

        pornography (p???n??r?f?)

        — n
        1. writings, pictures, films, etc, designed to stimulate sexual excitement
        2. the production of such material

        Nothing there about nudity.

        Looking through a few different definitions, only one of them mentions “varying states of nudity” (and underwear would certainly be one such state), and ALL of them hinge around intent to stimulate erotic excitement, not the presence or absence of underwear.

          1. It would depend on what is depicted in the picture.

            Erotic images, like – say – a woman with a Devilish look in her eyes, while holding a strawberry dripping chocolate to her lips can be “erotic”, but certainly isn’t pornography. It wouldn’t matter if creepy men are jacking off to it, either.

            Women in their underwear is not pornography. If it was, the Victoria’s Secret catalog, which is distributed to households all over the country without regard to whether ** gasp! ** the chil’run might glimpse a sexy panty or low cut bra.

            That reminds me – go tot he mall much? Ever see the images of the sexy Victoria’s Secret models on the walls, looking sexy and contorted into curvy, alluring poses? Dressed in bras and skimpy panties? If what you say is porn is porn, then every major mall in the country is a purveyor of pornography.

            Of course, you may say, “but Victoria’s Secret’s intent is not to make porn…” — well, you don’t read minds any better than I do, and if that’s the standard, then it is completely arbitrary. Moreover, there isn’t a heterosexual male alive today, I would wager, that hasn’t masturbated while thumbing through the Victoria’s Secret catalog. It is used as “fap” material constantly by men.

            Since guys jerk off to Victoria’s Secret catalogs….is it porn? Or, is it porn when men are rubbing one out, but not porn when women are deciding what underwear to buy? And, if it can be both, then doesn’t the same go for Jenna Jameson’s films where she is having sex with men and women in explicit hardcore scenes? If a man masturbates while watching it, it’s porn, but if a woman watches it for instructional purposes to learn sex techniques to add to her bedroom activities with her monogamous husband, it’s what? Educational material?

            See what I mean about it being nonsensical to suggest that the same image can be both porn and not porn, depending on where it is displayed and why?

          2. Go to the website Victoriassecret.com – if the ladies of Skepchick had their way, apparently, upon learning that men the world over are “fapping” to Alessandra Ambrosio and Erin Heatherton, they’d classify the whole company as a purveyor of pornography and a porn haven.

            Not to mention “underage” models like Zippora Seven, and Lindsey Wixon…porn or not porn? Or, does that depend on whose looking and why?

          3. No, the malls aren’t pornography because the intent isn’t strictly sexual excitement and that isn’t how it’s generally taken. This is something we’ve already been over. I’m sorry, but I’m getting the impression you’re not really interested in listening.

            No, I can’t read minds as to intent. Nor can anyone else. But that doesn’t mean incorporating intent as part of how we evaluate something is “arbitrary”. It just means we have to look at it on a case by case basis, and draw educated conclusions based on the overall context. Is it perfectly, totally precise and objective? No. Does that matter? No.

            A desperate teenage boy can fap to anything, yes. That doesn’t make that stuff porn. Again, I already covered that. If the Victoria’s Secret catalog were being made with a fairly explicit intent to be fap material, and that was explicitly the primary way it was used, then it would be porn. But if the primary intent is marketing underwear, and the primary use is women shopping for underwear, then no, it’s not porn.

            And again you’re saying something can be porn and non-porn under different contexts. Again, I’m going to say yeah, that is possible, and it’s not “non-sensical”. To go back to my example of “motherf—er”… that can be an insult and/or obscene under certain contexts (said with hostility to someone you hate, or said in a convent full of nuns) or totally meaningless in others (said by someone who doesn’t understand English to someone who doesn’t understand English). So it can be both an insult/obscenity or totally harmless gibberish under different contexts! Is that “non-sensical”?

          4. And really… “if the ladies of skepchick had their way…” ?

            Yes, the tyranny of this little internet blog, running around trying to trample all the helpless, innocent lingerie companies under the stiletto heels of their knee-high jackboots!!! Stand up for the little guy, oppose the horrible, castrating anti-sex stance of the dreaded, all-powerful Skepchicks!!!

          5. Regarding this matter: “And really… “if the ladies of skepchick had their way…” ?

            Yes, the tyranny of this little internet blog, running around trying to trample all the helpless, innocent lingerie companies under the stiletto heels of their knee-high jackboots!!! Stand up for the little guy, oppose the horrible, castrating anti-sex stance of the dreaded, all-powerful Skepchicks!!!”

            The key word in my statement was “if” – I never said you were had been successful. However, if the definitions and rules that you appear to suggest are applicable or “should be” applicable, were in fact applicable, then – yes – the ads and images at the Victoria’s Secret website and at their stores would be pornography, wouldn’t they?

          6. Regarding this: “No, the malls aren’t pornography because the intent isn’t strictly sexual excitement and that isn’t how it’s generally taken. This is something we’ve already been over. I’m sorry, but I’m getting the impression you’re not really interested in listening.”

            I am interested in listening. However, don’t expect me to agree with you when I think you’re wrong. You’re not agreeing with me, does that mean you’re not “really interested in listening?”

            Look – I understand the rule you are claiming exists. But, frankly, you are just flat out wrong. If I published a calendar or book of images of women or men in lingerie, and sold it as “Jerk Off Material” and stated inside the front cover that my express purpose was to sell material for men and women to jack and jill off with, and that my sole purpose was to appeal to their prurient interests and I had no other purpose whatsoever….if the images are equal to the images in a Victoria’s Secret catalog, I am not selling pornography.

            I can’t make it plainer than that. It’s not pornography, and it doesn’t make a difference whether women are selling to to women to market lingerie, or men are selling it to men to help them reach orgasm.

            Similarly – if a Victoria’s Secret advertisement includes a picture of a woman and a man having sex while she’s wearing sexy Victoria’s Secret lingerie, that would be pornography even if the marketer’s intent is to sell lingerie to women using sex appeal.

        1. Yes, a picture of a fully clothed woman in a maid’s outfit, French or otherwise, is not pornographic. It won’t be pornographic even if she is arching her back and eyeing the camera with a “come hither” look, and it won’t be pornographic if someone snaps the picture for “Jerk Off To French Maids” magazine.

          If you can suggest a way that a picture of a woman in a maid’s outfit, not engaged in a sexual activity, simulating a sexual activity, and not exposing naughty bits, can be pornography, I would love to hear your example.

  18. A couple of quick questions:
    Do we know how old the people on the subreddit actually are? I learned to decode porn when I was 14 or 15 (I used to have to download a text file, and run a dos program to turn it into a picture – porn technology has come a long way in 20+ years. I had very little interest in women who were twice my age, so I definitely searched for younger porn. I’m just saying that a lot of people have this image of an ephebophilic 40-year-old trying to victimize a teen, when we all know that people of all ages are online (including confused 14-year-old males, who might have a legitimate, non-pervy interest in 14-year-old girls – not that that excuses using pictures without consent). I find the idea of sexually exploiting an underage person very disturbing, but I also find the idea of killingg someone for laughs very disturbing, and that is commonly accepted in popular fiction (see Indiana Jones, Gladiator, Star Wars, etc.).
    Secondly, does reading the Bible or Shakespeare qualify as ephebophilia? I’m just pointing out that Juliet was about 13 and the ‘virgin’ Mary was 14-15 years old. Should we be screening Romeo & Juliet audiences to make sure they are only into the drama and they aren’t aroused (to avoid encouraging any ephebophiles)?
    Personally, I am a little uncomfortable with the thought police aspects of this thread. I do not know what percentage of people who have sexual thoughts about underage girls actually act on them, but I would argue that it is their right to imagine anything they like, if they don’t act on it. In our society, it is generally acceptable to fantasize about violence, as long as it is understood you are not going to act on it. For example, if every one of my friends who ever said they were going to kill their boss or graduate supervisor was actually guilty of uttering a threat, most of my friends would be in jail.
    I agree that using pictures without consent, or actually attempting to act on any of those urges when you are older than 18 or so, or any form of sexual exploitation or coercion or manipulation, is utterly wrong and needs to be guarded against. However, I do not want to start considering the intent of the viewer when judging whether a picture should be in the public domain. For example, should we dis-allow young-looking models in catalogues, because they encourage ephebophiles? Should we outlaw kitten pictures, if there are bestiality enthusiasts masturbating on LOLcats? If any exploitation occurred in making or procuring the images, they should be banned; if it is a case of a public domain or legitimately-sourced image being used for erotic stimulation, I really don’t care what the viewer is fantasizing about, unless they intend to act on it.

    1. No, we wouldn’t just make blanket laws on the off chance that someone, somewhere might find something erotic. We look at things on a case by case basis, and consider the overall intent, and how the images are generally being used, and for what ends they were distributed. We consider the overall context.

      With issues like pornography we simply CAN’T make blanket, sweeping, objective definitions. We have to consider everything in its context. Yes, that makes things complicated and tricky, and means we have to rely on human judgment, but such is life, such is human sexuality, and such is law. It’s complicated.

        1. Um…actually, it is:

          Here’s on, from the Merriam-Webster legal dictionary:

          Main Entry: por·nog·ra·phy
          Pronunciation: por-‘nä-gr&-fE
          Function: noun
          : material that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement
          NOTE: Pornographic material is protected expression unless it is determined to be obscene. However, child pornography is illegal under federal and state laws prohibiting the depiction of minors in sexual acts. — por·nog·ra·pher /por-‘nä-gr&-f&r/ noun — por·no·graph·ic /”por-n&-‘gra-fik/ adjective — por·no·graph·i·cal·ly adverb

          I mean, seriously? You think the law has no definition of what is or isn’t pornography? Then how the hell do they decide what kinds of magazines get sold to minors and which don’t? How do they judge any case regarding pornography or its posession, creation or distribution?

          Every country that enacts laws regarding pornography NEEDS to have a legal definition of pornography. In pretty much all instances, it hinges on the intent to stimulate erotic excitement.

          Most cases are unambiguous, but when we do enter into a gray area, human beings… judges, lawyers, perhaps juries, end up having to make subjective judgments in regards to the overall context.

          One thing that has *really* begun to irritate me about many skeptics is the inability to think outside the tiny box of that which is absolutely objective, measurable and concrete. That works fine in things like physics, maths, chemistry, epistemology, etc. But a whole lot of things in life don’t work like that. Once we move away from the strict objective laws of nature and into the complicated, subjective systems of human relationships, ethics, morality, sexuality, law, culture, gender, race, language, etc. we can no longer keep looking at things in that way and need to allow room for subjectivity, context and interpretation.

          But over and over again I keep seeing people bending over backwards trying to fit everything into their little box… trying to come up with a way to justify “objective morality”, confusing human consciousness with computations, trying to think up simple cause/effect systems for human interactions, and so forth. It’s as bad as those of us who studied the humanities trying to say “science is just, like, your opinion, man” or theists saying that atheism is “just a different kind of faith”. We can’t just go around trying to fit everything in the universe into the kinds of thinking we understand best.

          1. Pornography is in the dictionary, but dictionary definitions are not “legal” definitions.

            You are correct that pornography is protected speech, and obscenity may be banned. I direct your attention to the definition YOU gave of “child pornography” – children depicted in sexual acts. A butt in underwear is not a sexual act.

            “You think the law has no definition of what is or isn’t pornography?” I not only think it. I know it.

            Most laws on the subject say something like this: it is unlawful to display to minors any material that contains nudity, partial nudity or sexual acts; which has no value for a minor. Nudity or partially denuded means:(a) Less than completely and opaquely covered (you can see through the covering): (i) human genitals;(ii) pubic regions;(iii) buttock; and (iv) female breast below a point immediately above the top of the areola; and (b) Human male genitals in a discernibly turgid state, even if completely and opaquely covered (you can’t see through the covering).

            “Pornography” is not specifically defined. The law defines certain images that can be shown to minors, and therefore magazines and such can’t be sold to them if they depict such images.

            Adults can view anything they want, except similar such described images of children, and obscene material.

            A picture of a buttocks wearing underwear which is “said” to be a 14 year old’s buttocks, is not nude, and is not engaged in a sexual act. Therefore, it wouldn’t even pass the legal test for what could be shown to a minor, let alone what an adult could see.

            If a court is deciding whether a particular magazine can be sold in a store or through the mail, they review it for “obscenity.” That is far different than mere “pornography.” That’s why Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler, and Chicks with Dicks magazines can be sold through the mail. They may be porn, but are not legally obscene. Some people don’t even consider Playboy pornography, because they only have nude images of women, and not sex acts.

            “Every country that enacts laws regarding pornography NEEDS to have a legal definition of pornography. In pretty much all instances, it hinges on the intent to stimulate erotic excitement.” False, at least in the United States.

            As for objective morality, I’ve not advanced that. I don’t believe there is such a thing as “objective” morality.

          2. Look up Stanley v. Georgia 394 U.S. 557 (1969) – in that case the Supreme Court of the US held that a state cannot prohibit citizens from possessing even “obscene” material. Sexually explicit films were discovered in defendant Eli Stanley’s house by police, in the course of an unrelated investigation into his alleged bookmaking activities. He was convicted of “knowingly hav[ing] possession of … obscene matter,” in violation of Georgia’s obscenity law. The Court overturned the conviction, holding that the private possession of obscene matter cannot constitutionally be made a crime.

            Writing for the Court, Justice Thurgood Marshall emphasized the individual’s right to privacy in his own home:

            Thurgood Marshall, of Brown vs. Board of Education integration of the schools fame, wrote “… Mere categorization of these films as “obscene” is insufficient justification for such a drastic invasion of personal liberties. … If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a State has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch. Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds.
            And yet, in the face of these traditional notions of individual liberty, Georgia asserts the right to protect the individual’s mind from the effects of obscenity. We are not certain that this argument amounts to anything more than the assertion that the State has the right to control the moral content of a person’s thoughts. To some, this may be a noble purpose, but it is wholly inconsistent with the philosophy of the First Amendment.

          3. And, remember that the Child Online Protection Act was struck down as unconstitutional in 2009. The COPA was passed the year after the Supreme Court ruled that another law intended to protect children from explicit material online — the Communications Decency Act — was unconstitutional.

            If you want to bring up what type of material may be legally regulated or prohibited by the State – you’re talking about a VERY, VERY — VERY — small universe of materials.

            I assure you, they do not include buttocks clothed in underwear, and posted for the express purpose that men should jerk off while looking at them. If you think that kind of image is illegal — in any context — you are, quite simply, flat out, wrong.

          4. Also the definition of pornography hasn’t been set forth, but the Supreme Court has said that the only material that can be restricted to adults in the US is “obscene” material, and in giving guidance as to what is and is not obscene, the Supreme Court said:

            “The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether the average person applying contemporary community standards would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

            All three of those things must be present, and (b) requires sexual conduct, and not just any sexual conduct – the conduct must be depicted in a patently offensive way. The butt in the underwear can’t be obscene, because it’s not sexual conduct, and an image of an underwear clad butt can’t be “patently offensive,” for if it is, then every Victoria’s Secret ad is also “patently offensive.”

            Miller v. California
            413 U.S. 15 (1973)

  19. See also Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union
    521 U.S. 844 (1997), which is the case that struck down the Communications Decency Act, which was passed under the Clinton Administration. The CDA attempted to protect minors from access to “patently offensive” or “indecent” Internet material. The law was struck down as unconstitutional.

    The Court wrote: “The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation. The Government may not, through the CDA, interrupt that conversation. As the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed, the Internet deserves the highest protection from governmental intrusion.”

    You described some ways that you were shocked at how “skeptics” can’t think outside the box. Well, I too am shocked – shocked at how supposed skeptics and liberals can be so quick to applaud censorship.

    You realize that if the State tried to shut down reddit’s threads in this instance, the ACLU would likely take up Reddit’s cause on the basis of freedom of speech?

  20. Wow. That’s a lot of comments. You’re pretty invested in this, yeah?

    I’m going to bow out, but just to clarify a few more things:

    – Private possession of “obscene” material is not in and of itself a crime, no. That’s not what this is about, though. This is about DISTRIBUTION of CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. It’s a completely different legal domain than normal obscenity laws.

    – And reddit, as a private domain, can enact whatever regulations it wants in order to protect its reputation, or on the basis of ethics.

    – The definition I provided said nothing of sexual acts. It said “erotic behaviour”.

    – There are many reasonable limits to the right to free speech. It always needs to be weighed against other considerations. That’s why things like credible death threats are illegal.

    – I know you didn’t say anything about objective morality. That was a totally different conversation. I’m just seeing a similar tendency to reject any definition or concept that includes any level of subjectivity.

    – My opinions and my definitions of pornography don’t reflect those of “the ladies of Skepchick”. I’m just a commenter. And there’s no “way” that I, or they, are trying to have.

    – If you marketed a calendar full of Victoria’s Secret-type images as porn, with the full intent to cause sexual excitement, and that is how it was taken and seen by the people who bought it, it would constitute porn, yes. The reason this image is ridiculous isn’t because of how objectively “non-pornlike” the images of women in their underwear are, it’s ridiculous because that circumstance would never happen in our current social context: if you wanted to provide sexual stimulation, you’d use images that were more exciting, and if the customers wanted porn, they’d buy something more risque. Picture marketing your calendar to GIs in 1914, though. Different story, isn’t it?

    There’s probably some other points somewhere in your 20 different posts I could address, but I kind of feel like this is isn’t entirely worth the effort. I don’t need to prove to someone who’s already made up their mind that a picture of a teen girl in her underwear distributed on a jailbait sub-reddit for the purpose of sexual gratification is inappropriate and pornographic.

    1. Why add the snark? I’m “invested” in this? What are you implying?

      I was enjoying the conversation. Now I’m sorry I bothered.

      “This is about DISTRIBUTION of CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. It’s a completely different legal domain than normal obscenity laws.” — Nothing shown in the article that started this off came close to “pornography.” So, that’s not what this is about – for Skepchick.com this is about, I suspect, “guys getting off” on it.

      “And reddit, as a private domain, can enact whatever regulations it wants in order to protect its reputation, or on the basis of ethics.” That it can – and what they did was take down the jailbait thread to quiet everyone down. It doesn’t amount to anything, since someone probably just created jailbait2 and put the same crap up there.

      “The definition I provided said nothing of sexual acts. It said “erotic behaviour”.” Wearing underpants is not erotic behavior, and – anyway – erotica isn’t necessarily pornography, and under no circumstances would any reasonable person, certainly no court of law, would ever deem a butt in underpants to be pornography. So much would flow from that, if it was, that it just wouldn’t happen – if posting that image on reddit was “child pornography” then everyone with a picture of a 14 year old girl is at risk of some nutty folks on a mission labeling it child porn.

      “There are many reasonable limits to the right to free speech. It always needs to be weighed against other considerations. That’s why things like credible death threats are illegal.” – not many, actually. Free speech is nearly absolute, which is why the ACLU won its case defending the Nazis right to hate speech in the Skokie, IL case, the KKK’s right to hate speech, and NAMBLA’s right to publish books about the benefits of sex with young boys.

      There are reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on speech, but they are content neutral. If you’d like to discuss what you think are the “reasonable limits” on the content of speech besides some threats/harassment and some obscenity that would be fine.

    2. “If you marketed a calendar full of Victoria’s Secret-type images as porn, with the full intent to cause sexual excitement, and that is how it was taken and seen by the people who bought it, it would constitute porn, yes.”

      Nope. Not a chance. Not legally anyway. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but you’re just flat out wrong about that. When it comes to speech, at least in the U.S., the audience’s reaction to protected speech is irrelevant.

      “if you wanted to provide sexual stimulation, you’d use images that were more exciting, and if the customers wanted porn, they’d buy something more risque. ” – You’d be surprised how many guys bring the Victoria’s Secret catalog to the bathroom now and again… Those women are hot, and they know how to make close that make hot women look…well, even hotter… and I’ve hear many guys call it “spank material.”

      ” I don’t need to prove to someone who’s already made up their mind that a picture of a teen girl in her underwear distributed on a jailbait sub-reddit for the purpose of sexual gratification is inappropriate and pornographic.”

      Well, perhaps it’s me that is wasting my time, and I don’t need to prove something to someone who has already gone off the deep end and overreacted to an image which is not porn. See how that works? Discussions aren’t worth having, Natalie, if people agree – it’s only times like this, where people don’t see eye to eye, that a debate or discussion makes any sort of sense.

      What do you expect – that it would take 2 minutes to let me see the light because you’re so right on this issue? I sincerely don’t think you’re right. And, what’s more, I’m so shocked at this point of view that what could constitute “pornography” is so flexible that the same picture could be, at the same time, both pornography and not pornography depending on who posts it and where. I find that to be mindbogglingly absurd.

      I have found one point of agreement, though. Posting the image was inappropriate. Maybe that’s where we have a disconnect here. It can be both inappropriate and not pornography. It does not have to be porn in order to be inappropriate and saying that it isn’t porn is not validating the conduct of the guy posting the picture in any way. Posting the image and that entire creepy thread was, in my opinion, inappropriate.

      Not porn…not illegal. Not obscene – not the biggest deal in the world.

      I will agree though – inappropriate – that’s a perfect assessment of it. I’ll give you that.

  21. Saying that Child Porn is free speech is like saying torture is free speech.

    As an ancillary point, there is some evidence internet porn is a drug. Apparently, there is a greater risk of addiction to porn with internet porn, because the brain does not experience negative associations with internet porn. (Unlike old school porn, where the brain also had to endure the stress of potentially running into a neighbor as you exit the porn section or having to face the girl behind the store counter as you purchase the magazine) internet porn is delivered right to your eyes and ears the way cocaine is delivered to your nose. See The Brain that Changes Itself, by Norman Doige

    There is also a greater risk that addicted viewers will venture into new fetishes and potentially dangerous behavior as “thresholds of acceptable behavior” are modified.

    1. I would not particularly want to say child porn is free speech but I may have to disagree. First off any porn that exploits or is non-consensual (And minors cannot consent) is obviously not right and would not be defended by anyone. Also overall reading the comments I’d side with natalie1984’s comments the most and say there are grey areas.

      For example there is child porn without torture – drawn child porn / written child porn. I’d imagine paedophiles get off on clothes catalogues with kids in swim suits. Now do I agree with their predilection? In my case not – but so they have a right to a free fantasy life? Absolutely, so I suppose people have a right to create and distribute child porn as long as it is not exploitative of a child. In fact there is a lot of that going on in Japan so I’m told.

      On those lines I’d also mention that here in the UK people have had their lives ruined by laws introduced to fight child porn that criminalise artificial images. So you may know of those crude Simpson porn images that were an internet meme sometime back. Someone even sent them to me at my then IBM work account! Fortunately I deleted the pics of Lisa giving her brother oral relief because I could now be placed on the child sex register for the rest of my life if I still had them in my possession. Unfortunately I am not exaggerating.

      So from the seemingly perfectly reasonable premise of the black and white ‘all child porn is evil’ you can end up with the ridiculous situation we have in my country. I’m sure there is some quote about free speech being a one way street, you either have it completely or you don’t have it at all. I’d rather have a more sceptical open-minded approach to everything, even things I find personally very distasteful.

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