Feminist Christian reproduces sexualised images of children on website.

15 Jan
Vogue magazine cover, May 1917

Image via Wikipedia

It’s a complete mystery to me how those demanding the removal of sexualised images of children from the media can justify reproducing those very images in their campaigns.

For example, on the website of Melinda Tankard Reist, Australian feminist Christian advocate for children and women, there’s a series of images reproduced from French Vogue depicting very young children wearing adult clothing, shoes and makeup. Some of them are suggestively posed in sexually suggestive environments.

The point of the post is to cause outrage in readers at these sexualised images of little girls. In order to do that, I suppose their argument goes, readers have to be able to see them.

But there’s something awry about this reasoning. You don’t want these images viewed, you think it’s wrong that they are readily available in the media, and yet you reproduce them on the Internet to make a point?

You disseminate these images yourself, while at the same time railing against their publication in other arenas?

What is going on here?

I wouldn’t like any little girls in our family to be in this Vogue photo shoot. Then again, I wouldn’t like the little girls in our family to be in any Vogue photo shoot, even if they were covered head to toe and clutching soft toys. I want our little girls to do what little girls enjoy doing, and not what adults enjoy little girls doing. From what I’ve heard about photo shoots, they’re no picnic.

My first thought on seeing these pictures was, what were their parents thinking? Surprisingly, nobody addresses this aspect on the MTR website. It’s all Vogue’s fault. Well, it certainly is Vogue’s fault, but some adult caretaker allowed these little girls to do this photo shoot. Some adult caretakers allowed their charges to be transformed into sexualised commodities by French Vogue. As long as parents are willing and eager to offer their children up, somebody will be willing and eager to provide them with the opportunity.

It comes down to the individual. It’s a very personal matter. It’s about morality on a very intimate level, and this is where it has to be addressed, as well as more broadly as a media responsibility.

Perhaps Tankard Reist could have set a personal example by declining to publish the children’s photos on her website?

It would have made her post less titillating, and readers would have had to go find the photos for themselves. But at least it would have been one less publication of those dreadfully sad pictures, and one less exploitation of those little girls.

Tankard Reist criticizes the media for sexualizing children. But what she fails to realize is that she is part of the media. Her blog is on the Internet. Anybody, even the pedophiles she fears will be drawn to these images, can access her blog and see the pictures of the children she has published there.

I don’t think you have to be a parent to feel anguish for these little girls, or to feel a desire to protect them by refusing to perpetuate the circulation of these photographs.

What has happened to feminism that the end now justifies the means?

And doesn’t publishing these photographs make a mockery of their protests against French Vogue?

On the same website there’s a post critical of those who’ve published the names of the women involved in the Assange sexual misconduct allegations. Yet Tankard Reist, apparently without any awareness of what she’s doing, publishes an article by another blogger, in which the women are named!

Tankard Reist has now added her own name to the long list of people who’ve targeted the women by outing them on the Internet.

Then there’s an article by Clive Hamilton, failed Greens federal candidate, and Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University. Under the heading: Dymocks Bookshop: Porn Merchants? Professor Hamilton gives Dymocks a good old telling off for stocking a boxed set containing the first ten years of Playboy.  I can’t imagine what’s in them, and neither, apparently, can Professor Hamilton.

Call me picky, but I always think it’s a good idea to personally acquaint yourself with something, before you go on a public campaign to ban it.

MTR has kindly furnished an email address where you can send your objections to Dymocks about them stocking Playboy and acting like porn merchants.

Clive Hamilton is also a mandatory Internet filtering advocate, whose position is that while some legitimate websites would probably face accidental blocking by a mandatory blacklist, that’s a necessary evil, and that the good outweighs the bad.

Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear phrases like the good outweighs the bad, I get edgy. It sounds as if someone hasn’t really thought things through and they want to shut me up with a phrase designed to repress and suppress.

And who is Hamilton to make decisions for the rest of us? We have to take his definition of the good as a universal and filter the Internet? Non, merci.

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5 Responses to “Feminist Christian reproduces sexualised images of children on website.”

  1. Matthew January 15, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    You’ll note that in the preface of the Australia Institute’s “Corporate Paedophilia: Sexualisation of children in Australia” report, the authors state “Many people have contributed to this paper. […] Clive Hamilton oversaw the entire project”. So Clive’s in on that little moral panic crusade as well. Amusingly their entire argument was pretty much completely debunked in a submission to a senate committee by Professor Catharine Lumby and Dr Kath Albury; http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/eca_ctte/sexualisation_of_children/submissions/sub146.pdf

    With French Vogue, I don’t find it sexual, just odd. I understand it’s meant to be some form of satire, but I couldn’t make out the captions (and can’t read French anyway). Odd piece anyway. But thanks to people like Melinda, the whole world has seen it, not just a few thousand French Vouge readers. I really don’t think Melinda gives a crap about the sexualisation of children or the feminist cause. Look at her former group she co-founded (think she still has close links to them) the Women’s Forum Australia’s website and you’ll note some odd things. According to them, apparently two of the biggest issues for women in Australia are “egg harvesting” and euthanasia. Melinda just cares about shocking people to action (which is usually forcing companies to remove “sexual” products or advertising from their stores) and she’ll mix in some “feminist” stuff to show she’s “for real”, but will occasionally (and hilariously) get it wrong. For example look at this; http://melindatankardreist.com/2009/12/having-sex-or-being-raped/ ‘Cause you know saying “sex” instead of “rape” is worse than aboriginal women being accused by a history revisionist that they were sexually promiscuous with white men, and were removed from their mother for their own good.

    PS I probably can’t write any articles for this blog because of my job, and I don’t want to subject your readers to my incoherent ramblings, bad spelling and grammar. Thanks anyway.

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  2. Matthew January 17, 2011 at 6:54 am #

    The confusing response by MTR in the comments section under the latest “Kanye is evil” piece when someone asked about the Vogue pics;

    “The fact remains that the images of the girl models in Vogue are in the public domain. They are not graphic images of child sexual abuse or images of naked children. They are fashion images – mainstream fashion images. A large number of parties signed off on their creation and publication. In order to put them up for discussion, we have to show them. Disguising them would reduce some of the shocked response – hide the extent of the adultification, given the degree of heavy make-up, and the expressions on the children’s faces.

    Another thing to consider is – yes, they could be used for evil purposes. But so could many images on my blog – images of young girls for example, even where not overtly adultified. Bare in mind large numbers of men who find sexual pleasure in images of children prefer them not to look like adult women in any way. They want them to look exactly as the children they are. I have had men tell me they get off on children in K.Mart catalogues. So should I remove all images of children from my blog because they may be misused too?

    I do try to weigh things up though and understand the sensitivities. I walk a fine line with my work most days. I may not always get it right.”

    Uh huh, OK, but didn’t you say in the original piece;” I wonder if the irony will be lost on the kind of men who enjoy prepubescent girls groomed to look like adult women in high heels and with things in their mouths?” Also on twitter, anytime anyone brings up the Unbelief.org pieces on her or the WFA, her response is “fascinating what people will believe isn’t it”. That’s exactly what I think when I read the comments on her blog.

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  3. Jennifer Wilson January 17, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    This appears on the MTR Kanye West comments. It’s worth a read as it offers another POV:
    (I still haven’t seen this whole video so I’m keeping my comments to the way the objections are handled).

    I can see why Melinda didn’t provide a link to the video. This because she’s omitted a lot of facts and taken a lot of images out of context. The women are obviously all zombies (mostly) in the video. At one point two zombie women are seen eating the intestines of a white male. Anther scene has one woman in stilettos dragging what seems to be a dead white male. She stops and implants her heal into his stomach. There’s also the scenes of Mr West trying to stop the zombies coming through a window as they’re obviously trying to break through and eat him in the vein of scenes from George Romero zombie films. Also note in the six minute leaked video, the scene with Rick Ross eating the raw meat is completely absent. I also note that all the depicted violence is done by females to males or other females. There are no scenes of violence by males to females. The aftermath, yeah that is what is implied, but there is no actual violence. I readily admit it’s weird, rather sexist and has creepy erotic horror overtones. I readily admit that Melinda should be able to criticise Kanye West. However when she misrepresents what the video contains, her argument starts to fall a bit flat. Melinda you say that you “have no desire to increase the hit rate for Monster which numbers in the thousands”, but thanks to you, you have. I really wouldn’t have seen this crappy video has it not been for the “controversy” by people like you. I try to avoid anything Kanye West related as much as possible usually.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tankard Reist, Anne Hathaway’s pink bits & Girlfriend’s sex survey « No Place For Sheep - January 4, 2013

    [...] In a post here titled ”Feminist Christian reproduces sexualised images of children on website” I wrote: [...]

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