Knowing it when you (don’t) see it: Mapping the pornographic child in order to diffuse the paedophilic gaze
Knowing it when you (don’t) see it: Mapping the pornographic child in order to diffuse the paedophilic gaze by Adam Stapleton – University of Western Sydney
- Developments in legislation addressing child pornography increase the range of media that can be prohibited. Further, the language that is used to define child pornography is not easily reconciled with the processes involved in viewing images. Anxiety about paedophilia and the vulnerability of children, encourages a process of interpretation known as the 'paedophilic gaze'. In 2001, the COPINE scale was developed as a way to develop a nuanced understanding of the range of images collected by individuals with a sexual interest in children. Rather than conceiving of child pornography as a homogeneous form of offensive, or harmful, discourse, it is important to continue the development of a typology of images of children that have the potential to be prohibited under child pornography legislation. This article synthesises pre-existing typologies, reconstituting them through a new typology that aims to develop more nuanced variables to describe the content of images. Furthermore, it attempts to incorporate ethical and contextual values that are involved in the production and consumption of images, in order to improve the understanding of how images of children function in everyday life.