Question about this Bill Henson deal...

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Senor Hound, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. Senor Hound

    Senor Hound TPF Noob!

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    My question is this: At what age does seeing a child naked go from being innocent to being wrong? I always thought at the time of puberty, but obviously others disagree. I am of the school there is a difference between nudity and sexuality, but others do not believe this way (which is cool with me cause everyone is entitled to their opinion). But for those who don't see a difference, when does the change occur in a person's life?

    I saw my 6 month-old cousin naked, and I'm fairly sure no one would object to that. I saw a 3 year-old girl at work accidentally flash a bunch of people by playing with her dress, and no one thought it was wrong. I've seen a 6-year old pee in front of others (exposing genitalia) in the absence of proper bathrooms, and no one was offended. So where is the cutoff where nudity is no longer natural and okay? Is it 3? 6? 9? 12? When?

    I don't ask this question to incite argument, but to learn something. Unless you all enjoy arguing (I guess some people do), maybe we could prevent from getting upset by only answering my question and ignoring other following posts. This seems conceited on my part, but I get the impression most people here do not like these arguments, and I'm only trying to offer a solution to help people from getting angry. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2008
  2. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's not a question of age, or atleast it shouldent be, It's a question of what are they doing, Is it natural or imposed? When a child is directed into a pose that looks unnatural that is when it becomes offencive.....or atleast how ift should be.

    If they are just being little kids than there is nothing wrong about it IMHO.

    I have several photos in a book that have children depicted in the nude, One most notably was of a Nude woman with her Newborn baby boy in har arms lying on a bed wile the older girl played to the right side of the frame...she was using the head of the bed to stand on her head...or something to that effect and another one with a young girl trying to wash her foot in the bathroom sink. They are doing some of those weird kid things.

    I'll have to recheck the dates on them but, I do believe they where published within the last ten years.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2008
  3. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well, let me try to give you an answer from someone who - as swim instructor - worked with childred aged 4 and up. To get the group together, and to be able to include the parents into the changing-their-clothes process (for the only reason that we'd have been unable to help 10 children out of their clothes and into their swimming outfits AND still have our lesson within 45 minutes), we had them all go into the "family changing room", a large enough room where you get seen while changing out of your clothes and into the swim clothes by everyone else who is present. And the young children had so nothing against this, they never even thought about the fact that in between one set of clothes and the other they'd be stark naked. For longer even when they came back OUT and were wet and needed to be be towelled dry first. So for 5-year-olds, also 6 and 7-year-olds it was nothing. They were happy either way. They did not seem to think about their own nudity. It was just part of "the deal" as anything else.

    As of 8, however, children begin to FEEL their own nudity, and girls no longer want to undress in front of boys and the other way round. Call it the beginning of their sexual awareness. They feel like "boys" and like "girls" much more (some even sooner than 8, but 8 - in my experience - seemed to be the "magic age") and need to go to the separate changing areas as of then (plus by then they should be old enough to undress and re-dress themselves all by themselves!!!).

    Though while typing this I do wonder if they'd have stayed happy in the family changing room (some no longer had their parents come in with them, but joined us in there so the GROUP would be together!), if we had been MALE swimming instructors??? It may well be (but that's assuming things on my part) that with women present children learn to be totally ashamed of being naked later.

    I'm saying this because something has sprung to mind that happened to me in my own life. Must have been our family summer holidays in 1964, i.e. when I was only 4 years old. Or maybe it was a year later, I'm no longer sure. I was only little, though. And since it was kind of a "camp" for entire families, as one of the activities we also prepared a little theatre play among the children. I have long forgotten what it was all about, the only thing that I remember was that in my part (may well have been the main part, too), I had to show up in nothing but a long vest. No other piece of underwear. Certainly nothing around my little ... erm ... bottom. And I was HIGHLY embarrassed when it came to my getting onto the scene, and I think I mostly just pulled and pulled at that vest to make it longer.

    See? I was only 4.
    And still ... I did not want people (anyone, like the other kids' fathers and mothers and so on) to see "those parts"!

    Which brings me to the conclusion that even very young children CAN be very aware of their own nudity when relative strangers are involved, but can more easily deal with the fact when the settings seem to make it unavoidable. And to "read" that is the delicate thing!
     
  4. Miaow

    Miaow TPF Noob!

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    I think things like your own family seeing a child naked or having family pics of a child are different to something that is used in such a public manner as an art exhibition or magazine.

    Not all people out there reading or seeing a pic like that are going to think of it artistically or just think its cute etc...
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    But does the child's awareness of their nudity make it wrong for us to see it? If one child of 6 is downright scared of being naked, and another of 13 has no problem getting undressed for a camera is any damage done? Why is it for a brief period of puberty is it wrong but then when they turn 18 from one day to the next it is ok for them to appear in any sexual way that could possibly be concieved?

    If we were protecting them one would think we'd be more concerned about them at a young age and not at puberty? This seems to be a social rule, I don't think any animal would protect the image of their children more a few years after they were born.
     
  6. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Of course, it also is a social rule, or convention. But we are all socialised beings, too. So while it is nothing for children, teenagers, young adults to also be filmed in documentaries about Papua-New Guinea, for example, or some places in the rainforests of South America, it is a problem to most children in our societies, beyond toddler age up to when they are considered adults who may very well decide for themselves (another convention as to WHEN that moment has come). And, of course, some may always be ok with their being naked and being filmed or photographed in the nude, while many others are not. So I take it that in order to safeguard certain groups of society against any kind of (possible) exploitation (and here we talk about exploiting young children's innocense about nudity), you cannot make up "rules for individuals", but must make up "group regulations".
     

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