Youth Public Health Unzipped

Playboy March, 1996-Cover

Use of the pseudo-child technique -- adults dressing and acting like children -- is standard-fare pornography.

"Pornographers also fashion clever programs to support their campaign of female subordination. Perhaps the most famous is Playboy magazine's Playboy Interview, which has featured presidents, legislators, athletes, authors, artists, major sports figures, psychiatrists, Hollywood stars, scholars, and many other luminaries, whose presence legitimizes the rest of the magazine's content."

--Laura J. Lederer, "Pornography and Racist Spech as Hate Propaganda," in The Price We Pay, 139.

"Today we hear much discussion of teenage pregnancy as a top priority social problem. While young girls are becoming mothers, recent research has shown a majority (60%) of babies born to unwed teenage mothers in the U.S. are fathered by adult males, many of whom do not support or parent their children. In one state, the average age of the males impregnating 12- to 17-year-old girls was 24 years old. Two-thirds of the girls had been previously sexually assaulted.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute researched teens and sexual behavior, and concluded that a girl who has sexual experience at a young age is more likely to have had involuntary sex. '74% of women who had intercourse before age 14 and 60% of those who had sex before age 15 report having had sex involuntarily.' State task forces are being formed to study statutory rape laws and prosecution practices as well as other strategies to protect children and to make adult males accountable. This renewed concern about the sexual pressure, coercion and exploitation in 'relationships of power imbalance of age and gender' is long overdue.

While society is looking at ways to draw the line and say clearly that adolescent girls are not 'fair game' we see on Playboy's March 1996 cover, a knock-kneed adolescent in a parochial school uniform depicted as the 'stripper next door' ever ready to symbolically sexually service all male viewers.Playboy continues its practice of sexualizing extreme youth, innocence, vulnerability, and submission. Playboy is flagrantly glamorizing the adolescent student as a sexual target and perpetuating the propaganda of pedophiles that children solicit sex from adults. Catholic schoolgirls as a genre of criminal child pornography and pseudochild adult bookstore porn is standard fare. Recycling these images in a more legitimized commercial sex format only multiplies the harm.

A New York judge commented that, '. . .A society that loses its sense of outrage is doomed to extinction.' Where is the outrage of child advocates, parents, all citizens? A society cannot continue to abandon its responsibility to its children for humanitarian reasons as well as its own future."

--Linnea Smith, "Playboy: R & R for Pedophiles," in Action Agenda: Challenging Sexist and Violent Media Through Education and Action, 2(Winter 1996): 11.