Is it art or pornography to take pictures of naked children?

A demure photograph of a naked female sitting on a rock with white cliffs in the background. Not that controversial you may think, what if I then say the naked female is six years old? The picture has been put on the cover of Australia’s leading arts journal Art Monthly. Kevin Rudd, the Aussie PM, says it’s “disgusting”, others say naked images of children are sexual and should therefore be banned. But should it?

Children need protection from all sorts of exploitation, including being photographed naked for the purpose of arousing excitement.

For people obsessed with sex, any naked beautiful body of whatever age has sexual suggestion and not considered as a piece of art.

In some societies, especially the African ones, it is all normal for very young (male) children to be seen naked in their neighbourhood, due either to poverty or culture. But in other cultures, a child of whatever age shouldn’t be seen naked as it is considered indecent or an invitation to paedophiles.

For a paedophile, the picture of a naked child has only sexual meaning. It has nothing to do with art. Not all parents want their children to be seen naked in public galleries and on websites. They see this as total obscenity.

Child privacy should be protected by the adults. There are other ways of artistically depicting the beauty of childhood without stripping children naked for exhibition in public places frequented by the well and the not-so-well intentioned visitors.

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