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The Fear of Child SexualityYoung People, Sex, and Agency$
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Steven Angelides

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226648460

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226648774.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

The Uncanny Sexual Child

The Uncanny Sexual Child

Chapter:
(p.1) One The Uncanny Sexual Child
Source:
The Fear of Child Sexuality
Author(s):

Steven Angelides

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226648774.003.0001

Chapter 1 examines a sex panic surrounding the artwork of one of Australia’s internationally acclaimed artists, Bill Henson. Known for his photography on adolescents, Henson was at the center of a scandal about images of naked teenagers exhibited in an exhibition in Sydney in 2008. The Australian nation fiercely debated whether these works, one of which depicts a 12-year-old girl with budding breasts and hairless pudenda, are art or pornography. While tracing the polarization of debate around art versus pornography, innocence versus its adulteration, the chapter is about what has been much less discussed, even obscured, in the way the scandal unfolded. Encapsulating the principle contention of this book, it argues that what has been obscured, misrecognized, and avoided is the subject of child sexuality and agency, and this is as central, if not more, to the issue's volatility as the avowed concerns about sexualization and exploitation.

Keywords:   child sexuality, the uncanny, Bill Henson, photography, naked teenagers, agency

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