Eyes Above The Waves

Robert O'Callahan. Christian. Repatriate Kiwi. Hacker.

Monday 27 July 2009

Justifying Evil

This article about sexualised T-shirts for infants hits many of the cliches commonly used to justify vileness.

The slogan products aren't for everyone, but there's definitely a place in our society for provocative humour that pushes the boundaries. Translation: if we think it's funny and it shocks people, then that in itself is a good thing --- no matter who gets hurt.

I've seen lots of T-shirts like that overseas that are a lot more out there. Translation: Because this isn't the worst possible example, it's OK.

You hear the same sort of irrational nonsense used to defend absurdly violent video games and movies, and anything else that degrades human beings for profit.


It's not because people get upset by arbitrary things that these things hurt anyone, or that they degrade anyone.
Identifying arbitrary rules as such is what they seem to call 'pushing the boundaries'. I don't see that as irrational.
The making of associations between text on the clothing of a baby that can't read and some undefined 'sexualisation of children' is the irrational thing in this story.
"There's quite a lot of research showing the sexualisation of children can be harmful to their mental and physical health."
I don't see any facts in the article. The quote above sounds plain stupid to me if these t-shirts are worn by 1-year olds? So I don't see the harm.
That said, some of the shirts were crude and I might see me letting my kid wear one to a friend's house, for laughs, but not anywhere else.
Sometimes people see seriousness in things because you're supposed to be serious and not because you need to be.
IMO the fact that the baby can't read and doesn't know or understand the message that his or her clothing is broadcasting is the worst part of this, not a mitigation as previous commenters seem to be saying.
I was not implying that it's better or worse to put the t-shirt on a baby that can't read.
I *was* implying that their sole argument stating 'sexualisation of children' as being harmful is even more ridiculous when the child has no chance of being aware of the sexual intent.
*yawns* It slightly disgruntles me that someone so intelligent could be so ignorant to facts.
The current generation of youth has a historically low violence rate. Maybe you have a distaste to movies and games, but games have an almost entirely beneficiary effect and there are little to no serious studies that show otherwise. With perhaps the one exception of driving games.
Anyway, very unlikely you'll bother reading fact based articles rather than emotive arguments.
Simon: therefore, what, babies should not wear any clothing with writing on them?
The infant knows nothing about this, but older children do. Enough.
Robert O'Callahan
By all means cite your references, Damian!
Amidst the competing studies (and knowing how science works, most of them on both sides have an agenda), one thing I'm sure of is that ultra-violent movies have a bad effect on *me*, and therefore I suspect on some others at least. I'm not so sure about the more extreme video games, since I haven't played them.
The problem with these T-shirts is not what the baby thinks. The problem is promoting the idea in our culture at large that from age zero children are sexual creatures.
But the point of my post wasn't even really about how bad these things are. It's about the irrational defenses raised for them, especially the assumption that "pushing the boundaries" --- i.e. shocking and upsetting people --- is de facto a good thing.
I think a better translation of the first excuse would be "Just because you're shocked doesn't mean it's wrong."
It's very debatable. A lot of those aren't even sexualizing; they're just implying the kid is *aware that sex exists*. The worst of them is probably "I'm living proof my mum is easy" (oh, that wacky sexism), not "I'm a tits man". Which would be funny if it weren't so stupid.
I think your apprehension of sex or promotion of it is typical of anyone growing up in the west under the tyranny of the western religions (Judeo-Christian) that consider sex and sexuality as something vile, or something to be ashamed of. It's one of the major differences between us, and say, Japan.
It's also typical to think that violent crimes (especially sex related crimes such as rape) are caused by people who watch porn and play violent video games and that sex education is bad because it creates promiscuous teenagers, yet research (http://www.hawaii.edu/PCSS/online_artcls/pornography/prngrphy_rape_jp.html) shows that there's no connection, and in fact, sex education can help with rape prevention and early reporting.
Robert O'Callahan
You guess incorrectly.
I grew up as a non-Christian in a non-Christian family.
I'm enthusiastically pro-sex --- in marriage --- and not ashamed to be so, or say so. This is in accordance with everything I've heard taught in churches.
I'm also generally pro-sex-education, although there are no doubt particular examples of sex education I wouldn't approve of.