Sunday, January 30, 2011

The show appeared in GQ magazine.


Glee is a TV show that airs on Fox in the US. It is classed as a musical comedy-drama, and it follows the trials and tribulations of high school teenagers as they wend there collective ways through some good old teenage angst issues. Interesting a lot of the cast are not teenagers at all but adult actors playing the role of teenagers. Apart from being a pretty popular TV series, Glee has come in for some closer scrutiny after a recent photo-shoot of some of the 20-something actors (Lea Michele, Dianna Agron, and Corey Monteith) from the show appeared in GQ magazine.

The controversy arose because the Parents Television Council in the US has labelled the photos as "bordering on paedophilia". This in turn raises some interesting legal issues as to how one should proceed when adult age actors who are play the roles of teenagers then pose for sexy photos. Can the sexy photo of a 20+ something actor ever be an image that promotes pedophilia. It would seem that the assumption is that because these actors play the roles of not yet of age teenagers then any image of them that sexualises them is promoting pedophilia.

The reality is that if these young people use their fame to promote themselves through sexy photo-shoots, even ones that overtly sexualise them, don't they have a right to do it? After all, the people involved are all of legal age, and by any definition of the law have a right to make the decisions that they have. The photos themselves are not pornographic and do not violate any decency standards or norms for television or for print media.

Nevertheless, this is an interesting legal issue that extends beyond this particular instance. For example, can purveyors of porn be arrested and jailed for the upload / download of images of adults wearing, or part wearing of, school uniforms? In a lot of jurisdictions the law has been amended or worded in such a way as what the image attempts to convey or the content as being the key determiner in whether an image is classified as child porn.

So, simply if the point is to provide sexual gratification through the belief that one is looking at a naked or near naked child, even where the "child" in question is in fact an adult, then a crime has been committed. At least this is how I understand the law to work (time for more research and update myself on the laws in this area).

Therefore, if that interpretation of the law is accurate, then is it possible to mount a child porn case with images like the ones in GQ? I would argue not. Any reasonable person would know that the young people depicted in these images are adults and not children.

I am not sure how these particular photos promote pedophilia. I must be missing something.