Sunday, January 28, 2007

Playing Pretend

So the latest Random Act of Controversy to sweep the United States is the fact that in the movie "Hounddog," the pre-teen Lewellen, played by 12-year-old Dakota Fanning, is raped by a twenty-year-old. Perhaps the most fabulous thing about the uproar is that most of the people who have decried this sign of the impending American Apocalypse haven't even seen the movie, since it's only been screened at the Sundance Film Festival, and hasn't been placed into general release yet.

There seem to be several lines of reasoning behind the criticism, but here are some of the ones that have caught my attention:

1) The participation of a twelve-year-old girl, professional actress or not, in a scene in which she must pretend to be victimized is harmful to her. A child this young is mentally and emotionally damaged by being involved in such activities and will be scarred for life. Pre-teens do not have the maturity needed to be able to appropriately assess the potential for self-harm, and thus cannot give their meaningful consent to their participation, and thusly are being exploited by the adults that should be looking out for them.

2) Movies like this will attract perverts out of the woodwork and into the theaters, hoping to see some legal child pornography in the form of the rape of little girl. Because, of course, they'd rather get their jollies out in public.

3) Children should be effectively neuter, with no hint of sexuality about them until they're adults. That someone would think to rape a child confronts us with the fact that people do acknowledge their sexuality.

4) Big-name child actors and actresses should be "wholesome," and only be seen in moves that people would want to take their own children to. In effect, we want the roles that famous children play to be role models for our own children, and therefore we don't want famous children to do anything that might inform regular children that there is such a thing as S-E-X.

Normally, I'd now proceed to explain to you, at length, why this is all hogwash, but sometimes it's pretty obvious the horse is dead, even before you start beating it.

No comments: