Osynlig ruta
FmP's logotype
mot Pornografi

The People's Organisation against Pornography

Swedish flag Homesite
in Swedish

English flag First Page

English flag History

in English:

Osynlig rutaMenypil  Preface
Osynlig rutaMenypil  The example
Osynlig rutaMenypil  The industry and its product
Osynlig rutaMenypil  The allusion
Osynlig rutaMenypil  The politicians & the Legislation
Osynlig rutaMenypil  Society
Osynlig rutaMenypil  What to do
Osynlig rutaMenypil  About FmP

To The Swedish Women's Front

Osynlig ruta

Photo of a dummy teat

Pornography of Allusion

For almost ten years,
from 1971 to 1980, it was perfectly legal to distribute child pornography in Sweden. In 1980, when the Child Pornography Act came into force, the worst child-pornography videos were removed from the shelves in the video rental stores; those with the youngest children and the most gross abuse. But behind the porn industry there are businessmen, who were not prepared to give up on their profit that easily. Soon they figured out ways to circumvent the Act and still make money. One of their new ideas was what we in Folkaktionen mot Pornografi usually call pornography of allusion, i.e. pornography where girls and young women are made to look "younger" by means of putting up their hair in bunches, photographing them with teddybears, lollipops, baloons, baby's bottles etc.The Lollipop
     Magazines and films have names/titles that are suggestive of children, like "Schulmädchen", "Teenage Girls", "Babe", "Sweet Little" and so on.
     These films show how men are using their daughters/step-daughters, their neighbours' daughter and other children sexually. Most often the girls are meant to be schoolgirls, but some films allude to even younger children. For example, there might be an adult woman lying in a big cot dressed as a baby, moving a giant pacifier in and out of her vagina while whining like a baby, calling out for daddy, who then comes and uses her sexually.
     In the magazines the pictures alluding to children are interspersed with texts telling the reader that the girls in the pictures are children. Often they are said to "love to undress" in front of men and it might say how she "gets all wet by thinking of her dad's neighbours who can't take their eyes off her innocent body". The girls are described as being innocent and seductive. Articles might also directly allude to incest, for example by having headings like "My horny granddad" and "Incest Joys". The point is to get the reader turned on by little girls, and masturbate to descriptions of child sexual abuse. Pornography stretches the limits – what is forbidden is felt to be allowed.
     But these magazines and films are not illegal according to the Swedish Child Pornography Act, since the Act does not apply to what is written or spoken, but only to pictures.
     The pictures/films alluding to young girls – as does pornography where the childrens evidently are under age – encourages child sexual abuse. It serves as inspiration for sexual abuse. Sometimes the abuse is photographed, and the photographs are in turn used as inspiration for more abuse. Too many adults dismiss this insight, because this kind of knowledge about pornography is too much to bear – for adults.

Playing down Pornography
In almost all contexts in Sweden where pornography is discussed it is referred to as harmless and inoffensive. A few years ago the researcher Kjell Svensson wrote in RFSU's report Tre rapporter om pornografi (3) about commercial pornography and that it contains very little actual violence. He had been studying the actors' behavior in pornographic videos and classified it according to different opinions of what should be considered violence.Photo of a doll
     Kjell Svensson came up with different percentages depending on whether "one" considered for example fistfucking (pornography where someone fucks a woman vaginally, or a woman or a man anally, with a fist) or bondage (pornography where, in general, women are tied up and used sexually) to be violence or not. Unfortunately this way of reasoning about possible violence almost always leads to paralysis – it all boils down to a question of different opinions.
     To get out of this deadlock in the discussion on pornography, violence and its influence, two members of Folkaktionen mot Pornografi, Gerda Christenson and Christina Nilsson, went through the texts on the back-covers of pornographic videos that are sold in ordinary video stores (not in specialised porn shops), the kind of stores that are to be found both in the big cities and in almost every small town and village across the country. The purpose was to get away from the question of who is to define what is violence and look at the intention of the porn industry when it comes to violence and its influence. Therefore, the point of departure for the investigation was what the porn industry itself is saying about the content of the films – on the back covers of the video cassette cases.
     The starting-point was the issue of violence andits influence, but they also acquired knowledge concerning pornography, children and influence.

The Cassette Cover Blurbs
The survey includes 50 videos, which is a rather small sample, but that is still twice as many as in Kjell Svensson's report. There is a quantitative as well as a qualitative section in the survey. In the quantitative section, the texts were classified on a number of recurring themes. Three themes were apparent very early on: the porn industry emphasised that the girls in the films are very young and that they were virgins, they stressed taboos and the breaching of limits, and they expressed threats or described physical violence.
     Phrases which were placed in the category young/virgins were: sexual debut, the little girl, shy amateurs, far too young, almost too young, incredibly young, the youngest girls ever, little girls' bottoms, virgins, novices, teenagers, teenagers' pussies, straight from school, the youngest in the class, baby doll, little lolita but also phrases like cute little doll, the doll in the girl's room and the neighbours' daughter.
     The survey showed that 74 per cent of the back covers contained phrases from the category young/virgins.
     By emphasising so often – as a sales argument – that the girls in the films are children, or almost children, the porn industry imply that it is natural that the consumers/men are turned on by children rather than by adult women.
     Another thing that was striking was the emphasis on violence. 68 per cent of the films included either one or both of the following categories; violence/coercion/threat and delusion/persuasion. Consequently, the porn industry states that a clear majority of the films include sexual acts that the woman/girl participate in against her own will. The porn industry wishes to emphasise – as a sales argument – that the films include more or less non-consensual sexual acts. Why?

Cassette Cover Blurbs in commercial porn films

Taboo/breaching of limits


The Effects of Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is essentially about power. The effects of the abuse are easier to comprehend when they are described in the vocabulary of war; from frontier violation to invasion to complete occupation. The latter applies especially when the child is subjected to abuse regularly, during a long period of time and when the perpetrator is someone close to the child. Apart from the impact of the coercion itself, small children and young teenagers who are subjected to sexual abuse are forced to take on a form of sexuality that they are not psychologically prepared for. Not only does this make them loose trust in the adult/perpetrator. They also loose trust in the world at large, their sense of their own worth and their trust in their own senses. Sexual abuse robs children and teenagers of their basic feeling of security. Bad self-confidence, bad conception of their own bodies and feelings of guilt and shame are things that children who have been sexually abused have in common.
     Some perpetrators have themselves been victims of sexual abuse, and from that fact stems the theory that victims of sexual abuse become perpetrators themselves. Apart from the fact that many perpetrators have not been victims of sexual abuse, it is a sex blind theory. Most of the children subjected to sexual abuse are girls and almost all perpetrators are men. But if children and teenagers who have been sexually abused do not get help and support, there is a considerable risk that they end up in different forms of abuse; abuse of food, sex and/or drugs, that they get psychological problems, and/or end up in prostitution and pornography.
     Furthermore, if the sexual abuse has been photographed or filmed, they have to live with the painful knowledge that those documents are being distributed continually, to anyone, any time - today they might be spread all over the word through computer networks.
     Traci Lords is one of those children, who as an adult has to watch as the films are spread across the world, so that millions of men can masturbate to the abuse she was subjected to, over and over again.

Child Pornography as Sales Argument
The porn industry knows what it is doing, and its exploitation of children and teenage girls is deliberate. The back covers speak for themselves, they show the intention of the porn industry with great clarity. Expressions in English are frequently occurring, and at first glance they might seem to be used as euphemisms, but the consumers know what for example fistfucking, bondage and S/M (sadomasochism) mean. Just like the commonly used "gang-bang" – American slang for gang rape.
     The back covers we have chosen to use as examples in this pamphlet are among the milder. Like pornography in general, pornography of allusion has also become increasingly brutal and violent. There are magazines and films which make the connection between sexual violence, sadism and young girls even more overtly. A sequence of films called "Teenage perversions", for example. On the covers there are a lollipop, a broken peppermint rock and a metal dildo with spikes, enclosed by a spiked leather collar. In addition, there is a picture of a different girl on each film in the sequence. The back covers tell that in the films girls are subjected to piss, shit & anal sex, bondage etc. In pornography of allusion, one can find all elements occurring in other pornography, even teenage girls having sex with animals.

Pornography of Allusion & Racism
Pornography is also strongly racist. Among other things there are among the pornography of allusion specialised porn magazines and films with "Thai Lolitas" and feature stories about the "sex paradises" in South East Asia, articles which explicitly encourage men to use prostitutes. And men from the West continue to travel to South East Asia to rape the women and children of the Third World.

Conscious Choises
Most of what the porn industry is doing is very deliberate and well calculated. Film titles, names of magazines and the content of magazines and films are not made up haphazardly, nor are the back cover blurbs. These are an instrument used to make people buy/rent the films.
     And thus, an instrument often used is the premise that it is normal and natural and even desirable for adult men to get turned on by young girls.

The same Basic Theme
There is really nothing strange in this. Pornography gives a picture of woman-hating driven to an extreme, but it does not at all contradict with the basic view present everywhere in society. The English sociologist Liz Kelly writes:

"Across many cultures sexual access to girls and young women is often the prerogative of powerful men: chiefs, priests and religious leaders through customs such as devadasi. The western echo of this age-old patriarchal tradition can be seen in the prerequisite young girlfriend (occasionally "under age") of older rich men. There is an important theme here which links male power, economic power and social status with sexual access to girls and young women". (4)

     Having this awareness as a base makes it easier to understand the resistance towards doing anything about pornography that there is in society.

Photo of a doll's pram

Nota bene: The survey about the back cover blurbs has not yet been published. Folkaktionen mot Pornografi (The People's Organisation against Pornography) has tried to get funding for the cost of printing from several different places, but so far has only had negative replies.

3. Våld, dominans och sexualitet. En innehållsanalys av pornografiska videofilmer. (Violence, domination and sexuality. An analysis of the content of pornographic films) by Kjell Svensson in RFSU's Tre rapporter om pornografi (Three reports on Pornography), 1993. Up arrow
4. Liz Kelly: Weasel Words: Paedophiles and the Cycle of Abuse in Trouble & Strife 33/1996, p.45. Up arrow

To the top Up arrow    

   Left arrowLeft arrow PREVIOUS PAGE

NEXT PAGE Right arrowRight arrow   

© Photo: Gerda Christenson.

Feel free to quote this pamphlet, but please state the sourse.

Osynlig ruta

Osynlig ruta