Reisman Won Playboy Libel Suit | Posted: December 11, 2011

Study Reveals Porn Magazines Promote Sexual Abuse of Children

Fundamentalist Journal, February 1987, Volume 6, Issue 2 (original)
Fundamentalist Journal, February 1987, Volume 6, Issue 2, p. 60-62, excerpt

FJ-6-2_Study-Reveals-Porn-Magazines-Promote-Sexual-Abuse-of-Children_1By Martin Mawyer

Judith Reisman has finished her study of Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler magazines. It is full of complicated phrases: "child magnets," "psuedo-children," "adult receiver," "pairing of stimuli," and "child/adult juxtaposition."

What?

A dictionary will not help. A remedial English course would be useless. And a degree in syntactics would be a waste of time. But don't worry, when all the scholarly verbiage is stripped away, the conclusion of the report is quite simple: The nation's most popular pornographic magazines promote the sexual and violent abuse of children.

In a study funded by the Department of Justice, and which took nearly two years to complete, Reisman researched 373 issues of Playboy, 184 issues of Penthouse, and 126 issues of Hustler magazines.

Her findings?

Children were depicted in photos, illustrations, and cartoons 6,004 times!

"I had anticipated only half that number when we started the study," Reisman said. "And I was very shocked that children had emerged in these magazines so early--that they were there in 1954. That shocked me."

"These materials have been validating the concept of the child as being seductive and wanting sex with adults."

Reisman was referring to a 1954 Playboy issue that depicted a small boy offering money to a naked woman in bed for sex.

"Even if the children in these magazines were neutral--that is, even if they were in little dresses and gowns and tops and were not committing sexual acts--that would be of enough concern. But we found that of the 6,004 images, the majority showed children in a sexual or violent context.

"These children were much more likely to be associated with having sex with adults. And the children were portrayed as unharmed and enjoying the sexual interactions.

"I was very shocked that children had emerged in these magazines so early--that they were there in 1954."

Among the 6,004 child depictions:

  • 1,675 children were either nude or displayed with a naked adult.
  • 1,225 children were involved in some type of genital activity.
  • 989 children were involved in sexual activity with adults.
  • 792 adults were portrayed as psuedo-children, that is, adults were dressed to appear as children.
  • 592 children were featured in violent or forceful situations.
  • 267 children were associated with animals or objects

"All of this is communication," Reisman said. "All of this is education--an education that has been delivered to this society for over 30 years.

"The core of that education is this: Children are seductive and craving for sex.

"These materials have been validating--over and over, month after month--the concept of the child as being seductive and wanting sex with adults. This is not accurate sex information. But it is the sex education that these magazines have delivered for three decades."

But when the statistics and numbers are swept aside, what did Reisman find? One of the most disturbing findings was the use of psuedo-children in the magazines.

On the front cover Playboy's April 1976 issue, for instance, an adult female is dressed in a party skirt, holding a stuffed rabbit, surrounded by rag dolls and teddy bears, sitting in a white rocking chair, and wearing Mary-Jane shoes. She is wearing nothing from the waist up.

Typically, the producers of the magazines have a number of ways of displaying the psuedo-child. The adult may either be in diapers, a fetal position, an oversized rocking chair, or sucking on a finger or thumb. More often, the adult is surrounded by children's objects--Fisher-Price toys, baby bottles, coloring books, toy trains, lots of stuffed animals. Occasionally, the adult is cast in a fairy-tale setting. One of the more elaborate--and expensive--fairy-tale settings appeared in a Hustler publication. The setting was titled, "In the Land of Aaahs." The scenario showed Dorothy (of the fictional classic "Wizard of Oz") in many sexually explicit interactions with the Lion, Tin Man, and Straw Man.

Reisman believes that displaying children--or adults dressed as children--in these magazines tends to create a sexual arousal for real children. In more technical terms, Reisman says, "The presence of children in a sexually explicit context is very dangerous. The pairing of stimuli can potentiate an arousal to the one stimuli when the other is not present."

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Another disturbing finding is the apparent callousness the magazines displayed toward the violent sexual abuse of children. For instance, in an August 1975 issue of Playboy, and advertisement for OUI magazine (owned by Playboy at that time) stated: "How One Family Solved Its Discipline Problem." Pictured above this heading is a naked young girl hand-cuffed and sitting on a bed with unusually battered bedposts. The text reads: "This is Jane. When she is nice, she is very, very nice. But when she is naughty, she has to be punished. Lately, Jane has been very, very naughty.

"That's why, in the current issue of OUI magazine, Jane is pictured in a variety of poses that restrict here movement. It was movement that got Jane into trouble in the first place. So you see, it's for here own good. And not incidentally, your pleasure."

The advertisement suggests sadomasochistic sex toward siblings.

Equally revolting are the numerous cartoons that desecrate children.

In a Penthouse (December 1997) cartoon, a toddler is shown splattered on the floor, riddled with bullet holes. Santa stands above him, holding a machine gun, and saying, "That'll teach you to be a good boy."

"If the public becomes aware of what we have found, we will see a dramatic change in the acceptability of these magazines."

In Hustler's December 1976 issue a doctor is shown crushing an infant with his hands after a woman has just given birth. The doctor asks the mother, "So, you can't pay your bill, heh, Mrs. Jones?"

Other disturbing findings include incest in cartoons and pictorials (two such examples include the features, "Father Knows Best" in Playboy, and "Mother and Daughter" in Penthouse); the use of fairy-tale themes in cartoons--including Peter Pan, Santa Claus, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood; and the promotion of bestiality, sadomasochism, and drugs. For example, a Playboy satire on the Boy Scouts suggests a merit badge for "free-basing."

Reisman's report (which bears an exhaustive government title, "Images of Children, Crime and Violence in Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler") recommends that her findings be disseminated to public agencies, educators, policymakers, parents and juveniles.

"If the public becomes aware of what we have found in these magazines, we will see a dramatic change in the acceptability of these magazines," Reisman said.

She predicted, "I think we would see a tremendous boycott. I think we would see an overwhelming response by the public to take action. We would see communities protecting themselves from these kinds of materials. This report has the potential of fermenting a tremendous amount of community concern and change."