The Gendered Dimensions of Sexting: Assessing the Applicability of Canada's Child Pornography Provision
Jane Bailey & Mouna Hanna, "The Gendered Dimensions of Sexting: Assessing the Applicability of Canada’s Child Pornography Provision", 23 Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 406 (2011)
37 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2013
Date Written: 2011
Serious negative short- and long-term consequences can flow from teen and adolescent sexting, particularly where images are distributed beyond their intended initial recipient, and affect both the individual depicted and potentially teens and children collectively. Although some US states have prosecuted teens for child pornography offenses for both one-to-one sexting and for unauthorized redistribution of sexts, there is a dearth of reported sexting prosecutions in Canada. While there are many good reasons for Canadian legal authorities not to prosecute similarly aged teens engaged in consensual one-to-one sexting, Canada’s child pornography provision could technically apply to certain instances of this kind of sexting as well as to unauthorized redistribution to others. The technical applicability of the provision to consensual one-to-one sexts may be unevenly borne by girls who already appear both to be more likely than boys to send a sexualized self-representation and to suffer negative social consequences as a result. Prosecutors should not com- pound the negative social consequences already disproportionately borne by girls by criminalizing them for one-to-one sexts with intimate partners who were naively trusted to maintain their confidentiality. Nor should legal authorities hesitate to pursue unauthorized redistributions by former intimates that do engage the child pornography provision’s underlying objectives.
Keywords: teen, adolescent, sexting, Canada, sexting prosecutions, child pornography, Canada's child pornography provisions, sexualized self representation, law, unauthorized redistributions, child pornography
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