ESTONIAN ACADEMY
PUBLISHERS
eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
PUBLISHED
SINCE 1997
 
TRAMES cover
TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
Impact Factor (2021): 0.467
SEXUALIZATION OF CHILDREN IN DEEPFAKES AND HENTAI; pp. 229–248
PDF | 10.3176/tr.2022.2.07

Author
Simone Eelmaa
Abstract

Technological advancements have begun to blur the line between the virtual and real, bringing about more threats to the safety and well-being of children. One such is creating virtual child sexual abuse material (CSAM) using deepfake technology. Another significant and well-established strand of creating overtly sexual content is hentai, in its meaning of anime and manga pornography. In early 2018, the online platform Reddit changed its rules on simulated pornography and sexually suggestive content involving minors after mainstream media raised deepfakes-related concerns. Based on a large dataset (N = 13293) of Reddit comments collected on the topic, this article takes a qualitative approach to examine Reddit users’ views and attitudes about the sexualization of minors (SOM) in deepfakes and hentai. The analysis captured five major themes in the discussion over SOM: illegality, art, promoting pedophilia, increase in offending and general harmfulness. Furthermore, the discussion was underscored by the central question of who is a minor, which feeds the already problematic definitional ambiguity and keeps the perceived discursive boundaries of the illegality of SOM in flux.

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