Has child sexploitation become accepted in literature culture?
If literature is supposed to reflect cultural values, beliefs, and norms, have we as a society become ok with the use of underage sex scenes in widely publicized books, some even considered classics?
Let’s take for example J.D. Salingers 1945 book Catcher in the Rye. A majority of the book’s premise is focused on a young teenage boy’s sexual curiosity. With numerous references to sex and virginity, this young boy claims he is obsessed with sex even though he is a virgin and even attempts an evening with an escort. Some could argue the relationship between puberty and prepubescent boys can be confusing and quite a difficult time in maturation while others claim the over-glorification of sexual references is a bit taboo.
Stephen King’s popular book It has significantly fewer references to sex than Catcher in the Rye, however, It became quite controversial after it was released due to the group sex scene between 6 preteen boys and 1 preteen girl. Each young boy was to engage in a sexual relationship with the young lady as a means of becoming unified among the group. There’s also the issue of the young girl’s father who, even though not clearly stated in the book, comes off as an abusive sexual predator to his own daughter. Would this book have thrived as well as it did without the controversial group sex or the father’s pedophilic behavior or did that, in turn, help the book make a name for itself?
We can’t talk about child sexploitation without referencing the infamous Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov published in 1955. The book’s entire premise is about a middle-aged man lusting and then seducing a 12-year-old girl. Is this just another sneaky thrill utilizing seduction or boundaries being crossed to achieve success or shameful failure?Some things we know are certain, all 3 books are written by males and all 3 books have been or almost been banned in various different parts of the world. But does the banning of these books help or worsen their popularity? Is it coincidental that these authors are all male or could this be due to some form of male fantasy? Seduction is both a major classic and majorly controversial. Would these books have been as highly publicized without the sexual connotation? We know controversy helps but to what degree? Has a culture dedicated to protecting children become normalized to child sexploitation in literature or is it time to do away with it all?