This lecture of Žižek’s hit something that I have not yet, prior to this realization, developed on my theories of posthuman sexuality. To get right down to it, the question would be this: isn’t it interesting that in a society where almost every consensual sexual act is not only condoned but solicited — and even to the extent of using violence, corpses, and excremental objects — child porn still has to remain as a very strong taboo? Of course I by no means condone pedophilia, but what I find very ridiculous is the flimsy argument of age that is taken as a symbolic line separating those able of having the socio-cognitive function of consensus and those unable. I mean, we are today more than ever very diligent people when it comes to teaching children of consensus and openness — say for determining a weekend trip — and didn’t we say we believe Freud when he said children are really not asexual creatures? So shouldn’t the golden rule of postmodernity of “If all sides agreed, and it will bring pleasure to all sides, it’s only politically correct to do” also apply here? What is going on?
With Žižek, I would assert that this fear of pedophilia is not as much a moral obligation as it is an excuse necessary in the construction of a sacred other. To put it frankly, one is able to commit all sorts of crimes and indulge in all sorts of obscene debaucheries and still mentally function only when one has faith that there is some part of the society that is still pure and innocent. This “sacred other” in today’s society is very well served by, of course, children. This total negation of the notion of child sexuality is precisely the move that enable us to exploit all kinds of perversion within us — as long as we love innocent children and keep them away from these dangers until they reach their 18th birthday, we can feel free to do anything we want to do.
What does this have to do with posthumanity? Extrapolating Žižek’s claim further, I notice that a very much celebrated online way (or perhaps the way) of this protect-the-children movement is — you guessed it — age verification. It is as though human society is allowed to become posthuman only after they reach a certain age. What is going on here? It is easy to dismiss this as logical protective gesture, but when you see the amount of discourse circulating that in essence worry about what effect a world inhabited by subjects of fluid, arbitrary identities will have on human children, you would understand why I prefer to take this as a sign that something highly traumatic is going on in the process of identity (hence sexuality) construction in cyberspace.
What is this trauma, and how should we read the discourses of child protection? I’ll keep you updated with more findings and resources. Stay tuned to The Posthuman Marxist! :)