Ethics Quiz: “Hot As Hell” Bikinis For Toddlers

We haven’t had a good “Icky or Unethical?”  issue for a while. Here is one to start off your week…strangely.

Last weekend, as I’m sure you all know, commenced Miami Swim Week 2016, which runs though July 19. During the  swimwear fashion and trade show (now in its 12th year!), designers, buyers and models from around the world come to Miami Beach to promote the latest in swim wear.

This year, the brand Hot As Hell featured adult-style bathing suits for little girls. Tiny models walked down the runway, strutting their stuff. Often they were accompanied by full grown models wearing similar out fits, like this…

Hot as Hell2

or this…

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Many observers were horrified, and  pronounced the bikinis, the line, and the runway display disturbing, child porn, titillation for pederasts, child abuse, and another dangerous step into the societal abyss of sexualizing childhood. Others have responded with “Aw, they’re so cute!”, “Oh, get over it” and “You’re the one with the dirty mind!”

Hmmmm.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz to begin this Republican National Convention Week of Shame is…

Are the kiddie bikinis unethical, or just icky?

I don’t even reach that question, since my long-standing position is that using models this young on a fashion runway is per se unethical—irresponsible, unfair, exploitive— no matter what they are modeling, including burkas.

So, for the sake of argument, let’s stipulate that using child models isn’t inherently wrong—though it is--and just focus on this kind of modeling. Let’s even take the name of the brand out of the equation, since I hope we can agree that even suggesting that little girls in bikinis are “Hot as Hell” is ethically problematic.

What’s your answer?

_____________________

Pointer, Facts and Photos: The Sun

72 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: “Hot As Hell” Bikinis For Toddlers

  1. Does the affect on the child leave them better prepared for balanced and healthy adulthood or less prepared? Or even worse does the affect on the child leave them on the imbalanced side of a healthy psychology for life?

    Answer that and you’ve got your answer to the quiz.

  2. French aristocrats during the reign’s of the higher-numbered Louis’ used to dress kids 6 and under in sexy adult-style clothes (for the time) and pose them in various sexual positions on beds. Can you say “French Revolution”? Yes, unethical…and dangerous…possibly a predictor.

  3. Unethical AND icky. It’s up there with kiddie beauty contests. These photos, because they are not “posed,” don’t seem as bad as the “glamour” shots I’ve seen for the beauty contests, although I wonder what I would think if I saw a video of this spectacle. I am still haunted by the professional photos of Jon Benet Ramsay that we all saw back then. They turned that poor little girl into an abomination of childhood.

  4. Eee-yuch! Icky AND unethical. It’s one thing to take a picture of family members in swimsuits on the beach FOR other family members (although you shouldn’t overshare those, which is a separate ethical discussion). It’s also one thing to catch kids in a photograph that’s clearly meant to be of something else (another separate discussion of regulation of ordinary behavior). However, to deliberately dress kids up in what’s supposed to look sexy on a grown woman and parade them like grown women, sometimes alongside grown women, just so the audience doesn’t fail to make the connection? Who are we kidding here? I’m ok with other costuming of kids and adults, like an adult dressed as a military officer with a kid drummer boy, or an adult dressed as a medieval knight or nobleman with a kid page or squire, but those are both 1. historically accurate, and 2. not focusing on sex or sex appeal.

  5. I caved this year and bought a bikini for each of my girls (6 and 7). Other than showing their belly, they are very modest. They only wore them once on our beach vacation and instead preferred to wear their one piece swimsuits and two piece (full shirt and bottom) swimsuits. I think I made the right decision to not fight them on the purchase and also not to press them to wear something that they didn’t feel comfortable in.

    • I don’t think that two-pieces for little girls are inherently unethical. Your approach is completely responsible and reasonable. It begins edging into weird territory when Bardot mom is walking the beach in the same bikini 5-year-old Brigita is wearing.

  6. sexualizing children before they can understand the implications and encouraging adults who damn well should know better to think of them as sex objects by presenting them as sexualzied.

    That’s not ick, it’s harmful.

    Now…. shall we talk about how those little girls are being trained to accept and expect the male gaze?

  7. Can I go with “it depends?” The yellow swimsuits in the first picture and the one-piece with the cutout sides seem fine to me, and having the mom with the bikini matching the one-piece is also fine, if kinda cutsey. The string top bikinis cross the line to me, not because of the amount of flesh shown but because they’re obviously designed to draw attention to the amount of flesh shown.

    They’re also impractical. As an adult it’s hard enough to keep a string top bikini on in the ocean, for kids running and playing it’s just not going to happen. And I think that’s an ethical consideration as well, in that it’s wrong to dress your kids in a way that hinders their ability to enjoy, or discourages them from participating in, the expected age-appropraite activities. (If the kid insists, I think that’s a place where negotiation needs to happen on the basis of kids not being the best at foresight.)

  8. My (almost) 6-yr old wears an SPF shirt for full coverage when in the sun. I think that’s the responsible thing for a parent to push, especially at higher altitudes where I am. People in Colorado don’t get bronzed, they get red and then they peel.

    But I suppose that’s not the question….but it’s all I’m offering as comment on this.

  9. Both. They aren’t ready for and shouldn’t need that kind of attention. And the adults who want then sexualized don’t need to get what they want. Cute is matching saddle shoes, not plunge necklines.

  10. There’s a spray park near my house where more than a few kids cavort quite happily naked. A few of the young girls wear nothing more than a swim diaper, so they are *gasp* topless. I guess I don’t see it as unethical. It’s an ick for people who are uncomfortable with it.
    Bikinis for girls are fine, if ornamental. Modeling bikinis is also fine, if, as stipulated, modeling in general for kids is fine. As long as they aren’t being used in titillating or provocative poses, I don’t see the issue. It’s just some clothing, and I don’t see bikinis a being inherently titillating or provocative. I suppose a person’s answer might change if they did. Otherwise, it’s just some kids walking down a runway, at least in the pictures shown. I mean Target and Walmart sell bikinis for little girls, and they advertise them online and in the papers with girl models. I see it on Sundays in the paper, some with far more skin than what is being shown in the pictures above. I’m not sure why this particular show sparked outrage, except for the name of the overall brand. It’s just ick at work, nothing more.

    • “There’s a spray park near my house where more than a few kids cavort quite happily naked.”

      #10 What the kids don’t know won’t hurt them?

      “A few of the young girls wear nothing more than a swim diaper, so they are *gasp* topless.”

      #43?

      A swim diaper? So you are discussing what I assume is age 3 and under?

      The span of children this ethics quiz covers is considerably wider than just that. For children that age and younger, a valid argument could be made that they are COMPLETELY unaware of the implications and need of modesty and their bodies. Though just as valid an argument would be made applying older children’s standards to them as well…vis a vis the child-leash discussion many moons ago.

      “I guess I don’t see it as unethical. It’s an ick for people who are uncomfortable with it.”

      This would be a combined 57 / 48, but given that’s it’s an ethics quiz, I think it’s permitted.

      “Bikinis for girls are fine, if ornamental.”

      Are they? Believe it or not, there is actually an interesting key here that makes the “topless 2 year old” *better* than a scanty bikini clad 4 or 5 year old…

      For one thing, the bikini is designed for developed women. That is to say their boobs are the reason bikinis are invented. To pretend that it bikinis aren’t related to boobs is silliness. More modest swimwear, then is and was designed for, you guessed it, modesty for women, should they so choose. Less modest swimwear, is designed obviously, to be less modest. No doubt someone (I think I know who) will come back and make the argument that “No, they are way more comfortable and utilitarian!”, but please, it’s to show skin. And that’s fine for an adult woman to make that choice.

      Now, you run into issues of protecting a child’s modesty who, frankly, isn’t old enough to understand the implications and reasons for less-modest options. Parents owe it to their children to protect them.

      If the bikini, then, is designed for *developed* women, to put undeveloped little girls into said swimwear is to force the image on them of the purpose of bikinis. So yes, it does make some rather immodest associations with the little girls.

      “It’s just some clothing,”

      Not really.

      “and I don’t see bikinis a being inherently titillating or provocative.”

      “I mean Target and Walmart sell bikinis for little girls, and they advertise them online and in the papers with girl models.”

      Everybody Does it.

      “I see it on Sundays in the paper, some with far more skin than what is being shown in the pictures above.”

      Again, plus “It’s not the worst thing”

      “I’m not sure why this particular show sparked outrage, except for the name of the overall brand.”

      Maybe Jack hasn’t thought of doing a post on it until now. It doesn’t matter how soon Jack is sparked to write something on a topic. This statement is just a diversion. Try again.

      The problem is what this does to little girls growing up. As I stipulated in my first post. Answer that question and you’ll have the answer to the quiz.

    • See, I actually think little girls going topless in places where it’s allowed is more ethical. It’s not a matter of what’s being shown– little girls have no more to show than little boys — but the context. Going topless is indicating that there’s nothing there to cover up (true) while a string bikini is implying that something should be covered, but most of it isn’t. That teasing is sexual, even if this is just a case of adults allowing (or encouraging) kids to imitate them.

      To me, it’s similar to the difference between allowing a teenager to regularly have a glass of wine at dinner and buying a teenager a keg for their sixteenth birthday. The former kid might drink more regularly, and more overall, but the context encourages responsible behavior that a teenager can handle. The latter kid might only drink at parties, which many adults also do, but the context isn’t one that a teenager can be expected to understand. A topless little girl is explicitly not sexual, a context she should be fine in. A little girl in a string bikini is in a context she can’t and shouldn’t be expected to understand or navigate.

        • Though I would argue that at a certain age (sooner than I think you agree to) that even an undeveloped girl (even boys) ought to be geared towards modesty. It certainly empowers them to make decisions regarding their own modesty from an uncompromised stance as adults.

          • I’m not sure I could nail down an age or modesty level, because, once again, context. For age, a public beach or pool is a different situation from a backyard pool, and the backyard pool depends on the ages and genders of the other people there, what’s available to swim in (like, if the kid forgot their swimsuit), etc. I’d say somewhere between four and seven. It’s like any other adult behavior, there needs to be room for kids to be kids, but they also have to learn how to be adults somewhere in there.

            In terms of modesty, I’d say specifically “normal adult dress not intended to attract sexural attention.” Like I said in my original post, I don’t see a problem with the one-shoulder one piece swimsuit with the cut out sides in the second picture– it’s not the most modest swimsuit out there, but I think it’s on par with what you’d normally see. A halter or tube top (with straps) two piece? Okay, sure. For tweens I could even be talked into an actual bikini with enough fabric on top.

            My modesty rule of thumb is that if I would wear it– as a 33 year old mother who is not a swimsuit model and who has some god damn sense– it’s probably an okay style for a little girl. 🙂

  11. To focus on the question about kiddie bikinis. For many, there is an obvious “ick” factor. I imagine post people would be startled by seeing a 5- or 6-year-old in a string bikini. As someone mentioned in an earlier post, it reeks of child beauty pageants.
    The ethical questions, however, will require an examination of the bikini’s intended use.
    Bikinis weren’t invented nor worn because of their comfort or because they represent the best in swimwear. In fact, they are often uncomfortable and have to be readjusted to keep wearers from popping out when involved in any sort of physical activity, be it swimming or otherwise. Bikinis became popular because they’re sexy and allowed women to show lots of skin and cleavage (and for the thong bikinis, even more) to draw the attention of men, and they allowed women to have that all-over tan (which is now, of course, frowned upon) that was all the rage in previous decades. How many times have women unlaced or unclipped the back of their bikini while tanning, so as not to have tan lines and to drive men a little crazy? This was flirting 101 for those in high school and college for many generations, from the founding of the bikini to today.
    So now we know the allure of the bikini, sex appeal and better tanning coverage.
    Then to look back at the question: Are kiddie bikinis unethical or just icky? I suggest they are both. It’s both disgusting and unethical to seek to increase the tanning capabilities or the sexiness of little girls. It’s also wrong to limit the activities a child can do at the beach or pool, because they (or their parents) have to continually readjust their swimsuit, and to risk sunburn of a young child because she is only wearing a few scraps of clothing. Finally, prepubescent little girls are not little women and they shouldn’t be dressed as such.

    • I think it definitely depends on the design of the bikini. Most of the ones for little girls are mostly spandex(there aren’t any curves to design around), so it’s a matter of showing belly. I don’t think tanning, or lack thereof really is ethical or not. In a perfect world, no one would tan, as it increases cancer risk, so hopefully the kid is sporting some serious SPF either way.

      I don’t think most of the kids bikinis I have seen, bearing Disney princess characters were built for sex appeal. Just like their belly-concealing counterparts, they seemed to be designed for cuteness. As I’ve stated before, I don’t think a bikini is inherently sexy, it really is just two pieces of cloth. Whatever meaning we put in there beyond that is up to the connotation and experiences of the observer. If a person sees “sexy kid” when they see a kid dressed in your run-of-the-mill child bikini, perhaps the problem is with them, and not with what the kid is wearing?
      Jeez, let a kid be a kid. If they want a two piece instead of being stuffed into a one piece, let them . It will probably one of the few years when they won’t feel self-conscious in one. Such handwringing over (almost always exclusively) little girls’ sexuality is just sad, and is really, in the end, a reflection about how uncomfortable we still are with adult women’s sexuality as well. If the kids aren’t being forced into it, let them have some meaningless freedoms without trying to put our adult complexes onto it. There is absolutely no harm from a bikini versus a one piece versus swim trunks.

      • Ninety percent of the time, my kids wear a two-piece, it’s just that the top is a SPF shirt. It is much easier for young girls to navigate a wet two-piece in a bathroom stall than a one-piece.

        I think there is a healthy middle ground on this issue. There are those pervs who are going to see sexuality in children even if they are wrapped in a blanket at all times. But we shouldn’t be dressing our kiddos in string bikinis either. That’s just gross.

        • A few things to clarify my point:
          *Making a toddler wear a bikini isn’t a nice thing to do. There will be constant readjustments and extra skin to cover with sunblock.
          *Tanning over the decades has led to increased rates of skin cancer, even in some who are barely out of high school. Encouraging tanning or actually having a child get a sunburn because you missed a spot of coverage on her string bikini is unethical and dangerous.
          *The bikinis in the photo above are not appropriate for children, in any way. They are miniaturized adult swimsuits on little girls, created to make them look like little women, which they are not.
          *A two-piece swimsuit is not a bikini. My daughter has a three piece swimsuit: top (ties around her neck, but is long, like a shirt, around her trunk), bikini bottom, and shorts that go over them. My daughter is modest, so always wears the shorts when swimming, but I have no problem with a young girl wearing two-piece. I do have issues with a young girl wearing a bikinis, especially string bikinis.
          *Kids aren’t “stuffed” into a one-piece swimsuit any more than they are stuffed into a two-piece, or any other type of clothing. Bikinis, on the other hand, are not fun to put on and they constantly need readjusting, especially if there is swimming or other activities involved.

  12. I just can’t wrap my head around anything associated with this, the thought process behind designing attitude suggestive swimsuit for children, the parents allowing their daughters to be paraded in such a way; to me it’s ALL unethical, icky, and wrong.

    To me it looks like the same kind of thing depicted in some movies, parading slaves around at a slave auction to get the best price.

    I don’t like modeling much.

  13. The words of Elizaveta daughter of Josue, shoe-peddler of Caracas in the territory of Venezuela: 😉

    It is something that I notice often here, yet in pointing it out I stress that it is only my opinion and perspective and no criticism is meant: But there is no basic and underpinning ethical system that is expounded here nor even a reference to one.

    You-all seem to deal strictly in contingency; in the immediate; in constantly shifting circumstances. So at least on one level the only answer to the question is to turn a mirror around to face you: you a pervrse nation. You as people who have lost all sense of a track. You who careen absolutely out of control and powerless against a rushing and roaring current of mutability which carries you along to who-knows-where.

    On what basis would you or could you make any really important decision? Does it make money for you? Does it improve your sense of comfort? Does it keep you occupied as any innane pastime or electronic bauble can certainly do? You and millions and millions of others are being rushed along in a current against which you have no defense because you cannot articulate a defense. You argue from contingency and not from principle. The principles that you seem to represent seem overall rather shakey. That is my honest impression but the last thing I wish to do is to offend. What a boring approach that would be. There is nothing to be gained from it.

    What does Woman mean to you? Obviouly, she must mean very little. This is easy to demonstrate. Woman is and should be understood through her symbolic representation. She is the vehicle through which the human comes into being. She is a door between the invisible world and the manifest world. If your woman is not sacred to you in this most basic sense I suggest that you are lost. Not only as a person and singularly, but culturally. “Because of her symbol”, wrote Gertrude von le Fort, “woman has a special affiliation with the religious sphere”. In an age where a religious concept of relationship to life and existence has largely been shredded, such an assertion makes no sense. ‘Woman’ nowadays is an extension of utilitarian function. We do not think of ourselves nor do we act as vessels of the sacred anymore. We are more than anything else, and like so much else, simply tools of an endlessly morphing present.

    To understand Woman in her relgious aspect, and her symbolic aspect, is an act of metaphysical perception. I would suggest that because the metaphysical and symbolical aspect of Woman no longer functions in the general conception, that High Ideas and Ideals that are essentially religious in the exalted but neutral sense of the term, have almost zero meaning. The very reference seems to go over people’s heads.

    If you vacate the idea of Queen of Heaven of all possible meaning, and if you then remove woman away from her symbolic and metaphysical role and value, you can then proceed to do with her whatever you wish. It really doesn’t matter at that point.

    I have gotten the sense that the first order of the destruction of the possibility to hold to High Value is bound up with the project of perverting woman. It sounds puritanical. I’d rather define it as meta-puritanism. It requires metaphysical vision to hold the symbol of woman as vessel of the sacred. Yet having that Symbol inhibits and impedes you having your way with her, so the effort is undertaken to interpret her out of that role. It is a process of disrobing essentially. An historical strip-tease. As I say I have thought that the first order of perversion is that which perverts woman. Once you have done that all the other perversions — of essential and core values — follow suit.

    It is necessary that girls imitate their mothers and sisters. It is simply adaptive strategy. A child (and people really, except perhaps those trained to think) does not think. It sees and it takes in through the eyes what it sees. The enactments of its mother. These register at a place that is well below any level of reasoned thought.

    It might not be grasped except superficially but we are in a descending cycle, a cycle of profound degeneration if we compare our views, activities and perceptions to the High Ideals that exist in certain works of art, in literature. This is perversion of the mind and of the spirit. But to say that immediately gets you branded as a religious nut of some sort. A freak. But the idea is ur-religious. It has to do with the undergirding of a sacred perspective.

    If the vehicle of generation — woman and mother — and what is generated — your children — are not seen and understood at a fundamentally sacred level, in their symbolic aspect, then no one in this Universe can help you. Go to the Devil (and I mean this metaphysically, which is a different thing). No one even understands this. I assume no one understands what I write.

    How the little girls are dressed up is not the issue. It is what is happening within the mind and spirit of woman that is the issue, and the relationship that men have, or do not have, to that woman and then to Woman in the sense I mean. Once you have perverted the culture of woman you are, I’d suggest, lost. You simply will not recover it in the present cycle, and the cycles of destruction are long indeed. If you’ve lost the possibility of the pure woman, and the man who recognizes that purity — as metaphysical principle — and who serves it, well then, in essence and in fact it is over.

    • No, how the little girls are dressed up IS the issue, because they are being used as props, because they are being thrust into actions and symbolism they don’t understand, because they cannot consent to how their own bodies are being used and commercialized, and have no control over their own images, and these all are either right or wrong, tolerable is a fair and just society or intolerable.

      Any ethics issue can be blurred and muddies by piling on generalities, tangents, cosmic puzzles, dancing angels and navel-gazing exercises.

      • I cannot agree with you more strongly. Yet I see the manifestation (little girls dressed up in imitation of mother) as a symptom of a general decadence. I hadly feel a need to speak to the manifestation and anyway it has already been done here.

        My perspective may be outrageous, to some, and may make some sense or a good deal of sense to others (and to some perhaps no sense). But in no way is it meant to side-step the core issue or to minimize it. I use these issues to try to get clear about what I think and what I see. It must be seen as a form of intellectual or moral speculation. I do not know what to conclude and so I undertake to work it out.

        I had been reading Hesiod and thinking about protreptic literature. When I began to write I noticed that I was doing it in the style of Jeremiad, so I embellished it to a degree. There is some irony there (thank Heavens). But these are ideas that have significance and meaning for me even if they make no sense to anyone surrounding me.

        What I notice in your response is that it makes an analysis from within a shifting present. About 100 years ago it would have been impossible to overtly sexualize little girls and that is because it would not have been possible to sexualize adult women in that way. It would not even have been debated.

        Obviously, the landscape of what is permissible is shifting. Why is that and how does this come about? Month by month, year by year, decade by decade, what is permissible gets more and more outrageous. And we accept it because, to all appearances, we have no anchor. I am reminded of something I read which spoke about cultural degeneration: that as it continues people adjust their expectations downward. What was intolerable yesterday is common today and one resigns oneself to that. And so on and so forth. It is my belief, at least it is today, that if we cannot define a metaphysical base, if we cannot conceive of it, that our ethics is anchored in contingency and shifting attitudes. I do not think it is a small concern to attempt to think about bedrock.

        Children, because they are products of culture and society and family, do not ever — not really — have choice about the values they absorb. Just as they are instilled with our values, we too were instilled with our parent’s values. But what if ‘the present’ and even modernity generally, or people generally, lose a sense of connection to 1) the idea of values and 2) actual, embodied social values. That IS the basic issue here, isn’t it? You mentioned Burke some months back. You make a reference to both the capacity to value and a value-system. That is an anchor. But behind an anchor stands an Anchor. It is logically necessary.

        While I see your point about navel-gazing and generalities (as well as tangents and cosmic puzzles)(!) I do not see my thrust as lacking integrity. If we pervert children and allow such behavior to be manifest, I think it is fair to say that we are dealing with a spiritual disease. One can look at spiritual disease in a general sense. One can speculate if one has tools of speculation. (Though I do understand that people might not see things in those terms — given the connotations — and may not wish to).

        If I need to I’ll apologize to anyone and everyone for the unusual content of what I write here or in any other place, I offer it. It is unusual. But I mean no one any offense. I am doing what I have to do in the world of ideas and very certainly within ethical concerns. I have resolved to articulate about what I think, feel and see and to resist the shame that is cast on what I do.

        There can be nothing wrong in that as I see things. (I don’t have to reboot either as I have a miraculously stable operating system!)

        • Of course cultural values shift, because human experience is cumulative, and people learn. Ethics is a moving target, hopefully moving in a positive direction. We have learned that slavery is wrong, that child labor is harmful and cruel, that incest isn’t good for kids, that exploiting teh poor doesn’t lead to a healthy society, etc. Periodically, societies forget what they have learned, and much destruction and tragedy occurs until they relearn.

          • I know that your focus, or your basic understanding, orients itself toward accumulative knowledge. We begin in ignorance and nescience and we evolves perspectives based on contingency. I also think I have gathered that your orientation is basically atheistic (and I do not mean this as a criticism or a jab or a slight or a devaluation of your perspective, the atheistic perspective is one that has merit) and so ‘metaphysics’ in the sense I refer to probably does not have a place in your system of understanding.

            But in my own case it is quite large and so those ideas inflect all my thought. In my view of things I have to include what is generally referred to as the revelatory. My understanding is that all possible knowledge already exists. We certainly arrive at a point where that idea becomes clear. In infinity, it is safe to say withouth any logical doubt! all things have already occurred. It is a question of remembering as much as it is a question of empiricism.

            Because I have been so much ensconsed in older modes of thought for so long, and because I have fed myself on these modes, I notice that my perspectives appear wacky to many others. And the payment for that is ridicule. Apparently, I just don’t make sense. I think that I have to get used to it. But I will think things through on my own terms and according to my own lights.

      • It is such a shame that you refuse to engage in idea. Is your ethical world, or your intellectual world so small? Why ridicule someone else who desires to expand on questions? What do you gain from an attempt to shut someone out or down? Are you like this in other contexts?

      • Beth, would it hurt you to be nicer? Why don’t you supply constructive criticism or a counter-argument? Whether you appreciate her comments, she obviously did put substantial time into her comment. At least giver her credit for not being apathetic as are most persons in this country.

        • I am not nice to racists. And yes, I am generally a kind person. But it’s not JUST her racism that irks me (although I don’t think I need additional cause). It’s that her ego is on overdrive. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, she will try and turn it into something that she wants to talk about rather than the topic at hand. And she expounds on her (usually) racist drivel by appealing to authority, and often obscure or discredited authority. This is not a Philosophy 101 class. She needs to find her appropriate audience.

            • (Beth, I suspect AT may be somewhere on the autism scale. I don’t think she’s malicious. Evidently Asperger’s is no longer a diagnosis, but I suspect she’s an Aspie, something that’s evidently a little more difficult to spot in women than guys.)

              On the modeling front, for some weird reason, I don’t find these images and the use of kids to runway model swimwear offensive. The little girls look as if they are having the time of their lives and they’re not posing provocatively. They look incredibly innocent. Nor are the adult models acting provocatively.

              What I do have a huge problem with is the the Yolanda Hadids and Chris Kardashians of the world (with the willing assistance of the media and the fashion industry) sexualizing their daughters at a very early age (early teens) for fun and massive profit. I find that hideous. I think there’s a pretty bright line between being a fashion model and a porn star.

              And on a side note, these little girls aren’t sporting “Porn Star” tee shirts. What parent buys those for the pre-pubescent (or pubescent?) daughters?

              • Hello there Other Bill.

                Slander is defined as:

                1. [Law] Oral communication of false and malicious statements that damage the reputation of another.

                2. A false and malicious statement or report about someone.

                It is curious to me that on a blog dedicated to ethics, and which stresses as no other blog or forum I know of the importance of holding to ethical standards, that so many times people commit outright infractions and do not take responsibility for them. Is this just a language game for you? Just a pastime?

                I am a member of a younger generation, this is true, and I also have great uncertainty about many things, but yet I am working hard to understand. To suggest that my efforts and processes are the result of a mental disorder or a syndrome is a vile insinuation. It is a form of evil. It is underhanded and destructive.

                This is what I have gotten from you my Ethical Elders toward what I have written on this blog and the efforts I make. You THINK you have an ethically higher ground because I deal on discomfiting themes which for you are settled, and therefor you justify your unethical slanders. You don’t have to be accountable.

                You’re fake and hypocritical and no one that I feel compelled to respect.

                In general this is what *you* have become. I mean you as America-in-General. You don’t even know anymore what ethics is. You have lost integrity. I don’t regard you as the subject of my complaint here BTW. I am less interested in the subjective vehicle than I am in the larger principle and of course the issue if degeneration.

                I can only report to you what it feels like to spend time around people like you, like this. It feels pretty wretched.

                • AT. I don’t think I slandered you. I expressed an opinion about you. I’m not sure that’s a statement I’ve presented as fact and it certainly wasn’t malicious. I’m on your side. I don’t think you’re intentionally trying to annoy people here. I think you’re just in a discussion group that moves much more quickly than you tend to. People here tend to edit their thoughts very carefully and try to be succinct. You think out loud here. Which is a problem. That’s all.

                  • I am working so to speak in a very difficult territory of thought and I am investigating forbidden perspectives that if you speak of them in America right now will get you destroyed. There are issues coming to the fore right now that may well rip social fabric. This is not a game. This is all quite serious. I have spent a little time looking into the people who, as an example, get put on the SPLC ‘hate watch’ list, and I have also read and listened to people who speak of the collusion between groups like that and governmental agencies. This points to coercion, to more extreme forms of control of opinion and idea, as well as to ‘thought control’ and another iteresting question: thought-reform. Thought-reform and therepeutic methods often go hand-in-hand. You will of course notice that there must be a ‘diagnosis’ first in order for there then to be recommended a therepuetic program. I am sure that you must be at least aware of Soviet psychiatric prisons? I am similarly sure that you can make a connection between accustations of mental health problems for the voicing of certain ideas and opinions.

                    Is this too much preamble for you?

                    I would suggest that it is interesting, though strange, to notice how the issue of mental health is part of the critical discourse when it comes to the analysis of political platforms and positions. The Right analyses the Left, the Left analyses the Right. I am pretty sure that you are aware that Adorno wrote extensively about ‘the authoritatian personality and ‘the potentially fascistic individual’. Adler too (along with a whole school of psycho-political thinkers) brought out the psychological typing as a tool of analysis of political tendencies and linked it to child development, the family structure and parental influence. I am sure that you must be aware of the influence of this group of social-psychologists on the formation of the postwar liberal-progressive individual?

                    I won’t bore you with details — knowing how you appreciate the succinct 😉 — but these modes of analysis, given the influence of Adorno, Horkheimer and Fromm and others, have become part of the way that hyper-liberalism and Progressivism looks at, categorizes, and attempts to defeat or undermine perspectives that are threatening to it. This is heavy stuff because, as should be obvious, when you attack someone at a psychological level you are attacking not their ideas but some part of their being, some essential and foundational element. It can be a very very dirty game.

                    I assume that you have some part of a brain in your skull and you can clearly see this?

                    I suggest that this is what Beth originally tried to do, and which you linked up to, and I further suggest that it is more than just the expression of an opinion and that it fits into a peculiar pattern of relationship between opposing perspectives. It seems peculiarly American to me and I assume this is because you went to very similar universities and have been subject to similar social programming (if you’ll permit me to suggest such a thing). As a substitute for substantive argument I think it is flimsy indeed, and as I made clear unethical. But more important than the ethical issue and far more relevant is that it substitutes psychological speculation for the development of sound argument. It hinges into sentimentalism, hysteria, group hysteria and other bizarre forms that have ‘infected’ discourse.

                    There seem to be two poles of ‘opinion’ which are attached to my presence here. One is mental illness and the other is trollism. I see both of these as false-designations. I do not in any sense want to ‘annoy’ you or anyone else. But I want to be thorough in understanding and expressing my views and ideas and I prefer the essay form. Not quick newsgroupy quips but structured statements. I do not see that as a defect though of course you are free to if you choose.

                    It is not ‘thinking out loud’ that is a problem, it is thinking thoughts and expressing thoughts that turn against established parameters of acceptable thought that gets me in hot water. But this is what I am going to be doing now, in the immediate future, and in the long run. This is the path I have chosen.

                    • Alizia Tyler said, “It is not ‘thinking out loud’ that is a problem, it is thinking thoughts and expressing thoughts that turn against established parameters of acceptable thought that gets me in hot water.”

                      WRONG!

                      Humans are NOT telepathically sentient beings so thinking thoughts is not the problem, never has been, likely never will be; it’s the actions chosen by the individual based on those thoughts that become either acceptable or unacceptable to any particular society or unique group within a society – that’s the problem. The fact is that no one on planet Earth knows what you or anyone else is thinking, all they know are the actions chosen based on thoughts. You problem seems to lie in the fact that you simply cannot separate your thoughts from your actions, the result is your rambling verbose comments.

                      Think all you speak, but speak not all you think! That dear Ms Tyler is a concept that needs to take up permanent residence in your psyche.

                      Alizia Tyler said, “But this is what I am going to be doing now, in the immediate future, and in the long run. This is the path I have chosen.”

                      That’s about as clear a mud; what is this “this” you speak of?

                      You wonder why others don’t get what you write; simply put, it’s because your written communication skills need some serious work regarding focusing on subject and communicating the thought instead we get verbose “blurring and muddying” comments that “pile on generalities, tangents, cosmic puzzles, dancing angels and navel-gazing exercises” (Jack I absolutely love that quote).

                      I’m sure this comment will be flushed down the toilet by your “higher intellect” and you’ll learn absolutely nothing from it.

          • Ah yes, the ‘psychological diagnosis’ as a substitute for engaging in ideas. It is so transparent. Yet so common. It is these things, these false-arguments, these false-characterizations, and the maliciousness that reveals itself through them, that need to be brought out into the open. Ironically, the topic shifts when the mirror is held up. But then the discussion of ideas — my principle object — goes to the wayside. It is made to be personal. (Boring).

            By refusing to engage at the level of idea the conversation is shifted, intentionally, to one where the *offending person* is the topic. This is embarrassing to adult conversation. Yet it is a tactic whereby the one with a controversial opinion (in this case me) or a different way of orienting herself in relation to the topic and even all topics — and clearly to ethics — is shut down. The object is to shut down.

            Now, this may be true in relation to me but that is not really the issue. The issue is that in our culture right now we exist within closed circuits of ideation. It is as if all issues have been framed in such a way that only a select group of perspectives is allowed. And should you have one that rings with a discordant note, the pack comes after you and empoys underhanded tactics to discredit you. These are really viscious games and they are designed to hurt.

            If you just meditate on this in relation to what is hapening in our present you will, I think, understand the benefit of someone like me within your conversation. Like it or not, accept it or not, the parameteres of the Conversation are shifting. Europe is changing, American is changing.

            Another very important issue here — your issue in fact — has to do with framing, reframing, designation and labeling. I am part of a school of thought which reconsiders issues of identity in relation to European culture. I am an Eurocentric and, in fact, a rather militant one. That is, racial and cultural identity are important topics for me. Identitarian or ‘race-realist’ is how that school defines itself. And these categories are as old as occidental ideation. They can be approached empirically as well. I reject universalist constructs which are based in ideology and prefer, for all parties concerned, to see cultural and somatic difference as a strength, as a value. I give that to others and I also allow it for myself.

            What is important to notice, in my view and certainly in the view of those who think like me, is that it is ideology which shuts down the possibility of thinking along these categorical lines. It is the intrusion of idealogy into thinking that labels some thinking as thoughtcrime. It is an Orwellian feature of our present. And it is thoughtcontrol. If free thought is the object — I think it is quite absurd to assume this is true, yet it is held up as a value and as a goal — then to rid oneself of ideological constraint and, at the very least, examine ideas on their own merit and decide them without exterior coercion, is the ideal that I hold as a value. And that defines, naturally, my approach to ethics, to philosophy, to religion, and to existence.

            And here, carrying this out, I get jumped down on with both feet. What an interesting state of affairs! The value of subjecting myself to this is to gain the strength to think freely and as against social coercion — a powerful force! — and to strengthen my resolve to be a capable, reason-based thinker.

            Beth is the authentic voice of American Self-Righteousness. This *voice* is heard everywhere. It is a mood that one adopts. It is a style of thinking and perceiving and also of being in the world. I have attempted to research it and behind it I discovered the *spirit* as it were of the American Civil Religion. Yes, indeed: when someone attacks the religious tenets on which your very organization of perception is built you are certainly justified in hating them. There is NOTHING you are not justified in doing to them and indeed you require no ‘additional cause’! Make it a group endeavor and it can even become somewhat fun! All you need to do to get that ball rolling is to frame what the other person is with a few key terms. The others will pick up on it. It operates at a personal level and I begin to think it might operate at a geo-political level. Framing things is where it all begins. Asperger’s? Autism? 😉 That is sort of cute really.

            This is all so basic and simple.

            Yet what seems so simple and obvious, to me, cannot be seen by those who define themselves through self-righteousness. It is like a hypnotic drug. These blinders are extraordinary. This is the main area where *metaphysics*, of a lower order, comes into play. If you see yourself as holding and carrying a flag of righteousness, then you see yourself as aligned with god’s will and some will of the present which is ordained metaphysically. This is so much a part of Americanism, and both a strength and a weakness, that it takes a skilled metaphysician to point it out. Your country, right now, is right on the verge of tearing itself to shreds and no one of you seems to have any idea at all what is going on. Your perspectives are so limited, your conversation so pat, your bickerings so predictable, but my larger observation is that *you* do not seem to have much breadth-of-vision, not much historical consciousness. I suggested that little girls put into sexy woman’s bathing suits fits into a much larger historical pattern that can be noted. But these ideas just don’t fly …. oh well.

            I see participation in a forum or a blog as a form of work. It is a good thing if one shows oneself as willing to do some work. To work, in my book, is to produce some tangible material. And that is how I justify my presence here. If *you* don’t like it the best way to get it shut down is to complain to the blog-owner. I have said to Jack numerous times that I’d disappear forever with just a word. (I do have permission to be here is what I mean).

            OK, there you have it, I am going to hang myself up in my closet until nightfall.

              • Ipads work just as well upside down, Dear Zoltar. Just make sure the ‘orientation lock’ is on.

                😉

                For the record: this and the post just above are my last ‘defensive posts’. If I am allowed to post here, I prefer to deal in ideas only. Posts that don’t deal in ideas, in my opinion, pollute.

                • There you Alizia go proving me right again. It’s obvious that you’re obsessed with your over compensation and just can’t help yourself.

                  The real thread pollution around here is your comments that intentionally “blur and muddy” absolutely every blog you participate in by posting a multitude of pompously verbose comments “piling on generalities, tangents, cosmic puzzles, dancing angels and navel-gazing exercises”.

                  Do you know the term used to label a person that sows discord on the Internet by posting extraneous, or off-topic and/or obliquely absurd comments in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion?

                  The term is troll; you are a troll.

      • Beth,
        I think you could take Jack’s GREAT QUOTE above, take out the second word of the quote, and apply it to almost every one of the verbose comments posted by the troll that appears to be over compensating for a serious inferiority complex.

  14. A truly fierce intellect wrote: “I am not nice to racists. And yes, I am generally a kind person. But it’s not JUST her racism that irks me (although I don’t think I need additional cause). It’s that her ego is on overdrive. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, she will try and turn it into something that she wants to talk about rather than the topic at hand. And she expounds on her (usually) racist drivel by appealing to authority, and often obscure or discredited authority. This is not a Philosophy 101 class. She needs to find her appropriate audience.”
    __________________

    I hope you will take it into your heart to forgive my ironical comment about ‘fierce intellect’. On fora as these, with a reigning consensus of values, when someone like me — the upstart, the overturner of established conception — begins to act smart or surly it is god excuse to bring the full weight of ostracism down on that one. So, I do not engage in insult nor do I use any bad words, but I do allow myself a wee bit of irony from time to time.

    I have been fascinated with this idea about ‘appeals to authority’ and also your statement that ‘this is not philosophy 101’. These sorts of statements, as I hope you know, have to be unpacked. What are you actually saying? Do you even know? I assume that you do not know, for if you did you would certainly know the importance and acute relevance of philosophical thought and concept in occidental ideation.

    There is no domain where philosophy does not enter in. It is good and necessary that this be understood. It is good and necessary that where philosophical thinking is no longer practiced, or appreciated, that it must be brought back in. This very certainly means to the field of ethics. And as well it applies to how we orient ourselves in this world and in existence, and then even in how we see and understand politics. A great deal can be gained, a great deal of understanding can be added to the equation, when even in our present and with the confusions of presidential politics, or in the break-down of values, and in the social and cultural (and I should add intellectual) degeneration that is on-going.

    And what is ‘The topic at hand?’ I mean really … The ‘topic at hand’ is a very difficult and involved topic and conversation. It requires background, preparation and also seriousness. These things, I suggest, you lack.

    I understand that for a Beth to get a lecture on such matters is evidence of ‘an ego on overdrive’, and my principle argument against that false-construct is simple: there are things going on in our present the importance of which supersedes either my ‘ego’ or your petty aspersions. My interest and my focus is in higher ideals and I see no good reason to bend my project to your superficial focus. All of these questions and issues are hugely important.

    The question of ‘appeals to authority’ and ‘descredited authority’ is interesting indeed. I notice that you feel qualified to make susbstantial judgments on these questions and I’d ask “Que warranto?” By what authority? It must first be said that you do not have any idea what I am speaking about when I speak of culture and race, or of Eurocentrism, or of the recognition of a need to protect Europe and Occidental heritage. Your mind, that has been conditioned to receive key ideas in a certain way, must reinterpret my concerns to accord with your notion of ‘racism’. And like a frog’s leg with an electric shock you must react reflexively.

    To deconstruct the construct in your brain is beyond my scope, except that the issue stands over and above you as subject. This means that these ideas are being considered and reconsidered by able and qualified minds, and that the processes of thought that are reconsidering them are genuine, have integrity and importance, and will not be stopped or hindered by your shallow complaint. In order to understand what is afoot you’d have to take the time to study it and this, it would seem, you will not do. While on one level I do not blame you, on another level, and because you feel authorized to condemn me in absolute terms, I do very much feel a need to call you out. But I do this strictly through idea and discourse.

    In our world, today and right now, we have little idea what authority to appeal to and what authority to submit ourselves to. In many senses we live in the ruins of fallen structures of authority. If this is not clear to you I am not sure if I can help you. These processes extend from the 14th and 15th centuries and gained steam in the 17th in pointed ways. You know nothing of this. If you did your discourse would show it. But the point is that though authority has been discredited, so has the capacity to recognize and in this sense to serve authority become problematic. If I say that the idea and the possibility of establishing categories is ‘Aristotelian’, I assume I will have lost you at the second syllable.

    But categorical thinking is foundational to all intellectual endeavors and certainly occidental ones. This means: to understand and to value Occidental culture and the people who created it, and who are capable of and interested in upholding it, is an application of categorical thinking. Categories and hierarchies function together. The implications in this should be apparent. And the point is that there is a New School of thought that is going back over much ‘old’ material; revisiting it, rethinking its tenets. I have made a susbstantial effort over numerous years to read and to understand this material. It is different than a mere ‘appeal to authority’ when one can adequately and successfully explain a perspective to another with sound logic. If someone shuts their ears and ‘sings showtunes’, or as in your case sends up slanders, well, that is just noise. You have to be capable of argument and you have to capable of presenting a solid counter-argument. But that means you have to know the arguments!

    And you don’t.

    • Aaa yes, here we are again. It’s like wasting time watching the next empty boxcar slowly creep by in an annoyingly slow moving train that’s a hundred miles long, you know this specific hollow shell of a boxcar will be gone from view relatively soon but you’re pretty darn sure that there is another hollow shell of a boxcar next in that long line to waste more time.

      Alizia Tyler didn’t get a reply from Beth after her verbose screed at 8:38am on the 19th so here she is, back again, with her obsessive trolling jabs, taking another stab at pompous self-centered chain rattling to get the attention focused on her in yet another attempt to hide that nagging inferiority complex.

      Even though Beth and I don’t see eye2eye sometimes; I commend Beth for NOT feeding the verbose trolling screeds of AT. I’d like to personally shake Beth’s hand. Keep it up Beth; you get an official attaboy! 😉

  15. I keep wondering if AT is just a new form of performance art by Ablative Meatshield. If so, I like his first character far more.

      • An aggressive supporter of hyper-libertarianism.

        A few notches more libertarian than Humble Talent.

        Departed the discussion group after a falling out on the topic of drugs.

      • From Ethics Alarms legend and lore: Ablative Meatshield was a talented, conservative, sometimes profound, often funny, passionate and intemperate commenter who set all time incivility records here. I foolishly allowed it, as it was his style, he had lots of good content, and I was battling the tendency of other blogs to constrain expression by being excessively restrictive. Scott was also something of a bully, and reverted to misogyny when arguing with women here. He undoubtedly drove off some readers.

        Eventually AMS erupted over an anti-pot post here and announced his departure, turning his typical invective on his host. When he tried to return later, I invoked the self-banning rule: when you announce you are leaving and slam the door, I will require an apology and a pledge (via e-mail) before to can come back. Of course, he would never do either.

        • Thank Heavens I am a model of civility. Because of it my conservatism, my profundity, my humor, passion and steely temperence shines forth, like a gold ring on a 400 lb gorilla.

          But as you know, and given my ideas, it is simply a fact that a person who expresses themselves as I do, and on those themes, will alientate readership. This is a fact. Ifmat any time my presence is unwanted a simple word will cause immediate disappearance.

          • You keep associating term profound (or profundity) with yourself. This is a gravely mistaken self-assessment. Long diatribes with little coherence, direction or motive that rely on excessive repetitiveness prologued by lengthy navel-gazing apologies of purpose do not equate with profundity.

            I recall a 5 paragraph traipse into the anti-laconic world of Alizia Tyler that most educated humans would have simply summarized with “don’t use ad hominem to divert from the topic at hand”.

            And given that you openly advocate European definitions of “right wing”, or at least what is termed altRight ideologies, use of the term “conservative” is highly suspect as well.

            Humor? Where?

            • A week back or so I let you know that I’d come to the end of conversation with you. I still read your posts though. I have ‘duly noted’ your comments. It is fun to banter a bit but I am committed only to discussing ideas. There are a couple of interesting possibilities in what you wrote. If there is any specific idea you wish to converse, please do let me know. That is the purpose of a forum like this.

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