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THE MEDIA'S ROLE IN FANTASY
The way in which offenders "extract" fantasy from television, videos and the printed media deserves special attention. While complaints about sexually explicit material in the mass media are familiar, little of the material used by the offenders is indecent, let alone pornographic.
One of the traditional dichotomies in the mass communications literature is between the direct influence of the media on the audience and the use of the mass media by the audience in ways that "fit in" with their general personal and social values, interests, attitudes, needs and lifestyles (Howitt, 1982).
A similar distinction seems appropriate about the mass media's influence on fantasy; fantasy may draw from the mass media but is not directly caused by the media. The alternative is that the media put fantasies directly into the minds of individuals. Thus there are at least three ways in which the media might be involved in paedophiliac fantasy:
The detail of the material that the offenders found stimulating is in many ways bizarre and only fully understandable if we assume that what the offender puts into his experience of the media is important, not just the media's objective content. Brian reported:
The information gathered about the role of the media is remarkable. In particular, it illustrates that apparently innocuous material may become incorporated into the fantasy of paedophiles. Walt Disney films, situation comedies and the like were moulded around the psychosexual needs of the paedophile in ways that might be virtually exclusive to him.