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Karl Andersson’s work is under investigation by Qualitative Research. Photograph: University of Manchester

University allows ‘PhD in child pornography’

The University of Manchester has been criticized for allowing a student to complete a PhD documenting his sexual gratification from reading erotic comics involving children.

Karl Andersson wanted to research Japanese ‘shota’ comics, which depict adolescent or prepubescent boys in an erotic manner with older teens and even adults.

He said he wanted to find out how people “experience sexual pleasure when reading shota,” and the now-published research documents his own experiences of masturbating to pictures of young boys. It was published in the journal  Qualitative Research. It has since been removed and an apology issued by the journal.

Sexualization of children

The work was blasted as a “PhD in masturbation,” and Conservative British MP Neil O’Brien hit out at the University for green-lighting the project.

“Why should hard-working taxpayers in my constituency have to pay for an academic to write about his experiences masturbating to Japanese porn?” he pointed out.

Christian Institute Deputy Director Ciarán Kelly also criticized the project. “How this so-called research was approved is incomprehensible.

“If this student had said he wanted to document his pleasure at watching child pornography, you would imagine the police would have been contacted immediately. These comics are not simply some alternative art form that can legitimately be appreciated and studied. They involve the sexualization of children.”

Normalizing pedophilia

In Pennsylvania, a licensed therapist working for the Department of Corrections posted a video on social media platform TikTok arguing that pedophilia is a legitimate sexual orientation.

She advocated using the term ‘minor-attracted persons’ (MAPs) over ‘pedophiles’ as these people are a “marginalized” population who experience “harm” when they are characterized in that way.

READ: “Minor Attracted Persons” is a slippery slope

The therapist claimed that those who experience sexual desires towards children “have not chosen this attraction, just as the rest of us have not chosen whatever our attraction is.

“You don’t get to choose to be heterosexual or to be gay or whatever you are, and you don’t get to choose to be a minor-attracted person.”

‘Insidious creep’

GB News’ Bev Turner said the therapist’s monologue could be “a signpost to potentially horrific social change”, and said the comments marked “an insidious creep towards the normalizing of sexual contact with children.”

She said “it is one thing to argue that abusers require help” and another to make people feel guilty for “rejecting in the harshest terms such horrific acts.”

Approximately 250 million TikTok users are aged 19 or younger, and Turner said videos like this could be dangerous, because they might convince a victim of child abuse that their abuse is normal sexual behavior, causing them to feel reluctant to speak out against their abuser.

The journalist urged parents to “keep talking” to their children “about what is right, and what is very, very wrong.”

Investigation of PHd

In a statement published online, the editors of Qualitative Research said they had begun an investigation into the publication of Andersson’s research, which would address whether it met ethical standards.

“On August 9th we began investigating the publication of the paper ‘I am not alone – we are all alone: Using masturbation as an ethnographic method in research on shota subculture in Japan,’ published earlier this year,” said the statement.

“We are continuing with our investigations and will consider closely all guidance from the Committee of Publication Ethics and ensure that any actions taken comply with COPE standards.”

–The Christian Institute of England