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Young-Bruehl, E. (2009). Childism—Prejudice Against Children. Contemp. Psychoanal., 45(2):251-265.

(2009). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 45(2):251-265

Childism—Prejudice Against Children

Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Ph.D.

This paper advances a proposal that there is a prejudice against children, which could be called “childism,” that is comparable to prejudices like anti-Semitism, sexism and racism. It argues that prejudices serve three fundamental purposes—elimination, sexual exploitation, and erasure of identity—each of which reflects defenses of a specific sort obsessional, hysterical and narcissistic, respectively. Childism is a complex prejudice that can serve all three purposes, and reflect all three characterological defense types. Further, childism utilizes images or stereotypes of children and childhood that can be referenced to its three basic forms.

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