You’ve heard of rape culture, but have you heard of pedophile culture?

salon

Dear Todd Nickerson,

Over at Salon a few days ago, you wrote an article provocatively entitled “I’m a pedophile, but not a monster.” Presumably, a lot of people are now asking questions such as “Is pedophilia natural?” or “Can pedophilia be cured?” But I’m not going to attempt to answer those particular questions. Rather, I’d like to further this discourse by filling in some major holes in your article.

Let’s start with this missing piece: the vast majority of pedophiles are men. And the majority of children victimized by those pedophiles who do choose to act on their sexual desires are girls. This is a rather major detail to withhold from your audience, wouldn’t you say? Unfortunately, as pervasive and overt as patriarchy is, it is usually the last detail mentioned in conversations of this nature — if it is mentioned at all.

That said, pedophilia may seem taboo and despised by the masses, but an honest appraisal of our culture at large reveals otherwise. I propose that pedophilia is actually rewarded and celebrated, and that our entire culture and understanding of sexuality is constructed around what seem to be pedophilic desires. I call this “pedophile culture.”

In pedophile culture, women are expected to maintain a near-impossible level of thinness, prepubescent in their almost-androgynous lack of curvature and body fat. Due to this pressure, eating disorders abound in young girls, and women in particular are targeted throughout their lives by a multi-billion dollar weight loss industry.

In pedophile culture, the top Pornhub category is “Teen.” “Barely legal” “girls” in schoolgirl outfits play out everything from “virgin manipulations,” daddy-daughter incest fantasies, teacher-student make believe… you name it, there’s porn for it, and it’s been whacked-off to millions and millions and millions of times. It’s fair to wonder whether the only thing keeping some of these viewers from watching straight-up child porn is age of consent laws.

Influenced by the porn industry, labiaplasty, a surgery that carves the labia minora down to porn-sized slivers, is rapidly gaining popularity. So are other procedures, like hymenoplasty, which restores virgin-like tightness to women’s vaginas.

In pedophile culture, women are outright pressured to regularly shave or wax their nether regions and underarms. The cosmetics industry — again, targeted at women — peddles “anti-aging” creams and lotions that will make our skin “baby soft!”

In pedophile culture, we casually refer to grown women as “girls.” We have a word specifically for attractive female teenagers: jailbait. Women are sexualized as chicks, kittens, and babes.

In pedophile culture, I often catch men in public checking me out with eyes full of lust, until they see the hair on my legs — at which point, they resort to a theatrical display of disgust. I’ve eavesdropped on groups of college-age guys talking about how they won’t perform oral sex on a woman if her labia are too prominent. One man who had been pursuing sex with me for three years, suddenly changed his mind when I revealed that I do not, and will not, shave off my pubic hair. In other words, many men stop being attracted to me when reminded that I am a woman, and not a young girl.

Surely all of these men, who have a “preference” for the aforementioned qualities in women, aren’t pedophiles by the strict definition of the word. But it seems that a high number of men, likely as a result of deep cultural conditioning, find many of the same things attractive in a woman that a pedophile would find attractive in a girlchild. Small labia, tight vaginas, intact hymens, baby-soft skin, hairless limbs and vulvas, eternal youthfulness, tiny frail bodies… As tumblr user reddressalert wrote, “how do we not recognize that this is essentially a description of a baby or a toddler?”

Back to my original point:

I need you, and your sympathetic readers, to understand this grave truth: pedophilia is not nearly as taboo, or shameful, or repulsive to society, as you claim it is. I wish it was. Much to the detriment of females the world over, your desires are reflected back to you infinitely, mass-produced on a global scale to meet an ever-growing demand. This male-supremacist world welcomes you with open arms, and your every wish is its command. I dare say you are safer to be yourself, than girls are.

You say “I’m a pedophile, but not a monster,” and I wholeheartedly agree with you. You’re not a monster — you’re a man. A rather common man. A microcosmic representation of patriarchy’s most prevalent perversions. You are not special, you are not anomalous, and you are not alone. Not even close. Your “sexual orientation” is just another manifestation of the collective desire of males to subjugate females in a crusade to uphold male supremacy at all costs.

So if being “understanding and supportive” of your pedophilia entails grooming males to eroticize childlike features in women, and teaching women to maintain eternal youth as not to aggravate male insecurities, then you are not asking for our support — you are asking for our submission. And just as you say “there is no ethical way we can fully actualize our sexual longings,” there is no ethical way to request cooperation from those of us actively trying to dismantle the patriarchal system that your “orientation” represents.

Alicen GreyAlicen Grey is an award winning writer and author of Wolves and Other Nightmares. A passionate artist and activist, she strives to inspire her audience toward change and healing. More of Alicen’s work can be found at her blog, www.alicengrey.com.

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  • Carmel

    Thank you Alicen for such an interesting article! As I was reading I found it odd that I had never really considered the extent of pedophile culture, the article really opened my eyes.

  • Whilst I can concede what you say is accurate. I don’t think it’s okay for women to facilitate paedosadist men. Mira Hindley was a complete psychopath and so to was Rose West. I don’t think either of them were justified in what they did regardless of whether it was their idea or not.

    To be honest, I have always felt like our culture has been way too forgiving of grown women who go with boys (or sometimes girls) who are under the age of consent or in a position of trust. I know it’s less common, but actually those cases are not that uncommon as people tend to assume; Society sort of assumes that because the young boy is going to be able to brag about it with his friends and such, that it’s okay for an adult to mess with a child’s sexuality like that. It’s never okay.

    To me, children, male or female are priority and adults are responsible for what they do to them, whether or not they are manipulated into it or not unless they are physically forced such that they literally have no choice whatsoever – I don’t think anything justifies harming a child.

    I was really disappointed with the public response to the recent case in the US when an 18 year old girl got arrested for sexual assault of a 14 year old and people just didn’t see it as a problem. Age is pretty relative and four years is quite a gap when you’re that age, the law is there to protect children from adults. I don’t think it’s excusable.

    With all that said, yeah men are much more prolific at this and society doesn’t help, particularly Murdoch’s media which always seems to want to trivialise child sexual abuse and rape.

    • mimi

      If you think that public doesn’t laugh when 18 year old boy is with 14 girl, and then accused of rape and pedophilia you are deadly wrong. Hell I have read people defending 50 year old men who raped 11 year old girl, they called her a slut who provoked him. Like in which world you live in where somebody takes serious rape against little girls?
      On the other side I have seen many many times when woman is accused of pedophilia, that she gets a way harsher backlash than man and everybody is like see women are monsters too. I have seen zero, zero time that people call little boys who are raped sluts, whores, and I have seen million times that people call little girls(some as young as 8) sluts, whores, and God knows how many names who were asking to be raped.
      Like you said you are awfully invested in defending men and you upvoted every post that it is rape apologist and pedophile defending in this article.

  • pinky

    Any person who says humans are not animals is not very intelligent. Likewise any person who thinks that the sexuality of “lower” animals is purely instinctual or any person who thinks that it is evolutionary advantageous for mature males to prefer pubescent females.

  • Pepper Mint Twist

    “I often catch men in public checking me out with eyes full of lust, until they see the hair on my legs — at which point, they resort to a theatrical display of disgust.” My experience, too. Thank you!!!! Great writing and analysis, imho, very helpful to read!

  • Rachel

    I hate that excuse that men just “didn’t know she was so young”. I think it’s definitely true in some cases, where a girl is very well developed and has an older face. When I say well developed, I’m not just taking about breasts (like men usually are when they use that excuse). I’m talking fully developed bodies. Again this is extremely rare though! Usually the girl just has bigger breasts, a skinny body and lots of makeup…you can tell that she’s underage, yet men use that as an excuse all the time. It’s actually disgusting and I agree, a symptom of pedophile culture.

    I’m glad this article was written because I have noticed this a lot, especially with men leering at young girls. I think it’s gotten worse over the last 10 to 15 years actually.

  • Aoitora

    The question should be: Why do males associate females with being hairless?
    Because naturally, women are not hairless. This is something that has been socially constructed and it begs the question: why?
    That is also why this article talks about pedophile culture. If you live in “such and such” culture, not everybody will be aware about its origins but still engage in it.

    • KimberJem

      They associate with hairlessness because that’s what we see in media not because they all want to fuck children.

  • Applejack

    This article is absolutely superb and 100% accurate. Grown men started leering at me and pestering me when I was 12 years old. It’s absolutely repulsive and dehumanizing and should be criminalized and punished. Oh wait, we live in a patriarchy.

  • OldPolarBear

    This is a really insightful post about that Salon article and a perspective that I didn’t even think about. But it’s true. Adults start (hetero)sexualizing children even before they can walk and later on put them in “cute” advertising where they are dressed up like miniature adults. The Russian girl “supermodel” that was in What’s Current on this site was another good example. Of course, this happens much, much more to girls.

    Here is one of the worst examples of this awful, pedophilic sexualization of girls that I have ever seen. Warning: the link is to a post on GenderTrender and it is truly gross and may make you feel ill. It did me and I still feel sick about it, but people need to know what is going on and how deep an pernicious this is. Girls are not only being sexualized at a young age for pedophile culture, it turns out they cannot even do so continuing to be girls!

    • calabasa

      Ewww. How can anyone even think this up, let alone create and market it? This is taking gender binary brainwashing to a new level…

  • calabasa

    Even though evo-psych is usually a bullshit MRA excuse anyway, in this case there really is no biological reason at all to favor young girls, including teenagers, who have far higher rates of birth complications (including death) than fully-grown women. This is all about young girls’ “innocence” and suggestibility and men’s creepy need to wield power over their victims. I will never understand men who sexualize young girls (or who insist women are most beautiful when they are girls). The dating site stats–which show that women’s taste in men gets older as they do, while men’s always remains 20-22–are so disturbing. I’m so sick of the bogus argument about “biology” that lets men off the hook for what’s really going on, which is not seeing women as full human beings (because if they did, charisma and personality would be a part of attractiveness, as would compatibility; dating someone significantly younger is as difficult, obstacle-wise, as dating someone from a foreign country, IMO; doable, but difficult, and though I understand why you would date a person from a different culture–to expand your understanding of others in the world, as well as for love–what’s the point of not just dating but exclusively dating partners 20 years younger? To expand your understanding of, um, 22-year-olds? Youth culture? So gross) and wanting to control one’s partner (there is a significant power differential between much older and younger partners, whatever people say; add to that the power difference that already exists between men and women, and you have a gross, manipulative situation). The idea that only young people are attractive is bogus; I’ve seen so many beautiful older women, more than men, because women are forced into upkeep in a way that men are not. And to me charisma is definitely part of the beauty of a person. It’s gross to say only 20-year-olds are attractive and it’s all downhill from there, and so obviously misogynistic.

    I think men say 20-year-olds on dating sites because they can, but how many would say 15-year-olds if it was acceptable to say it out loud? Isn’t that the most popular porn (Lolita porn)? In fact, didn’t most people mistake that book for being pro-pedophile when it most definitely wasn’t? (Even Nabokov said it was about the monstrousness of the central character and that he definitely didn’t want any image of a little girl on the cover–seductive or otherwise–though his wishes were blatantly and disgustingly ignored; all of the books are adorned with seductive Lolitas).

    Now you have experts in psychiatry and psychology trying to take ephebophilia (attraction to adolescents) out of the DSM (some have even argued to do the same with pedophilia), arguing it’s natural for men to be attracted to children (as if natural were ever a defense anyway; it’s natural for men to rape and murder, too). Now you have “sex worker activist” groups lobbying for the rights of “underage sex workers” to sell themselves on the street to old perverts. As if they have autonomy and want to be doing it–anymore than they do when they grow up and are still doing it. It’s so disgusting.

    I am convinced that if we ever topple the patriarchy we will find that older women become more and more desired, and girls want to grow up and be powerful, instead of being reduced into constant body-policing and trying to stay artificially young forever.

    It’s interesting but it seems it’s much older men who fetishize youth the most. I was creeped on and assaulted by middle-aged and sometimes very old men when I was very young (including the first time, by a man who had to be at least in his seventies if not eighties, when I fell asleep at a movie at age 13). Now that I’m in my early thirties young men in their early twenties–even teenage guys–approach me all the time (they didn’t as much when I was in my twenties; either they were timid or they were busy chasing after all the women in their thirties and forties). Why is that? What is it that is so exciting about an older woman for a younger guy, but not exciting about a woman who is a peer for a guy in his thirties, or even a younger woman (in her thirties) for a guy in his forties and beyond? I honestly don’t get it…and though I find myself more attracted to young men now than I was when I was younger (I balk less at the idea of sleeping with a 19-year-old now than I did at say 22 or 23), I still don’t want to do it, because I don’t want meaningless sexual experiences with partners who don’t know what they’re doing, who I could quite possibly be taking advantage of (regardless of whether they pursued me or not), and who I have very little in common with because of our age difference. Why do men want that? (Please don’t say “biology.” I will throw something across the room).

    I remember my dad saying older women and younger men made more sense, as men reach their sexual peak at around 18 and women in their thirties. You could argue older men and younger women make sense too in terms of sexual compatibility–less horniness–except that the younger women soon get older and are stuck with men old enough to be their fathers who can hardly get it up anymore. And I always wonder how selfish must a man be, knowing men die earlier, to put his younger partner in the position of being single again at 50 or 60–still relatively youthful, likely with many active years ahead of her–and knowing how hard it is for older women to find companions because of this very same prejudice. Also, while she is still a young woman–in her forties–she may have to transition to the role of care-taker for him, as if he were her elderly father. Seriously. It’s gross. It’s selfish, and it’s gross.

    And to “not all men” this, I know there are May/December relationships based on a real connection–not on the man’s constant pursuit of significantly younger women–and that work. But I’m talking about a social trend here. A gross one.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Women are expected to be very thin today. The women in my city who are viewed as most attractive as very, very thin. They don’t have big breast or large hips. Of course pedophilia is about patriarchy — why is it almost always men who are preying on young girls? Why is it that men sexualize youth and try to date as young as possible?

    • calabasa

      I think this might be why curvy women are treated badly/disrespectfully. Men want to fuck them but not date them (they don’t want to be seen with someone over 110 pounds), they’re confused, which makes them resentful, which they blame the woman for, etc.

  • defragmentingthecode

    Men might want to marry a woman with big hips and big hips but as Alicen points out from Porn Hubs own data, the most popular viewing is teens. Maybe some have big breasts and butts. Regardless, I don’t really see your point.

  • CirrusLee

    Who says he’s unashamed of it? He acknowledges in the article that it’s a bad thing, he’s just saying that he can’t change it so there’s no point beating him up over it.

    • He wrote an article arguing that people should not judge paedophiles (i.e. him) too harshly. He basically starts with “don’t judge me”, which suggests that even if he feels shame (and I would not be at all surprised if he did), he regards it as an evil, oppressive force. If he were a decent human being he would be making an effort to embrace criticism (like all humans should in my opinion), but instead he takes the liberal stance that judging things (negatively) is bad.
      And the idea that you cannot change something is a permission giving belief. There are many things he could do to reduce his paedophilic urges (avoid pornography and anything that depicts children or adults who look like children in a sexualised way, stay away from children in sexualised clothing, get therapy), but instead of doing those things he is making excuses.
      If there is anything I am “beating him up” (or rather “criticising”) him for it is his liberal, defeatist attitude. People can change themselves by changing their environments and reduce (not get rid of completely, but reduce, which is also a significant step forward) harmful urges. The kind of thinking he advocates is eventually going to lead to liberals asserting that paedophiles are just like gay people and that they need to be “liberated”.
      If we don’t stand up and take a bold stance against extreme sex liberalism, the movement will soon start arguing outright for the legalisation of sex between adults and children. I know most liberals do not take that stance now, but this idea that we should not be too harsh on the poor, oppressed paedophiles (who cares about the long term wellbeing of the children they exercise power over, right?) is a step in that direction.
      Liberalism has a momentum of its own that people in the movement are not aware of. Fail to fight the current and it will sweep you along in ways you did not predict. Did the liberals of fifty years ago know what level of violence, degradation and racism (in pornography and sadomasochist sex) those who came after them would end defending? Probably not. Mark my words, if genuine leftists do not hold liberals accountable for sympathising with paedophiles now and propose egalitarianism (in place of consent alone) as the standard for ethical sex, the liberals of the future will be arguing for the legalisation of adult-child marriages on the grounds that they are no different from gay marriages.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “I think that old and older men prefer much younger women and even girls because they are easier to intimidate and less likely to evade their advances. Girls are also socialized to adulate and idolize men. Older women are less likely to be too impressed. I don’t think it’s just about tighter body parts or aesthetic preferences.”

    This is a true and good point. Men want to be around women who don’t challenge them. This is a huge part of the reason so many men who are, like, 30+ don’t want to date women their own age or older. I have never not been with a man who disliked my confidence. They don’t frame it as ‘confidence,’ they frame it as, like, being a know it all or not being ‘nice’ enough or simply as being ‘difficult.’ But it’s simply that men don’t want to be around women who know themselves and know what they want and have strong opinions. It challenges their ego and sense of masculinity (i.e. dominance).

    • calabasa

      Yes, we get wise to their tricks and no longer put up with their bullshit. Are there men out there who actually like strong women (and don’t just like “strong women?”). When men say younger women have “less baggage” what they mean is that they are more pliable and trusting, and have not wised up yet (and I can see how such innocence is attractive but is shouldn’t be *sexually* attractive, but rather more attractive in a fatherly or motherly, protective-feeling kind of way…) Men complain about older women’s issues and bitterness without realizing it comes most of the time from interactions with people of their gender. I guess the ideal older woman would be someone who has sorted through all her emotional issues and really learned how to reclaim confidence without bitterness, to be balanced and assertive and still joyful; this is something I strive for, one day. For me, not for a man. And getting stuff off my chest right now is part of it, I think. Thanks for giving me–all of us– a safe space on here.

  • jbutler

    Gotta love cultural wisdom.

    On sex: “Women just don’t understand how important sex is to men. Why, men are so horny, they’ll fuck mud.”

    On evolution: “Men drive evolution through sexual selection because they are so very, very picky about who they’ll have sex with.”

    • Meghan Murphy

      Hahahahhaha

  • S.K.Law

    Agree. This culture is very breast focused. Big breasts, narrow hips and waist and a not very impressive ass seem the most preferred body type. Which as a friend once mentioned doesn’t make much sense. Big busted women are often bigger overall. Not always. Doesn’t Hooters pay for their waitresses breast enhancement surgery. I know that Cowboys in Calgary was rumored to do so. Because women with boyish hips but big breasts seem the ‘in’ thing. Which brings up back to the pedophilic culture. Men do want women to look like children from the waist down.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Right. Also most women with large breasts don’t have perky, perfectly round breasts, either. Particularly not as they age. That’s not how gravity works and it’s not how most female bodies look, naturally. Men still want childlike figures but with breast-like, very “youthful” looking orbs added on. Anyway, many girls start developing breasts when they are children — 10 and 11 years old. Should 10 year old girls who have breasts and menstruate be having children? Do those factors make it ok for men to have sex with or sexualize 10 year old girls? Certainly having breasts doesn’t mean pedophiles aren’t attracted to children. Girls are still girls, regardless of whether they have breasts or not.

      • calabasa

        I agree with you about large breasts…the fetish for large, perfectly perky breasts is still a fetish for teenagers, if not for little girls. Large breasts will fall naturally as a woman ages (and much sooner than small breasts will). Mine were never perfectly perky, as they grew too fast when I had a childhood illness, and I always felt messed up about it my whole life…then again, curvy or voluptuous women do get a kind of inordinate amount of attention (as large-breasted women know, often men think large breasts are public property), which kind of shows where biology truly lies for a lot of men…I think the socialization of liking super-skinniness goes along with the pedophile culture (keeping women weak, child-like); a lot of men who actually like a bit more meat on them bones are ashamed of it or don’t want their friends to know (the whole “fatties are strictly catch and release” thing). A lot of it really is just about impressing other dudes, which the youngest, slenderest woman possible–but with the biggest, perkiest tits possible–is guaranteed to do. (Pedophile culture combined with the breast fetish is just another way to impose impossible beauty standards on women…) Supposedly it also has to do with ups and downs of the economy, whether a country is at war, and the changing role of women too (whether men want maternal or child-like features in a woman)… if the big breasts/child-like body combo is any indication, men sure are confused right now about what’s going on!

  • I would say the same for people who trivialise sexual abuse of children. Adults have a duty of care just because it doesn’t happen as much and it’s not often so violent doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen and that when it does happen society doesn’t take it as seriously as they ought to.

  • tinfoil hattie

    Call it what you like, but it most assuredly is a disgusting, fetishist implement. And I thought genitalia have nothing to do with male and female. Men with penises and scrota often claim to be “women” because, they say, they just are, and that’s that. Attaching a mini strap-on to a girl toddler’s genitalia so she can “feel more male,” as if a four-year-old knows what that even means, is absolutely child sexual abuse.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Dirtiness” is more socially acceptable for men because everything is more socially acceptable for men. Our expectations of men are very low, generally, and the way women present themselves, on a superficial level, is of more importance, on a societal level, because our primary value lies in our superficial presentation.

  • Ben Camwell

    Sexuality is not a habit – something you pick up or choose to have, so no it is nothing like smoking. People don’t choose to be straight, gay, bi, trans or otherwise and certainly don’t quit it like a bad habit if they decide they ought to. Being a pedophile is a mental disorder, another thing you don’t choose to have. From what you’ve said here you clearly don’t understand what mental disorders are. The same type of thinking would suggest that a person suffering from clinical depression should just cheer up and get over it. Unfortunately, mental disorders are considerably more difficult and complex. ‘This man’ you despise is trying to be a decent person and is asking for help, not persecution, to achieve that. If a schizophrenic person did the same thing would you condemn them too? I assume you’d accuse them of trying to promote a liberal attitude towards schizophrenia. Todd Nickerson is not asking anyone to liberally accept pedophilia, quite the opposite. He despises the disorder and just wants people to understand that pedophiles like him (who don’t want the disorder or to act on it and haven’t committed any crime) are still people, with morals and compassion, who are struggling with a mental illness that they want help to overcome. That’s a positive stand point. If pedophiles are more able to get help for their illness the outcome should be less victims. Todd wrote his article, not because he wants to “(shout) about (his) desires to the world”, but because society is so opposed to pedophiles that they don’t feel able to seek the help they need for fear of persecution. I applaud his bravery, knowing he’d be met by many narrow minded people that wouldn’t be able to see his intentions are actually good.

    • calabasa

      It’s not a mental disorder, it’s an orientation. (For true pedophiles). As uncomfortable as that may be for some. However, true pedophiles may certainly feel more justified in their actions because it is tacitly approved by our mixed-message sending, youth-fetishizing culture.

  • Tired feminist

    I will repeat one last time:

    hairlesness is not a female characteristic. It’s a childhood characteristic.

    No amount of “exaggerated female characteristics” will change that. No amount of pornography will change that. No amount of “dirtiness” or “cleanniness” will change that. Adult humans have hair and children don’t. It can’t be that hard to understand. Females just happen to have less hair than males. But the rule still applies. Depriving adult, fully sexually developed females from their natural amount of body hair is infantilizing them. Keep in denial if you want, only be aware that we won’t buy it.

    For the record: lack of hair is not hygienic at all. It tends to the opposite, as the very function of body hair is to protect vulnerable body parts from infections and irritations and/or from the cold. Have a Brazilian waxing yourself and dare to call that procedure “hygienic”. Just dare.

  • mimi

    Roman Polanski, who drugged and raped 13 year old child, and served only 40 days in prison has got this to say:“If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But… fucking, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to fuck young girls. Juries want to fuck young girls. Everyone wants to fuck young girls!” It is time to do something about men, and yes pedophiles are monsters, sugar coat it as you wish, they are monsters.

  • Ben Camwell

    I think you’ve missed the point. There are male and female pedophiles and child sex offenders. It’s not just men who want to have sex with female children:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_child_molesters#Prevalence
    This flawed article is not saying people become actual pedophiles because of the worrying prevalence in society and the media for promoting child-like attributes in women. There is no evidence to support that. At best this article is pointing out that “a high number of men, likely as a result of deep cultural conditioning, find many of the same things attractive in a woman that a pedophile would find attractive in a girlchild”. Does that make them pedophiles? No. Is it a healthy way to view adult women? No. Should it be challenged and culturally revised? Yes!

    • Tired feminist

      I think you have missed several points:

      1- Yes, pedophilia is a gendered crime, like domestic violence and rape are gendered crimes. The fact that there are a few female offenders and some male victims (mostly victims of other men) does not erase the gendered character of these crimes.

      2- Your insistence in pointing out that #notallmen “are” pedophiles is just like insisting that #notallmen “are” rapists in an article about rape culture: Just. Stop. Derailing.

      3- http://www.feministcurrent.com/2013/10/10/feminists-are-not-responsible-for-educating-men/

      • Ben Camwell

        1 – It’s a mental disorder, not a crime, that effects a significant number of men and women:
        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/opinion/pedophilia-a-disorder-not-a-crime.html

        2 – I’m not trying to derail what I consider to be a very important topic. Too many people are simplifying complex issues with sweeping statements about men that simply don’t apply to all. It’s not accurate or constructive and therefore needs to be pointed out.
        3 – I do educate myself and don’t feel that anyone else ‘should’.

        • Tired feminist

          Translation: “not all men”.

          Next.

  • Tangelo

    Lol! You’re clearly intelligent, Ms Grey, but you are not being constructive (when you point out the ubiquity of male pedo culture). So, just be mindful of your language, missy, or none of us men will listen to you and the number of child victims will remain the same or even grow!

    • Tired feminist

      Do you also have the impression that the number of not-all-menz comments increases particularly when the topic involves pornography in some way?

      Why is that? (Rhetorical question, of course.)

      • Mateo Lewis

        I think its because a lot of men are offended at the generalization and don’t want to be associated with something like pornography. Which I agree with, it’s not fair to the feminist men and the good men to say something like “Men watch pornography.”

        Ben Camwell — thank God for your post. Sums up my opinions very well.

        • Meghan Murphy

          We are aware that not all men watch pornography. I don’t understand what this has to do with your comment. We are talking about what the majority of men do and how socialization and masculinity work in our society.

        • Tired feminist

          Thanks for exemplifying…

  • Tangelo

    Most reviews of the available research (based only on known cases ) show that about 75-80% of child sexual abuse victims are female, 20-25% male. The vast majority of offenders, however, are male.

  • Meghan Murphy

    “Believe it or not, it’s completely inaccurate to assume all men are obsessed with having sex with young women. The problem that keeps popping up here is that people want to simplify the problem with sweeping statements, assumptions and labels, as though that’s going to somehow help. In actual fact it does the opposite.”

    I think you’re the one who’s actually ignoring facts… Men consistently seek out and date younger women. The most searched for pornography is “barely legal.” Men who buy sex want the youngest or youngest-looking girl/woman possible. This is a social trend, not an anomaly.

    Beyond that, men tend not to like to be challenged. They are often attracted to women who ‘play dumb’, act passive, or simply are young and therefore not confident or lived enough to stand up to an older man. Men seek to dominate, this is part of the socialization of males in a patriarchy. Domination is an integral part of masculinity. This is the reality you are ignoring.

  • That is a fair generalisation but I think there’s a class analysis lacking in this thread.

    If it’s some working class kid being molested by a dirty MP in a position of power you think anyone gives a crap whether that kid is male or female? Look to the UK if you don’t believe what I say.

    • Tired feminist

      That’s right. Class does have a lot of influence on public reaction. However, I have to agree with mimi that the number of times I’ve seen a male victim of sexual abuse being blamed is literally zero. But you might have a different story to tell.
      What happened in the UK? I’m not from there, I’ve probably missed it..

  • Why do you believe that a female child have “traditionally” masculine interests without having to be indoctrinated by abusive parents who want to reinforce the the dogmatic myth that this must *somehow* mean there is something wrong with her in one way or another?

    Let kids be kids fer crying out loud!

  • The film sure presents it that way. I am not sure about the book because I haven’t read it.

  • This is exactly what I mean when I comment on those who facilitate child abusers. Those who make excuses for abusers who make excuses for abusers are part of the problem.

  • Nothing good has ever come from any culture or ideology that has failed to prioritise the protection of children. I am sorry that your family betrayed you as a child in the most despicable way and that they continue to refuse to accept that they did this.

  • calabasa

    I didn’t get that impression from the book…I mean, he planned to impregnate her in order to have another daughter he could molest. I thought it was supposed to be transparently horrifying (while of course full of the narrative voice of Humbert Humbert and how he felt about “nymphets”…) But maybe I was listening too much to Nabokov telling us how to read it? I like his other work so much. I’ll have to research it a bit more to find out if I really am being gullible. (As a writer I can’t say it’s bad per se to write about such an abhorrent topic or get inside the head of a character like that, even sympathetically…however, actions speak louder than words, and I thought his actions were pretty monstrous and conflicted with all the justifications)…I’ll check into it! I hope you’re wrong. I actually thought so well of Nabokov, particularly after expressing his desires about the cover and meaning of the book (even if he did spawn a whole category of gross porn!).

  • calabasa

    I’m kind of scared to say this on here, but I don’t think pedophilia is a mental illness any more than homo- or heterosexuality are. It’s an orientation (seen in animals too), an unfortunate one, fortunately very rare. (And as someone else said, a lot of child molestation isn’t actually by people who are pedophiles at all, at least exclusively so; they’re crimes of domination and proximity). I know above I was angry at psychologists trying to normalize attraction to young girls, but that’s for the *vast majority* of men (what they are saying by saying it’s “normal” is that most men are attracted to young girls, naturally, which is bullshit). But certainly a fraction of the population really are just pedophiles, rather than groomed by a culture that values female naivete. I would venture that the same small fraction of female pedophiles exist (maybe not, if it’s considered a fetish, as mostly men have fetishes, which science still doesn’t understand); but it’s entirely possible! Women would cause less (outward physical) harm and have more access to children, and so it might be reported more rarely.

    I know a comment like this might be anathema here, but just like I think a small minority of the population is truly trans (that is, mentally they are the opposite sex), and the rest are mostly fetishists, confused, or simply gender non-conforming (and caught up in a movement), there is a small minority of people who are pedophiles; the rest who fetishize youth and childishness are simply socialized into the dominant pedophile culture the author is talking about (including men who like big breasts etc; look at Marilyn Monroe, a “sex kitten” icon, whose show of innocence, real vulnerability, blond hair, and child-like face and voice along with her womanly figure were the height of the feminine irresistible). And as with most mixed messages in our messed-up culture, that kind of fetishizing of young girls is okay (ephebophilia, especially, is seen as normal), but actual pedophilia–sleeping with children–is not okay (it’s particularly reviled when it’s pedophiles who are attracted to little boys, I think, partly because there is a little normalizing factor in the attraction to young girls only a few years older than pedophiles like; not to mention child beauty pageants and etc.; and rampant homophobia, although pedophiles attracted to young boys are obviously not gay just as pedophiles attracted to young girls are not straight). What the author is talking about in this article is not true pedophilia so much as, as the self-explanatory title says, pedophile culture: the socialization of straight men to like young girls and girl-like traits, and then framing that as “normal” or biological for the majority of men.

  • calabasa

    So, does anyone have an answer about why young men go for older women, and later, when they start reaching their late twenties and beyond, that changes? Why would a 19-year-old boy be interested in a 30-year-old woman, but then at age 30 be more interested in a 19-year-old girl? What’s that about?

  • calabasa

    I agree that you’re ignoring facts. Polling men and women on dating sites about ideal partner age and charting it has made this very clear. Men always want women age 20-22 (ideally), and women want men their own age (sometimes a few years less or more, depending which side of forty). This has less to do with biology and attraction and more to do with power, IMO (as well as social capital; men want young arm candy to show off for other men).

    • Tobysgirl

      Many men also prefer a female partner who is ignorant and inexperienced regarding the world, enlarging on your mention of power. If you’re male and actually attracted to adult women, you might have to deal with someone who is knowledgeable, articulate, and unlikely to swoon at your profound pronouncements.
      A friend of mine who taught high school saw a poll that was taken of adult males and was deeply shocked at the overwhelming percentage of men who said yes, they would have sex with a 15-year-old girl if there were no consequences. Just as we need to inquire why anyone would see a baby or toddler as sexual, we need to ask why any adult finds undeveloped adolescents sexually appealing.

  • calabasa

    You’re aware that what you’re doing has a hashtag, right? It’s called “not all men.” The point is that, whether you believe it or not, YesAllMen. All men grow up socialized with the same harmful messages and, consciously or unconsciously, perpetuate the patriarchy in their behaviors or exhibit some gender bias in their language, behavior or preferences. I’m not saying you can’t say the same about women; I don’t know if there’s any woman who’s completely outgrown her harmful socialization in this culture and doesn’t give a shit about what the world wants her to look or be like. So YesAllWomen and YesAllMen, too.

  • calabasa

    That’s horrible. Everything about it. I’m so sorry.

    Also, wtf! with your boyfriend?! Do you feel like what happened influenced your relationships and the men that came into your life? I know it did, with me…

  • calabasa

    It’s true, I often feel sorry for men in the patriarchy. I know as a woman I’m socialized to be sympathetic to them (and this caused problems with being sympathetic to creeps who then acted like, well, creeps, when I was younger), but I can’t help it.

    Men are socialized to be villains, women to be victims, but the promise of whatever benefits accrue from adequately performing our respective gender roles is a lie…it’s all a lie…in a quest for domination only one can come out on top (only one richest person in the world, after all), and only a small group will hold most of the power…which means most men become victims too, but continue to believe this lie and perform masculinity for the approval of others and to feel like a “man,” whatever that is; and with the desperate hope that it will someday show the tangible benefits they’ve been promised (I think that’s why some men get so bitter, and mistakenly blame feminism). True, men have privileges we don’t (to get taken seriously, paid better, and go around without fearing rape); but they aren’t allowed to feel, and the poorest men get used up and abused by this hierarchy of dominance, coerced into wage slavery their whole lives. And angry, bitter, they often lash out at those weaker than them: the women in their lives.

    Women playing their victim role well doesn’t help either (as I found out, after being rather forcibly socialized into being a “good girl”). They might get more male attention, but it isn’t of the good or egalitarian kind. They might get more social validation, but they also won’t get taken seriously or paid as much as men. And they’re more vulnerable to victimization, having been socialized into passivity.

    The whole “manly man man man” toxic masculinity thing also means male victims of sexual crimes are invisible, as being raped is seen as a woman’s place. And what man wants to be a woman–violated, penetrated? And since rape is a woman’s place (and a woman’s punishment) it’s not seen as all that bad either, just nominally so, for the sake of lip service (just as we pay lip service to hating pedophilia while all of culture normalizes it).

    So, I feel sorry for men too. Including those who have hurt me. I can’t help it.

  • calabasa

    I’m not sure why you insist on saying pedophilia is a mental illness…just because it’s damaging doesn’t mean it’s not an orientation (a natural variation). Such things don’t always serve an evolutionary purpose. Honestly, I would rather call it an orientation than a mental illness, as I think that’s a little degrading to people with real mental illnesses (everything we don’t like gets lumped under “mental illness,” further stigmatizing the mentally ill). Even personality disorders are not considered mental illnesses the way say, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are (mental disorder is different than mental illness, precisely because it is something which does not vary; there are not “episodes” of mental disorder the way there are of mental illness; people with mental illness can function normally when medicated, although there is high co-morbidity among certain mental illnesses and mental disorders). So then you are classifying pedophilia as a personality disorder? There is an ongoing controversy about that (the 2014 article you cited below is outdated!), and IMO it doesn’t help as it further stigmatizes those with real mental disorders, implies there might be some cure or treatment, and also implies that it shows a pattern of socially alienating, dysfunctional behavior apart from attraction to children (which, if never acted upon in any way, is not a danger to society like, say, that of nonviolent psychopaths, who cause all sorts of damage)…I am not defending pedophiles but I’m not sure what the issue is with admitting that a very small number of people are truly wired that way (I mean, at this point the difference between “orientation” and “mental disorder” is semantic, except for calling it a mental disorder only adds to the prejudice surrounding mental disorders; I don’t think calling it an orientation validates it or sanctions it at all; why would an orientation automatically be a good thing? People are afraid it will be lumped in with homosexuality or that it will result in pushing to legalize it? Not if we know it results in harm to children). And being truly wired that way is very different than a culture that infantilizes women and girls generally; that is the prevailing sickness, and likely leads many female-preferring pedophiles to justify offending.

    I am even willing to admit there may be a few into BDSM who are “truly wired that way” (in this case I would say due to mental disorder, not orientation! While most would say the opposite, as kink is in vogue right now and for some reason people, like you, think “orientation” is something validating, rather than a word that simply means who you are attracted to; but I say that empirically, according to the criteria for diagnosing mental disorders, as “true” sadists/masochists have personality disorders that don’t *only* manifest in their sexuality/romantic life, unlike pedophilia; they have generalized disorders that manifest in all aspects of their behavior towards themselves and others. Furthermore, sadism and masochism are about what, not who, you are attracted to sexually). Again, I don’t think that’s an excuse for their behavior, and it reinforces old norms about violence and sex; and a culture that normalizes violent sexuality makes them feel justified in practicing it under the umbrella of “consent” (which at least we don’t do in the case of children, who we recognize as being unable to give consent, or we recognize that we can’t recognize when they can give consent, making the whole issue particularly thorny; best to err on the side of caution). And as in the case of pedophilia and pedophilic tendencies plenty more people who are not wired that way have jumped on the BDSM bandwagon to varying degrees due to cultural conditioning and normalization of violent sexuality, especially violence against women. And again, as in the case of pedophilia, there are those who do it because of childhood abuse rather than “wiring” (either genetic mental disorder or sexual orientation).

    Maybe the issue of how to classify pedophilia is a moot point, and all a matter of semantics, but I am tired of everybody calling everything they don’t like or can’t handle a “mental illness” (this is what happens every time there’s a mass shooting, too). Which might have something to do with being stigmatized myself for having bipolar disorder (despite its name a mental illness, not a personality disorder), which I hate taking medication for especially unsupervised (the meds are all pretty heavy-duty with some worrying side effects). I might ramble on and get mad sometimes–usually for good reason–but I am certainly no danger to anybody. Pedophilia *might* be a mental disorder (not a mental illness), but I think it’s more likely it’s a (blessedly rare) orientation, as apart from sexuality it has no other manifestations. And again, real pedophilia, not the pedophilia-in-order-to-weaken-women-and-groom-them-as-girls pop culture pedophilia, which I know is *not* rare, and serves to justify the other type (or the other type serves to justify it; they reinforce each other; the whole point of this article).

    I know it seems weird that I was mad in an earlier post about psychologists normalizing pedophilia, and now I’m saying it’s not really a mental disorder; but I don’t think it meets the diagnostic criteria of a pattern of dysfunctional behavior (apart from *only* sexuality), and what I am mad about is normalizing pedophilia as something natural for *all* men (an attraction to young girls/youth fetish), rather than recognizing that THAT is not a genetically-influenced attraction but a result of the patriarchy/social conditioning that hates and fears grown women. I can be of that opinion and still admit that a small percentage of people really are attracted solely to children, because of genetics, and it’s an orientation, not a mental illness (as it has no other characteristics apart from sexual attraction).

    And I explain all this as a preemptive strike, to protect myself from accusations that I am some kind of pedophile apologist. If someone says that, I can point them to this long explanation of the difference between an orientation and a mental disorder. This issue is so emotional it’s hard to listen and discuss dissenting view points rationally (like so many issues on Feminist Current).

    As I said, I don’t think declassifying pedophilia as a mental disorder (which the DSM-5 did, making a distinction between “pedophilia”–a sexual attraction to children that remains dormant, unacted-upon–and “pedophilic disorder”–a sexual compulsion to abuse children, despite awareness it’s harmful, that may accompany pedophilia, the sexual attraction to children; they declassified pedophilia, not pedophilic disorder) is the same as validating it, at all. What IS validating it are psychologists talking about how it is something natural in all men, which is bullshit.

    Predictably, the DSM changed its mind after all the outrage directed at them, especially from LGBTQ activists who didn’t want pedophilia lumped in with them. And it shouldn’t be, as it’s clearly a different issue, as children are likely not capable of consenting to sexual activity with adults (both due to their limited ability to understand, and the obvious power difference), and certainly adults should not try and find out; but understandably the LGBTQ community is worried about all the small-minded morons out there who see pedophilia and homosexuality or gender nonconformity as the same kind of thing. All of these political considerations still do not a mental disorder make.

    Heterosexuality has many, many damaging aspects, that even the most enlightened people play out in their relationships, because of patriarchal culture. Does that mean it’s a mental disorder rather than a sexual orientation? It only is when it turns to rape and abuse, even if the very way in which men are attracted to women in the first place, without any overt abuse, is problematic (and quite often vice-versa). Just as pedophilia is problematic, even absent abuse. But we don’t like to point out how heteronormative relationships are problematic in this culture, much less call it a “mental disorder.”

    Anyway. Time to go to sleep. I doubt anyone will read all that (nevertheless, I’m not apologizing), and I’m sure someone will call me a pedophile sympathizer, and then not read this post when I point them to it. Oh well.

  • Tesla Livia

    You clearly don’t realise that it is possible to contribute a critical analysis of the above post, without writing like a condescending asshat. Do better.

  • Tesla Livia

    ” “It is time to do something
    about men” – so that must include me?”

    IDK Ben. Just how much of your time to you devote to ending the oppression of women?

  • When it comes to children under 14, the vast majority of perpetrators are male, a tiny minority are female and usually they are involved with a sadistic male – this much is true.

    With that said when it comes to children 14 and over the number of adult females who abuse positions of trust is significantly higher (and the same is the case for adult males).

  • calabasa

    Even when men like more womanly bodies, they like them to be paired with childish attributes…Marilyn Monroe, of the womanly figure, child-like voice and face, blond hair, and sexy/sexual vulnerability, was seen as the ultimate figure of the feminine irresistible back when curvy women were popular, in the 50’s…she was even called a “sex kitten.”

    Part of intersects with class too.Men used to like curvy women a long time ago and still do in some countries because it showed they could afford to feed their property. As food is no longer scarce and the impoverished are more likely to be obese in first-world countries, thinness shows they can afford to date women who can afford to spend all their time at the gym to please men.

  • OldPolarBear

    to-may-to, to-mah-to

    Seriously, do you really think wearing that thing is going to make a 4YO girl “feel” more male? Whatever that even means? It’s going to feel like a plastic thing strapped to her crotch all day. As for how it looks to others, anybody who is looking at the crotches of 4YO kids for identifying bulges is a sick fuck and should be locked up.

  • Tired feminist

    Yes, you’re making yourself absolutely clear. It’s your alternative explanation that doesn’t make sense.

  • S.K.Law

    This supposed refutation of the above essay sounds very much like an MRA shill’s commentary on Anita Sarkeesian’s “Women as Rewards: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games”. The MRA shill is a woman who goes into great detail about how Ms. Sarkeesian is mistaken. If this woman was truly supportive of free speech and intellectual curiousity she would grant Anita S. her right to her own analysis rather describing Anita’s critique as “highly inflammatory”. The video I am referring to is “Why Feminist Frequency Almost Made Me Quit Writing”. Yeah lady, you and the gaming community are the real victims in all of this. “People are upset … I have prepared notes … I believe that the timing of the release of this video is unduly provocative and highly inflammatory … it has upset people … I am mounting a defense of these games and by extension gamers … this video could be seen as a deliberate attack” And so on. Yeesh! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNFLgAQ1Nv8

  • Meghan Murphy

    What?? Beards are in right now. And have been for years. There is more social pressure to grow a beard than not.

  • Tired feminist

    See? Criticizing pornography seems to hit men’s nerves on all sides. Those who don’t consume porn will take offense at your refusal to take exception as rule. Those who do will take offense at your remind that their beloved pastime is unethical.

  • I haven’t, I have a deadline tomorrow, but I’ve loaded up her TEDx talk in a tab and will watch it later – thanks for the tip! My opinions on porn more generally are pretty close to Cindy Gallop’s, and she has some great talks too. Another good thing is School of Life’s “porn as therapy”.

    • Tired feminist

      Ugh. I knew Alain de Botton was sexist as fuck, but PORN AS THERAPY? Seriously??? Torture of women as “therapy” for men?

      Fuck you, School of Life.

  • cin17

    “96% of people who sexually abuse children are male, and 76.8% of people who sexually abuse
    children are adults (n)” –National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “Statistics About Sexual Violence”

    and

    “Women rarely committed sexual assaults (about 3 % of these assaults) but when they did the modal age of their victims was also 15 years.” —”Sexual Assault as a Crime Against Young People,” Richard B. Felson and Patrick R. Cundiff

  • cin17

    Except you are running away from the truth, not trying to get closer to it. The percentage of male vs. female offenders is so ridiculously lopsided that it always amazes me when someone attempts to deny it.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You might be interested in incorporating the word “continuum” into your vocabulary.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I don’t agree. But in any case, do you really think shaving one’s beard is comparable to the pressure on women to be completely hairless? In places that almost never even exposed on a day to day basis?

  • Melanie

    There’s no evidence that pornography directly influences sex crime rates one way or another. Of course ‘correlation doesn’t equal causation’ doesn’t seem to apply when the research supports your point of view or you’re trying to justify your pornography use. These studies also ignore the fact that the sex industry is unethical and unregulated at the very least, largely illegal and run by criminal elements at worst. As such pornography often constitutes a sex crime in itself. I can understand how this would go right over the heads of someone who has been so desensitized by porn that they don’t even consider the women in it, their circumstances, their health, their lives and their experiences in pornography. It’s all an academic argument to these men, and a very biased, self serving one.

  • andeväsen

    Women’s societal worth is closely bound to their appearance and to their sexual attractiveness. Men’s societal worth is not. The “social pressure” as you put it is incomparable.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Longtime beard-lover here. I hated it when my boyfriends shaved. (Not only because I don’t like how it looks, but because then their faces are stabby.) My current bf has a beard (nothing crazy, just about an inch of facial hair) and I would be very sad if he shaved it off. Some men like to shave, some men don’t, and they all seem to make these decisions based on what makes their faces feel comfortable. I don’t see this widespread ‘social pressure’ to shave.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I did not know that about Brooke Shields. I just googled it and am horrified. Her mother was paid $450 by Playboy Press for the photos. You know, Playboy, the REAL feminists.

    • India Weeks

      What about the Penthouse claim is that true? I could believe it, I don’t think there were anti child porn laws until the mid 80’s so in 80 it would be legal. Oh, yeah, Playboy, Bill Cosby’s favorite hang out, great bunch of guys there.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Why don’t you explain why men search for ‘barely legal’ porn more than anything else? And why it’s so acceptable in our culture to sexualize teenage girls?

  • cin17

    Marilyn Monroe did not create the “template.” It’s been around for ages.

  • DeColonise

    Oh please, the “she’s 18 so its cool” argument. The most overused comment among us men ever to justify when you are closer to 40 and still want to stick your penis into young women who are supposed to start living their lives, explore the world and not really should have to deal with creepy old men who looks at them in sexual ways.

  • Tired feminist

    I know the School of Life, and I can’t take seriously anyone who defends porn.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah I saw Taxi Driver years ago… I did not know about this ‘virgin killer’ album or that Elliot Rodger used the name. That is disgusting!!!!

  • Meghan Murphy

    So you missed the entire point of the essay, then? Good to know.

  • Meghan Murphy

    The entire essay. Which argues pedophilia is normalized and that ‘normal’ men engage in the sexualization of girls.

  • Hierophant2

    Don’t play stupid. Western culture, like 99% of the people who comment here. The culture of Playboys, Internet porn, and “no fat chicks” t-shirts worn openly. Asshole.

  • Meghan Murphy

    The point is that pedophilia is not ‘taboo’. It’s very normalized in our society. People just don’t like to admit it.

    • datbeezy

      again. read my post. Pedophilia is not being normalized. Guys who lust after 16 year old girls are creepy, but they’re not pedophiles; ‘teen’ porn is not marketed to or consumed by pedophiles. That society (as evinced by this article) conflates the two is, in my opinion, highly damaging to the discourse. If you’ve got a point to make other than that you have a superior intellect to me, make it, otherwise I don’t know what you want to talk about.

      • Meghan Murphy

        You’re forcing a stupid conversations and wasting our time. If you don’t want a response, please go away. We’ll all be much happier.

        • datbeezy

          well, I thought I made a pretty reasonable point which added a detail to the conversation. You haven’t seemed to address my point, you’ve just spent a few replies trying to insult me, for reasons I really can’t discern other than a desire to make yourself feel better by making others feel worse. You haven’t spent a sentence on any substance here, if anyone should be going away, look in the mirror.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Ooooh what a great idea! So you’ll run the site from here on out? Best of luck, dear!

          • Tired feminist

            LOL male ego never ceases to amuse me.

            Guy tries to force a discussion on a pointless point, is somehow absolutely convinced that we should be interested in his opinions, and then plays the persecuted when the outcome isn’t the way he wanted. HAHAHAHA

          • Meghan Murphy

            FEMINISTS! ANONYMOUS MALE INTERNET COMMENTER IS HERE TO FIX FEMINISM FOR YOU! BOW DOWN (BITCHES).

          • India Weeks

            Hi, I just wanted to clarify that I am a woman, for some reason facebook is posting a picture of my husband, where my picture should be, lol. Apparently I am a white male today? Lucky me, just wanted to make sure my suggestions didn’t seem like more mansplaining.

          • datbeezy

            Literally what is the problem with what I said?

          • Learn_To_Swim

            This>>>>> “ima catch hell for this, but pedophiles aren’t the dudes checking out the “barely legal” sections. Barely legal is attractive to those who enjoy breaking the taboo of sexualizing youth, but nonetheless are still enjoying sexually mature women [weirdly, it seems improper to refer to 19 year old porn stars as women vs. girls/etc. chicken or egg?]. Pedophiles, by and large, do NOT enjoy violating the age taboo but are still sexually attracted to sexually immature girls.

            So, while there’s something to this idea of an entire system of sexualizng young women, “pedophile culture” is misleading and clouds the issue – almost none of the perpetrators of the system are pedophiles.”

          • Learn_To_Swim

            Dood hang it up, Murphy has won the argument and will continue to do so.
            You are way in over your head.
            So am I, but I’m not a clever man.

          • Mantaradio

            datbeezy- i’ve been reading this convo and I just wanted to restate that this article is about how current standards of beauty do not reflect natural sexually mature womanhood. These standards (as she said, hairless, tight, frail, etc.) are qualities of underage girls. Whether we’re talking about girls who are 3 or 6 or 8 or 12* or 15* there is no difference, our society enforces that grown women aspire to qualities more characteristic of those ages, hence the word “pedophilia”.
            (**Most girls I know began shaving their legs around the age of 12. A 15 year old with shaved legs is already at the whim of this weird standard we’re talking about. Even WITH her natural body hair, the look of an underage teenager certainly does not compare to the look, behavior, or ability to consent of a grown sexually mature woman. Again, the word “pedophilia” fits.)
            “Bratz” dolls are a related issue; they depict distorted, overly made-up girls as role models to GIRLS who are too young to understand that they themselves should be the ones choose whether or not that kind of upkeep is going to be their ‘thing’. BUT our issue here is about the image of womanhood offered to WOMEN and MEN, that what is desirable is not the natural course of puberty and hairy, curvy ladyhood but rather more of that upkeep; this time to attain qualities that are characteristic of children.
            So again, the word pedophilia fits.

          • Learn_To_Swim

            datbeezy, an illogical argument but too the point: Too bad that you don’t have a reflection.

          • the Block

            datbeezy, I see you are trying to have a semantics argument here, where I don’t think it is appropriate. You’re probably right–that labeling it as “pedophile culture” may be a little extreme given the strict definition of pedophilia as attraction to pre-pubescent children, which is a behavior that isn’t shared or celebrated, but you’re missing the forest for the trees. It all comes back to the oversexualization of women in our society–the article points out that this begins at an age before girls actually even reach the age of consent, and that the majority of men display sexual interest in the infantilization of women. Society enforces those male-centric desires onto women as it typically does, which is harmful. Either you understand this, and you are just arguing an irrelevant point for argument’s sake, or you don’t understand this and you need to do more listening and learning, and less talking.

          • datbeezy

            I mean, i see the issue as being two distinct problems with two distinct answers. From my perspective, lumping them all together is “not seeing the forest for the trees” or whatever metaphor you want to use. Overall i’m just pissed because although I affirmed “the point” of the article, it was still seen fit to deride me, with folks hopping in and saying so-and-so “won the argument” despite not presenting any type of argument that was anything more than textual eye-rolling and winning nothing more than a popularity contest.

          • Meghan Murphy

            OMG THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. STOP OBSESSING OVER YOUR HURT FEELINGS ABOUT HOW PEOPLE RESPONDED TO YOUR COMMENT AND SENDING YOUR WEIRD FRIENDS TO POST NOTHING COMMENTS ABOUT HOW MUCH THEY REALLY THINK YOUR COMMENT IS REALLY VALID. THIS COMMENT SECTION DOES NOT EXIST FOR YOU, IT EXISTS FOR PEOPLE TO COMMENT ON THE ARTICLE AT HAND. MOVE ON AND GET A LIFE PLEASE.

      • Learn_To_Swim

        “Pedophilia is not being normalized.”

        Yes it is, as is pointed this out in the article: Top porn searches are “teen” “barely legal” and “girls”, strongly implying immature girls, as stated. this also has the added effect of making mature women look prudish and ageist and henceforth “unattractive”; which in turn forces mature and older women to shave and diet to look and be “attractive” to men. Rinse and repeat.
        This is seriously fucking up society, where women are looked upon by men as sex toys, to be used and discarded at a whim.

  • Hush

    The appendix is not unnecessary. After someone has an intestinal ill or takes antibiotics, the appendix re-seeds the gut with good bacteria. People without an appendix are more at risk for illnesses like colitis. Just because people can live without it does not mean there is something unnecessary about it. Body hair has purposes. It helps keep you warm because it holds an invisible insulation of air around your body like a thermos.. It’s why people feel a chill after they shower.. It’s not the water evaporating (tho that is part of it), it’s more-so actually that the hair is wet and laying flat so it can’t keep warm air next to the body. Even children have body hair all over them, albeit it is not present in secondary sex areas nor is it at thick. Publc/armpit hair help avoid friction and pubic hair can keep dirt out of the vagina should you go running about without underwear. Also females and males produce a variety of hormones/pheromones and there is pretty good evidence that armpit hair and pubic hair hold onto odors produced by glands and sort of heat up and “broadcast” the fertility/genetics/etc. of the person like a beacon light of smells that your brain registers and decodes without your awareness. Men are more attracted to ovulating females — I wonder if an absence or presence of pubic hair would make them more/less attracted to their odor in a blind study — my bet is that males would find the hairy females smell more appealing because the hair traps the odors and then they heat up and can broadcast more strongly to males and vice versa about males and having armpit hair and women’s attraction to their odors. Nature is not just fooling around!

  • India Weeks

    Ben, you are doing harm in minimizing the violent pathology of the male half of the human species. I feel like your comment is insulting and degrading to all the women and children’s lives who have been shattered by male violence. Your insensitivity to the rape and pedophilia rampant in the culture is damaging to all who read it, your narcissistic claim that it’s not being done by you is unhelpful to anyone but your self. Whats wrong with you Ben? and how can I help you? Something needs to be done about YOU. YOU are the problem with men.

  • Tired feminist

    Kid, you seem very, very confused. Check my advice to Mateo Lewis above. It might be useful for you.

  • Hush

    As someone who was victimized as a child for years.. I have to say stuff like this is triggering to me, so maybe I see this through that lens.

    I believe our culture is encouraging people to hurt young females, but, I don’t know about encouraging pedophiles. You see, much of pornography has women with fully formed breasts. That is a secondary sex characteristic that turns off most pedophiles. So, I see where you are going with the over-sexing of girls, the devaluing of females, the weird/painful/horrible/biologically incorrect beauty goals.. BUT.. I don’t think it encourages actual pedophilia. I think it encourages the victimization and devaluing of females as a whole, for sure. I also think it is a freakish thing to try to make adult females look more like children (yuck).

    I think much of this spurns from our extremely religious people. Somehow much of it relates back to “purity” which is a religious concept..

    I personally chagrin and reject societal norms about body hair for females, etc. I am trying to instill in my own children that they are much more than their looks and teaching them bodily autonomy and making sure their bodily autonomy is always respected (in non emergencies, of course) etc.

    I like this article for its honesty..

    • Saramis

      Pedophilia by its strict definition, you are correct about the presence of breasts being a turn off. But we’re living in a time where 10-12 year olds are developing breasts, and so the over-sexing is still harmful to post-pubescent girls that are still very much, mentally if not physically, children. Hebephilia is the more accurate term fo rthis I think.

  • skilletblonde

    This is one of those weasel word arguments I hear from men. Well, she doesn’t look 12. Was she prepubescent or pubescent? Why, he’s not a pedophile; he’s a hebephile. No, he’s a Ephebophile. All of these are terms to lessen the crime of an adult male having sex with children. it is also to encourage lowering the age of consent. It makes no difference if there are public hairs in the genital area or not. Adults have no business looking at children as sexual partners. Therefore, certainly, they should not have sex with them. The attempt to do so is not merely a vile crime, it is evil.

  • suspicion goat

    The most searched for term is “barely legal” or “teen” on porn sites. Liking a girl who looks like she could be 14 is most certainly a pedophilic desire. You don’t have to want to have sex with pre-pubescent children to be a pedophile. Teenagers are still children. They’re just pubescent or post pubescent children.

  • suspicion goat

    To be fair, Marilyn Monroe was 5’5 and 118 lbs with a 22 inch waist, though sometimes this varied. These were her studio measurements and also her measurements at her time of death. That’s extremely thin. Her hips and bust looked large compared to her waist. Her body type would be extremely difficult if not impossible for 99% of women to obtain.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Naw, I’m blocking you, troll. See, here: http://www.feministcurrent.com/2015/10/07/whats-current-julie-bindel-no-platformed-from-event-about-feminism-free-speech/#comment-2299592613

    What a fucked up little game you’ve been playing.

  • Amanda

    Good article. I heard a story on NPR a while back about how there has been a huge rise in sex trafficking of children, in the US and other countries, that correlates to the relatively easy and increased access to child porn on the internet over the last five to ten years. So high end pimps are getting more and more requests for children.

  • Todd E. Nickerson

    Dear Alicen,

    I read your article with interest and I do agree with some of it. But I think you are also missing some key information here. First off, as I pointed out in my second article, there are two important categories here that often get thrown together: pedophiles and child molesters. Within that second category, evidence from multiple studies shows that most abusers aren’t pedophiles but rather situational offenders. These are people who do not have a primary or exclusive attraction to children but abuse them for other reasons. I listed the main ones in that article: substituting a child for an absent or unavailable adult; exploitation of their power over the child; curiosity plus lack of scruples or lack of impulse control; or they get off by violating the taboo itself.

    You’re right: the great majority of child sex offenders are men, and most victims are female. This is because most situational offenders are men and abuse girls who are their care, often their own daughter or stepdaughter. And as FBI’s prominent expert on this issue Kenneth Lanning pointed out in his important article ‘Child Molesting,’ these offenders usually do not abuse children outside of that circle. The reason is, they aren’t actually pedophiles. They aren’t abusing girls based on attraction, or attraction is a minimal factor at best. Those pedophiles who do molest children–though they are much rarer–are often distinguished by how many victims they have, most of them being acquaintances. I’m saddened by that, but I must admit it is the case.

    As for the distribution of pedophiles, we seem to be about evenly distributed between those attracted to girls and those attracted to boys. We’ve done several surveys at VirPed that demonstrate this. Most self-identifying pedophiles are indeed men, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t female pedophiles out there. They just don’t necessarily feel the need to self-identify. I don’t know why–maybe they are just better at dealing with it than men and don’t feel they need the same degree of support. But I did have several of them email me after my articles came out, and I was rather surprised by how many did.

    Anyway, your article demonstrates one of the profound truisms of research: correlation does not imply causation. There is high correlation between male offenders and female victims, but there is something at the heart of it that isn’t about pedophilia (which is simply an attraction to children). Anyway, interesting article. I hope to hear back from you!

  • Meghan Murphy

    lolololollllllll

  • Todd E. Nickerson

    I would like to add that there certainly is a cultural trend towards a preference for youth, but it pretty much ends at those who have secondary sexual characteristics, the very things that pedophiles are NOT attracted to. I think some of that is rooted in biology–I once saw a science program that said that there are only two universal sexually attractive characteristic across all cultures. One was symmetry and the other was youth. This makes perfect sense, as these are both signs of reproductive healthiness. There is no doubt a cultural element too, which is more complex, and some of what you mention is applicable, but I think a large component of it is simply the thrill of violating the taboo. Those men who get a thrill from the ‘barely 18’ websites often react just as strongly to pedophiles as anyone else. And anyway, some of your markers apply to women as well as men. For example, you mention body hair. It has been my experience that many women prefer men to be clean-shaven. Does that make them pedophiles? Hardly.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Again, I don’t understand where this idea that most or many women prefer men to be clean-shaven. It’s not true in my experience nor is it true in many places and cultures around the world. Where are you getting this data?

      • Anna

        Admittedly, I’ve dated several men who tend to their pubic hair and shave or trim various parts of their nether regions. I’ve found that to be more common than not. My experience of this is around various parts of the US. (Mostly east coast and Midwest.)

      • Charlene Mayne

        I like facial and body hair in my men as well

      • Christine

        I happen to find facial and body hair disgusting. I’ve been that way since I was a child. In a mate, I prefer them to have at least a clean shaven face, or at least to keep it trim. The last thing I want in my mouth is hair just from a kiss.

        • Meghan Murphy

          My boyfriend doesn’t grow hair out of his lips.

          • Kashia Mills

            Yeah, I gotta say… Christine needs to narrow her target when going in for a kiss if getting hair in the mouth is an issue lol

    • Lizze Ferrari

      There are actually three universal PHYSICALLY attractive characteristics. (Physical attraction is different from sexual attraction. Although the two often do go hand in hand, appreciating the way that a person looks is not the same as wanting to have sex with him/her.) These characteristics are facial symmetry, koinophilia (a term borrowed from biology that refers to a preference for average-looking features) and a combination of neoteny and maturity. In other words, the universal standard of beauty does not include youthful features, but a combination of both youthful and mature features that represent both vitality and sexual maturity. That’s right — According to biology, sexual maturity is a key component in determining who we find physically attractive. Biology has always been a classic excuse for defending the patriarchy, but this is a cultural problem, not a biological problem. Science doesn’t back you up.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yes.

  • Anna

    I recommend reading Todd’s article, it’s really good. I also wouldn’t trust Todd around my kids, but not because he’s a pedophile- simply because I don’t know the guy. I wouldn’t trust any strangers around my children. But the people I love and trust in my life, if they came out as a pedophile to me, my trust for them wouldn’t change.

  • Saramis

    I love beards — well-groomed beards. Because it shows maturity/masculinity but also that they pay attention to their appearance, which is an attractive personal trait. In our society shaving the face is seen as a manly stage of grooming — and men are still revered as men even when they shave completely. Teaching your son to shave is them entering into manhood. Soldiers have to be clean shaven, and that’s an ideal of manliness. The double standard arises out of other contexts — for example, women being referred to as ‘girls’ in adulthood colors how it’s viewed, and women are expected to shave every area that hair grows post-puberty while men aren’t.

  • Saramis

    Informed and educated consent to sexual activity is legally viewed as only possible among adults because that is generally when our reasoning skills are at their best — even if our hormones are driving us earlier than that. Consent is frontal lobe, sexual drive is hypothalamus. Two minors engaging in sex is not a crime because neither is viewed as the criminal in that situation, both rather both ‘victims’ (I’m considering this from the legal point of view, I’m not trying to say you were a victim).

  • Saramis

    I hope that initiative passes. I remember being 18 and suddenly men 10+ years older than me would hit on me and I realized it wasn’t technically illegal behavior but it was still pretty frightening to me. I wasn’t fully mature yet. If you’re gonna have legal prostitution, 21 is a much more reasonable age I think.

  • Saramis

    A lot of people are using ‘pedophilia’ in its colloquial usage, refering to any sex with someone under the age of consent. But yeah technically pedophilia is strictly pre-pubescent children — BUT the preference for no secondary characteristic body hair /is/ pretty damn pedophilic. The breasts counteract that and bring it more toward hebephilia — which is still a crime. Minors have breasts, so that’s not really a ‘strictly adult’ thing.

  • Heddie Leonne

    Aren’t you a legit writer? “Several women you know” doesn’t equal majority consensus.

  • disqus_b1PYJ6ZQeD

    this article makes a lot of sense. I wasn’t super young, but was sexually abused for a year when i was 16/17- the guy involved was only a couple of years older- but he definitely targeted me because i was at the time, and visually appeared to be, more innocent and child-like than the average girl in our college. i know for a fact that he enjoyed the power he had over me, and enjoyed the innocence i had, because i was so open to manipulation. I later realise that i had been ‘groomed’ by him- also, he took great pleasure in knowing that i was his first sexual experience (even though it was extremely negative, unconsensual and all about humiliation and power play.) the idea that i was a virgin simply turned him on- This guy would in no way be considered a peadophile, but his reasons for being interested and using me are, i would say, the same reasons pedophiles target and fetishise children.

  • patrick fry

    been saying this for years…pedophilia is glamorized in US culture. And actual sexual predators receive similar sentences to non violent weed smokers in some states. Its ludicrous.

  • 65snake

    Great article, and a lot of valid points here.
    This, though, “And just as you say “there is no ethical way we can fully actualize our
    sexual longings,” there is no ethical way to request cooperation from
    those of us actively trying to dismantle the patriarchal system that
    your “orientation” represents.”
    I would have to disagree. There are all sorts of fetishes out there. It can be perfectly ethical on an ***individual*** basis. The issue is when it is a pervasive cultural trend.

  • Kashia Mills

    WOW. This article just completely rocked my world in a largely negative way. I love my smooth legs, though I hate the process of shaving them so I don’t do it often… but I am programmed, I guess, to think slender, hairless legs on women are sexy as hell…. and I’m now feeling weird as shit about it. Great.