You’ve heard of rape culture, but have you heard of pedophile culture?
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… By Alicen Grey, who 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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