“Are All Men Pedophiles?”


How old is the model in this photo?

And if I tell you your reputation and your freedom depend on the answer, does it change? Now how old is she?

The answer is 14, but it’s absolutely meaningless. She’s made up and Photoshopped to look not just like an adult, but like a somewhat sexually stimulated one. She could be any age from the one she is to 40. In fact, minus a little of the high-gloss, low-contrast treatment, she looks an awful lot like a 27-year-old Anne Hathaway.

Or she could be a mannequin, if we’re going to judge by anything but the ridiculous standards of glamor photography.

What shouldn’t be in doubt is that this picture is an incredibly poor choice to illustrate the question that documentary filmmaker Jan-Willem Breure claims to be asking and answering in his new film, Are All Men Pedophiles. If people viewing your picture can’t tell that she isn’t an adult, you’re not telling them anything about their age-related sexual preference if they happen to find her attractive.

That’s hardly the only bad argument Breure makes, even just on this poster. There’s also the title of the film. A pedophile is attracted to prepubescent children–you know, up to age 9 or 10. All you guys reading this who are now feeling a bit nauseated? You’re all the answer needed to the question as it’s posed. Not that that’s the substance of the film. The title is like those bad headlines that ask ridiculous questions, then answer them, “Nah.”

Specifically, the film advances the claim (with the help of guest experts like a neuroscientist, a psychologist, and a model scout) that all men are “hebephiles” — that is, attracted to teenagers. It argues that we need to make a distinction between hebephiles and true pedophiles, who are attracted to prepubescent children. The film also claims that a variety of cultures — it mentions everything from ancient Greece to the Lolita community in modern-day Japan — have accepted sex between adults and teenagers, and implies that maybe everyone else should, too. It closes with the line “eighteen is just a number.” Are All Men Pedophiles? jumps from graphic descriptions of child sexual abuse (a victim tells her harrowing story of being raped by her father) to suggestions that teen-adult sex really isn’t so bad.

What Breure claims to be talking about in the film is hebephilia, but even that isn’t related to the poster. Nor is it related to his motivations in asking the question.

Breure, who is 23 and bankrolled the film entirely himself, said it was inspired by his own attraction to teenagers: recently, he said, he’d come to realize that he was attracted to girls as young as 15. He wanted to explore whether this attraction was truly pedophilia. Making the movie, he said, taught him that “there is a difference between the public definition and the real definition of pedophilia” — the public definition includes attraction to teens, while the “real” definition excludes this.

I have to wonder how good this documentary can be if the creator didn’t manage to learn in the process that his own attractions aren’t even hebephilia. We’ve covered hebephilia on this blog before (interestingly, responding to someone else who claimed his sexual orientation was universal). Hebephilia is an attraction to pubescent children, those whose bodies are in transition, generally those from about age 11 to about age 14.

That means that if he’s attracted to “girls as young as 15″, Breure is not a hebephile either. He may, possibly, be an ephebophile, someone attracted to post-pubescent children, but only if he’s not attracted to those who are fully adult. Otherwise, he’s just a plain old vanilla teleiophile, someone attracted to adults, who is reacting to children who look adult to him. You know, like the model he chose for the poster of his movie.

This movie appears to be attempting a bizarre form of medicalization of sex. “Oh, see, there’s a name for what I want, so it must not be my fault if I take it.” At the same time, of course, it’s going for a bandwagon defense. “But everybody does it.” Neither one cuts it on its own. Putting them both together suggests the filmmaker is having a tough time figuring out what he’s trying to say.

That’s not surprising. What he’s trying to say is something that will justify him having sex with anyone without regard for his partner(s). The thing is, while we do badly misuse the word “pedophilia” in our society, what we mean to be saying instead is “child rape”. All the twisting and turning and talking about irrelevancies and misusing words on his own can’t be allowed to obscure that.

While it may be true that “18 is just a number” (actually, this obscures how ages of consent are handled in most places), 15 and 23 are numbers too, and those numbers are quite different in ways that are important to decision-making, power dynamics, and sexual and emotional health outcomes. There doesn’t appear to be any attempt to deal with these realities in the film, just a bit about pregnancy and keeping kids in school. Good goals, but irrelevant to the age of a teen’s sexual partner.

The funny thing, as I sit here tearing apart the descriptions of this film and Breure’s statements about it, is that I would like to see a good documentary done on the topic. Yes, that documentary would include sympathy for people with pedophilia and hebephilia and ephebophilia. It’s anything but impossible. I’ve done it myself.

Such a documentary would also, however, display sympathy for those children who are working on growing up to be healthy adults. It would talk about how sexual interactions between children and adults make that more difficult. In short, it would act as though sex is something that happens between people, each with their own needs and interests.

A documentary like this, however, treats these children more like a masturbatory aid, something there only to settle an urge that “all men have”. As such, it just adds to the pile of evidence that anyone trying to say there’s nothing wrong with being an ephebophile should probably be kept as far away from teenagers as possible. They’re just not grown up enough to handle it. And yes, I’m talking about the ephebophiles.

Comments

  1. says

    Are All Men Pedophiles

    Not to mention, with that age-disguised photo of the 14-year-old (I guessed early 30s, BTW), the question of his film should really be. Are All Straight Men Pedophiles? (the conflation of pedophilia with ephebophilia notwithstanding). I’m really tired of “men” being unthinkingly grouped into this monolithic block where they all can be assumed to feel sexual attraction toward beautiful women. And I think when it comes to discussions of pedophilia (even if they are as disingenuous as the one by Breure who conflates pedophilia with other age-related paraphilias), it is really important to note that this is heterosexual men being talked about!

  2. julian says

    He may, possibly, be an ephebophile, someone attracted to post-pubescent children, but only if he’s not attracted to those who are fully adult. Otherwise, he’s just a plain old vanilla teleiophile, someone attracted to adults, who is reacting to children who look adult to him. You know, like the model he chose for the poster of his movie.

    can’t stop giggling after reading that.

    You’d think with all the experts he spoke to the thought would have occurred to him at some point but I guess that’s me expecting to much.

  3. 'Tis Himself says

    The woman in the poster may be 14 but she doesn’t look 14. I’d have guessed late 20s.

    I’m a cis-heterosexual male. I’m not sexually attracted to prepubescent children so I’m not a pedophile. That answers the question the movie is supposedly asking.

  4. left0ver1under says

    I don’t get understand May/September attraction, never mind March/September. How can anybody be attracted to someone not at their own level of life experience and maturity? Sure, everyone likes someone younger than themselves, but I’m in my mid 40s, and don’t date women under 35 because of dissimilar interests and experiences. The conversation is always limited.

    Or maybe that’s the point. Are the ones who go for teens, tweens and younger so emotionally stunted that they *are* looking for those of their own mental age?

  5. unbound says

    I really couldn’t define an age for the girl since the girl has got a good chunk of makeup and it was obviously photoshopped pretty heavily. Heck, with the amount of photoshop in that picture, they might have been able to do that with a 10 year old.

    Then again, I’m getting old enough most women under 25 just plain look too young anymore.

  6. fcaccin says

    First time commenter. Hello to everyone.

    I guessed 14, so I must be some sort of weirdo. Also, courtesy of savage photoshopping I surmise, she looks dead. No muscle appears contracted, eyes included.
    I seem to recall that Roman Polansky refused to be judged for having sex with a 14y old because “everyone wants to scr*w them”.

    At loss for words.

    PS: why is the question mark reversed?

  7. says

    fcaccin,

    I doubt this was intended by the use of it, but the reversed question mark was proposed as an ‘irony mark’ in the 19th century. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony_punctuation

    Oh, and I’d be wondering whether the film exposes some Men’s Right Assholes since a disturbing number of those creeps view 14 to 18 year olds as ripe for the picking; past the age of 28 they are over the hill.

  8. sumdum says

    That’s one of the most heavily photoshopped pictures I’ve seen in a while. Can’t see any defining line or wrinkle, it’s scary.

  9. says

    Left0ver1under:

    How can anybody be attracted to someone not at their own level of life experience and maturity?

    I’m not defending pedophiles or “hebephiles” at all, but I don’t see a problem with relationships between fully consenting adults with age differences of 10 years or more. People’s basic personalities and life experiences differ a lot, including within age cohorts.

  10. Rick Schauer says

    A few years back french Vogue ran images of a ten year old…some of which can be found here:

    http://gothamist.com/2011/08/12/10-year-old_model.php

    They were/are very racy and suggestive images for a 10 year old to be a part of but I think of history and know many children were married-off at very young ages to crowns and other heads of states. Look at Jerry Lee Lewis marrying his 13-14 year old cousin for chrisssake. Not saying it’s right but there is a ton of precedence on this issue especially in the good ‘ol boy southern states. For clarity, I enjoy sex with fit older women (35-60) simply because they know what they want and how to get it…they never beat around the bush so to speak…yeah baby!

    And this leads to another sticky issue: labelling! Pedophile, homophobe, etc, which stir emotions in a usually negative manner due to the context in which it’s used. But we label on and literally destroy people’s lives with these labels instead of any attempting to understand all that’s involved. It’s like judging others from 50,000 feet.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a ped. and the thought of it is unattractive to me but I think it important to point out some of the shit we don’t really want to look at too closely. And from my perspective labelling is one of the worst activities we as humans participate in.

  11. amhovgaard says

    There’s a huge difference between finding people who have reached puberty but not yet whatever the age of consent is where you live physically attractive (most adults do), and actually wanting to have sex with them, or even prefer them as partners (most adults don’t, because we prefer partners we have a little more in common with, not inexperienced teens).

  12. alexmartin says

    It seems that the application of a simple test would be appropriate to this discussion as to whether sexual attraction to or involvement with a minor can ever be justified.

    At least in the majority of so-called “fly-over” country (distant from the more libertine, ‘enlightened’ East and particularly West coasts of the USA), there is, I’d say, a natural abhorrence to the prospect of an adult being sexually stimulated by, much less involved with a youth 18 years of age or a child substantially under the age of 17; a gut-felt, some might say prudish, evisceral revulsion toward any wo/man desirous of involvement with or possessed of a perverse attraction to a defineable child. A total intolerance, you might say.

    Given that fact, here would be the test:
    If looking at that girl or boy in a leering or lustful manner would get you labeled a short-eyed “perve”, or if touching that child “inappropriately”, to use to common PC vernacular, would seriously get you totally fucked up by everyone of their people from mom to grandpa, then you know it’s something you should not and need not be doing in the first place, and, you seriously need to get your sick ass checked out by a qualified mental health professional for your own damn good, and with a quickness.

    Pretty simple and effective, I’d think.

  13. says

    that’s the thing that annoys me about “discussions” of ephebophilia and hebephilia; it’s all about the dudes (why does it always seem to be dudes?) and whether their desires (and acting upon them) are “normal” and “healthy” and whatnot. nothing ever about whether these desires and acting upon them are healthy for those they would be enacted upon

  14. Dagda says

    that’s the thing that annoys me about “discussions” of ephebophilia and hebephilia; it’s all about the dudes (why does it always seem to be dudes?) and whether their desires (and acting upon them) are “normal” and “healthy” and whatnot.

    And additionaly it is missing the point by a rather wide marging i would say.
    I mean the problem is not the desires (which are probably all naturall and stuff, that is too say some part of nature and nurture the individual can probably not really change.)

  15. quantheory says

    I have to say, you have to be incredibly short-sighted to take a photo like this as signifying anything in particular. Some people could create a photorealistic image like this from scratch, and arbitrarily declare that the girl depicted is 14. You could take some adult romance models and pencil in at the end “And she was only 14 the whole time!”

    An argument like that misses the obvious point that real women, real girls, are not posters or cardboard cutouts, but people, who have other qualities that you can often discover through as few as 2 minutes of interaction in most cases (but not through a glamor shot).

    (Also, pedantically, I want to point out that some men are more attracted to older women, some men are attracted to men and physical qualities of those men that rarely show up by age 14, some men are asexual, and so on. So not “all men” would be particularly affected by this image or one like it anyway.)

  16. quantheory says

    “nothing ever about whether these desires and acting upon them are healthy for those they would be enacted upon”

    Exactly! I have had the perfectly natural, some might say normal, urge to punch annoying people in their faces. That doesn’t make it acceptable behavior. I am expected to have enough self-control to not do that. I expect of myself that I won’t lose control!

    I don’t know why it’s supposed to be an excuse for bad behavior for someone to say “Well, yes, but I really wanted to do it! Hasn’t everyone?” Maybe I’ve wanted to do the same thing, or maybe I haven’t. But either way I had a responsibility not to act on that desire, the same responsibility as anyone else.

  17. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    18 IS just a number, in the sense that some people younger than it are old enough to have sex safely and responsibly (including in emotional terms) and plenty of people older than 18, even considerably older in some cases, still haven’t figured out how to even approach this. But there’s a good argument that the benefits of drawing a line that’s clear and objectively enforceable outweigh both the issues of outliers and the inherent distrust all reasonable people feel towards fundamentally arbitrary standards, and age is the most feasibly measurable standard for drawing that line. Whether 18 is exactly the right number, and/or whether a slightly more nuanced standard would be worth exploring, is less certain, but is literally impossible to debate without assumptions being made about your motives. So that pretty much leaves us where we are. >.>

  18. Trebuchet says

    The Catholic Church has attempted to use the same argument: That child-raping priests are not pedophiles if the victims were older than eleven. Jerks.

    I guessed the model was somewhere between 12 and 20, but she could easily have been less or more.

  19. Melody says

    As someone with an interest in fashion, I knew this girl was 14 or no older than 16 years old. This is the age when most girls go into professional modeling these days. The models keep getting younger and thinner.

  20. sithrazer says

    The more I looked at that picture, the more unsettling it became. Something just seemed…off.

    Then I realized what that unsettling feeling was. Uncanny valley.

    Typically it’s when something that is supposed to look human does so with such accuracy that the bits that aren’t -quite- right stand out (whether we consciously realize it or not) and we are left with a feeling of unease.

    Between the makeup and post-processing, they’ve managed to take an actual living person and make her…not -quite- right. I think it’s the eyes and the shape of the head. Her eyes seem oversized and her head (from the bottom of her ear, down around the line of her jaw) a little too round (relative traits of someone still growing) in contrast to the makeup and efforts to make her look older.

    So, long story short, I think I find her about as attractive as a RealDoll (not attractive at all. downright creepy, in fact)

  21. says

    Given that fact, here would be the test:
    If looking at that girl or boy in a leering or lustful manner would get you labeled a short-eyed “perve”, or if touching that child “inappropriately”, to use to common PC vernacular, would seriously get you totally fucked up by everyone of their people from mom to grandpa, then you know it’s something you should not and need not be doing in the first place, and, you seriously need to get your sick ass checked out by a qualified mental health professional for your own damn good, and with a quickness.

    Pretty simple and effective, I’d think.

    Because might makes right!

  22. MichaelD says

    Well…. they left in her eyelid wrinkles…. that counts right? ;p

    As to the issue raised by the film, no matter what personally turns you on it has to be tempered by morality. So put me down in the just because you feel it doesn’t mean its ok to act on it crowd.

    Honestly this whole thing feels poorly thought out and confused.

  23. ik says

    Yeah. That makes absolutely no sense.

    I can’t really guess the age of the model. For one thing, it’s edited, and for another thing, I kind of suck at telling ages. She probably was pretty young; I would stake nothing of importance on her being above 18. 14 sounds about right.

    I don’t find the picture creepy at all. Not exactly sexually attractive though.
    This is a bit skewed for me since I am pretty young, barely a legal adult.

    I definitely think that we have GOT to stop the ridiculous ‘consensual sexting = child porn’ stuff, and make sure that statutory laws make room for relationships that just happen to cross a bound. 18 is a hard red line drawn through a gray smudge, and people ARE being hurt by it.

    I don’t think that there is anything right about people well beyond young adulthood being attracted to adolescents. I’ve been very bothered about the way that identity politics has been used to make unquestionable and uncriticizable things that may be objectively bad and this is an egregious example.

  24. JG says

    IMHO, a big part of the problem in thinking about this dude’s question — I’d even go so far as to say almost the whole problem — stems from our willingness to throw around terms like “like”, “want”, “be attracted to”, et cetera, as if they were simple, when psychological research shows them to be very complex and their workings counterintuitive in many ways. If we want to understand things, we need to recover a bit of the humility that behaviorist psychology once emphasized. For starters, we need to spend a lot more time asking about specific reactions in specific contexts, and subsequent behaviors.

    For example, imagine that a man perceives “nice legs in a skirt” in his peripheral vision and turns his head, then after a second realizes it’s probably a middle school student, has an embarrassed reaction, then goes on his merry way. If that’s all that this guy thinks is nearly universal (a brief instinctual shift of attention), then he may very well be right for straight or gay males. But that’s a totally different level from “attraction” in the sense of, say, a 25yo who goes out of his way to flirt heavily with 15yos, and can’t flirt well with other 25yos — which seems very dysfunctional indeed.

    If we take pains to clarify what constellations of behaviors we have in mind when we use psychological terms, we can elevate the conversation greatly, both in terms of understanding “normal” ranges of reaction, and what exactly is malfunctioning in people who are sick. First, we’ve simply got to overcome the fuzziness introduced by terms in natural language.

  25. BigRed says

    First of all, this:

    The thing is, while we do badly misuse the word “pedophilia” in our society, what we mean to be saying instead is “child rape”.

    cannot be said often enough. And this is also where

    and those numbers are quite different in ways that are important to decision-making, power dynamics, and sexual and emotional health outcomes.

    comes in, in my opinion. Any kind of sex is ok if both sides consent to it but if one side doesn’t or if we have a null hypothesis that this consent might be meaningless since they don’t understand the issue, there’s a problem. We do limit teenagers’ rights to vote and enter contracts for this very same reason. And pedophilia, as has been pointed out in the threads, seems to be an not-normal desire that should be addressed with teaching those afflicted not to act on it.

    I was surprised, however, about:

    A pedophile is attracted to prepubescent children–you know, up to age 9 or 10. All you guys reading this who are now feeling a bit nauseated?

    because, no, I don’t feel nauseated. And I think the expected nausea would be entirely cultural and relate to what alexmartin talks about. I, personally, just don’t understand it – there are physical markers that visually attract me and there is mental and emotional development that sexually attract me and both of those are simply not found in children and almost all teenagers. I do understand that there are men who don’t care about having a conversation with their partner and maybe then the entire maturity becomes less of a problem.

  26. B-Lar says

    “I have to ask why someone even if they had attraction to young adults, would want to co-opt pedophilia and try to gain acceptance for that!?”

    I would imagine that the strategy is to beg the question, then show that many “normal” men are gouped into the negatively viewed category of pedophile, then suggest that the overtones generated by the term pedophile are not warranted for these “normal” men.

    It seems like these guys are desperate for ways to rationalise their desires, which should really be an indicator that their desires need to be managed more effectively.

  27. says

    I find her expression creepy. With all the human flaws airbrushed out of her, she looks like one of the Children of the Corn.

    Imagine a movie called, “Are All Straight Men Secretly Gay?” The poster shows a gorgeous, conventionally attractive woman heavily made up and airbrushed, with a caption: Are You Attracted to Her? The majority of heterosexual men answer in the affirmative.

    It turns out that the woman is actually a young man (not a trans woman) who likes to wear drag as a hobby. He’s wearing a wig and dress, and has stereotypically feminine features, so he can pass as a woman (I’ve known several such men. In fact I possibly was one of them, because people used to mistake me for a girl when I was young.). Many of the men who reported attraction earlier, upon finding out that he’s a male in drag, no longer feel attracted to him, and wouldn’t pursue a relationship with him.

    Imagine another movie, called, “Are All Men Incestuous?” This time the movie poster features a close up shot of women’s cleavage. Men are asked if they find the cleavage sexually arousing. Most reply in the affirmative. Only afterwards they are told that the cleavage in the picture belongs to their mother or sister. Suddenly, most who replied in the affirmative have changed their minds.

    What would all this prove?

    For one thing, it would prove that attraction in human beings is complex and can change depending on contextual information. While we may be attracted to certain features, once we learn certain facts about the person possessing those features (age, gender, relatedness, even political views) our attraction may be weakened, strengthened or completely disappear. It certainly wouldn’t be proof that all heterosexual men are secretly gay or incestuous.

    This poster is a slick marketing gimmick, but it proves absolutely nothing.

  28. John Morales says

    [semi-OT]

    Rick @10,

    A few years back french Vogue ran images of a ten year old…some of which can be found here:

    The magazine has reacted to the pushback: Vogue bans skinny, underage models,

    The editors of all 19 editions of Vogue around the world have pledged to use only healthy models no younger than 16 on their editorial pages in an attempt to shift the fashion industry’s approach to body image.

    Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue’s flagship US edition, and Emmanuelle Alt of Paris Vogue – which caused an uproar in 2010 with a photo spread featuring a 10-year-old girl – are among those who agreed to the pact.

  29. Rick Schauer says

    Jadehawk

    Nah, it’s not always about the dudes…the ped door swings both ways, for example:

    http://www.lawfirms.com/female-teacher-sex-crime-offenders-and-scandals.html

    And these are just the “teacher” ones reported/caught! Just saying, if I were in junior high or high school and say Debra Beasley LaFave wanted to jump me bones…well, I’d be all over that! And I assure you I’d not tell a soul. But as I said above, I’ve always liked older women.

    I think it interesting…hypothetically, as a young “victim” of say a Debra LaFave sexual assault, I would definitely not be feeling very victimized (unless she was into some kinda super-kinky dom or sub routine wanting something painful performed). So where does this lead us? Did a crime occur, hypothetically, that is?

    These are labelled “deviant” sexual reproduction behaviors which men and women jointly possess and sometimes act on. As we know, all behaviors are part neurological/biological and part socially regulated via peer pressure and taboos. The first part we have programmed into our DNA pretty much…the second part, socially regulated peer pressure and taboos – I always like to ask, who benefits and why?

    Then, we have this kinda of kinky-stuff happening, too:

    http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-05-02/news/31543256_1_teen-son-facebook-source

    Which brings a whole new meaning to, “it’s complicated.”

    – Lolz – It a crazy-ass world!

  30. says

    I guessed 12, but the priming already made me look for “young”.
    But yes, the question about the “age X is just a number” is always about the adult in the equation, why should they get into trouble*?
    Yes, 18’s just a number and I live in a country where the age of consent is 16. But there are some important caveats: The adult mustn’t be in position of trust or power. Minors of 14 can have sex with other minors. The idea is to let them make their experiences with peers, with a small power-difference.

    Now, again, coming to attraction: Being attracted to somebody isn’t bad. I would say that it isn’t even bad in the case of pedophelia. What is bad is if you fail to realize that acting upon the attraction would be very harmful for the other person and putting your desire above the needs and safety of other people.

    *I don’t doubt that relationships of any kind between teenage boys and women way in their 20’s and beyond are much more common than one would guess. There’s a different meme at work there, the idea of initiation, of a rite of passage, of her showing him what sex is. It has different acceptances and different stigmata attached.

  31. Jefrir says

    Just saying, if I were in junior high or high school and say Debra Beasley LaFave wanted to jump me bones…well, I’d be all over that!

    And attitudes like that are a pretty significant part of why such occurrences are so underreported: because of course the boy must have wanted and enjoyed it, why wouldn’t he? What real man wouldn’t want sex?

  32. baal says

    My wife and I were in a mall recently. She was surprised at the extremely youthful appearance of some of the big poster faces / torso shots up in the clothing stores. I barely noticed them due to the insane amount of Photoshopping. The models in the ads looks more like an art project then people to me.

  33. says

    Wow. He’s conflating so many things here. The main thing not covered by other comments is the issue thinking someone looks attractive vs pursuing sex with them. Actually, I break with Stephanie on this point because I think she’s doing the same thing. as pedophilia isn’t child rape. Rape is something you do. Philia is something you feel.

    So in practice, you can’t jump from it being normal to be attracted to underage people o the idea it should be legal to have sex with them, but you also can’t jump from the idea that sex with minors harms them to being attracted to them is morally wrong.

    As far as age differences for adults, I don’t see why some people make a big deal about this. My girlfriend is ten-and-a-half years my senior. (Right now, we are thirty-one and forty-one.) I don’t feel like there’s some huge maturity gap. In practice, it mainly means that she played Atari growing up and I played NES, though I do sometimes tease her that I was about to enter fifth grade when she hit drinking age and that’s creepy.

  34. MatthewL says

    I can’t help but notice the refreshing lack of MRA nonsense in this thread. Have they just not found it yet or is it somehow inoculated against infection?

  35. Kevin says

    I guessed “she looks 23, but given the subject of the film, she’s probably really 14.”

    I also note that the filmmaker is quite young himself. Isn’t this where the “half your age plus seven” rule originated?

    I admit it — when I see an attractive teen-ager, I don’t stop to ask myself “is she 18″ before I admire the unique genetic-developmental combination I see before me. Some under-aged teens are attractive. Disney has made bazillions of dollars over the years trading on this fact. Anne Hathaway was one of those girls.

    The issue is; what do you do about it? I briefly glance and admire. Maybe in a slightly different way that I admire a cute puppy or a pretty baby. But that’s it. Her attractiveness — whether she’s of age or not — does not entitle me to demand anything of her.

    I can’t gouge out my eyes, nor can I “will” myself into not thinking that a pretty young woman is not attractive until the day she turns 18. Any more than I can will myself into thinking 27-year-old Anne Hathaway is unattractive.

    But I can and do regulate my behavior. And even my thoughts.

    True story: I once worked in a building where the front wall of my office was all-glass. It was located near the reception area, so everyone who entered walked past me. One morning, I glanced up as someone come in. She was a stunningly pretty young woman with — well, let’s just say she was fully physically developed. I thought for a second “holy crap, who is tha…” and before I got a chance to finish the thought, her mother came into view. I realized it was the 14-year-old daughter of a co-worker, and the next thing that popped into my head was the phrase, “erase, erase, erase!”

  36. BigRed says

    @Ace ofSevens:

    Actually, I break with Stephanie on this point because I think she’s doing the same thing. as pedophilia isn’t child rape. Rape is something you do. Philia is something you feel.

    In my reading, this was exactly what Stephanie was aiming at when she wrote:

    The thing is, while we do badly misuse the word “pedophilia” in our society, what we mean to be saying instead is “child rape”.

    because this is what our laws punish, the act (also indirectly via pornography) and not the intent.

    And as to

    Wow. He’s conflating so many things here. The main thing not covered by other comments is the issue thinking someone looks attractive vs pursuing sex with them.

    it seems you haven’t read the comments carefully since this is the point that amhovgaard made, as well as alexmartin in his own way, quantheory, JG…

  37. says

    No, I wasn’t making the same argument. amhovgaard was talking about the difference between finding someone attractive ans wanting sex and I was talking the difference between wanting sex and trying to get it. As a general rule, though, it’s bad when you should have gone to sleep a long time ago, but have to finish discussing on the Internet first, so I should back off a while. I seem to have originally read the article correctly, then your your comment #27 quoting Stephanie,, interpreted the short version differently, then checked to see what the original was so I could argue with them and didn’t re-check. So forget the first part of that thing I said. I’ll go to sleep.

  38. Quixote says

    A rule of thumb I learned on Fark (I have no idea if it originated there) is that when a headline asks a yes-or-no question, the answer is always “no”.

  39. says

    This is a huge problem with documentaries. They’re often poorly researched and more opinion pieces than actual reportage.

  40. 24fps says

    I’d actually class this as an “advocacy doc”, which is really a subset of documentary. I make documentaries for a living, and it’s definitely a problem when the documentarian lacks awareness of or isn’t honest about their advocacy position. I have very little respect for this kind of filmmaking.

    It’s interesting, though, when you are making an issue documentary, how many contributors will be angry with you for not entirely drinking the koolaid or being critical of part of their position on the issue. Personally, I try to give both sides of the issue space to speak – which doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going for “balance” in making both sides equivalent or right, just that I am giving both sides a hearing and may totally disagree with one or the other (or both) in the final analysis. There was a book by a documentary producer of long standing in the UK who gave a good piece of advice – suspend judgement in production, engage judgement in the edit suite. Apparently the filmmaker in this case started with his conclusion, which is never a good idea. Even if you phrase it as a question.

    I once made a doc on a large retailer and a union fight in a small town – both sides were angry with me when it aired, which means I probably did my job. :-)

  41. John Morales says

    Giliell,

    I guessed 12, but the priming already made me look for “young”.

    That priming also affected my guess, but mine was 15.

  42. says

    I once made a doc on a large retailer and a union fight in a small town – both sides were angry with me when it aired, which means I probably did my job.

    Possibly, provided they both had equally “correct” footing on the issue. If you’re doing a documentary on global warming, for example, both sides should most definitely not be angry with you because one of them is correct and the other is not.

  43. 24fps says

    @ Ben Zvan – Exactly.

    With the retail doc, when we had boots on the ground, we found blatant disregard for people on both sides. No white hats or black hats, just lots of dirty gray. And lots of fact checking to make sure we’re getting it right. Also a component lacking in many advocacy docs. Just because you feel strongly about a position doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be true. A good documentarian has to respect fact.

  44. says

    Even though she looks like she’s in her early to mid twenties, at least to me she does (then again I’ve always been bad at guessing women’s ages) I guessed she was 8. I figured they took one of them “Toddlers and Tiaras” girls, caked on the makeup, and then went crazy with the Photoshop.

    Either way you look at it though, by using a photo of someone who could just as likely have been an adult woman makes the question posed outright dishonest. They might have just as well called the movie “Are the majority of heterosexual males physically attracted to females who themselves appear physically mature?”, at least then it would have been a more honest question (and likely a much more investing movie).

  45. says

    I think it interesting…hypothetically, as a young “victim” of say a Debra LaFave sexual assault, I would definitely not be feeling very victimized (unless she was into some kinda super-kinky dom or sub routine wanting something painful performed). So where does this lead us? Did a crime occur, hypothetically, that is?

    First, just because you don’t think you’d “feel victimized,” doesn’t mean you, or another in the same position, would not have suffered any long term harm from it had it happened. Second, just because you fantasize about something, doesn’t mean you’ll want it, enjoy it, or not be harmed by it should it happen in real life. And third, just because you think something might feel good, and expect others to think so too, doesn’t mean it’s harmless or victimless when it actually happens.

    I’ve had the serious hots for some teachers in my junior-high and high schools too; but I really can’t say that getting what I desired would have been a good thing. Just because a sexual encounter results in an orgasm, does not make it harmless; nor does it make the minor involved any more capable of informed consent. (Unless, of course, you simply equate orgasm with consent, which radically changes the meaning of the wrod “consent.”)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>