“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
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.”
Decades of books movies and music consumption has allowed men to think that these “preferences” are their own choices. Pop culture supposedly condemns pedophilia in the stories about it, all while sexualizing the young women whom the stories are about.