And a critique of sex liberal ideology
I didn’t ever intend this blog to be purely about transgender issues (although I’ve come to see it as a serious emerging crisis by now), and wanted to write more about pornography and other problems in “sex liberal” ideology. Finally, here’s a first entry on that front.
A lot of men, and many women too, react with shock when you say that rape is an endemic problem, that we live in a rape culture. This stems from their fantasy of rape as: you’re strolling through the park at night, and suddenly a dark figure jumps out from behind the bushes, pulls you in, and holds a knife to your throat or a gun at your head and brutally sexually assaults you.
It’s not that this never happens, but it’s indeed a rare occurrence. Rape, however, is any sex that one was made to have which one did not actually want to. Explicit force is only one of many ways through which that can happen. More common instances, I’m being told, are date rape and acquaintance rape, which can happen through pressure or in relation to use of alcohol (often called “seduction” if that is the case), rape by a stranger while one is heavily drunk, rape through abuse of authority, and so on. There is even a good reason some feminists have went as far as saying that “consent” is entirely meaningless in the context of a society that defines all parameters of sexuality on the basis of men’s desires in the first place: a woman who perfectly “consents” to having sex with her partner may be doing so purely because she’s been deeply conditioned to believe that once she’s in a relationship with someone, he has a right to sex with her.
(Such instances of rape that aren’t based on direct physical coercion may be called “non-forcible rape”. I’m noting this because I’ll use the term later.)
This analysis is what makes feminists conclude that the promiscuous sex culture in which many people live is not as rosy colored as sex liberals seem to believe. Instead, we live under a rape culture, and sexual interchanges can and often should be scrutinized under a political perspective. Rape is, it comes out, an endemic problem; people just often don’t see it when it happens.
You can carry this analysis over to pedophilia. Society has a certain fantasy of pedophilia that includes a monstrous, inhuman creature acting out brutal sexual sadism on a small child. (The movie Gone Baby Gone comes to my mind every time I think of this problem.) And again, it’s not that this doesn’t happen at all — it does, that’s how far sunk some members of society are — but it seems to be very rare relative to all child sexual abuse (CSA).
Cognitive psychologist Susan Clancy’s work with CSA victims has had her reach the conclusion that up to a whopping 95% of victims did not even resist when the perpetrator took up sexual contact with them. I don’t know what amount of them simply froze in shock, but for a substantial portion, the explanation appears to be that, in their childish naivete, they simply didn’t have a negative conceptualization of the situation, were at worst “confused” by the actions of the adult, and so did not suffer any immediate trauma. As long as no physical violence is involved, and thus the child suffers no physical pain, this is not implausible. The topic is explained in-depth in Clancy’s correspondingly named book The Trauma Myth. (Which I still haven’t read by the way. Only the summary.) Based on her findings, she criticizes the phenomenon that people actually expect victims of CSA to be deeply traumatized. For some of them, that actually ends up being one of the reasons they eventually do get traumatized.
A common misconception arising from the title — over which she later expressed regret — however, is that no trauma is involved at all in the aftermath. There is, it just develops over time, as the victim gains the cognitive abilities and social knowledge required to fully interpret what actually happened back then.
An older study by psychologist trio Bruce Rind, Philip Tromovitch, and Robert Bauserman, a highly controversial peer-reviewed meta-analysis published in 1998, also concluded that CSA did not necessarily cause intense or pervasive harm to the victim. It’s understandable that many people respond with shock and anger to such a result, as it sounds like “pedophilia is sometimes OK” at face value, but the correct way to interpret this, as I see it, is that every victim processes what was done to them in their own way, depending on their personality, the precise nature of what happened, and so on. It’s not unthinkable that in some portion of cases, the victim may not suffer intense and pervasive harm to their psychology, and get over the experience just fine, despite the eventual understanding that it was a form of abuse.
Incidentally, I’ve been told similar things about rape victims. The social expectation of them to react with some deep disturbance and irreversible trauma to what happened only serves to cause them more pain in social situations, and possibly even makes them appear to lie when they speak up about their rape in the first place.
Just as people’s misconception of rape as something inherently physically violent leads them to disbelieve rape victims and defend perpetrators who “would never do something like that,” there is good reason to believe that the same happens with victims and perpetrators of child sexual abuse. We need to understand that a lot of children give (basic) “consent” to their abuse, and that it’s a lot more wide-spread than one might desire to believe.
Defense of CSA is the logical conclusion of sex liberalism
At this point I want to provide a joint criticism of the core of sex liberal ideology as well as a certain strand of CSA apology that occasionally arises from it, especially in pedophile circles.
(Side-note: just as pedophiles aren’t [literally] beast-like inhuman creatures, their communities likewise don’t exactly look like a population of Orcs straight out of The Lord of the Rings. Rather, some of their members tend to be surprisingly intelligent people, some of whom in turn justify their pedophilic intentions [to themselves] through elaborate logical reasoning.)
David Benatar, professor of philosophy, once wrote a paper about the fact that, “the view of sexual ethics that underlies an acceptance of promiscuity is inconsistent with regarding (1) rape as worse than other forms of coercion or assault, or (2) (many) sex acts with willing children as wrong at all. And the view of sexual ethics that would fully explain the wrong of rape and pedophilia would also rule out promiscuity.”
(Yes, I also have an issue with his wording, in particular his use of the word “willing” with regard to victims of CSA, but bear with me.)
He goes on to clarify that his intention is neither to defend non-forcible rape and pedophilia, nor to make a case against promiscuity. One may defend the sex liberal perspective and therefore accept non-forcible rape and CSA, or one may give up sex liberalism and accept that sex is not “just a fun activity like any other” (as sex liberals would put it). All he points out, as a philosopher, is that it’s one or the other; the two philosophies are in an inherent logical contradiction with each other.
What side pedophile-apologists take is obvious. They say sex is “just a fun activity,” point out that children don’t have an inherent “get traumatized” switch that’s turned on when an adult makes non-forcible contact to parts of their bodies the adult deems sexual, point at the results of the Rind et al. study, and even point at Susan Clancy’s results to “prove” themselves right, and conclude that, so long as it’s not physically forced, “adult-child sexual contact” is just fine and dandy.
They are wrong, but only because sex liberal ideology is rotten to the core. Not because their logic is wrong.
For most sex liberals, the extreme taboo we have on pedophilia serves as a sort of road block on their logic, preventing them (thankfully) from taking their own ideology to its natural logical conclusion of defending pedophilia. These people just lift the roadblock.
(If I may digress a bit: I think the sex liberal movement actually depended on this roadblock being placed there, as otherwise the rottenness of their ideology would be easier to reveal. Note how pedophiles were originally a part of the sex liberal movement, only to be cast out at some point as they were too controversial. They did keep all the other rot though.)
In any case, sex has never been in recorded history, still is not, and won’t in the foreseeable future become “just a fun activity like any other”.
First of all, sexuality is all too often burdened by a predatory, pushy, pressuring, entitled, arrogant mindset men get into as soon as their boners are concerned. I’m pretty sure that a large part of CSA victims eventually understand that even if there was no physical violence, there was the mindset of an entitled prick lacking any self control and self awareness present in the room. That alone is enough to turn the memory into something significantly unpleasant to say the least. Likewise, many adult women who men may deem “prudish” or “uptight” are more likely to be just reacting with a healthy internal “fuck you” to all the men who are already half-fucking them with their eyes as soon as they enter a room.
Secondly, there’s the whole “stigma” aspect of it. Sex liberals half understand this one at least. They just don’t understand that the stigma stems from a sexual behavior which liberal men possess just as much as conservative men, and that said stigma is natural and won’t go away so long as men don’t change their sexual attitudes. You can’t just force the stigma out of someone’s head when there’s a very good reason it landed there in the first place.
What we call “stigma” surrounding sexuality, by the way, is actually two things if you ask me: men’s readiness to perceive a person as having been defeated and degraded when the person receives penetration, and the corresponding defensive fear women feel because they are the typical target of penetration. Of course, women often also adopt the mentality of seeing the penetrated as degraded, and men often also experience the fear of penetration. Just have one man suggest to another (no matter if an average conservative or average sex liberal) to penetrate him anally, and observe the shock in his face. Only few men are able to lose their “prudishness” over getting penetrated, after they learn that with enough lubricant and relaxation it can be rather physically pleasurable, but even then they generally keep it secret because guess what, they know that other men would ridicule them, seeing them as degraded. Or more likely, they just keep their prudishness, despite knowing that receiving penetration may actually be pleasurable due to a fact of male anatomy.
Once you understand all these sexual dynamics, which are really common sense once you get rid of your religious conviction of sex liberalism, defending pedophilia doesn’t work anymore either. It becomes part of the larger phenomenon of male violence that we can observe even in the most modern nations of the world. Child or adult, a sex act that an adult imposes on one (regardless of whether direct coercion is or isn’t involved) is always to be held under scrutiny. And if a person is below the age of consent, with a certain age difference from the perpetrator, that’s a good cut-off point for saying “no, that’s just not acceptable at all, ever.”
Bonus part: Sex liberals are rotten, and so are trans activists
This last part is a bit of a “fun fact” (depending on your understanding of “fun” I suppose). The reason I was motivated to write this article is as follows…
Earlier today I received an e-mail, by “someone whose partner is non-cis and someone who doesn’t align with the heteronormative binary divide”. He means the biological fact of sexual dimorphism in the mammal species homo sapiens, which I’m pretty sure he does align with as I doubt that he’s intersex.
In connection with his support for transgender ideology, he seemed to threaten me with “revealing” that I wrote things in the past that could be interpreted as pedophile apology.
In fact, I’ve written much worse things in the (further) past than what he seems to have discovered. (He referred to a web forum I was active in just months ago.) And I’ve never even tried to make a secret of this. If memory serves right, I’ve mentioned at least twice on Twitter that in connection to having been convinced by sex liberal ideology for most of my earlier life, I went as far as agreeing with pedophile apologists. Their logic above that I criticize is exactly the logic I used to follow, as I was (partly still am, to be honest) an extreme nerd who’s prone to being blissfully unaware of how social reality looks out there in the material world where people actually interact with each other, face to face.
I want to point out though how rotten of a logic this person is following. Depending on how exactly one thinks current or past pedophile apologists should be handled, one may believe it to be a morally good thing to out them, and so do it, or one may believe it not to be morally good, and therefore not do it. If one is really polite, one may talk with the person first and decide on the basis of their response whether to antagonize them or not. What this person does, instead, is not give a fuck about the morals of the topic at hand, and instead try to use it as a weapon to further their own, entirely unrelated ideology. They evidently don’t give a single fuck about the morals of whether a past pedophile apologist should or shouldn’t be outed, and just want to use the possibility as a weapon to prevent them from speaking out against transgender ideology. How fucked up is that?
Anyway, as someone who takes relative pride in being an open book (with key exceptions, mind you), and therefore takes major offense at threats of blackmailing, this is my “screw you” response to this person. I hope they’ll rage with the fury of a thousand suns as they read it. (Though I wish them no real harm, honestly.)