When I wrote about an objectionable spread of photographs in Paris Vogue — a spread that featured 10-year-old fashion model Thylane Blondeau styled in provocative ways — I fretted that such a magazine feature might, in some way, normalize the concept of sexual attraction to minors:
It’s often said, but bears repeating, that the TV, magazine and advertising images we absorb train our minds as to what is considered attractive — and, yes, specifically sexually attractive — in our culture. So, what does a magazine feature like this say? That it’s OK, even encouraged, to look at a child in a sexual way. …
But it’s adamantly not OK to look at a child in a sexual way, as harsh laws against pedophilia and child pornography attest. Maybe it seems like a leap of logic to move from provocative pictures to pornography and pedophilia, but again, images train the mind’s eye. The more readers and viewers see children in adult poses and in adult clothes, the less jarring it will be to those readers and viewers to see children in adult roles. It’s all highly inappropriate — and in territory better avoided entirely.
What’s crazy is, at the time, I thought we were still years away from any sane person seriously suggesting such a distorted disposition of attraction to minors — i.e. pedophilia — should be repackaged as less a problem and more a disorder to be understood and, yes, tolerated. But one group of psychologists is calling for such a redefinition even now. Megyn Kelly and Shannon Bream were just talking about this appalling push on “America Live.”
B4U-Act is a 501(c)(3) organization in Maryland that was established “to publicly promote services and resources for self-identified individuals (adults and adolescents) who are sexually attracted to children and seek such assistance, to educate mental health providers regarding the approaches helpful for such individuals, to develop a pool of providers in Maryland who agree to serve these individuals and abide by B4U-ACT’s Principles and Perspectives of Practice, and to educate the citizens of Maryland regarding issues faced by these individuals,” according to the group’s website.
Perhaps that sounds innocent enough (although I don’t think so). Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt for a second: What’s wrong with psychiatrists seeking to help those attracted to children better understand why they have that tendency? Perhaps those psychiatrists could even be an instrument of crime prevention or of after-the-fact justice. But no. Consider: At least one psychiatrist in the bunch has been known to treat child molesters without reporting them, Bream said.
Last week, the group hosted a scientific symposium to discuss a proposed new definition of pedophilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association. Presenters expressed a wide range of views — but the thrust of the B4U-Act movement appears to be, ultimately, to decriminalize pedophilia, Bream said.
As all too often happens with any kind of push for political correctness, with a twist of language, the blameless are forgotten. Let’s remember whom both the social stigma against “minor-attracted persons” and the outlawing of sexual activity between an adult and a minor aim to protect. Yes, I’m talking about children, whose innocence deserves to be preserved, whose minds and bodies haven’t fully developed yet, who depend upon adults for their moral formation. Advocacy on this issue must be on behalf of those who cannot advocate for themselves — not on behalf of those who, however troubled and however tempted, still bear ultimate responsibility for their actions.
Update: At least one reader wondered my justification for the assertion that the B4U-Act movement appears to be headed in the direction of pushing to decriminalize pedophilia. According to Shannon Bream’s report on Fox News, some — although not all — of the presenters at the symposium expressed the view that some level of sexual activity between adults and children should be permissible. That sounds like the decriminalization of pedophilia to me.
Update: B4U-Act is not alone in the effort to normalize pedophilia. Big Hollywood’s John Nolte has reported on the entertainment industry’s attempt to glamorize sex with children, as well.
Update: Here’s the video from the “America Live” segment that tipped me off: