"Pedophilia" got a bad rap, didn't it?

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Unseen 1 week, 2 days ago.

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  • #34499

    Unseen
    Participant

    Yeah, it’s clickbait to some extent, and yet, I’m asking a serious question.

    The word fragment “phil” from the Greek indicates a range of things including friend, lover, passion, etc. The “phil” in “philosophy” is the same “phil” in “anglophile,” “bibliophile,” and “technophile” among many others.

    So, “pedo” (child))+”phile” literally refers not just (as it has come to be used) someone with an unhealthy sexual attraction to children, but anyone who loves and is interested in children.

    It would seem to follow from this that pedophilia is not one thing but is a spectrum or continuum of degrees and kinds of interest in thildren.

    At the far end is the pedophilia that makes the news and arouses disgust, outrage, and anger. At the opposite end, don’t you have people with a healthy interest in children: kindergarten teachers, day care workers, nannies, and even parents?

    Discuss.

    #34508

    Kristina
    Participant

    It’s also the same ‘phil’ in ‘hemophilia’ and ‘hydrophilic’. The original Greek meaning is relevant in all of the terms mentioned so far, but if you try to impose past definitions too much on the present, you end up with an etymological fallacy.

    Linguistically, ‘pedophilia’ could have been used to mean non-sexual affection and fondness for children, but in nearly all contemporary contexts it won’t. Even if the speaker intends that meaning, audiences will have difficulty discerning that intention. In this case, the burden of clarifying has to fall overwhelmingly on the speaker. Ordinarily, the audience would have no reason to assume the word is being used differently than every other time they’ve encountered it.

    I agree, it ended up with a rather harsh meaning when it could have been used in a much more positive way. By current standards ‘pedosexual’ would make more sense. Most of us have gotten over the linguistic faux pas of mixing etymologically Greek and Latin to form new words.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by  Kristina.
    #34511

    Unseen
    Participant

    We don’t describe the rape of a female as gynophilia.

    #34512

    Kristina
    Participant

    We don’t the rape of children as pedophilia either, though it can be driven by pedophilia.

    Gynephilia is used as a term, and Ray Blanchard has tried to make autogynephilia a thing. The terms vary a fair bit in meaning, but in both cases it is being used to describe attraction or arousal.

    #34515

    Davis
    Moderator

    Perhaps unseen you could make your views on sexual relations between adults and minors clear. Your position on the topic has been a little ambiguous.

    #34518

    Unseen
    Participant

    Perhaps unseen you could make your views on sexual relations between adults and minors clear. Your position on the topic has been a little ambiguous.

    Describe this ambiguity, Davis. BTW, congrats on a supersnarky ad hominem. (applause)

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  Unseen.
    #34523

    Davis
    Moderator

    Please unseen. An ad hominem would be claiming you said something you haven’t. You haven’t stated our position one way or another. You’ve been pretty vague about your attitudes towards pederasty and paedophilia when at several times in the last few years you’ve suggested it is a matter of cultural attitudes rather than a simple question about informed consent. Why don’t you just say what your position is on sex between grown adults and minors is and then I can happily admit I was wrong if it doesn’t turn out to be what I expect it will.

    #34524

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    No-one thinks you’re “wayward”, @unseen.

    #34525

    Unseen
    Participant

    Please unseen. An ad hominem would be claiming you said something you haven’t. You haven’t stated our position one way or another. You’ve been pretty vague about your attitudes towards pederasty and paedophilia when at several times in the last few years you’ve suggested it is a matter of cultural attitudes rather than a simple question about informed consent. Why don’t you just say what your position is on sex between grown adults and minors is and then I can happily admit I was wrong if it doesn’t turn out to be what I expect it will.

    I have never said anything in favor of pedophilia…ever. So enough with the semi-slanderous insinuendos.

    #34532

    Davis
    Moderator

    You have also stated on top of what else I have mentioned that child marriage was a “cultural matter” and that attitudes towards sex between adults and non-adults have simply changed over time without ever once mentioning consent. It is not a stretch to assume you would have a nuanced position on the topic. So you unequivocally agree it is immoral for adults to have sexual relations with non-adults? If that is the case then I was completely wrong, out of line and I apologise. So do you?

    #34541

    Unseen
    Participant

    I think what is right and wrong is determined by each society, or does Western society in the Abrahamic tradition hold the keys to the one true code of conduct? We say “incest is a universal taboo” and yet, yes, there are nuances. While it’s likely that parent/child sex is a taboo almost everywhere, there are definitional issues that may differ from place to place and, more importantly for our discussion, from elsewhere and elsewhen to modern Western ideas.

    Definitional issues: What exact practices are interpreted as incestuous? What relationships are incestuous, beyond parent-child? Aunts and uncles and cousins? Is there an age of consent after which what we would call incest is no longer an issue? Unsurprisingly, answers vary from place to place and also have varied over time.

    #34542

    Unseen
    Participant

    Anyway, we are finding ourselves down a rabbit hole that no longer is much related to “pedophilia,” which is “a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children.” (Wikipedia) The key word there is prepubescent. It may or may not involve incest which seems to have become the topic of the day for some reason.

     

    #34547

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    What do you mean by “bad rap”?

    I missed how “[incest] became the issue of the day”.

    Meanwhile, I always ask myself, what kind of evolutionary control, or guarantee is there that keeps cultures from having sex with a prepubescent (or for that matter newly-pubescent) member of their tribe or general population?

    The answer has to be a combination of 1) evolutionary pressures, and 2) cultural pressures. Genes vs peer pressure, plus, perhaps, some other, less predictable variables (e.g. in personality?) in the pair who copulate.

    Now, mix the above with a whole lotta people who so easily make their decisions about sexual behaviors according to the particular religious (or even cultish) influences (or scriptural interpretations) they’ve grown up with; I think issues of “right vs wrong” get confusing, or even corrupted mighty quickly.

    Perhaps the most important consideration is wrt the mental health of the child or young adult who has had to experience the sexual experience and its after-effects, whether it’s unexpected or even if they were seeking out such an experience without adequate awareness of all possible outcomes.

    And there’s the possible imbalance of power differential that has to be considered.

    I don’t have any simple answers worthy of (say) codification in some kind of eternally acceptable scripture. And Mother Nature is not always “fair”, so neither are evolutionary outcomes a consistent predictor of “most-preferred” outcome. But I’m pretty sure that some of the ways in which people in their culture react to and make judgements on sexual behaviors of all kinds can do just as much damage (if not more damage) than the behaviors themselves. Imagine how a kid feels when people in their family go ballistic and make hyperbolic, emotion-based judgements while the poor kid has no clue where they’re coming from.

     

     

    #34550

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    what kind of evolutionary control, or guarantee is there that keeps cultures from having sex with a prepubescent (or for that matter newly-pubescent) member of their tribe or general population?

    I’ve learned that in great apes, including humans, the females leave the group (or family) and join another, on reaching adulthood.

    #34552

    Davis
    Moderator

    Unseen. Do you think it is immoral, under any circumstances, for a 40 year old to have sexual relations with a 15 year old?

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