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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell

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Author Topic: Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell
lemming
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A really interesting article regarding how we view the difference between pedophiles and people who merely love children. Lewis Carroll has always been a source of curiosity for me, and this topic in particular I felt might be of interest to our readers.

Lewis Carroll is responsible for writing Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, and a million other wonderful things. It's reported he had a fondness for little girls - one quote from the article says:

quote:
Dodgson's affection for what he called his
"child friends" was always mingled with a
vague yearning. He wrote to one 10-year-old
girl, "Extra thanks and kisses for the lock of
hair. I have kissed it several times - for want
of having you to kiss, you know, even hair is
better than nothing." This is typical of his
correspondence.

What do you think? Is it possible for this to be seen innocuously?

Read the article at http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/classics/story/0,6000,582828,00.html .

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~lemming, Scarleteen Advocate

want to know the inner lemming? read her diary at http://innerlemming.diaryland.com.
"Did you see my friend? He couldn't believe it, 'The girls are holding hands, the girls are holding hands!' Don't be a fool, it's 1995, the girls are just friends." --Belle and Sebastian, "Photo Jenny"


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John Doe
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The last line of the article sums it up very nicely. "he had impure thoughts, but in the end what matters is what he did with them"
There is a big difference between being a pedophile and being a child molestor. The two are NOT synonyms. To make the equivelence is the same as saying that all hetrosexual males are rapists. While there are a few nutcases like Andrea Dworkin who make that claim, few take them seriously. So why do people take the pedophile/child molestor equivelence seriously. There are probably many more Lewis Carrols in the world than there are child molestors.
Of course if Lewis Carrol were alive today, he would probably be locked up rather than writting great literature.

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lemming
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I'm sorry. My fault for imprecision of language. I'm going to stay away from technical terms, then, on this one. So, my question revised should be something like: How do you feel about the differences between people who merely love and are attracted to children, and people who act on this desire?

I guess my fascination with the subject stems from my idea that it's really horrible for someone to be tortured by desires that they can't fulfill, and that it's incredibly courageous to *not* act on them. That Carroll had a love for young girls that was, perhaps, "not right," but that he refrained from acting on it and instead channeled this energy into something incredibly productive is really very interesting to me.

More thoughts on this?

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~lemming, Scarleteen Advocate

want to know the inner lemming? read her diary at http://innerlemming.diaryland.com.
"Did you see my friend? He couldn't believe it, 'The girls are holding hands, the girls are holding hands!' Don't be a fool, it's 1995, the girls are just friends." --Belle and Sebastian, "Photo Jenny"


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John Doe
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I'll tell you from personal experience that it is a tough life. Luckilly it is possible to find sexual release by yourself. One way of thinking about it is as if all the children that you are attracted to are "married", in this case to their parents. Just as one would not try to act out sexually with the wife of another man, even if she is very attractive and might be receptive to your advances. Simalarly, one does not act out sexually with children, even if you do find them to be sexually attractive.
I have gotten to know many adults over the web who find children sexually arousing. Most are deeply concerned about the welfare of children and would gladly walk through fire rather than hurt one. They genuinely love children, but love is much more than sex, and most of these people know how to seperate the two. there is a great website I know of (and post often at) that deals with these issues. It brings together minor attracted adults with people who have been victims of child molestation in the past and with people who have family memebers or other loved ones who are attracted to children. I would want Heather's ok before posting the URL here though.

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sapphirecat
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It seems to me that acting on one's desires requires placing more value on oneself than others. Someone with the welfare of others in mind isn't going to become a robber. The "noblest" is the one who would do it, and chooses not to....

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Sapphire Cat
You can love me or hate me, but it won't change who I am.


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Gaffer
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From everything that I've heard it doesn't really sound like the great author of Alice in Wonderland was a pedophile to me. Maybe I'm just in denial.

I wonder what he would say about it if we could ask him.

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I am not who I appear to be.

Gaffer--from under the moon backstage


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Cathexis
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Ah, first of all, I think I should say 'hi' *has a blue NEWBIE neon floating over her head*
Then, I think I can give a pretty personal opinion about this... (and maybe I should ask for outer opinion, since I think mine on this IS a little warped -.-)
first of all, I think about all that 'agen of consent'thing - I think its 14 where I am. So, you are a child until you turn 14? I think there are people here who can prove that wrong. I've met some pretty young people who probably were more mature at a pretty young age, be it either sexually or mentally - or both. Maybe moer than I am now. How should we define who is a kid and who isnt? *insert personal conflict here*
Then, there's all that molestating issue. I think we're not the ones supposed to point the finger if we think a person IS molestating a child or not, the one supposed to feel "comfortable" about it is said 'child'.
I should stress here Im talking about any kind of relationship with a person below age of consent here, and its NO justification for ANY kind of rape. I AM against that.

Geez... have I rambled too much for a 1st post? Sorry if this all sounded offensive for anyone..


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John Doe
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Welcome Cath, and no you didn't sound the least it offensive to me, nor did you ramble to much. Rape is WRONG, it doesn't matter if the victim is 6, 16, 36 or 66. it doesn't matter if the victim is male or female, it is still wrong.
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Laura
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First of all, I'd like to mention that I absolutely adore the Alice books. Any circumstances that result in the creation of literature like that can't be all bad.

Having said that, I don't entirely agree with a couple of the more popular sentiments being expressed here: One, that Carroll "did nothing" to act on his attraction to young girls, and two, that any such inappropriate attraction, if not acted upon, is completely harmless.

For the first: Carroll wrote letters to the girls about how he wanted to kiss them. While that's a long way from actually molesting the children - and may very well have required incredibly self-restraint on his part - it can hardly be said to be doing nothing.

For the second: It does seem reasonable that since a person can't really help whom he is attracted to, he shouldn't be blamed for being attracted to inappropriate people. But it's a logical non sequitur to say that the attractions are therefore harmless.

I've been the object of an inappropriate attraction, from my undergraduate research advisor. He never touched me, or even said anything about wanting to kiss me. But many times, I noticed him conversing with my chest, or quite obviously thinking about other things while I was trying to talk to him about science. This made me awfully uncomfortable around him, and really harmed my ability to work with him in a regular student-teacher relationship.

I guess the question is, does it make it better or worse when the object of the attraction is a child who doesn't completely understand what's going on? I can see it both ways - maybe the child would notice the adult behaving strangely, and would get even more confused when she doesn't know how to interpret it. Or maybe she wouldn't even notice. I've never been in this situation, so I don't know. Does anybody?

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Banana, pineapple, passion fruit, papaya, cherimoya, coconut, carambola, mango,
tango, mambo, limbo, samba, cha cha cha!


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-Jill
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I used to automatically condemn anyone labeled "pedophile" without a second thought. At least until someone I knew was convicted of it. And then a second person.

The first time it happened is a perfect example of the biases of our "justice" system. At one point Person A had three cases against him. All but one was dropped due to lack of evidence. The third case was filed by the angry mother of a girl he had had sex with. She didn't want her daughter having sex so she punished him. I knew all four people involved so I wound up hearing all sides of the incidents. All three girls were perfectly willing and able to competently make that decision. The problem was he was older than all of them - anywhere from one to five years older. I find it to be very wrong that this was allowed to happen. Kissing minors (what he was actually convicted of) does not automatically make someone a sex offender.

Person B is a little more complicated. Apparently (we never had a chance to talk about this) he bought alcohol for a girl then had sex with her. I believe she was fourteen while he was in his late thirties/early forties. I suppose I believe that it actually took place but it's very hard for me to do so. I remember spending time with him when I was the same age as the girl in question. Nothing inappropriate was ever said or done despite the fact that it was often just the two of us. He had every opportunity but they were never taken. Because of this I can't call him a "sexual predator." I can't believe that he would ever force anything on someone who clearly didn't want it.

I find the labels used to be horrible. It seems that society is trying to brand people as evil because of one, perhaps isolated, incident. The two people I mentioned above are not bad people. I do feel that Person B did something wrong but he had many opportunities to do more. I think society needs to re-examine the way we look at this issue.

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Twenty more days until I get to ski again!


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Confused boy
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Did you provide evidence in defense of person B? Surely that sort of evidence would be enough to stop him being proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt unless there was forensic evidence.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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Cathexis
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I stopped labeling people when it did happen to me ^^()
First, when I was a lot younger, when my 10 yr old friend started acting... well, what would be considered weird for her age. She already looked older and acted like it. Since that, I've always asked if a 'child' actually IS as childish as we think. Maybe that affects my thoughts about this now.
Maybe that was why I kinda fell for a boy who is WAY younger than me. Yup, below said 'age of consent'. Would that make me a 'perv', even tho I would NEVER do anything againt his will, never acted on impulse and I knew he wasnt a 'child'? ( here I go, rambling again... but even tho I know I havent done anything wrong, I still feel..a little guilty...thats weird...)

Now, about that older guy + girl + alcohol... I think its hard to tell how 'wrong'it was without knowing EXACLTY what happened....


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-Jill
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Sorry, I guess I didn't make it clear enough. I was never involved in any of the actual trials, I didn't even go. I was simply a friend who saw people I care about suffer far more than I thought was justifiable.

As far as trying to help Person B, there was nothing I could do. I hadn't been around during the incident, I hadn't talked to him about it, I really didn't know anything until it was too late.


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John Doe
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Laura, children are more harmed by a lack of hugs and kisses than by someone who cares about them kissing them. Somehow writting someone a letter and telling them that you would like to kiss them is very unlikely to be harmful. On the second issue, there used to be plenty of white people who were "uncomfortable" being around blacks. Did that make the blacks harmful? If your advisor was attracted to you, but never did anything inappropriate, take it as a complement. It certianly does not mean that your advisor deserves to be persicuted, scorned, ostrisized and reviled.
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Livinia
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As a big Carroll fan I studied a lot into his life wondering about that subject, that artical was very good. I liked her book her as well, she brings about the correct light on the subject as well as Carroll. She's also a good writter and I thought she got got misinterupted in a lot of the reviews.

There should be more of an understanding between the difference of child molesters and MMA's (minor attracted adults) because there is such a _huge_ difference. A lot has been discussed here already. I'm happy to see the topic because it clears up a big confusion amoung people that i see way too often.

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"You want some body for a very long time. And then you have them, and they love you. And they make love to you, and itís not enough. Thatís the truth about sex." Jackie-O, The House of Yes


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Laura
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The way I see it, there is a big difference between the usual sort of affection expressed between an adult and a child, and affection with romantic or sexual overtones. I guess my question is, can a child tell the difference between the two? I really don't see how you can definitively answer that unless you've been there yourself as a child or have studied child psychology. So, if you have a personal experience or a reference to share, I'm all ears.

As for my advisor - I never said he should be scorned or persecuted, nor do I blame him or think he's a bad person. As I said, you can't really help who you're attracted to. But that doesn't obligate me to take it as a compliment, or to just laugh it off when he was putting more energy into flirting with me than talking about science. (In the end, I decided to switch advisors - I learned more that way.)

Similarly, I certainly do *not* think pedophiles are bad people because they're attracted to children. But it does not follow from this that when an adult is romantically or sexually attracted to a child, it does no harm to the child. Ideally, I would like to see the effects of this investigated without placing judgment on pedophiles, one way or the other - but unfortunately, this society can't seem to handle investigating or solving a (potential) problem without blaming somebody for it.

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Banana, pineapple, passion fruit, papaya, cherimoya, coconut, carambola, mango,
tango, mambo, limbo, samba, cha cha cha!


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Livinia
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I've personally been in that situation, i can't speak for anyone else in the situation because it really depends on the people just like any relationship.

I was 13 when i had sex with my boyfriend who was 20, we'd been seeing each other several months first. Of course there can be a huge differnce between 13 and 10 as far as how a person thinks.

I met him over the net (oh how cliche lol) and he moved out to come see me, we were in a relationship and i was very sure of what i was getting into, we discussed haveing sex before and i never felt pressured to do anything i didn't want to.

We both loved each other and i felt i was ready. Were still together two years later and I can look back on the situation and I feel like i made the right desicion. I don't think waiting would have had any effect on our relationship posative or negative, and i totally loved being with him and I still do.

But it really depends on the people, just because i was mature enough to decide what i wanted and he was respectful of any desicion i made and very loveing, doesn't mean that all 13 year olds are like that and it doesn't mean that an 11 year old couldn't be just as mature. Same goes for someone who's 19, they might not be ready for sex yet.

I can handle my emotions a lot more now than I could then of course, but a lot of that comes with experence. I understood the emotional part that was coming with have sex, it was probably a little intense for me, but i have other things that added to that.

We had a lot of hard stuff in the relationship but none of it had anything to do with the age difference, though the maturity level of how i handled the situation could have been better, i'll also that say ofhow i handled things now when i get older.

In anycase I'm happy I'm with him and feel that the relationship has helped me learn and lot and has done a lot more good than it could damage.

But like I said before it all depends on the people involved, and no one should have sex unless they can handle the emotional and physical aspects of it, and talk about it with each other, and of course practice it safely

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"You want some body for a very long time. And then you have them, and they love you. And they make love to you, and itís not enough. Thatís the truth about sex." Jackie-O, The House of Yes


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BJadeT
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If I was a parent of the ten year old girl who recieved that letter I would feel very, very uncomfortable with it.
If I was the ten year old girl I probably wouldn't see any difference between that and hugs and kisses from family members. But it's quite clearly not the same.
Whilst he may never have molested a child, I think writing letters such as the one quoted is a bit off.
I don't quiter know what I'm trying to say here, but my first thoughts were that if any child close to me recieved a letter like that, alarm bells in my head would certainly ring and I would not be a happy bunny. And I wouldn't trust the writer around my child, because we are all human and sometimes we act on things that we know we shouldn't.
Hmm. This is not a very good post. Sorry.

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John Doe
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Laura,
You made the analogy between your advisor and pedophiles. While it is unlikely that your advisor would be scorned and persicuted, pedophiles are scorned and persicuted, often driven to suicide.

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Aria51
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quote:
Originally posted by BJadeT:
If I was a parent of the ten year old girl who recieved that letter I would feel very, very uncomfortable with it.


I agree with this completely.

While I really have nothing against pedophiles, a letter like this would certainly make me a little worried. As would a letter like this from someone my child's own age. I think my first thought would be something along the lines of, "Who is this person, and what do they want from my child?"

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How can you not like muffins?!

This surely was the product of a twisted mind.


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sapphirecat
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I think I just saw something from a new viewpoint, but I'm not sure I can explain it.

By "protecting" our children from any sexual threats whatsoever, what amount of needed affection are we depriving them of?

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Sapphire Cat
You can love me or hate me, but it won't change who I am.


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bellaluna
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This is a very hard issue. I bring to the table a certain perspective, please mind. I write from what I have known, and what has been backed up by some small research, though i do not quote sources. In my personal history, after my parent's divorce, my mom had a boyfriend, and after tht relationship ended, she met mystepdad.
both abused me, sexually, emotionally, and physically. all without the knowledge of my mother. I was always kept silent "for the love of my mother" because after all, this knowledge "would surely kill her."
People I was supposed to be able to love and trust betrayed me.
These situations do not start "bam" and its at its worst. no. these build. as a child you don't pick up the little red flags that you might pick up 5 years down the road. (personally i belive it a parent's responsibility to pick up warning signs where a child is {thank god} not able to understand, and mine failed because of her "if i haven't seen it its not happening" mentalitiy) first its a funny look. maybe an "off" comment, or a strange tone to the voice or stance. Then things that might be pure sugar innocent in another context begin to be very frightening and complex things. possessive things. [repeatedly askign for professions of closeness. love even. proclamations about beauty. repeating a possessive motion (ie: stroking the hair)] things build from these "little" things. a child, not quite grasping the consequenses of these "little" things, not quite being able to verbalize misgivings, might stay silent. The nightmare, of course, grows.
This situation is strangest, i should think, in such as mine, where the offender was in a position of authority to begin with, and possessive and controling by nature. This is, I believe, a defining factor. From what I have know, it seems that the "offenders" which act out this "violence" do so from a perspective of control, possession or oppression: it is more a power issue than one of sexual attraction, though it may have some roots or maybe ties to that.
As the nightmare at home got worse, simultaneously I was separated from friends and social life. Sometimes the extremem jealosy was openly admitted to me in "quieter" moments when it was "discussion". (ie: stuck listening to sick lecturing) great pressure was applied to force me away from even extra-curricular activities. Totally normal activites and social contact with even close friends was denied or severely limited outside of a school setting (you see your friends all day, why do you need to go over there?) Many times this separation was attributed to "protecting me" or because, after all, he "knew what teenage boys were like" and various other taxing fallacies i don't have the emotional energy to unearth at the moment.

quote:
Originally posted by sapphirecat:
By "protecting" our children from any sexual threats whatsoever, what amount of needed affection are we depriving them of?

in answer to sapphirecat: this is also a very hard slant on things. from one end: if they aren't protected adequately, they might fall into such a nightmare as I knew, and others knew, and yet more know. BUT. from the other end: overprotection creates problems in itself. and the impenatrable defense never is, anyway. certainly there were things I should have been able to do (ie: form a real friendship, trust people even in a tiny measure, establish my social place, figure out my identity without the burdens of self-loathing and suicidal tendancies) that were a result of the "ivory tower". i'd like to hear more perspectives on this as well.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"This isn't a -d seminar"


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Livinia
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bellaluna I'm very sorry all that happened to you and I think it's really terrible and I do hope that your okay and have sought some help dealing with that past.

But I think there is a big difference between the people that abused you and many MMA's, because i know that real child lovers would never do anything to harm a child, this often includes dening all desires they have. Many that I've talked to wouldn't act out their desires, even if they had a willing child partner simply because it's not acceptable and because of how it's viewed may be damaging by the fact that everyone says it is.

Like I said before everyone is differnt, and how one thing affects someone might affect someone else very very differently. For minor attracted adults, not child molesters, it's about love not control or possession or oppression.

Child molesters and rapists do act out of control and anger and opperssion, but certanly not every man who has sexual and loving feelings for a woman is acting out of control or anything but love. And I think the same goes for minor attracted adults.

There is a fine line between 'too much' affection. Sometimes children that don't get enough affection from adults will turn into teenagers who look for affection from anyone they can get it, or they can become unaffectionate adults, or look for the affection and relationship they wanted with a parent from a romantic partner. Certanly kissing and cuddling and hugs should be fine, if thats all it is.

I think all it really comes down to is summed up best in the last line of the artical:

"He had impure thoughts, yes. What matters, in the end, is what he did with them."

So really if there was cuddling and kissing from a MMA, as long as that is all it was, it ended at innocent cuddling and kissing, even if there was impure thoughts really doesn't affect anything. Thoughts are really harmless all alone, only actions can make them harmful.

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"You want some body for a very long time. And then you have them, and they love you. And they make love to you, and itís not enough. Thatís the truth about sex." Jackie-O, The House of Yes


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bettie
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One thought this discussion brings to my mind is the difference between love, sex and attraction.

Certainly you can love someone without being attracted to them or have sex with them. Usually some physical contact occurs but that is really culture dependent.

You can have sex or be sexually attracted to someone and not love them. As long as you are honest about that I think that is fine.

Now the idea that adults love children is nothing new and it makes a whole lot of sense to me. However, adults who are attracted to children may or may not love children. I don't see it as a given just as it is not between adults. Whether you love them or not does reflect whether you can hurt them. You can love soemone and still hurt them. Again this can happen between children and adults, as well as between adults.

I find that sometimes the love expressed by minor attracted adults gets romantacized. If you love someone than you don't put them in situations that may make them feel uncomfortable or have them make choices that their brains and bodies are not prepared to do. Negotiating romantic relationships is skill that it think the under 14 don't have and the 14 to 22 are still learning. I am speaking from my experience here and I know there are exceptions.

What I think is that adults should put childrens development and their growth ahead of their own attractions or romatic desires. I appreciate it that many minor attracted adults do so.

I suppose my question is where to draw the line? How much contact is appropriate?

Yes, it likely varies from case to case so I suppose I am asking where do you draw the line for yourself either as young people, as parents of children, as minor attracted adults, or as adults not attracted to children? And how do you help children figure out and express what their limits are?

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Louise Lalonde
-Scarleteen Sexpert & Volunteer du Jour

"Glad to have a friend like you,
And glad to just be me"
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Cathexis
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About control... I've read - and on different sources - that no matter how much an adult gives 'free space' to a "child" - like MAA's, those who do not RAPE - there IS always some pressure, since children are taught they are supposed to obbey, to be polite to their elders. think a 'child' doesnt know when to say "STOP", a 'child' cant really consent because they dont know between respecting an adult and respecting themselves. I think this lack of the ability to judge this kind of situation can cause a LOT of harm - be it intended or not. There IS a lot of social pressure on children and even from themselves, wich ,I think, can make the problem even worse.
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sapphirecat
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quote:
Originally posted by bellaluna:
These situations do not start "bam" and its at its worst. no. these build. as a child you don't pick up the little red flags that you might pick up 5 years down the road.

You might not even recognize those signs even after those five years, or even after being trained to look for them.

I, personally, missed a QPQ incident, random "I love you"s, and seeing him put another guy in a headlock and forcing him to apologize to everyone for something.

Then he forced me to say "I love you", and tried to convince me it was my fault when I told him that was very wrong. I don't think giving into a bouncer (who has experience fighting guys that are armed with knives, my weapon of choice) yelling "SAY IT!" is my fault.

It was being told it was my fault that finally lit up all the little red lights. This is after being taught about harrassment in school, and watching the Boy Scouts' youth protection video about 5 times. All the background to understand what's going on is useless if it doesn't connect to reality.
For the curious, I reported him. Whether this will actually change anything is up in the air. At least I don't have to work with him anymore... it was a summer job, and that last thing came within 24 hours of the end of it. Still, I can't go back next year if he's there.

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Sapphire Cat
You can love me or hate me, but it won't change who I am.


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Livinia
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"I suppose my question is where to draw the line? How much contact is appropriate?

Yes, it likely varies from case to case so I suppose I am asking where do you draw the line for yourself either as young people, as parents of children, as minor attracted adults, or as adults not attracted to children? And how do you help children figure out and express what their limits are?"

In response to your questions bettie, who I thought made a really interesting point.

And to Cathexis.

I agree with bettie there is a difference between love, sex, and attraction, and as long you realize the differnce and define where you are in that, it's much better. It's never fair to mix up love and sex or attraction with one another, because you can easilly give the wrong impression to another person and mislead them.

Now to the questions, as far as how I can answer them, and I what I think about it, I feel that children can figiure out their limits and express what they want and don't want, not all children, it really depends on how they were raised.

I think you would have a hard time finding a child today that didn't say exactly what they wanted or didn't want. But, just because they honestly want something doesn't mean it's what is going to be best for them.

I don't think it's so much that they don't know how to say if they don't like something, or that a child doesn't know when to say stop, I think most really do. But what they want at one time might not be best or they might not concept everything that goes along with everything.

It really depends on how they were raised and thier own personalty as well. If they are given a lot of freedom to make choices and think things out and decide they are much more apt even at a young age like 10 to decide some desicions of their life.

They are ten year olds who baby sit and have their own little budget to manage their money and are fairly self sufficient and can decide where their limites are and think things out.

But of course their are ten year olds who couldn't possible manage this and might not be able to until they are 20. There are far too many factors to think about and so many things relative in a discussion like this to use baulk terms, there is a lot depending on issues surrounding differnt induviduals to determine wether or not they can define their limites and concept the ideas around them.

So in response to how do we help children figure out and express what their limits are? I think if we give them the freedom to express themselves and make sure they know that they can, that their opinions are important, to let them decide things, help guid them, but let them make some choices on their own too.

Children are always tought never to talk to strangers, but a lot of stuides have shown that children do talk to strangers no matter what you tell them, because if they are lost thats what they feel they need to do. But if they are taught how to conduct themselves, where to go to ask for directions, what to watch out for if you ask someone for directions. Basically being taught to interact is far safer than being taught to do nothing, because they will do something.

It's important to teach them what to do rather than not to do anything or what not to do.

Anyway, to another topic on this subject, one that perhaps concerns me more than the others to some degree. Lets say that there is an adult minor relationship going on, and it's going very well for the two people invaluved, they are both in love ect. But then the child comes to a place where they aren't really a child anymore, say they hit 15 or 16 and are really out of the 'child' stage.

Does this mean that the MMA will start to feel less attracted to their partner, does this mean they will end the relationship? What will happen from then on?

I really can't say it's love if you leave your partner because they reach a certain age, and i think if you were in love with someone you had been with a long time and they leave you because your suddenly too old i think that could be just as damaging as anything else, and life long damaging.

I've always wondered about that personally, if anyone has any thoughts or anything to add about that I'd be interested in hearing it.

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"You want some body for a very long time. And then you have them, and they love you. And they make love to you, and itís not enough. Thatís the truth about sex." Jackie-O, The House of Yes


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John Doe
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As far as the ephemeralism of adult/child love. From what I have seen on the net, especially in the case of boy love, it is most often the child who tends to grow away from the adult. In any case, all relationships tend to change over time. Very often the sexual element goes away, but a deep friendship remains. It is much like the relationship between a parent and a child. You still love your child when he or she is 24, but there is a very real difference in the relationship from when the child was 4 or 14.
Personally I have never acted on any of my attractions for children, but I have been good friends with many over the years. Are we still good friends...well we are not as tight as we used to be. They go off to college and have other things going on in their lives. Are we still friendly sure. If one of my relationships had crossed that line, I like to think that the ending would be the same. Both of us gradually move on with our lives, but remain good friends.

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alaska
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quote:
Originally posted by Livinia:
I think you would have a hard time finding a child today that didn't say exactly what they wanted or didn't want. But, just because they honestly want something doesn't mean it's what is going to be best for them.

...and that might be true as to what a child wants for dinner or what the only ok present on Christmas is, but NOT in regards to sexuality (or rather: sexuality with adults).
- Not because children aren't sexual beings, but because children do not understand sexuality and what it entails in regards to relationships.

Children would agree to sexual acts proposed by their "adult friend", because they feel it would please them (and well, way too often, MAA will "befriend" kids who are absolutely thrilled when they get any sort of attention), not because they understand what it is that they are agreeing to.
Interest in the human body in kids, wanting to touch it etc, which some MAA love to interpret as an "interest in sexuality" (wishful thinking that the child is "initiating" sexual contact; many MAA think it's ok to act when the kid initiates) is nothing but curiosity. Two children comparing their genitals are not sexual with each other, after all; they are curious and discover themselves.

And well, let's not forget that one main thing abusers (and I am well aware that many people who abuse children are not pedophiles) do, is tell the kid afterwards that they "wanted it" or "enjoyed it" and that it hence wasn't all that bad and that they shut up about it.

So let's not try to talk away the lack of ability to consent. Children can not consent to be sexual with adults, no matter how determined they might be in other areas of their lives.

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Caro
~Scarleteen Sexpert~

"Through repetition the magic will be forced to rise."
Alchemical Precept

[This message has been edited by Alaska (edited 11-07-2001).]


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Livinia
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Rethinking the statement that Alaska quoted, and rethinking the subject some what I think that I probably agree with Alaska for the most part. Because anyone who's never been in a relationship before doesn't really understand all the ideas surrounding and reguarding it, no matter what age, espically someone who most likely doesn't concept all the ideas that go along with even an imature relationships with a peer. So expecting a child to fully understand a relationship as complicated as a minor/adult relationship is pretty unlikely.

I think that exceptions can be made now and again, and a lot of it depends on the child and their upbringing and their expernce and age, but I'll probably have to say that the popular to large majorty of children couldn't really understand to it's full extent all of the relationship, so therefore it would be unfair to engage in such a relationship, in most cases.
(this is the first time my opinion has ever gone in this direction towards this subject)

In regaurds to John Doe I agree that it's much more likely that the child grow out of the relationship first, but that wasn't the question I was interested in because I already understood that part of it. I was addressing a 'what if' situation, that could happen.

And though I agree that all relationships change and grow over time, the idea when getting into a relationship is to keep the sexual element alive and to change together. Anyone who goes into a relationship knowing that it will end as they grow apart, ie: the child grows up, isn't fair to the party that can't understand this when getting into the relationship.

When most people get into relationships they try to stay in them and have a partner for a long time, not for a period of time when they are of most interest. If this happens to be the case, both people should be fully away of the intent of the relationship.

I think that a big problem in most relationships, both adult/adult and minor/adult and just any possible relationship that could occure is the idea that adoration is love, because it is not.

No matter how much you adore someone or enjoy being around them or care for them, doesn't mean you love them. And a lot of people mistake adoration for love, unfortunatly the person being adored is the one that gets hurt when the adoration fades away and they just become friends.

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"You want some body for a very long time. And then you have them, and they love you. And they make love to you, and itís not enough. Thatís the truth about sex." Jackie-O, The House of Yes


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bettie
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I agree with Alaska on the consent issue. I also think that thinking of consequences of actions is something we develop over time and only becomes solid for most people in late adolescence (you can thank my child studies and psych degrees and lots of work with youth for that bit of info).

Children have difficulty seeing past the moment and like Alaska said can be very eager to please. Combine that with curiosity rather than knowledge of sexuality and you get someone who can not give full consent to sexual activity with adults.

As for what Livinia brought up, I can't speak across the board, but I know of someone who is a hebephile and he is stuck on 18-19 year old and is most attracted to girls of that age over others. I believe he is attracted to teen girls under the age of 18 but chooses not to engage in relationships with them for fear of societal disapproval. Since he lives in Canada relationships with girls over 14 would be legal.

Once they leave their teens he dumps them. I think he has great trouble having serious relationships with women older than 21 and his attraction to minors is a part of that.

------------------
Louise Lalonde
-Scarleteen Sexpert & Volunteer du Jour

"Glad to have a friend like you,
And glad to just be me"
-Carol Hall


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John Doe
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Alaska, for starters I object to your putting befriend in quotation marks. Especially when you put it in the context of children who are extraordinarrilly grateful for any type of attention from an adult. You make itsound like MAA's are just out there "grooming" kids for a sexual conquest. That is the sort of reasoning that leads to the current hysteria that makes it almost impossible for a man to interact with a child who is not his own. Why are there so few men in primary education? Well part of it is because men know that it is an extraoridnarrlliy risky job for them. In many ways more risky than many of the physically dangerous jobs that men routinely take. Secondly one must be careful in making always or never type arguements. Thirdly, i think it is important that we define what is ment by a sexual relationship. Are we talking about hugs and kisses? Hands that linger too long on the butt, fondling, oral practices, or full fledged intercourse? Do all of these things have the same implications. Is satisfying a childs curiosity, if the child initates it all that bad. Is a child really better off with no attention from adults? Also what age child are we talking about, clearly a 12 yo is better able to handle some of this stuff than a 6 yo. Also boys tend to have better experiences than do girls. Perhaps that is because boys have a tendency to view sex as a fun game or fooling around, rather than attaching deep spiritual significance to it all the time. (again I said a tendency, it certianly does not hold for all boys or all girls) Does the damage come from the relationship itself, or from the reaction to the relationship once it is discovered? Is the cultural context where such relationships must be keeped an abolute secret a big part of what can cause the damae in them. Therre is a huge host of variables which can go into weither a sexual relationship with an adult is a negative, nuetral or even positive experience for the child
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alaska
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quote:
Originally posted by John Doe:
Is a child really better off with no attention from adults?

I am all for adults of all genders, and adults other than parents having roles in kid's lives, as teachers, sport coaches, whatever else, but really, I fail to see how completely excluding any sort of sexual interaction between adults and children would lead to making attention from adults to children impossible, John.

I am, and have always been against the hype of fear of molestation: I think parents should be able to take pics of their children in the nude without being send of to police by the photo developing lab, fathers should be able to bathe their kids and not feel odd about it, and whatever else, and I do differentiate between pedophiles/MAA and molestors.

However, there is one thing I am completely sure about and one point where I am not going to change my opinion: and that is that sexual interaction of any kind quite simply has NO place at all between adults and children.
I do not buy in the argument that the sexual interaction between an adult and a child is not harmful, but that society makes it hamrful when telling the child, on discovery what has happened, that it was bad. The possible argument that a hand that just stays a little longer on the bum does no harm a kid is not correct; children sense when their boundaries have been violated, and it sabotages their sense of self and security.
If you listen to kids closely and are around children, you will find that kids *feel* when something is not quite right and when something crosses their boundaries, even when they haev not defined these boundaries for themselves cannot stand up to and voice it clearly.
The idea that sexual interaction between a child and an adult can ever be ok is -IMO- incorrect.
- I'm not talking about people in puberty here, hebephilia and whether it exists is a completely different issue, but merely about children. I think bettie and her definition of when people can start giving consent was right on track, and I share her view here completey.

In any way, John, I personally am pretty tired of the issue and you getting all worked up about this with the same arguments again and again. I've stated my point several times before, and just can't be bothered to repeat my arguments again and again.
Wouldn't it be better to finally just agree to disagree? I simply hate repeating myself.

P.S. As a footnote, I doubt that the main reason why so few men enter primary school teaching is their fear of being accused of molestation; the pay is rather shabby, and with men often feeling that they have to or having to bring in a larger paycheck, it just isn't a very interesting option if you have to feed a family. At least in my experience, you'll quite often find men as headteachers (a better paid position, obviously) at primary schools though.

------------------
Caro
~Scarleteen Sexpert~

"Through repetition the magic will be forced to rise."
Alchemical Precept

[This message has been edited by Alaska (edited 11-08-2001).]


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John Doe
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The pay for a 1st grade teacher is the same as for a 11th grade teacher, yet high schools are pretty well balanced between male and female teachers.
the hysterical fear of molestation is very much alive in our society. i have been a victim of it personally.
Always and never statements are almost never correct. There are plenty of people who had sexual relationships with adults as 11 or 12 yo's who will tell you that it was a positive experience for them.

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momma cat
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A couple male teachers I know back up John Doe's opinion.

But I'm still not persuaded that Carol's letter was necessarily sexual. It's not what I would consider normal, but that was a long time ago...100 years or something? Even if writing something like that is unusual for that time, I don't think must be interpreted as sexual. I know some people here have mentioned that they are comfortable being seen nude or in their underwear by other family members, such as their parents. Or their parents go nude or underwear-clad. I cannot fathom doing this myself, and it's less than common in our times, and is more commonly the type of thing two lovers would do, but that does not mean it's always sexual.

I had to think long and hard to come up with a situation where that letter wouldn't seem odd, but it came to me: would it sound so odd if that was coming from the grandmother, or a grandmotherly figure? Grandmas have blue hair, pinch cheeks, kiss and coo over grandchildren, and write letters. This letter doesn't seem so out of place to me after I view it that way.


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