Neutral Depictions of Pedophilia

  • Posted on September 21, 2015 at 8:22 am

kraM asks…

Are there neutral depictions of pedophilia in mainstream media?

I’m wondering who has seen in the movies or on TV or in a book or magazine depictions of pedophiles that weren’t negative. Maybe not necessarily positive, but also not negative — just neutral.

I have two examples:

Game of Thrones. In its last season, there was a scene of a guy at a brothel. He’s choosing his woman and he kept asking for someone younger. Eventually it was understood that he wanted a pre-puberty girl. His colleagues with him didn’t seem to be bothered by this; it seemed like it was a common request of his. This guy does get killed later, but not because of his choice in girls. (GoT also features neutral depictions of incest.)

Boardwalk Empire is another, even better example. One of the main characters is the son of a woman who gave birth to him when she was 13. The father was a much older man. The last season presents flashbacks to this time. The soon-to-be father is the mayor of the town. He is seen unambiguously enjoying the company of young girls (we also see a colleague who is well aware of his activities and doesn’t interfere). The man is shown to select a young 12-year-old girl during some contest among other girls her age. The show never makes what he does a negative thing, nor into something he suffered for later in life, though it does show the girl as a grown woman pretty much losing her mind. But this isn’t necessarily correlated to her early sexual experiences. (Oh, and this show also depicts incest in a neutral way — what’s the deal with HBO?)

So, are there any other examples you can think of?

28 Comments on Neutral Depictions of Pedophilia

  1. Poppabear or PoppaClyde2 says:

    Game of Thrones is set in the medieval era when child brides and child prostitution were unremarkable. There is less in fiction about this period about the sexual activities of boys but it like to have been as common as among girls. A historian of the medieval period would be able to provide much more evidence about boys’ sexual activities.

    Atlantic City, the setting for Boardwalk Empire, and the time, turn of the century, was a particularly decadent environment. The creative team in both productions is only reflecting what we know happened in both this eras.

    I think that the persecution of paedophiles in the present era is a reflection of a much greater concern for the welfare of children, and women, than there has ever been before. The concern to protect children from violence, abuse and cruelty has met with a resurgence among the puritanical right to punish every form of what they consider to be deviant behaviour. Society is over-protecting sexually active children and not allowing them to choose their own sexual partners. The pendulum, as it always does, will swing back in the opposite direction, but I hope we never lose sight of the need to protect the vulnerable, of all ages.

  2. Cheryl says:

    The movie Pretty Baby has a scene where the barely pubescent Brooke Shields is sold to the highest bidder, who is bidding to take her virginity. There are also depictions of the photographer in the movie, played by Keith Carradine, being obviously captivated by the character played by Brooke Shields. And there is some sexual tension between the mother and daughter. None of these are depicted negatively.

  3. Evan says:

    in the bible :)

    Genesis 19:30-38

    Lot went up from Zoar, and stayed in the mountains, and his two daughters with him; for he was afraid to stay in Zoar; and he stayed in a cave, he and his two daughters. Then the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of the earth. “Come, let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him that we may preserve our family through our father.”

    So they made their father drink wine that night, and the firstborn went in and lay with her father; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. On the following day, the firstborn said to the younger, “Behold, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve our family through our father.” So they made their father drink wine that night also, and the younger arose and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father.

    The firstborn bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. As for the younger, she also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the sons of Ammon to this day.

  4. Hee-hee, Evan, that’s cute — even though it’s actually a depiction of incest and not pedo. But I’ve always thought it was awesome that it’s in the Bible, and apparently God approves!!

    Anyway, on the subject of pedophila, neutrally presented, one of my favorite old SF novels is Heinlein’s The Door into Summer. In it, the protagonist, a grown man, basically falls in love with an 11-year-old girl. Through various unlikely plot twists, he eventually gets to consummate his desires with her. Recommended reading!

  5. kraM says:

    Just because it’s in the Bible that doesn’t mean God approves. It’s just reporting on what happened. However, God did approve of a very young girl getting pregnant. No one knows for sure but Mary is thought to have been between 12 and 15 when she bore Jesus. So, he was at least advocating for the common age for girls to be married off and getting pregnant. Not exactly pedo but certainly a much lower age of consent than what is common in today’s culture.

  6. kraM says:

    Oh yeah and what’s that movie when Natalie Portman is about 13 and she has a crush on an adult? He likes her too but in his maturity tells her it won’t work, that as she ages her attractions will change and it won’t be the same.

  7. Thylanelover says:

    @kraM The movie is Leon: The Professional.

  8. Poppabear or PoppaClyde2 says:

    The archetypal love story is probably Romeo and Juliet. We know, because William has her mother and her nurse tell us, that Juliet is 13. No one ever mentions Romeo’s age, but it is understood by everyone that he is older than Juliet. is this then a paedophile love story?

    In medieval Italy brides as young as twelve or thirteen were quite common, as is still the case in many cultures today which have much in common with medieval Europe.

    But, if Romeo is only a few years older, is this a paedophile romance? He isn’t an adult, it seems, and most of us would understand a paedophile story as one involving a young person (of 13 years, say) and an adult (of at least 20 or more years).

    In my mind, the best known love story ever written, about a 13-year-old girl and her slightly older lover, is a paedophile romance and if Romeo were alive today, he would locked up as soon as he had climbed down from that balcony.

  9. angie says:

    I love the professional and also taxi.

  10. Ronda DiNapoli says:

    Angie, do you mean “Taxi Driver” with Robert “Are you talkin’ to me?” DeNiro… and a very young (Lesbian goddess) Jodie Foster? (Many were the dreams I had about her when I was younger.)

    kraM, I remember doing some research and reading that Mary was likely a teenager (around 16) when Jesus was born (and probably wasn’t much younger when she was betrothed to Joseph). Back then (and to some degree nowadays) in Jewish culture, a young girl was considered a “woman” once she reached the age of 11 (an occasion marked by a Bat Mitzvah, the female equivalent of a Bar Mitzvah for Jewish boys upon reaching age 13).

    Poppabear or PoppaClyde2… if Juliet’s daddy didn’t shoot him first.

    And let’s not forget Nabokov’s novel “Lolita.” How old was the girl? And she had *two* old men pursuing *her*!

  11. kraM says:

    No not The Professional. Beautiful Girls is the movie I was thinking about.

    What’s paedophile? Just a different way of spelling it? Yeah I know I could just google it but I’d rather ask here.

    • FriendofAlice says:

      Yeah, That’s the British English way. As an Englishman myself I really hate it!

      It evokes bad memories and the casual hate speech we’re all used to hearing.

      I feel “pedophile” is just one of the many ways Americans have beautified English.

  12. Poppabear or PoppaClyde2 says:

    In the UK version of English we tend to hang on to the older versions of words, while in America they are simplified (sensibly) to make the understanding and pronunciation easier. Those here who know me from the Story Friends Board are aware of my pedantic tendencies (confession: it’s an obsession not a tendency).

    The letters of the Greek word for child when written in English characters has four characters p a e d pronounced peed. As in paediatrician (doctor who specialises in childhood illnesses) or paedophile (someone who loves children). The same old spelling can also be found in encyclopaedia, but these words are almost all rendered as pediatrician, pedophile and encyclopedia. In the third instance pedia means education (of a child) and encyclo means general or complete.

    If I wanted to be even more pedantic (don’t tempt me) I would ensure that the a and the e were squashed together as one character but I can’t be bothered searching for the keystroke combination that would reproduce that on the screen.

    There you have it, kraM, just me being pedantic, or, as my father used to say, a very long time ago, “You just like showing off.”

  13. kraM says:

    It looks similar to the spelling difference between a man with several wives versus a woman with several husbands. I thought being on this site it was the spelling for specifically women that are attracted to kids. I guess not,thanks for the education.

  14. CaptainMidnight says:

    The Bible states of Joseph and Mary that he “knew her not” (sex) throughout the pregnancy. After Jesus was born, I don’t know. We also don’t know if Jesus had any siblings. Quite possibly not, because Jesus on the cross instructed one of His disciples (not a brother of His) to take care of Mary when He was gone. Also, there were lots of medieval and Renaissance portraits of Joseph as a man so old he couldn’t possibly sire children on his own.

    Lot’s daughters in each case got him so drunk he couldn’t remember siring his own grandchildren. Perhaps he found out they were his, but it would have been sheer cruelty to him to force an induced abortion or two. He might also have thought they had conceived, with husbands now dead, back in Sodom. (I am not sure about that.) He had to live with it, whatever happened.

    As far as Romeo and Juliet goes, I don’t know. “Shakespeare in Love” notwithstanding, men played the men’s roles and young boys played the women’s roles. Perhaps the company had a boy who looked fourteen even in girls’ clothes, and Shakespeare wrote that into the script. It’s as good or bad an idea as anything else. I also think Romeo was very close to Juliet in age, no more than a year or two older. Again there is no way to tell.

    For thousands of years, women were property for the most part, and baby factories. Child brides were common as bargains between one family and another. In fact, it didn’t matter if they were of childbearing age or not, although it was certainly a boon for them to have children early and often. One girl was “married” three times (presumably widowed twice) before age eleven.

    Yes, the age of consent up to the 19th century was far younger than it is now. One story I have read is that a newspaper publisher in London got the age of consent raised by “buying” a teenager from her mother, taking her to a brothel, proving to his readers he could have “had” her and returning her with virtue intact. He was trying to fight child trafficking and seemed to succeed, for a while anyway.

    There are so many child-sexual-abuse cases recently, such as Jerry Sandusky of Penn State University and Warren Jeffs of the renegade “Mormon” cult, that people want to pretend child sex doesn’t happen unless monsters force children into sex. Sure they don’t. Probably not with much older people, although you can never tell if some little girl or pubescent boy have crushes on each other or on much older people.

    Wonder how many people fantasize, and about who. Probably everyone fantasizes about lovers, but what else do they want?

  15. Erika von Heim says:

    Kram etc
    UK spelling is paedophile, US is pedophile, I believe.
    Isn’t “kram” a Swedish word?
    Hugs,
    Erika

  16. Jen says:

    are you from germany Erika?
    wink

  17. Erika von Heim says:

    Jen dear,
    I was born there but today my German is rudimentary, sadly.
    And I’m still fascinated by things German… Wink dear?
    erikavonheim@yahoo.com

  18. Poppabear or PoppaClyde2 says:

    “Kram etc
    UK spelling is paedophile, US is pedophile, I believe.”

    Many newspapers and publishers are adopting the simpler and more easily understood US spelling.

    It has the slight advantage of possibly avoiding the vandalising of homes and cars owned by paediatricians.

  19. Paige says:

    My education was in Greco-Roman Civ. so I run across references to young love, in my research. In the novel “Pompeii,” which I recommend (Harris is the author’s name, I think) there are several depictions of pedophilia. In one, a ten-year old girl offers the protagonist her services, and there are similar scenes (also a reference to a ‘child brothel.’) The author is clearly familiar with the era-I’m convinced he is showing the context accurately. PS-They toned it down in the movie, needless to say.

  20. Cheryl says:

    There’s a lot on this page concerning historical figures in both the real world and stories in which young girls have sex with either an older man (Lot’s daughters, etc.) or a boyfriend (Romeo and Juliet, etc.), but these were not considered bad things at the time. The world felt girls, once they had started having periods, were grown enough to have babies, though they didn’t really understand why women bled on a monthly basis. The people of those times had seen a correlation between the ability to get pregnant and having achieved menstruation. Because girls’ bodies were becoming the bodies of women, they were considered of age for marriage and child-bearing. Thus, young girls would be married off to older men. Keep in mind also that fathers were eager to marry their daughters off because if they didn’t, the parents would have to be responsible for the unmarried daughters the rest of their lives. Therefore, if a man offered to wed a young girl, even a very young one, the fathers were usually agreeable, especially if the man had money, property, or status.

    Juliet was being married off to Paris, a young man of wealth and position in society, when she eloped with Romeo. I’m not sure about Lot’s daughters, but I believe I heard or read somewhere that their sons became the fathers of what is now the problems with religion in the Middle East. I could be totally wrong about that because I have never been much of a church-goer. Incest has never been approved of by either the Jewish or Christian religions; that I know for certain.

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