Hey, people! This post addresses some issues in an exchange I had with fellow GChatter Ethan Edwards over on Tom O'Carroll's blog, but were unable to address there in full due to the word restriction placed by Tom (he is sole moderator there). So, for my response that I think it will be very difficult to truncate without losing the essence of much of what I wanted to say (while still trying to keep it as short as possible), I present it here, since I think it will find many interested readers among our group. It also gives Tom an opportunity to read it here without having to moderate it.
This exchange is in regards to the late Margaux Fragoso's memoir, Tiger Tiger (discussed on this board before), which focuses on her dysfunctional relationship as a little girl with a MAP called Peter. She had posted for a time on the Virped board, and her feelings were strongly on the non-choice camp.
These are my initial words to Ethan in the discussion that are on Tom's blog. Ethan's words are in bold. My responses are in standard text.
She was very clear that her life would have been better if her abuser had not been sexual with her. She didn’t like him portrayed as a one-dimensional monster, but that is quite different. When she did reach out, she reached out to VP and she had nothing resembling a pro-legalization view. More generally, you can wonder how many of those who are cited for even positive experiences themselves hold a pro-legalization position. I bet many do not.
You bet many do not, Ethan, because you and others refuse to give the podium to any youth with such experiences, or adult who had them as a youth, that does not say what the woman you are quoting here happened to say. If they do say it, they are quickly censored & censured, with adults running the risk of enduring what our friend Milo endured; and youths running the risk of having their parents and their local police contacted, where they will be held in an interrogation room while being pressed to reveal the identifies of the adults they had their positive experiences with. You know this is the case, as does everyone else, but it’s ignored in favor of a false implication that people are routinely listened to no matter what they have to say about this topic.
Granted, the woman you quoted didn’t describe her “abuser” as a one-dimensional monster, but I suspect there is a good chance she was subjected to that infamous interrogation process after the relationship was “found out,” which is part of the standard legal protocol and the “thereputic” process, could easily have resulted in a major re-conceptualization. The very fact that you use terms like “abuser” rather than, say, “partner,” makes it clear how strongly the system and the media biases against such relationships.
I could write quite a bit more about Margaux and what her posts to VP add to how we should understand her. Maybe I’ll put some on my blog, but the discussion isn’t very productive in this venue.
In the case of Margaux, we can test your idea that she developed her anti-contact ideas after brainwashing, because there is a trail of evidence. I don’t know if you’ve read the book, but the idea that some wonderful thing got re-conceptualized doesn’t hold up in her case. I think brainwashing is a rather small effect overall.
More broadly, we’ve been over this ground before. You have what is essentially an unfalsifiable theory that there is a hidden groundswell of interest by kids in sex with adults, and only societal attitudes have cowed them into trembling silence. I have pointed out that there is a large minority (at least) of kids who will not be cowed into silence on any subject and we’re not hearing from that group either. But you say the repression runs deep — very deep. You could also argue that there is hatred of Muslims in the US, and that most of us would become followers of Islam if only that hatred was removed. Or perhaps we would find a great hidden interest in mother-son incest, or that water sports is an overwhelmingly popular sexual fetish — if only hostile societal attitudes were removed. They’re all unfalsifiable.
If patterns run true, you’ll write some long rebuttal, and I’ll give up replying. If I were to vigorously defend my views here, I would be very busy — until Tom decides he’s heard enough and uses his moderator powers to shut me up.
Tom had some great responses IMO, and I encourage you to go over to his blog to read it, which is here in the comments section: https://tomocarroll.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/a-respected-opponent-not-an-enemy/comment-page-1/#comment-17316
Here is my response to Ethan, which would have been too long for Tom's blog:
I think Tom covered a lot in his response, based on many quotes he took from Margaux from her memoir, that the entire situation was much more nuanced than you are willing to say. Peter was not an ideal adult partner for a child by any means, but many MAPs do not act like him, and do not have his particular negative needs. The fact also remains that Marguax had a very bad life in general, but she grew up in a political environment that not only shamed younger people (and often females in general) for their sexual desires and actions, but also heavily demonized intergen relationships. It was easy for her to develop the feelings that she did about intergen relationships in general within such an environment, as the full degree of emotional problems and bad life would have put far more scrutiny on her relationship with Peter than the one she had with her father. This can largely explain why her memoir largely focused on her relationship with Peter, rather than the trials and tribulations of her life in general, which were hardly limited to, or attributable to, Peter.
It also needs to be pointed out that if we lived in a youth liberated society, not only would Margaux have been free to get away from her father, but she may not have felt inclined to choose Peter as her adult partner, if an adult partner was what she wanted. Was Marguax a victim? I think yes, but the source of her victimization goes far beyond Peter alone, yet our society finds it easy to label him as the prime source. I do sympathize with her greatly, even if I do not share her feelings as to what the prime source of her travails was, since the sex negativity so prevalent in our society appears to have been a major culprit of why she viewed her relationship with Peter as so “disgusting” in the first place.
Regarding what I said as brainwashing: It is not only “found out” relationships that go through the system that can result in such re-conceptualizations. Considering the emotional problems Marguax was suffering from many different places in her life, the reactions she doubtless received from revelations to others about her relationship with Peter, and what she constantly read about intergen relationships, without ever seeing or speaking with the many others who feel differently (because they are usually not allowed to say it without getting censored and/or censured) could have severely colored the retrospective feelings of someone with such a degree of general emotional baggage to deal with. This is where sociogenic (rather than iatrogenic) factors come into play. Would this have been the case if she had grown up in a culture that did not demonize such relationships, and did not force younger people into dependence on anyone? I personally doubt it. There is no way to prove otherwise, of course, but do note that many vanilla gay people often suffered a lot of emotional turmoil and shame over their feelings and homosexual engagements during the era when such relationships were demonized.
More broadly, we’ve been over this ground before. You have what is essentially an unfalsifiable theory that there is a hidden groundswell of interest by kids in sex with adults, and only societal attitudes have cowed them into trembling silence. I have pointed out that there is a large minority (at least) of kids who will not be cowed into silence on any subject and we’re not hearing from that group either.
As others have pointed out, there are many things that kids hate that they are not protesting about because they lack not only the political right to freedom of speech and the right to assemble, but until the recent advent of social media, had no access to multi-media sources to speak on. That is now starting to change with the return of walk-outs, and the rebirth of the youth liberation movement as a whole, which is resulting in more youths speaking out about everything. However, you routinely underestimate the extreme volatility of the subject of youth sexuality in general, and intergen sexual contact in particular, as if it carries no further emotional weight than kids protesting having to go to bed at a certain time at night, or of having to spend eight hours a day in school. To the contrary, that is–metaphorically speaking–like comparing the weight of a 500 pound barbell with that of a compact neutron star. Kids know they will likely pay a severe penalty for speaking out about that topic, especially in a world where their YouTube channels are routinely shut down or videos removed if they show the slightest bit of nudity, or even broach the topic of sexuality.
But you say the repression runs deep — very deep. You could also argue that there is hatred of Muslims in the US, and that most of us would become followers of Islam if only that hatred was removed.
Except I never said most of us would become Muslims if the hatred was removed. For starters, mesophilia is not a choice [for the newbies, mesophilia is the term coined by Dr. Micahel Seto in a 2016 paper for younger people with a romantic preference for considerably older people who are significantly older, typically in middle age but not necessarily elderly]. Secondly, I think people in general would be more inclined to make certain choices if they had the choice, but the choice wasn’t legally prohibited in addition to being heavily demonized. Making the choice to be a Muslim–not connected to inborn qualities like sexual predilection–is not illegal, however, so we still see many Muslims openly practicing as such against the demonization, since their choice along these lines is still protected by the law. Not so when it comes to intergen relationships!
Your other examples were equally a matter of apples and oranges pretending to be the same fruit. The point is, if something is against the law, and groups of people are heavily marginalized and censored against even discussing the topic, then you will not see anyone speak out about the practice, or the desire for it. Underage youth are both third class citizens with no civil rights, and even their growing voice thanks to social media is heavily monitored and censored at this date, despite increasing difficulty in doing so. They can be censored at will and forced into “therapy” for speaking out on this topic, something that won’t happen if they speak out about unfair bed times, curfews, and compulsory schooling.
If patterns run true, you’ll write some long rebuttal, and I’ll give up replying.
Some patterns should continue unabated, my esteemed opponent :-) Sort of like the summer season, tornadoes having a short life span, and yet another season of The Simpsons.