Yeah, I know. I’m not exactly prompt with this story. For all I know everyone has moved on to something new to be outraged about. Well, since I still have this idea rolling around in my head I’m still going to post about it.
I only have a passing knowledge of Milo Yiannopoulos. From what I understand, he’s a right-wing shit stirrer who’s been banned from Twitter for what some have viewed as hate speech. I also knew that he worked for right-wing ‘news’ site Breitbart. However, right now I could not care less about Mr. Yiannopoulos’ politics, but more about what he said that has brought about his possible downfall.
On a podcast that Mr. Yiannopoulos appeared on during early 2016, he reportedly said some things about sex and consent that were very controversial. Here’s some of what he said courtesy of New York Magazine…
In the homosexual world particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men the sort of coming of age relationships, relationships in which those older men have helped those young boys to discover who they are and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable — and sort of a rock where they can’t speak to their parents.
The law is probably about right, that’s probably roughly the right age, I think it’s probably about okay, but there are certainly people who are capable of giving consent at a younger age. I certainly consider myself to be one of them.
You’re misunderstanding what pedophilia means. Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old, who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty. Pedophilia is attraction to people who don’t have functioning sex organs yet who have not gone through puberty.
Now I am not saying that Mr. Yiannopoulos is a pedophile, but to play armchair psychologist, I don’t think it’s necessarily his fault that he believes what he said. While I’m not trying to make excuses for what he said, Mr. Yiannopoulos claims that he was a victim of sexual abuse. By saying what he did, he could be trying to rationalize what happened to him. It’s possible he could be harboring feelings of guilt that he was abused and this could be his way of dealing with it. However, Mr. Yiannopoulos was grossly irresponsible by saying this in public.
This line of thinking is very much on par with a lot of sexual predators. I have received numerous comments on this very website from people, mostly men, trying to excuse preying on underage children by using the ‘this technically isn’t pedophilia’ argument. Here is an e-mail I once received to a similar effect…
Hey Trench – I enjoy reading your blog but thought I’d point out an error in your terminology.
You commonly refer to men attracted to teenage girls as ‘pedophiles’ when this is not the case. Attraction to teenage girls is considered ‘hebophilia’ which actually is not considered a mental disorder, as it is biologically normal to be attracted to post-pubescent individuals.
We as a society have chosen to infantilize teenagers when it comes to sex but treat them as adults when they commit crimes. It seems a little out of whack to me. Thoughts?
The e-mail writer is incorrectly referring to hebephilia, which is defined as the sexual attraction to early pubescent children ages 11 to 14. The e-mail writer and Mr. Yiannopoulos are far from the first people to ever make these kind of claims. However in the modern lexicon you can’t say “It’s not pedophilia, but…” and not expect there to be push-back from the public.
Since Mr.Yiannopoulos’ comments were brought to light, he was cancelled as a speaker at a large conservative event, lost a book deal, and was fired or resigned from Breitbart, depending on who you talk to. Personally I believe Mr. Yiannopoulos deserved the public backlash that he has received. As I’ve said many times before, while you may be entitled to freedom of speech you’re not entitled to be protected from the repercussions of said speech.
The worst part in this is that Mr. Yiannopoulos’ followers are legion. They are dedicated almost to the point of fanaticism. By making these statements he seems to legitimize this behavior to his internet lackeys. My fear is that he has almost ordained a new generation of men, since his followers are mostly male, that follow the ‘old enough to bleed, old enough to breed’ axiom. Not only that but there’s a great chance that he’s attracted more followers that already follow the ‘it’s not technically pedophilia’ mantra. That’s obviously one of the last things this country needs.
(Special thanks to Lady Gray for her editorial assistance.)