All Love is Equal, but some Love is more Equal than others.

With the recent big successes of the gay rights movement, “Love Equality” seems to be a trending topic. “All Love is Equal” is a quote that you will hear often nowadays.

As this Icelandic children’s show explained, “Think about what it would be like to live in a world where it didn’t matter who you were attracted to. You don’t decide what makes your heart beat. It just beats.”
However, will people apply this knowledge outside of the classroom? Society may teach people that “all love is equal”, but to what scope will these values be applied? Most people would now consider gay love as an appropriate example of the values embodied in this phrase, but what would these same people say to those whose attractions haven’t been researched or fought for as much? For example, what would they say about zoophiles? What would they say about incest? What would people say about those attracted to people under the age of consent?
Perhaps they would say, “No! Those don’t count as ‘Love’! Zoophilia and incest are disgusting and sex with someone under the age of consent is statutory rape and rightly illegal!” Some reactions can be found by looking at Tumblr. A few years ago, there was a post going around that said “Love is Love.” The original post, with 37k+ notes or reactions, was removed for apparently violating Tumblr’s community guidelines, but I was able to find a reupload of it.

The picture in question is of man and a man, a woman and a woman, a Jewish person and a Christian person, and a 15-year-old girl and a 21-year-old man being affectionate. Some people reblogged this without criticism. Other people made their own edits of the image: they cut out the 15 and 21-year-old couple or crossed out “love” and wrote “statutory rape” in red letters. I have a couple of criticisms about this “statutory rape” edit. Firstly, this image shows that for many people, love must entail sex. A 15-year-old hugging a 21-year-old does not mean that a sexual act or statutory rape has been committed. One can have a romantic or loving relationship with a person without sex. All it requires is a basic self-control, understanding and care for the other person.
Secondly, if this image does in fact imply ‘sex’, and not ‘love’, 15 is not below the age of consent in many countries, so it is presumptuous and ethnocentric to describe that couple’s love as “statutory rape”.
Thirdly, many relationships that are considered socially acceptable today were criminalized in the past. In fact, same-sex marriage was illegal in certain states at the time of this image’s creation, and same-sex relationships are still illegal in some countries. What if these people were living in a country such as Russia or Uganda? (Though even this is not quite comparable with the concept of adult-child intergenerational love, as same-sex love is becoming accepted in other parts of the world, and people sometimes take advice from other modern countries.) I wonder if a few decades ago these people would have described same-sex couples as “mentally ill”, or an interracial couple as “illegal”. The whole point of the ‘Love is Love’ campaign is not only to campaign against the stigma but also, in certain states, the illegality of certain types of love. To object to an intergenerational relationship merely because it is illegal (in some states and countries) goes against the whole point of the ‘Love is Love’ campaign.

Harris Mirkin described pedophilia as a Phase I topic – a topic that is unable to be rationally discussed by society in general. The topic is taboo. It is a radical, or even ‘unthinkable’ concept in the eyes of the “Overton Window”. The Overton Window measures the public’s acceptance of political or social ideas.
All the groups currently included in the ‘Love is Love’ campaign have been through the Overton Window stages of being a radical concept to becoming accepted or popular ideas.

So are people really becoming more open-minded? I would like to think so, but unfortunately I am not so sure.
In today’s society, all love is equal.
That is, unless the idea of their relationship is a taboo topic and their attraction has not yet been thoroughly researched. I’m afraid that a lot more research and thought will be required on the subject of intergenerational love before the majority of people will be open enough to even give it a second thought. As long as the group in question (whether interracial, same-sex, or whatever the next one may be) is considered to be a threat by the public, they can not be ‘equal’.

12 thoughts on “All Love is Equal, but some Love is more Equal than others.

  1. [Removed part of the comment that may have been too personal]
    As to your blog – I think your experiences, feelings and thoughts as a female paedophile are very significant and something (I think) no other blog addresses. If you give yourself the pressure of a weekly, or bi-weekly, or monthly deadline I’m sure you will start to find loads of things to write about!

    I’d suggest always carrying a notebook and pen with you and writing ideas, phrases, questions, observations, words, sketches etc in it whenever they occur to you – you’ll soon find yourself developing trains of thought and the ideas will come faster than you can shoot ’em down 😉

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  2. I understand why you use the term “intergenerational”, but I think you need to be a bit clearer about it. If I, at 40-something, have a relationship with a 20-something, it is not illegal anywhere, as far as I know. But it is (and in fact was—my second wife and mother of my children) frowned upon. I don’t know if the rejection of adult-adult intergenerational relationships has anything to do with adult-child intergenerational relationships, but I suspect it does, and so a little more clarity about this may be useful. Otherwise, I agree with you.

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    • Thanks for your critique. Yes I should have been clearer, I meant child-adult intergenerational relationships. I think that adult-adult intergenerational relationships are frowned upon for a similar reason – the potential for abuse of power.

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  3. (removed initial) says:

    yea, being gay used to be in the dsm so.. i’m sure there would have been people calling it a mental illness. or rather, there definitely were, or else it wouldn’t have been in the dsm.

    i think we probably basically agree tho if i really wanted to outline my entire position i guess i could make my own blog (not sure how worth it it would be but eh).. but obv it is a very sensitive subject. i’m not entirely comfortable w a direct comparison to non-straight sexualities (as someone who is both those things), even if some comparisons can be drawn. maybe this is just my own internalized prejudice talking but! nevertheless.

    also, this is an aside, but.. it’s ok to just say “gay” rather than “homosexual.” In fact, I know it makes a lot of people kind of uncomfortable (myself included…) since that was the word used to medicalize and stigmatize being gay, whereas “gay” is a word chosen by the community itself.

    i hope none of this sounds too confrontational! that’s not my intention at all.. i just wanted to make some of my thoughts clear!
    (removed initial)

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    • Hey! I removed your initial to keep you anonymous. I hope that’s okay. I think should make your own blog if you want to! What do you mean that it may be your own internalized prejudice? One of the reasons I chose to compare the LGBT+ community is because they used to have ties to some pedo and hebephilia groups. Thanks for letting me know. I was trying to make it sound more formal, but if you think “gay” is a better word I will change it.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    hello, (removed initial). here. after some time, now looking from some better perspective, I can only say this: this attraction will always be different than, say, homosexuality or even incest. even if society started to accept these people more, they will always be unhappy, for their love never, morally and practically, can be fulfilled. I don’t mean sex. children (even aged 15-17) should never be involved in relationship with an adult. they don’t know what love is, they are not consent, they don’t know what they want or can do. it’s extremely unhealthy for a child, to realize after they get more mature, that some adult was in love with them. sorry.

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    • Hi! I know who this is but I removed your initial to keep you anonymous, I hope that’s okay. Thanks for looking at my blog. I disagree that people under 17 cannot know what love is. Legally in many places they cannot consent, but I believe that they can have a good idea of what they do and do not want in their lives – at least I did. As for it being damaging to a child to find out that an adult was in love with them – when I was 16 I knew that an older man was attracted to me. He didn’t actually vocalize it, but I knew. I didn’t like him back, but it didn’t damage me. I decided to stop being friends, but certainly I don’t resent him.
      However, I agree that these relationships shouldn’t be pursued in today’s society. I think it’s fine to have a close friendly relationship, but once romantic factors come in, it starts getting a little cloudy, and it’s likely to put people at risk.
      As well as the attitudes regarding pedophilia, society needs to see a dramatic change with regards to some related issues, for example, rape culture.
      When you said “children (even aged 15-17) should never be involved in relationship with an adult”, do you think a 17 year old shouldn’t be involved in a relationship with an 18 year old, even if it wasn’t illegal? I think that the amount of agency someone has depends on many factors. Age and more importantly experience can play a big part, but there are many other factors to consider as well.
      Even though we disagree, thank you, I appreciate your comment.

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    • Christian says:

      Calling someone aged 17, or even 15, a “child”, what a nonsense! In all pre-industrial societies, boys were recognized as young adults at an age between 13 and 15, and for girls it was often earlier (12 to 14). Even today, the Na/Mosuo ethny in China (the only society without marriage) recognizes young adulthood, with full voting rights in family councils, at age 13. But our society, especially the US, infantilizes youths at ever increasing ages… from infantilized youths you make dumb adults.
      Helmut Graupner has written a scholarly article entitled “The 17-Year-Old Child: An Absurdity of the Late 20th Century” (DOI: 10.1300/J056v16n02_02). I also recommend the book “Teen 2.0” by Robert Epstein, demolishing the modern institution of “adolescence”.
      Childhood means learning to become adult, as soon as possible, and you don’t grow by being infantilized and being told that you are unable to understand, in the same way that you can never become an adult mathematician by being told in your youth that you can’t understand mathematics and that it is bad for you.

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  5. I think the whole “power” issue is malarkey, by and large. For the most part people talk about power as though it is some set hierarchy, with the older person holding the power. In a life-time of relationships, some with older women, some with younger women and some with women around my own age, power always has shifted between the two of us, depending entirely on context, the focus each of us held, and so on. (The same holds true between myself and my children, even now that they are teenagers and are getting out in the world more than before.)

    It is too complex to be thought about in the manner you suggest, but this isn’t a criticism of what you said: I think you are correct, and that that is one of the issues that create anxiety in onlookers in respect of adult-adult intergenerational relationships. (Fears of the “dirty old man”, and so forth. I admit that when challenged about my relationship, as I often was, I would simply say, “Yes, I’m a dirty old man, and it’s fun.” My partner/wife did, fortunately, laugh at the reactions of those to whom I said this. But, Damn, I was only in my early forties…I be much older now.)

    But, even this is cultural to a great degree. Dutch friends of my parents regarded it as perfectly normal and acceptable.

    Anyway, personal issues aside, the common view on power between a child and an adult depends on the notion that children have no agency or right to agency in their own lives. Contemporary parents and (most) western cultures have removed from children the ability to act and think for themselves, hence the now almost totally defunct movement for “children’s rights” of the sixties and seventies.

    This may not seem relevant to you post, BUT, all love is equal unless it is a child who loves someone other than a parent or family member. When this happens, it seems to be a case of: “But you are too young to know what love is!”

    In all honesty, the reactions you mention in your post are somewhat frightening to me, not only because they seem to fly in the face of what actually happens without causing harm to anyone in the majority of cases (I mean both adult-adult and adult-child relationships), but because it is the basis on which children are denied so much which I experienced as a child, namely my own agency, my ability to make and act on decisions for myself. This is something which many, if not most children now lack.

    My apologies for rambling on and on, but yours is the first post I have read in many a month which has touched me personally, and it has led to a set of thoughts being applied in a somewhat different context for me.

    Anyway, I enjoyed your post, and look forward to many more.

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    • Concerning the power aspect of paedophile-child relationships – the thing I hope for and aspire to for my friendships is that our power be equal.

      Quite simply there is nothing so wonderful and beautiful as a friendship with a little girl which feels, and is, equal, in which we are true partners, where our age difference no longer operates along the conventional lines of authority Society would prescribe.

      I can’t speak for all paedophiles but my impression is that this aspiration – that the relationship be not one defined by the age difference, but by the qualities of the people involved and the love they share – is very common amongst us.

      Nor is it something that I have ever found difficult to achieve in a relationship – it seems to come naturally. This is one of the many reasons why I think paedophilia is a positively good thing – a child can experience a more respectful relationship, and can assume a kind emotional responsibility and maturity that generally isn’t so easily fostered by the power differentials which exist in the family.

      Families tend to infantilise children whereas friendships (whether intimate or not) with paedophiles can help a child to blossom and have a richer relationship with life.

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  6. I completely agree, with only the caveat that the adult does not need to be a paedophile.

    I always have treated my children and my friend’s children as equals, simply because I believe they are A lack of knowledge and experience (the usual suspects) does not mean that they are not individual people who deserve respect, and all that goes with it.

    On that note, my sons have a 17 year old female friend who visits them regularly at home. She has been sheltered, protected and infantalised to such a degree that it has taken her almost a year to be able to say more than “hello” and “good-bye” to me. Their male friends are almost as bad.

    A friendship with an older person which acts to change this, to give people who have been treated the way she has been a chance to be themselves and learn, can only be to the good because she has been taught to regard all adult males as a threat. ‘Tis sad, but very common around the western world it would seem.

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