Bad Touch

453788870 I don’t know what it is about pedophilia that leaves me confused. Men seem to be fine with an attractive female teacher screwing one of her male students. Society in general, however, considers a male teacher/female student combination completely wrong and disgusting. The nation has been captivated by many of these teacher-student affairs in the last decade—so much so that websites have been dedicated to report them. Statutory rape is clearly a horrible thing to ever happen, especially for the victims. I’m still confused about it, though, because while Americans find these relationships disturbing, the sense that it’s pedophilia doesn’t come across very clearly at first.

Perhaps it’s how the narrative tends to go. In stories about teacher-student affairs, the language is a bit peculiar as the writers tend to concentrate on the public roles of the teacher and student. Reports tend to avoid “child molester” or “child predator.” To further illustrate why teacher-student relationship stories sound different from stories about child rape without the teacher-student element, consider the fact “gay” and “lesbians” are more accepted than “homosexuals.” It’s all in the language.

Apparently, it’s all in the sound as well. I was turned to a Cracked.com article about romantic love songs people don’t know are about rape. “Brown Sugar” by Rolling Stones was not surprising:

Old coast slave ship bound for cotton fields
Sold in a market down in New Orleans
Scarred old slaver knows he’s doing alright
Hear him with the women just around midnight

Brown sugar how come you taste so good?
Brown sugar just like a young girl should

What is surprising about the song is that people actually don’t know what it’s about. Do people not read the lyrics to songs anymore? This song came out a long time ago, when lyrics were still printed in the album sleeves and you didn’t have to actively look them up on online. The song is obviously about raping slaves—it’s obvious from the first line.

The songs that did surprise me were the ones about pedophilia. “Father Figure” by George Michael, “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart, and “Young Girl” by Gary Puckett:

Young girl, get out of my mind
My love for you is way out of line
Better run, girl,
You’re much too young, girl

Holy crap! How did that get past the censors? How did that get past the ear, through the brains, and out the other ear of people listening to these lyrics? Again, it’s a song from the 60s so the lyrics weren’t tucked away online.

rod_stewart_nekkid So what about pedophilia leaves me confused? It’s not pedophilia, per se, that confuses me—the results are in: it’s disgusting in every single possible way. What confuses me is the different reactions to it. There isn’t much that gets people riled up and up in arms about something like pedophilia—unless it’s in a song; that is even if it’s a romantic song. I’m sure the lyricists aren’t celebrating pedophilia but I have to wonder if they were testing their fans and listeners to see what the reaction would be or if the reference to pedophilia would be noticed at all. These artists shouldn’t get the scorn you would think they deserve for seeming to celebrate child rape. I don’t think that’s their intent.

To save my sanity, I’m going to conclude that people just don’t listen to the lyrics anymore. They may hear the lyrics and the song but they don’t actually listen to the words. Instead of hearing a song about a guy warning a little girl she’s about to get raped, and thinking it’s romantic, perhaps people should pay attention and listen.

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4 thoughts on “Bad Touch

  1. To save my sanity, I’m going to conclude that people just don’t listen to the lyrics anymore.I beg to differ. For a test of this thesis, get an instrumental version of a song that people know the lyrics to, and play it for them. They are likely to not recognize it.Second, listen to people whistle songs…people always whistle vocal melodies.I'm kind of confused as to what this post is actually about, but regarding the dichotomy between male-female/female-male student relationships, that all boils down to traditional societal roles of the sexes. If a male teacher engages in a relationship with a female student, using our heuristic biases we come to the conclusion that it is an abuse of his given dominant status. If a female teacher does the same with a male student, our heuristics tell us that the teacher was exercising her earned status.I'm not very surprised by pedophilic tendencies in men. We evolved in a world with low life-expectancy. So you may not be alive tomorrow to fulfill your evolutionary duty of propagation…best to do it as soon as possible…so instinctively, young females are attractive. We've only recently focused on repressing that.

  2. To save my sanity, I’m going to conclude that people just don’t listen to the lyrics anymore.I beg to differ. For a test of this thesis, get an instrumental version of a song that people know the lyrics to, and play it for them. They are likely to not recognize it.Second, listen to people whistle songs…people always whistle vocal melodies.I'm kind of confused as to what this post is actually about, but regarding the dichotomy between male-female/female-male student relationships, that all boils down to traditional societal roles of the sexes. If a male teacher engages in a relationship with a female student, using our heuristic biases we come to the conclusion that it is an abuse of his given dominant status. If a female teacher does the same with a male student, our heuristics tell us that the teacher was exercising her earned status.I'm not very surprised by pedophilic tendencies in men. We evolved in a world with low life-expectancy. So you may not be alive tomorrow to fulfill your evolutionary duty of propagation…best to do it as soon as possible…so instinctively, young females are attractive. We've only recently focused on repressing that.

  3. Concerning whether people listen to the lyrics, sure they do recognize lyrics more than they recognize the music but the distinction is between hearing something and listening to something. By listening I mean actually listening–to the point of understanding what the lyrics mean. It's one thing to hear the music/lyrics and enjoy it to the point of memorizing the song but it's something different to listen to the lyrics and recognize what the song is actually about.This post is mostly a ramble and commentary on the complicated reactions people have about pedophilia. In one aspect, child predators are looked at as the most vile of creatures; teacher-student relationships, while found to be disgusting by most, doesn't get as big a reaction unless the teacher is a hot woman and that's ok amongst many men; then we have these romantic songs and we hear songs about older men and little girls on the radio but the reaction is negligible.I fall prey to the cognitive dissonance on the teacher-student issue. Call me a dirty man, if you will, but I do understand the appeal men have of having a teacher take advantage of him. Nevertheless, I recognize the wrongness of that.I agree with you completely on your last point. I think that's where the actual definition of pedophilia comes in. People tend to believe, and our laws tend to reflect that belief, that an older person engaged in sexual relations with a younger person under the age of 18 is pedophilia. On the contrary, pedophilia has a specific definition in psychology. I admit I used the term “pedophilia” loosely, as many tend to, in the post but I didn't want to write a novel. I am personally not a proponent of the thin line of statutory rape where an age is arbitrarily chosen by politicians; pedophilia and statutory rape should be, in my view, limited to its definition in psychology.

  4. Concerning whether people listen to the lyrics, sure they do recognize lyrics more than they recognize the music but the distinction is between hearing something and listening to something. By listening I mean actually listening–to the point of understanding what the lyrics mean. It's one thing to hear the music/lyrics and enjoy it to the point of memorizing the song but it's something different to listen to the lyrics and recognize what the song is actually about.This post is mostly a ramble and commentary on the complicated reactions people have about pedophilia. In one aspect, child predators are looked at as the most vile of creatures; teacher-student relationships, while found to be disgusting by most, doesn't get as big a reaction unless the teacher is a hot woman and that's ok amongst many men; then we have these romantic songs and we hear songs about older men and little girls on the radio but the reaction is negligible.I fall prey to the cognitive dissonance on the teacher-student issue. Call me a dirty man, if you will, but I do understand the appeal men have of having a teacher take advantage of him. Nevertheless, I recognize the wrongness of that.I agree with you completely on your last point. I think that's where the actual definition of pedophilia comes in. People tend to believe, and our laws tend to reflect that belief, that an older person engaged in sexual relations with a younger person under the age of 18 is pedophilia. On the contrary, pedophilia has a specific definition in psychology. I admit I used the term “pedophilia” loosely, as many tend to, in the post but I didn't want to write a novel. I am personally not a proponent of the thin line of statutory rape where an age is arbitrarily chosen by politicians; pedophilia and statutory rape should be, in my view, limited to its definition in psychology.

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