Diigo Post Excerpt:
I can’t say that I’m all that surprised to read the allegations against Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind Sesame Street’s most beloved character, Elmo, who has been accused of having a sexual relationship with a young man that started when the individual was 16.
I don’t have any inside information about whether the allegations against him are true or not – I’ll just wait for the investigation to conclude before totally disavowing a crucial part of my childhood (i.e. Elmo). But I will admit that whenever I hear these stories of adult men, who spend their time in the company of children, being the subject of some sort of inappropriate conduct involving children, I say, “yeah, I can see that.” In fact, I know a few women who are outright hostile to the idea of leaving their children in the company of men, including teachers, coaches, even among family members. “As a woman, a mother, a concerned citizen and mostly a survivor, I am very skeptical of men being around children,” said one friend via Facebook.
Statistically speaking, men are the gender most represented among offenders of sexual assaults, abuse and violence. That fact alone is probably the best argument to be made for our skepticism. But is this a healthy attitude to have towards men in general? Is it fair to assume all men are potential predators of sexual abuse and aggression until proven otherwise?
Recently, I saw this provocatively titled documentary, Are All Men Pedophiles, which as the title suggests, raises the question of whether or not we are being conditioned to assume that all men are sexual predators and pedophiles. According to Jans-Willem Breure, director of the film, all men are potential “hebephiles” — that is, attracted to pubescent children. Our society is built on idolizing youth, he theorizes, and usually sexualizes children through the media, fashion and through music. Therefore, you can’t necessarily blame men for finding teens sexually attractive. Breure’s other theme in the film is that since the age of consent is arbitrary and has been culturally and throughout history, maybe it is time to retire the archaic belief that frowns upon adult and teenage relations.