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OUTGROWING PEDOPHILIA? 

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EPSTEIN AND PEDOPHILE CULTURE

 With early December came updates on Jeffrey Epstein and the “Lolita Express,” a plane nicknamed for its underage passengers. With an interior resembling a brightly colored playground, Epstein’s plane carted girls to and from his private island where he sexually abused them. On the plane itself, every chair folded out to become a bed.

According to Newsweek, Ghislaine Maxwell, who procured the girls, was also accused of organizing sex parties on the plane. In December, CNBC reported her plans to renew her application for bail. She also requests that her hearing be closed to public attendance.

Meanwhile, Epstein’s victim compensation fund has led to even more claims than expected. Accusers are now telling their stories over zoom, and, as of December 8, they have received over $30 million in compensation. Epstein’s case’s continued relevance illuminates millionaires’ ridiculous amount of power, but it also highlights the pervasiveness of pedophile culture in America.

The sexualization of young girls is marketed in the fashion, diet, beauty and cosmetic surgery industries. In 2011, thirty percent of girls’ clothing at fifteen main retailers was seen as sexualized. Because American society sexualizes children so early, a 2012 report found girls to objectify themselves as young as six years old

As the girls mature, they are pressured to fight their bodies’ physical changes. The beauty standard demands they shave and diet to maintain a prepubescent look and shape. Moreover, popular surgeries like labiaplasty and hymenoplasty reverse the natural effects of puberty and sexual experience. It all points to an unfortunate and disturbing societal message: as a woman appears more sexually developed, she is perceived as less sexually desirable. 

A greater indicator of America’s sexual preferences is Pornhub. In 2014, “Teen” was Pornhub’s most frequently searched category. From 2012 to 2018, it remained in the top ten, and, in 2019, it ranked twelve. This was five places above “big tits,” which can be presumed to feature more developed bodies. 

Moreover, 2019’s top searched female porn star was LittleReislin, who introduces herself as an “obedient and modest little girl who loves her Daddy and his dick.” This does not show a suggestion of pedophilia; these top popular Pornhub searches explicitly use the words “teen” and “little girl” to attract viewers. 

It was not until December 10 that Mastercard blocked its users from paying Pornhub, according to The Washington Post. This followed an investigation which found Pornhub to be “infested with rape videos” and child molestation.

Child pornography’s popularity does not just reveal pre-existing pedophilia. It implies the beginning of a positive feedback loop. As pedophilia grows more popular, it becomes easier to socialize men into a Lolita culture. 

Porn is a primary form of sex education for teens, and it sets up unrealistic and often creepy expectations of what sex should be. Also, the repetition of eroticized images and situations conditions the brain to associate the subjects with arousal. When porn portrays children sexually, men’s brains can eventually interpret children as sexually appealing. 

This then further increases the viewership of child pornography. In 1998, there were 3,000 reports of online child sex abuse. This grew to a million in 2014 and 18.4 million in 2018. 

As the numbers rose, the Department of Homeland Security cut six million dollars from cybersecurity and transferred it to immigration enforcement. Tech companies inadequately policed their users, since the companies are not required to actively look for online abuses. 

This dismissal of online child sex abuse then incites pedophilia in the tangible world. Dr. Michael Bourke told the New York Times that if someone is already a pedophile, child pornography can embolden that person to physically molest children. A study of 127 online offenders showed that sixty percent of them had committed hands-on abuses as well. 

America’s pedophile culture extends beyond the confines of the “Lolita Express.” It is reinforced by the government, capitalism, and pornography. This further demonizes the mature female body while putting children at risk. Epstein may be dead, but Lolita culture is not going to kill itself. 

Three organizations that combat the objectification of children are The Gina Davis Institute on Gender in Media, Children of the Night and the Homepage | Internet Watch Foundation (iwf.org.uk). The Gina Davis Institute changes the way girls are represented in the media, pushing away from sex object roles into more empowering ones. Children of the Night was founded to save and support survivors of child sex abuse. The Internet Watch foundation is for the prevention of child pornography and child sex abuse images. By donating to organizations like these, you can help America mature into a safer and more equal place for women and girls.

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