The point/counterpoint in the latest edition of Bitch (no. 39) isn't really the best article ever -- but, like the book I wrote three posts on below, it puts its finger on something that bugged me but that I couldn't articulate.
The topic: "Is To Catch a Predator bad for us?" I've never seen the show, but it always struck me as exploitative and sleazy. I couldn't say why -- it's not that I feel any sympathy for the online pedophile predators that they catch. Lindsay Paige Hoffman, though, is able to ferret out why it's exploitative with regard to girls, not just criminals.
>>> Predator, above all else, is contributing to the way an entire culture increasingly sexualizes young girls.<<<
It's like the term "jailbait" -- it implies it's a normal masculine urge to be attracted to a child and this whole system is just set up to trap those who can't help but give in to their lust for the sexy, sexy 13 year olds. The men on the show aren't disordered, just weak. Where oh where is a portrayal of a girl over, say, TEN, that isn't about sexuality? Where is the acknowledgment that by some generally accepted adult standard, children are NOT SEXY??
It's disgusting enough that adult women are sex objects first and people second, or, if we are unattractive, failed sex objects first and people second. (Something, by the way, that I realized only recently. With a high IQ, a law degree, ten years of bylines, a penchant for NPR, a tendency to be judgmental and serious and a moderately conservative wardrobe, wouldn't you think I'd be a weirdo braniac first and a sex object at least, you know, second? But women are defined first and foremost by hot-or-not and everything else flows from that.) It's even more appalling that girls as young as 11 are beguiling, deliciously forbidden sex objects first and people second.
I'm pretty sure that the moral of the story in Lolita wasn't "It could happen to any man if he let his guard down." For heaven's sake, people. I'm not always the biggest fan of men, or masculinity anyway, but I give men more credit than that.