The Media Is a Pedophile
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Every girl has stood in front of her bedroom mirror, resenting the uneven skin, body fat, and other “imperfections” brought on by puberty. In 10 years’ time, the cycle will repeat with a slightly different focus: we’ll see fine lines on our faces and stretch marks on our thighs. Though all women have these natural features, we hate them. We’ll want nothing more than to be teenagers again, remembering how we were at our most attractive when we were underage.
Female beauty standards have been at the core of society for centuries, many socially constructed and differing in every region and decade. Some ideals, such as full lips and a low waist-to-hip ratio, have evolutionary explanations, as does a preference for younger women, because they are more likely to have a successful pregnancy and childbirth. However, there’s little biological reason for a 16-year-old girl to be more desirable than a 26-year-old.
Nonetheless, childlike features have always been deemed attractive, and lack of a primal reason allows for the conclusion that internalized pedophilia is behind these disturbing standards. However, men who find such features attractive aren’t necessarily pedophiles themselves: with the exception of certain innate preferences, the average man’s idea of a “perfect woman” changes with his environment. Today, the most common source of this influence is the media he consumes, telling him what to be attracted to before his sexuality is even fully developed. Body types and facial features go in and out of style like clothing, but constant through the years has been pedophilia’s iron grip on the industries that influence these standards. By working to remove or at least lighten this effect, we can improve our world for women and girls.
Our society protects minors more than any other in history, but the fashion and modeling industry keeps its standards as pedophilic as ever. While the industry takes into consideration features men are attracted to for evolutionary reasons, it also factors in its own “taste,” which heavily influences overall beauty standards over time—the problem, of course, is that these ideals favor children. Models most desired by agencies are ones with childlike features: they are slender with narrow hips and small breasts, as well as hairless from the nose down. Shaving for women was an unknown concept until the 1940s, when magazines began advertising it by making models shave. Today, the absence of body hair is a core standard for women, demonstrating the effect the industry has on beauty ideals. Among other desirable features is perfect skin, rid of texture, stretch marks, cellulite, wrinkles, dark spots, or any other signs of adulthood. For the most part, these traits occur naturally only in children.
Though models aren’t exactly prepubescent, they are often alarmingly young. Before companies recently began setting regulations, the most popular models were between 13 and 16 years old, with older girls, despite being teenagers as well, rejected on account of looking too womanly. Many agencies have yet to change their ways and continue to scout underage models, and even the better firms make progress at painstaking rates. Many of today’s famous supermodels began their careers before they were 18 and will likely retire within the next few years. Most female models are considered too old to work once they reach their mid-20s, an age at which they are perfectly youthful and beautiful, because they look like women and not girls.
Meanwhile, male models continue their careers well into their 40s or 50s. Year after year, middle-aged or older male celebrities win titles like People Magazine's “Sexiest Man Alive.” Men are allowed to have wrinkles and gray hair, while women are criticized as soon as their skin becomes imperfect. To be masculine is to be a man, fully grown, and developed with signs of age and wear; to be feminine, however, is to be a “girl,” dainty, and “cute” the way a child is.
Results of this disparity are evident in today’s popular sexual preferences. A recent study described in Christian Rudder’s “Dataclysm” asked people between the ages of 20 and 49 what age they prefer in a sexual partner. While almost every woman claimed preference for men around her own age, both 20-year-old and 49-year-old men preferred women in their early 20s, with their “perfect age” for a woman never exceeding 24.
Today, mainstream media is becoming overtaken by platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat. Despite benefits that social media has brought, its allowance for the sexualization of children may be worse than that of any other form of media. Users know that a considerable portion of content depicts women in sexual or somewhat sexual contexts—there’s nothing inherently wrong with this subject, but the majority of this content is uploaded by underage girls. Commonly referred to as “thirst traps,” these photos and videos attract both young men and pedophiles. Content from social media is constantly uploaded to child pornography websites, victimizing girls who were just having fun or being confident. Unfortunately, it’ll never be possible to stop pedophiles from finding these photos and videos, so the only solution is for girls not to post them. Social media platforms must install stricter regulations, and the girls themselves should be careful and consider who may see their posts.
Pedophilia is even seen in regular pornography, which often plays a key role in the development of a boy’s sexuality. Popular categories of content are “teen,” “barely legal,” “schoolgirl,” “father-daughter,” and more atrocities. Pornography with extremely pedophilic undertones is popular among men of all ages: “teen,” for instance, has been a top 10 search for the past six years. This problem is unsolvable by law, since the videos star adults who only look and act like children.While better than casting actual children, it should not be socially acceptable to watch porn in which women wear pigtails, braces, and children’s pajamas while holding stuffed animals. Much of this content also focuses on virginity as female “innocence” nature is considered attractive. The adult film industry doesn’t care that those who enjoy this content may begin consuming actual child porn and develop full-blown pedophilic tendencies.
To begin to reverse the damage it has caused, the media needs to strongly regulate its conduct toward young girls. The fashion industry should treat aging female models the same way it treats aging male models, social media platforms and users should control the content that underage girls post, and pornography companies need to filter videos with pedophilic undertones. Through showing more women who look like adults, we can slowly but surely normalize natural occurrences of puberty, and perhaps, someday, women will be allowed to age in peace.