Feminism is a belief-system based on a purported anti-oppression point of view as applied to the contemporary situation of women and historical abuses faced by women and other minorities. The feminist discourse is particularly concerned with equal rights, and in some cases, outright equality.
Whilst some sex-positive and/or dissident feminists such as Gayle Rubin, Germaine Greer, Kate Millett, Camille Paglia, Patrick Califia, Nettie Pollard, Heather Corinna, Simone de Beauvoir and Shulamith Firestone elaborate contrarian philosophies and anecdotes on the issue of adult-minor sexuality, since the 1970s, the discourse has been increasingly used to condemn such sexual relationships on the basis that inequalities render them universally "abusive". It could be said that the loathing felt by some MAPs, particularly boylovers towards feminists as a group is similar in magnitude to the derision which present day feminists show towards boy-attracted males.
Reasons for loathing of "feminism" among MAPs
A number of reasons can be speculatively offered:
- The perception of feminism as a founder member of the child sexual abuse psychiatry agenda of the late 1970s, 80s and onwards, with the establishment of psychiatric organisations such as The Leadership Council.
- Conflation of pederasty (a practice that brings with it a considerable historical tradition) with the fledgling incest model of child sexual abuse. The perception that this generalization involves a knowing revision of that well-established history.
- Failure of feminists to explain experiences of boys and boylovers that run contrary to those speculated in feminist critiques of intergenerational relationships.
- Failure of feminists to identify with or even tentatively address issues related to masculinity.
- The perception of modern feminism as female elitism ("feminazi", etc) and/or institutionalised model of covertly exercised authority.
- Attempts by feminists to represent (gay) youth and encourage their "rights" and "participation" whilst at the same time infantalizing them and denying their autonomy.
- Alliances between radical feminists (TERFS/SWERFS) and violently anti-pedophile ideologies - particularly those of the right. These alliances have been rejuvenated after the MAP Movement achieved basic visibility in the 2020s.
- Plain misogyny.
Whilst many of these grievances may have more than a firm foothold in reality, it can certainly be said that their airing has done little good for the cause of boylove or MAPs in general.
Pro-choice/pro-youth Feminism Reading List
As mentioned earlier on, some contrary examples exist. A few potential starting points follow:
"Classic" 2nd Wave Feminism
- Simone de Beauvoir
- Shulamith Firestone
- Chapter 4 - 'Down With Childhood', in The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (New York: Bantam Books, 1970).
- Germaine Greer
- Seduction is a Four-Letter Word, in Playboy, January 1973, reprinted in The Madwoman's Underclothes: Essays and Occasional Writings 1968-1985 (London: Picador, 1986) pp. 152-168.
- The Beautiful Boy (London: Thames & Hudson, 2003).
- "A woman of taste is a pederast — boys rather than men." From archived interview (2003). When asked about the Beautiful Boy, Greer replies:
- "It's part of the joy of life is admiring the beauty of things that are beautiful. What is important to me about the Boy is that once upon a time his beauty was understood and celebrated by people of both sexes. A boy was allowed to dress in very bright colours, he was allowed to show himself off in the street, he dyed his hair, he wore make-up, [...] he wore tight pants and cropped jackets and so on. And the girls looked down from behind their jalousie and talked about the best-looking boys. Now, that's still evident in rock culture, where a lot of it is just straight sexual display.
- [Interviewr]: "You said that one of the things that attracts you about boys was "semen that runs like tap water."
- [Greer]: "That's not such a bad idea, is it girls? [...] I mean, the recharge time is remarkably short, which is a good thing. If what you want is a high level of excitement"...
- ‘Jazz Lady’s affair was foolish not evil; Falling for a minor is not evidence of perversion or vileness, says Germaine Greer’, The Times (London), September 23rd, 2009.
- Greer defended a UK female teacher, Helen Goddard, who had a lesbian affair instigated by a 15-year old female student at her school. Greer wrote:
- "So how old was she? How old was he? I don’t know and I don’t very much care. I know I’m supposed to care. I’m supposed to think that falling in love with people under the legal age of consent is evidence of deep perversion and vileness, but I don’t. Young people shouldn’t fall in love, you wish they wouldn’t, and yet they do, very often with someone rather older than they. The results are nearly always catastrophic, whether the love is returned or denied. When an old friend of mine was still a schoolboy, he climbed into the bed of his guardian, who he adored. His appalled guardian threw him out of the house. He swallowed rat-poison. I’m not supposed to talk about Helen Goddard’s victim as her lover. She’s not supposed to be capable of being anybody’s lover. She’s still not 16. She has tried to take the blame, she had admitted that it was she who first kissed Goddard, but it makes no odds. As a 15-year-old she was incapable of consent, let alone of seduction. In Shakespeare’s play of star-crossed love, we are told repeatedly that Juliet is 14. We don’t know how old Romeo is. There’s nothing to say he isn’t 27, like Helen Goddard. Yet it is Juliet who instigates the affair and precipitates the clandestine marriage and its consummation. And as for deceiving one’s parents, you can’t go a wholer hog than Juliet did. In a sane society lovers are protected from mutual self-immolation; in a crazy one they are driven to it."
- Kate Millett
- Sexual Revolution and the Liberation of Children: An Interview with Kate Millett by Mark Blasius, in Paidika: The Journal of Paedophilia, ed. by Marjan Sax and Sjuul Deckwitz, 2:8 (1992 ), pp. 83-86.
- Beyond Politics? Children and Sexuality, in Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality, ed. by Carole S. Vance, 2nd edn., (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1992 ), pp. 217–224.
Resisting Anti-Porn Feminism
Some feminist thought supportive of intergenerational rights came during what anthropologist Gayle Rubin called "The Feminist Sex Wars," where sex-positive feminists (e.g. Strossen,; Echols) resisted attempts to legally define all pornography as tantamount to rape (see "Porn is the theory, rape is its practise") West; Linz et al.; Schauer; Fischel) and prohibit/criminalize sex work (now called "SWERFS" under the banner of "feminism." Some relevant readings below:
- Nettie Pollard, 'The Small Matter of Children,' in Bad Girls and Dirty Pictures: The Challenge to Reclaim Feminism, ed. by Alison Assiter and Avedon Carol (Boulder, Colorado: Pluto Press, 1993), pp. 105-111.
- Brenda Cossman, Shannon Bell, Lise Gotell, Becki Ross, Bad Attitude/s on Trial: Pornography, Feminism, and the Butler Decision (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997). E.g. In chapter 5, Shannon Bell, The image cannot be seen, Bell begins by writing:
- "When truth-telling is important, I write autofiction. Through a glory whole to eternity: Should I go to jail for sucking a fifteen and three quarter year oldʹs cock and giving her money? Am I already in jail in the shared fate of the men rounded up in the most recent of recurrent sexual/moral panics? Have all the great concerns of humanity – truth, beauty, equality, eros – been reduced to the age of a sphincter muscle?"
Contemporary 3rd/4th Wave Feminism
- Children, Sexuality and Sexualization, ed. by Emma Renold et al., (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
- Danielle Egan, Becoming Sexual: A Critical Appraisal of the Sexualization of Girls (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013) (Book).
- Danielle Egan and Gail L. Hawkes, ‘Endangered Girls and Incendiary Objects: Unpacking the Discourse on Sexualization’, in Sexuality and Culture, 12 (2008), 291–311.
- Gail Hawkes and Danielle Egan, ‘Landscapes of Erotophobia: The Sexual(ized) Child in The Postmodern Anglophone West’, in Sexuality and Culture, 12 (2008), 193–203.
- Danielle Egan and Gail Hawkes, ‘The problem with protection: Or, why we need to move towards recognition and the sexual agency of children’, in Continuum, 23:3 (2009), 289-400.
- Emma Renold and Jessica Ringrose, ‘Schizoid Subjectivities? Re- theorizing Teen-Girls’ Sexual Cultures in an Era of ‘Sexualization,’ in Journal of Sociology, 47:4 (2011), 389–409.
- Emma Renold and Jessica Ringrose, ‘Feminisms re-figuring ‘sexualization’, sexuality and ‘the girl’, in Feminist Theory, 14:3 (2013), 247-254.
- Deborah L. Tolman, ‘Doing Desire: Adolescent Girls’ Struggles for/with Sexuality’, in Gender and Society, 8:3 (1994), 324–342.
- Laina Y. Bay-Cheng and Amanda E. Lewis, 'Our “Ideal Girl”: Prescriptions of Female Adolescent Sexuality in a Feminist Mentorship Program', in Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, 21:1 (2006), 71-83.
- Feona Attwood, ‘Sluts and Riot Grrrls: Female Identity and Sexual Agency’, in Journal of Gender Studies, 16:3 (2007), 233–247.
- Kari Lerum and Shari L. Dworkin, ‘Sexual Agency is not a Problem of Neoliberalism: Feminism, Sexual Justice, and the Carceral Turn’, in Sex Roles, 73 (2015), 311-319.
- Lynne M. Phillips, ‘Recasting Consent: Agency and Victimization in Adult-Teen Relationships’, in New Versions of Victims: Feminists Struggle with the Concept, ed. by Sharon Lamb (New York: New York University Press, 1999), pp. 82-108.
- Michelle Fine, Sexuality, Schooling, and Adolescent Females: The Missing Discourse of Desire, in Harvard Educational Review, 58:1 (1988), 29–54; Cf. Fine, X. Desire: The Morning (and 15 years) After, in Feminism & Psychology, 15:1 (2005), 54-60.
BoyChat contributor, Anacreon:
- "Historically, from what I've read I get the impression that the earliest modern feminism, which got started about two hundred years ago on the heels of the French Revolution, was probably a liberating idea. The early Romantics who espoused it, for instance the poet Percy Shelley and his wife Mary, associated it with free love and equality of the sexes within the context of a generally emancipated state of society. These people were wild radicals, the hippies of their day, and so alienated from mainstream society that they felt compelled to leave their native England.
- Later on something horrible happened. I suspect it was probably Victorianism. Decades after the high Romantic period, when feminism got started again in the late nineteenth century following a long hiatus, it emerged as a deeply bourgeois movement in the worst sense of that term. It was intensely puritanical, and oriented toward controlling male behavior. It became associated with the "temperance" movement and suppression of "vice," meaning chiefly prostitution. In the United States it involved itself in the ultimately successful push for Prohibition, a disaster that brought terrible troubles with organized crime that plague us to this day.
- So I guess you could say that feminism went bad when it became respectable. In this sense it resembles the gay movement, which from the viewpoint of boylovers joined the oppressor when it opted for assimilation and so decided to eject undesirables. Contemporary feminism seems to me to be entirely modeled on the second, Victorian version of itself, not at all on the first. Modern feminists are interested in domination rather than in freedom, obsessed with control through the infantilization of everyone in sight, and fanatically eager to wield the gelding knife. So as you rightly observe their movement operates generally as a viciously regressive force, often the unacknowledged ally of rabid fundamentalism."
- Strossen 1993
- Echols, 1983
- West, 1987
- Linz, 1987
- Schauer, 1987
- Fischel, 2019
- Fischel, 2010
- SWERF - Wiktionary
- Cossman, 1997
- Children, Sexuality and Sexualization
- New Versions of Victims