Jacob Breslow

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Jacob Breslow

Jacob Breslow is an Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality at the Department of Gender Studies - London School of Economics.[1] His area of research is contemporary U.S. social justice movements, and their relationship with childhood, and also the politics of sexuality and "sexual harm" from an anti-carceral feminist perspective. His work has caused occasional "sexualization" controversies because of its tendency to challenge the assumed properties of childhood. Breslow's PhD is titled: "The Theory and Practice of Childhood: Interrogating Childhood as a Technology of Power" (2016).

2016 PhD thesis

As its name suggests, Breslow's PhD thesis interrogates childhood as a "technology of power" (i.e. a widely accepted idea that is deployed selectively, and to the advantage of zeitgeist institutions). For Breslow, childhood is not neutral, but a discourse/framework/ideology which is unevenly distributed, affording protected status to some and not to others. This is most evident when young black people are perceived as older and thereby treated "like adults" - dangerous, outside the space of innocence. In the U.S., Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a police officer as a minor, in part because the officer assumed Martin was older, and was therefore believed to pose more of a threat. Some people are said to be excluded from a de-sexualized, violence-free conception of "childhood" by the way their bodies are marked by race, sex, sexuality, and the culture/location they reside in.

He has the support of his brother, Aaron Samuel Breslow (a PhD, who also self-identifies as queer).[2]

Ambivalent Childhoods

Breslow’s 2021 book "Ambivalent Childhoods" (linked below) offers, in the author’s words, "new theoretical interpretations of the sexually active queer child."

He says during the launch of this book:

“is it really that children or young people having sex is the problem? Or is it [the problem] the conditions under which that sex happens? [...] Is it that people are having it [sex] under conditions of anti-blackness, poverty, homophobia and transphobia and if those conditions were alleviated, the way we are talking about what we’re deeming the problem would then also change?”[3]

October 2022 B4U-Act/Mermaids controversy

A social media controversy took place concerning Jacob Breslow's position as a trustee of the (already controversial[4]) transgender youth charity Mermaids in early October, 2022. This is to be viewed within the context of similar "normalization" controversies taking place at least 10 times in the previous 12 months (a list is presented at moral panic, under normalization). Users pointed to his participation in a B4U-Act symposium in 2011, where he read a paper entitled "Sexual Alignment: Critiquing Sexual Orientation, The Pedophile, and the DSM-V".[5] The paper used the controversial term "Minor Attracted Persons" and criticized the DSM classification of Pedophilia:

One of the major changes attempts to establish a clear distinction between pedophilia as a non-diagnosable ascertainment, and pedophilic disorder as a diagnosable, distressing and non-normative disorder that requires psychiatric intervention. Allowing for a form of non-diagnosable minor attraction is exciting, as it potentially creates a sexual or political identity by which activists, scholars and clinicians can begin to better understand Minor Attracted Persons. This understanding may displace the stigma, fear and abjection that is naturalized as being attached to Minor Attracted Persons and may alter the terms by which non-normative sexualities are known. Furthermore, this paper argues that this distinction is potentially another step towards the complete re-thinking of paraphilias within the DSM – a step that follows historically and theoretically from the removal of homosexuality.

[...]

Many tend to begin with the linkage of pedophilic desire to harmful and abusive relationships and acts, and end up proliferating, rather than questioning, normative gendered and sexual intelligibility.

After these contributions were aired, Breslow resigned from his position at Mermaids, who stated that the event he participated in was incompatible with their values. Mermaids did not disclose what those values were (B4U-Act exists to improve access to mental health services for MAPs), but they did vaguely mention the term "safeguarding",[6][7][8][9] often embraced by the "radical" feminists who oppose them. It appears that this stance did not help Mermaids, who soon suspended access to their helpline in response to abuse. At its peak, the controversy even caught the attention of J.K. Rowling, and various other celebrities.[10] Breslow released the following statement:

"I unequivocally condemn child sexual abuse. My work is about protecting marginalized children and young people, not exposing them to harm." / "It was my understanding in 2011 that B4U-ACT was an organization that promotes treatments to prevent offending by pedophiles. I believed at the time that the purpose of the conference was to enable better treatments and interventions that prevent harm to children. I would not have attended the symposium otherwise. I have not been affiliated with B4U-ACT since." / "I decided to resign as a Trustee of Mermaids as I did not want to distract from the good work the charity is doing to help transgender and gender-diverse children."[11]

Prurient tangent to controversy

Towards the end of the controversy, a feminist author posted screenshots of Breslow's defunct Wordpress Blog, Queerupture[12] to Twitter.com. The radical (i.e. socially conservative) feminist news and features site, Reduxx subsequently posted an article that defamed Breslow for comments he had made about his sexuality, inaccurately stating that he had "confessed to having sexual fantasies about children".[13] Breslow has at times described his own sexuality as regressive with respect to age (for example, imagining himself as a self-accepting queer child), and outside of the normative strictures of gay orthodoxy. In the early 10s, he had also approvingly shared examples of Destroyer Magazine (a publication aimed at Hebephilic and Ephebophilic gay men, that contrary to media claims, is legal in all jurisdictions) on his blog. Social media users and "sleuths" from the online parenting community, Mumsnet, have capitalized upon both this and photos of his winged cupid tattoo (which sports a flaccid penis) to inaccurately describe him as a "pedophile". Karl Andersson was also defamed in the Reduxx article, as a "child porn creator". As of October, 2022, Breslow's LSE profile states that he is on sabbatical until next year, mirroring the initial response to the Allyn Walker controversy and various others. LSE are currently "investigating" the matter, according to news reports and the student union.[14]

This is not the first time Breslow has been the subject of controversy among social regressives. He had previously completed his PhD and progressed to Associate Professor in spite of criticism after conservative scholar Judith Reisman attended the original 2011 presentation, and her report was recirculated by Americans For Truth and Lifesite News. Matt Barber, another conservative who was in attendance, opined "I've never felt the level of spiritual oppression and evil that I felt in that room".[15]

External links

See also

References