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NEWS QUIZ: Which of the following comment(s) about pedophilia garnered downvotes in the Men's Rights subreddit

Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry

Popular British TV personality Stephen Fry recently complained to BBC’s Newsnight that he thought the Jimmy Savile scandal has led many to unfairly assume the worst about other 70s era disc jockeys and “light comedians.” He went on to say:

If you want to talk about rock stars, do we have to name the rock stars that we think almost certainly had sex with 14-year-old children? But those 14-year-old girls were so proud of it that they now in their 50s wouldn’t for a minute call themselves ‘victims’.

So here’s a little one-question news quiz:

QUESTION: Which of the following comments about Fry and his attitudes toward “historical” pedophilia – sorry, ephebophilia – were downvoted in the Men’s Rights subreddit?

A) I agree with him. It’s probably the one place where I diverge with the MRM. I think the age of consent for both men and women needs to be lower, and accepting the inevitable sexuality of high schoolers would do everyone some good. Equality is my top concern though. If we are jailing men for having consensual sex with 16 year old “girls”, I guess we need to jail women who have sex with 16 year old “boys”. I would prefer to see the insanity end though. I’m not so sold on 14 though. I think every year there is a percentage of people who are ready, and through the puberty years the percentage changes drastically. At 14 it’s probably kind of low. Yet, I have met men and women who gave up virginity at 14 with a positive experience and no regrets. More unbiased research would be nice here.

B) It’s almost like young people can seek out and enjoy sex with older people.

C) I can’t really argue, my parents mention that it was how things were back then, my mum knew a good few ”good girls” who would be playing celebrities for drink/drugs/clothing, it’s only become unacceptable now.

D) Once again i find myself asking why people think so much of Fry’s intellect. He has made some reasonable points in the past, but nothing brilliant — and this one is just plain dumb. And hey, if a woman had said this shit about 14 year old boys this sub would be up in arms! …

BONUS QUESTION: Which popular British rock star sent a roadie to kidnap a 14-year-old girl, informing her “[Name of rock star] told me that he’s going to have you whether you like it or not,” then adopted her as his “girlfriend” and hid her from the public for three years so he wouldn’t get arrested?

.

.

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ANSWER: The only downvoted answer was D, a comment from ThePigmanAgain.Yes, the guy behind this bizarre and terrible web comic is practically the only voice of wisdom in that thread.  All the other comments above had positive karma at the time I wrote this.

They are truly human rightsing it up over in the Men’s Rights subreddit!

BONUS ANSWER: Jimmy Page. Yeah, that Jimmy Page. Read more of the sordid details here.

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pecunium
5 years ago

greyskye: So I do kind of see his point (if you read his whole interview) – all of a sudden with the Jimmy Saville & Rolf Harris thing, light entertainers are basically being viewed with deep suspicion and are sweating bullets freaking out that every teen they patted on the bum

Is not what he said:

If you want to talk about rock stars, do we have to name the rock stars that we think almost certainly had sex with 14-year-old children?

That part is beyond the pale. I can agree that to completely ignore the culture of the times when pondering criminal action is stupid, but to conflate “sex with 14 year olds” with the less discriminate touching of a bygone age is facile.

Yes, he does argue that conflating the two isn’t something we should do, but he makes the excuse that because some who were 14 at the time they were molested might not see it that way we ought to what… pretend children weren’t molested? Ignore that lesser molesations were still an affront?

pecunium
5 years ago

license sex? Fuck no. Jesus fucking Christ on a Pogo Stick: No. The ability to abuse that is so immense that I can’t imagine. Who is going to be on the licensing board in Texas? Who want’s to be some fundy-group (or person) won’t manage to get into the works and decide only people who are married are psychologically fit to have sex?

No fucking way we can even entertain the idea.

We’ve hashed this out a lot: brightlines are blunt, but they serve the interest of the people they are meant to protect better than any other.

As far as R+J laws, they are a mixed bag. In Calif. there isn’t one (18 is it… there is a strange gray area if both are under the age of consent; because both are therefore not completely responsible, but technically 18 is it). In Hawaii it was (though I seem to recall this has recently changed) the case that the R+J laws made it legal for a 14 year old to have sex with a twelve year old.

pecunium
5 years ago

More on the licensing idea… how does one make sure… ask to see the license? What it if it’s from out of state? What if it’s fake? Does it need to be renewed? What if I lose mine? What if I “lose” it, then get it revoked, and later decide I want to resume fucking? Can I use my old one?

I can also see someone saying, “it can’t have been rape. they had a fucking license, so they must have wanted it”.

The number of ways I can see that idea going wrong is pretty much infinite.

Nathan Hevenstone
5 years ago

(trigger warning)

I’m pretty sure that when Fry mentioned rock stars with 14-year-old “girlfriends” he was referencing Page. And he’s right that the then-teenager, now woman in her fifties does not, at least going from what I’ve read, consider herself a victim. But that doesn’t make what Page did acceptable. Nor does the fact that it happened in the 1970s and that “everybody did it” back then; Page may not have thought it was wrong, but he knew that a lot of other people would have, hence the secrecy.

Pretty much this. It’s the biggest point of contention within myself. I’m a feminist. Rape is wrong, period. And what Jimmy Page did wasn’t just rape, but kidnapping and rape, and Lori Maddox was a 14-year-old girl. If one strike isn’t enough (though it damn well should be), that’s fucking three strikes right there.

And yet Led Zeppelin is my all-time favorite band, to an obsessive point (I’m a collector… you would be right to question my unofficial LZ collection… I have at least one recording of every Led Zeppelin live show that has a recording, though in most cases I actually have at least two sources, and I have every single studio session that has leaked so far). Jimmy Page is why I play guitar. Seeing him use a violin bow on his guitar was akin to a revelation for me, and has driven me to see what I can do with my guitars that they weren’t built to do. I play the Blues and Psychedelic/Experimental Rock because of Jimmy Page. And it is a dream of mine to get Page, Plant, and Jones in a room and interview for… well… a few hours, at least.

And you’re 100% correct that just because Lori herself maintains that she loved every second (and in some interviews has claimed that much of it was her idea) doesn’t make her any less of a victim.

And actually, I might even argue that Page didn’t just know people who’d think it was wrong, but that he himself did indeed know it was wrong. I think he was fully aware of the criminality of what he was doing. I don’t think he would have gone to such lengths to hide it if he didn’t.

The cognitive dissonance over this is huge with me. I don’t know that I could ever challenge Page on that if I ever met him, not just because I would, despite my better judgement, be gushing and seeing stars over getting to meet the man whose music and guitar work has essentially made me who I am as a musician. Yet his “relationship” with Lori Maddox was fucking disgusting and tars him irreparably as a human being.

As for Fry… *sigh*… I don’t even…

And Reddit? I’m not at all surprised…

alaisvex
alaisvex
5 years ago

Also, I can see pedophiles getting child relatives in their custody sex licenses to make sexual coercion easier. Not to mention, at 15, you might be ready to have sex with other 15 year olds or people really close to that age, but you’d most likely still be in a seriously imbalanced, harmful relationship with, say, a 30 year old because it would be very easy for someone with that much more life experience and that much mental/emotional/sexual development to manipulate you.

cloudiah
5 years ago

Licensing young people to have sex seems like an absolutely terrible idea for all the reasons people have already expressed. In other words, I have nothing to add except, “ick.”

It is very hot in LA and I am kind of melting.

Catfish
Catfish
5 years ago

I know there are plenty of young people who have the maturity to start a sex life, but that “some individuals are totes mature enough” is not a good reason to lower the age of consent. A legal line has to be drawn somewhere where the majority is protected.
Secondly, most people I know who think age of consent should be lowered tend to be adults who want to have the right to bone teenagers, and that is fucking creepy.
If teens were to have sex at age 18 or under, I sincerely hope its with someone within their own age range. A 20+ with a minor is always a little creepy, even if they are happy and all that.

And I know I may seem like a total hypocrite when I say this, since I was 16-17 when I started dating a man thirteen years older than me. We are still together and happy. But I understand that a lot of things could have gone wrong, and even though I’m glad my parents didn’t stand in the way once they met him, I completely understand why my mother was worried about me. Only later did she tell me crying herself to sleep at night because she believed I had fallen in with some manipulative / abusive older man.
I guess I was just lucky. He’s more mature than me not just because of his age, but personality-wise. I’m not sure how I would have reacted if he ever pressured me – would have I left him or caved in? I’d like to believe that I would have been mature enough to leave but I really don’t know. But it never came to that… things just worked for us.

But I know were most likely a minority case when it comes to relationships like this…

Catfish
Catfish
5 years ago

Ps. Age of consent is sixteen where I live.

Catfish
Catfish
5 years ago

Fry and Dawkins both seem to be justifying awful things relating to treatment of minors with “it was pretty normal back then.” You’d think that someone who considers themselves an intellectual could tell how utterly stupid that is.

Like, a hundred years ago, a lot of awful things were acceptable, so why should we worry about them now? Durr.

Catfish
Catfish
5 years ago

“It was HER idea!”
Yeah, why does that even work as a defense, ever? Like, if a child tells you they want you to do something criminal, it’s _your_ responsibility as a goddamn adult to not be a dumbass.

pecunium
5 years ago

I just noticed this: there’s a real issue in the media for inflating and validating every “victim” who comes forward.

Sorry, but (as a rule) when someone comes forward to say, “I was abused/assaulted/raped”, I’m gonna presume they are telling the truth (absent some evidence to the contrary).

If that level of “validation” bothers you, then you can just bugger off.

Catfish
Catfish
5 years ago

My brother has once said that age of consent should be lower. He justified this by saying that every teenaged kid has fantasies about older people – in his case, a crush he had on a teacher. I guess by his ass-backward logic, because a teenager can have a crush on an adult, they should be allowed to have sex. My head gets sore from remembering all the facepalms.

He has also stated he understood the importance of those laws when I explained to him that even if, hypothetically, a 14-year-old happened to be mature enough, vast majority of them are not and thus consent laws have to draw a line somewhere – especially because there is no possible way we can legally estimate the maturity levels of each individual on case-by-case basis.

Now, he likes to provoke people – and often afterwards claims that he didn’t mean what he said, so I really don’t trust him with a lot of things anymore. He gets butthurt REALLY easily, eats his words and I just can’t tell why or when he’s gonna act like a rational human being and when he’s going to go out of his way to defend something really awful.

Imma stop spamming now…

Catfish
Catfish
5 years ago

Ok one more….

@ pecunium
Agreed – its always better to believe unless there is a solid reason to doubt. I’m also so very tired of people calling “false accusations” an epidemic. They’re rare, and most often no perp is named or its a case of mistaken identity. Falsely reporting a crime is all ready illegal so I don’t understand why “false claims” of this nature are what make people so paranoid, they make victims’ lives harder!

kittehserf - MOD
kittehserf - MOD
5 years ago

There are times when Stephen Fry seems to think he really is Mr Mybug, I swear. Has he trotted out “Do you think women have souls?” lately?

Seranvali
Seranvali
5 years ago

Think it’s time I left for a while. The MRA seems to have fried my brain. That was a dumb idea. Also depression running rampant and this endless pile of shit is making me want too consider Extreme Measures.

kittehserf - MOD
kittehserf - MOD
5 years ago

Take care, Seranvali. If you want to contact anyone by email, just pass it on to David or via the mods.

Hugs.

seranvali
5 years ago

Thanks Kitteh. It’s been bad recently and I’m having to be very careful about what I allow into my mind because if it can misunderstand it will and the results can be unexpected and unpleasant.

Dogtowner
Dogtowner
5 years ago

See Mackenzie Phillips on “having sex” with Mick Jagger. When I heard her speak about it, it was as far from bragging as possible.

Zolnier
Zolnier
5 years ago

Oh Stephen Fry, next Pertwee’s ghost is going to waft in and say terrible things.

DJG
DJG
5 years ago

@ Catfish – When I was close to/just over the “age of consent”, the concept was entirely a heterosexual one, there being no good reason to believe I’d ever be able to have legal sex I wanted. Had I dated then, the only potentially interested parties available and known to me would have been at least a decade older. Unlike most non-straight people in my peer group, I’ve never had illegal sex because I was a really late bloomer, but a majority (by one) of my relationships have been outside the “half plus seven” range.

29/30 with 16/17 has a bit of a retro feel for me – I know of at least half a dozen relationships that started with those parameters, lasted at least a decade and, if they ended, parted amicably. Not ideal, but in those days *any* ideal was out of reach. These days, it seems to be happening much less, to be expected now that more people can be out and open (and at younger ages) to provide a larger pool, there are legal alternatives either at present for the of-age person or in the near future for the not-yet-consensual one, and age-appropriate same-sex relationships don’t poll as so immoral as they did. Changes for the better.

This is not an attempt to condone sex with below-consent-age teens now or then. I don’t know how much difference it would have made to your relationship had the age of consent there been 18 instead of 16. I’ll just speculate that it would likely have made considerably less difference to the relationship of a same-sex couple at a time when there was no such thing as legal consent at any age to same-sex relations. Thankfully increased progress towards equality has been making a difference.

I condemn Mr Fry’s statement, which showed singular lack of awareness of issues facing 14-year-old girls, but some of this thread is putting me in a bit of a separatist mood.

Theresa Anders
5 years ago

I’m sure Frye bases much of his atheism on history
But hey man, it was a different time back then.

Also Saville had keys to a hospital and had sex with mentally ill children. The list of what he did is never ending, so if Frye is bringing this up in the context of whining about his own ego in relation to Saville, just… wow… wow…wow…

booburry
5 years ago

Catfish

Now, he likes to provoke people – and often afterwards claims that he didn’t mean what he said, so I really don’t trust him with a lot of things anymore. He gets butthurt REALLY easily, eats his words and I just can’t tell why or when he’s gonna act like a rational human being and when he’s going to go out of his way to defend something really awful.

I empathize so much with this. Someone close to me is like this, too. One day they are totally cool and progressive and woo! The next day they are worried that if men can’t wander up to women they’ve never met and compliment random body parts, then how will men ever get dates and how will the human species continue on?!

contrapangloss
5 years ago

Rage moment:

I hate the “it was their idea!” excuse from pedophiles so much. I new a kid in highschool who would corner me and start philosophical debates. Some of them were fun, some of them were annoying, but he was overall very clever and very stubborn.

He also gave me a severe case of the willies and I got to really, really hating those lunchtime debates, so much so that I abandoned my usual lunchtime haunts.

The next year he wasn’t in school because he had confessed to molesting his six year old cousin. Of course, it was her idea.

Yeah, right. I totally believe a six year old could convince you to do things to her a six year old shouldn’t even know about. Right.

F that excuse. Seriously. That ‘excuse’ can rot in the lowest pits of hades.

contrapangloss
5 years ago

*knew

Kakanian
Kakanian
5 years ago

@DJG

That is apparently still pretty normal for homosexual men. Forgive me if I have wrongly assumed that you’re a man.

Nathan Hevenstone
5 years ago

I need to apologize.

When I pointed out that Lori Maddox has said that she totes agreed to all of it and has suggested that much of it was “her idea”, it was not to excuse Jimmy Page. I can see, however, why people might have taken it that way, and I’m so sorry. I worded that terribly (and really shouldn’t have included it at all because, as rightly pointed out, it doesn’t matter). So yeah… I very much apologize for that.

I don’t want to excuse Jimmy Page. He is a despicable human being for what he did, and whether or not Lori Maddox consented to it or even suggested it really makes no difference. Neither does the whole “Groupie Culture” defense (“it was the flavor of the age!” is a statement I read once from someone defending Jimmy Page).

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Someone close to me is like this, too. One day they are totally cool and progressive and woo! The next day they are worried that if men can’t wander up to women they’ve never met and compliment random body parts, then how will men ever get dates and how will the human species continue on?!

And yet, somehow guys who DON’T do that manage to get along just fine…better, in fact, than guys who do, because their refusal to be creepy is a major point in their favor, romantically speaking. I’ve NEVER agreed to a date with anyone whose first words to me were “Nice ass!” That’s an automatic creep-flag.

DJG
DJG
5 years ago

@ Kakanian – (close enough; I tend not to use the M word but present as gay and let it be assumed)

Well, we’ll always the much smaller pool, and there are still too many places where conditions are horrible. But rising generations won’t have old baggage.

kittehserf - MOD
kittehserf - MOD
5 years ago

Oh Stephen Fry, next Pertwee’s ghost is going to waft in and say terrible things.

Nooooooooooooooo!

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
5 years ago

Predators will claim that a toddler seduced them and the people whose income depends on that predator will nod sagely and sweep it under the rug.

Inez Milholland
Inez Milholland
5 years ago

Aaaaand that is why I can never ever listen to “Since I Been Loving You” without gagging violently dry heaving.

Also, WTF STEPHEN FRY!?! Don’t make me not like you anymore.

(First time commenter. Long time reader. Shut up, Woody.)