Saturday, 30 October 2010

Tom Daley, Twitter and the Paedophile Paradigm

Apologies for the lack of posts over the last few days - you know I have these 'patches' from time to time. Before I do get on with those blog posts, a thought has been pre-occupying me today. This morning I picked up my Guardian from the doormat in the usual way and noticed the front of the Weekend Magazine had a picture of the diver Tom Daley. "Gosh he's a sexy young man" I thought before thinking "behave Chris he's sixteen!". I was left feeling quite guilty but then put it out of my mind. Later, I took a look at Twitter to find my feed was full of posts about Tom Daley. People were going out and buying the Guardian just to look. Others were swooning through their tweets. My own reaction was apparently shared to one degree or another by many others.

Tom Daley - even prior to turning sixteen was the boy gay men could legitimately "fancy". Why is this so? Why is acceptable (with mild teasing) to publicly say "wow, he's fit" in a way we can not about other 16/15 year olds? Later on I read the interview. Take a look at it yourself (and see the cover picture of Daley) here and see what you make of it. I was struck by just how childish Daley sounds in the post. He sounds like a kid. It's an interesting juxtaposition of photograph and textual narrative. I'd be interested in hearing other thoughts.

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Jae said...

It's a very difficult subject this one. I've found myself doing exactly what you've done... stopping myself mid "perv" as I remember he's only a baby (in comparative terms!). Personally I think his physical appearance (muscular and athletic) is just not what you'd expect from a 16 year old, and that's what leads to such confusion.

However, as someone who has an inordinate number of gay mates who like reality TV, I must say he is not the only "acceptable" young guy gay men seem able to "like". Lloyd Daniels was only 16 in X-Factor last year and One Direction this year are 5 guys all around that age. No one seems reluctant to say they quite fancy them either.

Most just ask "Are they 16?" And if the answer is "Yes", they declare fair game. Personally, I still have reservations about that!

Law & Sexuality said...

Thanks Jae - really interesting observations. It does suggest something of a positivist attitude. Next time, you should ask them if the age of consent was 15 would they regard that individual as "fair game". My guess is that they would.

Anonymous said...

I think this falls into what I would call "mind crimes", an insidious trend in the legal system to presuppose guilt. Here's what I mean.

I like war films. Does that make me a potential war criminal? No

I would like a nice big car. Does that make me a would-be burglar? No.

I like naked photos of famous celebrities. Does that make me a potential rapist? No.

I like being spanked. And whipped. Does that make me a danger to others? No.

But what if I "like" younger people? Now everyone assumes, including the law, that you must be a pedophile.

I think Germaine Greer highlighted this in her book, The Boy which "changed the way we look at boys in art".

There used to be an appreciation of "coming of age" art, but now it is always assume to be pornographic, and dangerous.

You can no longer own innocent nude photos of your own children, as newsreader Julie Somerville found out when she was arrested; I can't even have nude child photos of myself, which I know are innocent, and as a grown adult, could not show anyone else for fear of arrest as distributing child porn!

The Japanese are perhaps the sexually smartest culture, where the lolita genre is common, and seen for what it is, a harmless fantasy (which is not to say, that there may be sick individuals out there too). But the law says that even drawings of naked children is illegal, because they MIGHT have involved real children, who MIGHT have been "exploited" in way that Disney doesn't

It is generally the right wing conservative Christian fundamentalists (Christian Taliban?) who are purposely driving the paranoia, the same ones who consider gay people to be dangerous to children.

I know who I am most worried about.

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