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Monday Reviews: Are All Men Pedophiles?

January 07, 2013
The CSPH

220px-Poster-Are-All-Men-PedophilesEvery Monday, The CSPH takes a look at a book or film focusing on an aspect of sexuality. This week we are looking at Are All Men Pedophiles? produced by Jan-Willem Breure.This film focuses on how pedophilia should be defined, specifically, the differences between infantophilia (being attracted to those aged 0-3), pedophilia (those that are pre-pubescent, usually under 13), and hebophilia (being attracted to those that are 12-16). It also covers the difference between exclusive pedophiles and nonexclusive pedophiles: the former only being attracted to children while the latter are attracted to people of various ages. Suggesting that all men are hebophiles, the film maintains that sixteen-year-old females are seen as the most attractive from the points of view of some model scouts, neuroscientists, and psychologists.Pedophiles—men and women, non-offenders and offenders—are interviewed for this documentary. Some pedophiles talk about why they do or don’t act on their desires, and some talk about how pedophilia has affected their romantic relationships with adults and their reproductive choices. A person who was sexually assaulted by pedophiles and a person who was dating a hebophile are also interviewed. I found these segments to be the most compelling, and it would certainly be worth watching just these interviews.

Unfortunately, there are many claims made by this film that I would have liked to see backed up with research. For example, it would be interesting to see the average age of female models in men’s magazines versus women’s magazines, where one would assume the models in the former are intended to be more sexualized. The movie poster itself features a fourteen-year-old girl—though she looks to be in her early twenties—asking the viewer if they find her attractive, so it seems odd to classify any attraction to her as hebophilia, unless of course, one thought she looked her age.

Surprisingly, this film doesn’t maintain any political leanings. I expected some as Breure points out various ages of consent all over the world, and his theory suggests that many people are attracted to those under the age of consent; however, Breure doesn’t seem to present a political agenda in this documentary regarding laws of consent. What Breure seems to worry about most is how men are unfairly treated because of the public’s fear of pedophilia. Regardless, this film still promotes political thoughts as it encourages viewers to consider consent laws and if and how one would treat pedophilia.

For the most part, this film is heteronormative and highly gendered. There is also a rather dramatic narrator and loud channel-changing sounds between scenes, which I found aurally abrasive. Despite these issues though, I would still recommend watching the interviews featuring pedophiles, hebophiles, and people affected by them. Though pedophilia can be an uncomfortable topic, it’s still one that is important to contemplate—whether for political, personal, or conceptual reasons—and this documentary can help begin that process.