Welcome to the first entry on the Illiterate Infants “Mums on Dads” guest posting series, where mums get to talk about Dads. What they love, hate, do and don’t understand, want to change and want to keep. Pre-conceptions, mis-conceptions or even conception. If you’ve got something to say I’d love to hear about it.
I’d like to introduce Danya from danyabanya.com who’s kicking things off with a great discussion on society’s (wrong, very wrong) assumption that all blokes are sick perverts. Once you’ve read this post get on over and check out some of her other posts here then connect with her on facebook, twitter and google plus.
As a parent, I understand the need to be vigilant about paedophilia. Of course. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. But I think that society has taught us to be vigilant in the wrong areas. And in our misguided vigilance, we are being discriminatory. But more than that, we are creating a sense that honest men are assumed to be perverts. Where good men are discouraged from being involved in the upbringing of children in our society.
You might remember the Seat Swap Outcry news story back in August where a man, who was seated on a Virgin flight next to two unaccompanied minors, was asked to swap seats with a woman, purely because of his gender. At the time, Virgin’s policy was that unaccompanied minors were not allowed to sit next to men, based on the assumption that sitting next to a woman is somehow “safer”.
Now let’s just point out that the overwhelming vast majority of men are not paedophiles. And it is totally demeaning to be treated as though you are a potential paedophile, just because you’re male.
But secondly, even if the man in question was a paedophile, that doesn’t mean that the children would be in danger. Because you see, that’s not how most paedophiles choose their victims. If you look at the profile of most paedophiles, they spend time choosing and then grooming their victims. They don’t just prey on any child they happen to be sat next to, especially in such a public space.
But whilst I don’t agree with Virgin’s then policy, I do understand that it is fueled by a public paedophobia (or paedophileophobia), which has gotten entirely out of control. To the point when you can’t be male and interested in children in any way without falling under suspicion.
Mr Banya (my husband) takes our Miss JJ to her weekly toddler swimming classes. JJ’s recently graduated to a class where she no longer requires a parent to be in the water with her, but of course, Mr Banya still sits by the side of the pool with the other mothers parents. Last week, one of the teaching staff sat down next to him asking “Now, who are you here with?” When Mr Banya pointed to JJ, the staff member said “OK” and promptly got back up and kept walking. There was no discussion as to JJ’s performance in the class or whatnot. It was bleeding obvious what she was doing – she was checking that he had a legitimate reason to be there.
Would she have stopped and asked a woman that question?
What if he wasn’t there with JJ – would he have been asked to leave?
What if he’d been waiting for me & JJ to arrive? What if he was scoping out swimming classes before possibly enrolling her? What if he had an interest in becoming a swimming teacher and was sussing out different swimming schools?
Would he have been asked to leave then? Would a woman be asked to leave in any of those instances?
A friend of mine, who is totally not paedophillic in any way mind you, was taking some photos at the beach one day. He was entering a photography competition, which incidentally he ended up winning with an awesome photo of some lifeguards out on the rubber ducky. Some of the photos he was taking were beach landscapes, which included a couple of kids paddling down by the waters edge. They had cossies on. They weren’t the subject of the photo. It was zoomed out – they were just incidental to the scene. But he was still asked to stop shooting. Like he was a dirty old man.
Would it have been OK if he was a female photographer? How zoomed out / out of focus does it have to be before photography is OK?
Would he have been asked to stop if he was painting instead of shooting? What about artistic freedom?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t condone paedophilia or child pornography in any way, shape or form. But these are situations where none of that was in play. And yet still, the first assumption is of perversion.
Paedophobia gone mad.