Are All Men Pedophiles: “Eighteen Is Just A Number”
So, do you find her attractive?
“For the general guy, she is attractive,” explained Dutch director Jan-Willem Breure. The model in the picture is 14 years old, which leads to Breure’s second question, “If you find her attractive, is that or is that not pedophilia?”
According to the documentary, the simple and complex answer is yes and no. The film claims that there is a difference between pedophilia and hebephilia and that all men are “hebephiles”, meaning that all men are attracted to teens. The film goes on to explain that in different cultures, from ancient Greece to modern-day Japan, relationships between adults and teens are acceptable.
The 23-year-old director was inspired to start the film due to his own attraction to teen girls as young as 15. He defends that there is a difference between the perception and reality of pedophilia and feels that the “media hype around pedophilia” have made men fearful of showing affection to young girls. (He gives the example of a father hesitant of showing affection to his children).
Despite his obvious enthusiasm for the subject, Breure’s ideas have hit the walls of modern psychology and sociology. “Hebephilia is clinically and scientifically defined as a sexual attraction to pubescent children, i.e., kids who are showing some signs of pubertal development but who are still clearly physically immature.” psychologist Michael Seto explained. “Many men are sexually attracted to older teens, but not as much as they are sexually attracted to young adults.”
“The benefits of these kinds of relationships are obvious for the adult, but uncertain for the teen.” Seto further debunks Breure’s support of hebephilia. “To me, this imbalance justifies some legal and social prohibitions of adult-teen sex, even if the teen consents.”
Sociologist Sarah Goode poses an even stronger argument, “I have met men who are sexually attracted to babies. Should we therefore argue that ‘babies should have the legal right to consent to sex with adults’?”
Despite all the opposing facts, Breure vehemently believes that countries should look into minimizing or abolishing legal age limits. When asked what should be the legal age for consensual sex, he responds, “I don’t look at ages.” The film thus ends with a tagline, “Eighteen is just a number.”
As modern society touts underage modeling, even to the point of oversexualizing girls who are prepubescent (Remember 10-year-old Thylane Blondeau or Hailey Clauson?), the conversation about minors has been widely controversial in popular media. However, while there are technical differences between pedophilia and hedophilia, I feel that Breure’s personal agenda overshadows the level of objectivity and sensitivity required by this topic. Breure focuses on the adult male and fails to fully empathize with the perspective of the minor. In turn, he doesn’t grasp the true purpose behind these laws which is, simply, for the protection and safety of minors. Eighteen is indeed a number.
Watch more about the documentary below.