Home/Rod Dreher/Wokeness & Child Sexualization

Wokeness & Child Sexualization

Desmond Is Amazing -- 11 year old drag queen dancing at Brooklyn gay bar (Instagram)

Here’s a sicko story about French high culture:

The French writer Gabriel Matzneff never hid the fact that he engaged in sex with girls and boys in their early teens or even younger. He wrote countless books detailing his insatiable pursuits and appeared on television boasting about them. “Under 16 Years Old,” was the title of an early book that left no ambiguity.

Still, he never spent a day in jail for his actions or suffered any repercussion. Instead, he won acclaim again and again. Much of France’s literary and journalism elite celebrated him and his work for decades. Now 83, Mr. Matzneff was awarded a major literary prize in 2013 and, just two months ago, one of France’s most prestigious publishing houses published his latest work.

But the publication, on Thursday, of an account by one of his victims, Vanessa Springora, has suddenly fueled an intense debate in France over its historically lax attitude toward sex with people who are underage. It has also shone a particularly harsh light on a period during which some of France’s leading literary figures and newspapers — names as big as Foucault, Sartre, Libération and Le Monde — aggressively promoted the practice as a form of human liberation, or at least defended it.

It surprises no one that the French are not the world’s most morally upright people on the matter of sex. But this is way, way beyond the stereotype. More:

Caught now in the crosscurrents of France’s changing attitudes toward sex, Mr. Matzneff is the product and longtime beneficiary of France’s May 68 movement, the social revolution started in 1968 by students and unions against France’s old order.

With the slogan, “It’s forbidden to forbid,” the movement rebelled against authority and fought against imperialism, capitalism, racism, sexism and homophobia. Some also argued for abolishing age-of-consent laws, saying that doing so would liberate children from the domination of their parents and allow them to be full, sexual beings.

Mr. Matzneff was one of the leading writers to advocate the legalization of sex with children. In “Les Moins de Seize Ans,’’ or “Under 16 Years Old,” he writes, “To sleep with a child, it’s a holy experience, a baptismal event, a sacred adventure.” First published in 1974, it was republished in 2005.

Thinkers on the left, like Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, spoke in defense of the practice, or came to the defense of men accused of engaging in sex with people below the age of consent in France — which was and remains 15.

Read it all. It’s pretty horrifying. The leading left-wing daily Libération even ran classified ads from pedophiles seeking partners.

An American writer who lives in France, and is married to a French woman, tweeted about this story:

Carlo Lancellotti, an Italian-born mathematician (and translator of Augusto Del Noce) living in the US, adds this context:

We should not be under the illusion that this stuff was confined to France. In the 1980s, the Catholic Church in Belgium sponsored a working group to try to destigmatize pedophilia in society. A Belgian Catholic laywoman wrote to Cardinal Godfried Danneels to protest; he ignored her. I wrote about it here. In the 18 years of reporting on the Catholic sex abuse scandal in the US, we have learned that the Sexual Revolution affected the way some seminaries taught about sexuality, including the sexuality of young people.

And please don’t think it was just the church. One of Woody Allen’s best, and most popular, films is Manhattan, a 1979 comedy about a neurotic New Yorker in his 40s who dates a 17 year old high school girl, played by Mariel Hemingway. Here’s the scene where they break up. Try to watch it without squirming:

I remember suppressing how creepy I found that when I first discovered Manhattan in the 1980s, because I loved Woody Allen, and he was a Great Artist. It was only the revelation in the 1990s that Allen had been sleeping with his de facto teenage stepdaughter, Soon-Yi Previn, that made me confront the awful truth: that Woody Allen is a pervert.

Male rock stars of the 1970s and 1980s notoriously slept with underage girls. A couple of months ago, I re-watched the semi-autobiographical Cameron Crowe film from the year 2000, Almost Famous, about a journalistically precocious teenage boy’s experiences touring with a rock band in the 1970s, and writing about them for Rolling Stone. Groupies are a major part of the narrative. They’re 15 years old. I remember being sort of troubled by that when I saw the movie twenty years ago. When I saw it late last year, having spent the last 18 years having to confront the emotional and spiritual wreckage left behind from adults sexually exploiting kids and young teenagers, I found the sweetness I recalled from the movie all but gone. Of course it’s the same movie it was in 2000, but in the time since then, we have learned a lot that we had forgotten in the mass cultural amnesia forced by the Sexual Revolution.

Going back to Thomas Chatterton Williams’s tweets, I can’t help thinking of how the cutting edge of contemporary wokeness is the celebration of child drag queens. I wrote here about Desmond Is Amazing, the New York 11 year old who has become the toast of the town, appearing on mainstream shows like Good Morning Americaand Today to spread the “inspiring” and “trailblazing” (seriously, their words) news of the sexualization of children for the cause of LGBT liberation. Progressive allies shriek that there’s nothing sexual about child drag queens, that it’s only about expressing femininity. I think some of them actually believe that b.s. That image above, with which I lead this column, is taken from Desmond’s Instagram feed. It is an image of him dancing for money at a Brooklyn gay bar. Yeah, you tell me that this is not about sexualizing little boys.

I want you to think about how those gatekeepers of mainstream cultural respectability, the network morning shows, are normalizing this filth as a sign of one’s progressive bona fides. Today and Good Morning America are shilling for the sexualization of children, and calling it progress. Is it really all that hard to see how French culture went berserk about child sexual exploitation from 1968 until pretty much today? And how we Americans, while not as extreme, have our own shame on that front?

We still do. It is widely known that hardcore pornography is easily available to anyone with an Internet connection. We know that very young children — boys and girls both — are being exposed to the most extreme representations of human sexual behavior, via smartphones and computers. If you haven’t yet read Pascal-Emanuel Gobry’s staggering “science-based case for ending the porn epidemic,” stop whatever you’re doing and go there. He doesn’t bring religion or morality into it — he only examines what science has discovered about what pornography does to rewire the brain, especially among those with developing brains.

That’s not quite the same thing as pederasty, but it’s related, in that both the porn epidemic (and its use among the young), and the demolition of social taboos around the sexualization of the young, both represent a shocking abdication of responsibility by adults to guard the sexual and emotional development of children and teenagers. Mark my words: in the future, we will look back on the sexualization of kids today with the same horror as we look back today on their sexualization in the first two or three decades of the Sexual Revolution. So yes, I hope you will feel very judgmental about what society gave a pass to back then. But I also hope you will wake up to what society is giving a pass to today.

On this theme, here is another recent story from France about the sexual exploitation of the young, and an abuser who received his just comeuppance in a fashion that seems straight out of Dante’s Inferno, where the punishments of the damned fit the nature of their crimes:

A 19-year-old man has been arrested for killing a suspected paedophile priest by ramming a crucifix down his throat and suffocating him.

Alexandre V., who is alleged to have been abused by the priest, attacked the 91-year-old Catholic Roger Matassoli at the holy figure’s home in Agnetz, Oise, northern France.

Matassoli had been accused of sexually abusing at least four boys, including Alexandre and Alexandre’s father, between 1960 and 2000.

The priest had to be shifted from the diocese of Clermont in 1967 to the diocese of Saint-Andre-Farivillers, and was then moved to Agnetz, following allegations of paedophilia, reports Franceinfo. And yet he remained on the church’s payroll until 2018.


The suspect had tried to kill himself after being abused by the priest, according to the suspect’s father Stephane, who has also claimed that his father killed himself when he learnt how his son had been abused by the priest.

Speaking about the priest’s impact on his family to French media, Stephane said the priest had ‘shattered a whole family’.


The priest is also alleged to have abused a man when he was aged between six and 15 years old in Saint-Andre-Farivillers, Franceinfo reports.

The victim’s sister Colette, who has made the claims, told the broadcaster that everyone in the village knew the rumours but no one took any action.

Of course they didn’t.

UPDATE: Reader Nate J.:

Tearing down the notion that children cannot consent to life altering decisions is all the rage among the prog left.

You’re going to seriously tell us that children can chemically and surgically alter their bodies and genitals before 18 based on their individual will (even vetoing the will of the parent), yet there is some hard line that will rule out how they engage in sexual activities? Give me a break.

You people are as dishonest as you are vile.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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