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You Are Not Alone: A Look At Society’s Pedophilia Stereotype

(This article appeared in Alice Lovers Magazine Issue 4, released April 24, 2019)

I’ve known for a long time that I was a girl-lover. I’ve always found young girls to be desirable, on an emotional and physical level. I couldn’t explain these feelings and didn’t know why I felt that way. All I knew was that I truly had a passionate, romantic love for them, and that I meant no harm.

But everywhere I went, everything I read, every time I turned on the TV, there were always people condemning pedophiles as evil monsters. I absorbed society’s negative view on pedophilia for years. I developed a mindset that was very similar to society’s view. Everyone who is attracted to kids is an evil monster. Everyone but me, that is. Because, unlike them, I truly love little girls.

I tried to come to terms with this attraction I had. I had trouble relating to my friends who were attracted to people their own age. They started wondering why I never seemed interested in people close in age. I never had a partner, and had always longed for a relationship with a long-lost, much younger girl that I had fallen for while I was in junior high.

Around 2007, in the midst of my lonely turmoil, a friend posted a Myspace bulletin (remember those?) with a link to an evil pedophile site called Puellula. The website was run by Lindsay Ashford, a well-educated man who didn’t fit the stereotype of a creepy pedophile. I read through his site, and realized there is someone else out there that feels the way I do. There’s someone else who loves and cherishes little girls. Someone who cares for their well-being, and only wishes to have a loving and romantic relationship with them.

After finding Lindsay’s site, I came out to my friends and family that I was a girl-lover. I explained to them “I’m not like all the evil pedophiles out there. I truly love and cherish little girls and have no bad intentions.” As you can expect, it didn’t go so well. Many people, including some of my own family, labeled me as one of those evil pedophiles, offering no distinction between a child lover and a child molester.

I was devastated. I had nowhere to go, and no one to talk to. Then I decided to return to the Internet, and came across the message boards GirlChat and Visions of Alice, which catered to people who identify as girl lovers. I was quite apprehensive at first, but out of desperation, I decided to become a member of both of these sites.

When I joined, I still felt that I was the only good-hearted girl-lover on either site. All these other people I was interacting with were just evil pedophiles. Sure, they say they’ve never hurt anyone, but how was I supposed to believe that? No one is who they say they are on the Internet. Right? Even though I was now surrounded by a support system of like-minded people, I hadn’t really accepted them. I felt I was different. I didn’t relate. I was alone.

But over the course of several months, I read through their heartfelt messages about how much they love and care about little girls. What they were writing was exactly how I felt. And what they preached never changed. They all truly love little girls, just as I do. These people are just like me. They live normal lives, and also go through the same trials and tribulations I was going through. They weren’t bad people. They weren’t the evil pedophiles I had been so conditioned to believe in. Instead, They were just like me.

Society has sensationalized the image of the creepy, evil pedophile, lurking in the shadows, waiting to kidnap, rape and murder your children. This view, however, is very skewed, and far from the truth.

So what is a pedophile? Ask several people and they will describe something that has to do with child molestation and hurting children. But pedophilia has nothing to do with this.

The words “pedophilia” and “pedophile” come from the Greek roots pais meaning child, and philos meaning loving. So from that, one can gather that the term means a “child lover.” A lover of children. Period. Nowhere in that does it say anything about hurting children. Last time I checked, love is a good thing.

So why are pedophiles so reviled by most of society? It is because they have been wrongly associated with child molesters. The word “pedophile” has become a catch-all term meaning something along the lines of “a person who is attracted to and sexually abuses children.” But that definition is wrong.

Pedophiles love children. No really. They hold children’s well-being in high regard. They want what’s in the child’s best interests. I know it’s hard to believe. We care about the well-being of children. Let that soak in for a bit. We cry when they are hurt. We pick them up off the ground when they fall. We comfort them when they’re sad. We reassure them when they’re bullied. We take care of them when they’re sick. We rescue them from burning buildings. But you never hear about that.
When we do something good for kids, we’re just considered human beings. It’s considered a way of being an upstanding member of society. It’s only when someone does something to hurt a child that they become a “pedophile” – which goes completely against the very origins of the term. Most of us have a sense of civic duty and compassion to do the right thing. No one can believe that some of that compassion is rooted in our love for children.

I challenge you to question what society has told you about us. Put aside all the negative things you have heard about us. What does that leave us as? We’re just people. Human beings. Just like you.

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