We must all decide how far our collective moral consciousness will allow the social justice movement to go in its exploitation of our boundaries. I suggest that we have allowed it to go quite far enough. The sexualization of children has no place in schools or in our society. It is simply one boundary that should not be exploited.
Allyn Walker, a former professor at Old Dominion University who identifies as non-binary, resigned last month following criticism stemming from Walker’s views on pedophilia. Walker argued that pedophiles should be destigmatized by identifying them as “minor-attracted persons” (“MAPs”) rather than the pejorative term “pedophile,” because attraction to children is a sexual orientation and not immoral.
The pretense is that pedophiles are more likely to seek treatment if their sexual proclivities are destigmatized. Instead of relying on empirical evidence to determine the reasons for those proclivities or strategies that will keep children safe, Walker relies on queer theoretical tools to argue that pedophiles are wrongly oppressed by society’s power structures as a group of the most “hated folk devils of our time.”
What Is Queer Theory?
Walker is a queer sociologist and criminologist who uses the lens of queer theory to explain human society and crime. Like other critical theories, queer theory seeks a collective critical consciousness that will identify and dismantle identity power structures and dynamics.
Queer theory seeks to unite oppressed groups that fall outside the privileged normative language categories of sex (male or female) and sexuality (straight, gay, bisexual) into a single, oppressed banner of queer. To do this, it relies on the postmodern knowledge principle, which rejects objective knowledge and favors “knowledges” that arise from the lived experiences of individuals of certain identity groups.
Queer Theory’s Application to Pedophilia
Walker uses theoretical tools to problematize the treatment of pedophilia as a sexual perversion to achieve her agenda. She uses the power of language to advocate for the new acronym “MAP” and blurs boundaries of sexuality. The focus is on the collective oppression of pedophiles.
Using a “deconstructionist” perspective, Walker argues that pedophilia is a “social construct.” She boldly concludes that sexual attraction to minors is not morally offensive and claims that the vilification of pedophilia is more about control of sexual minorities than it is about the health or safety of children.