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In Defense of Lolita

June 7, 2015

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http://www.newrepublic.com/article/121908/lolita-cultural-icon

Wells’ conflates viewing pubescent individuals as precociously sexy with child-rape. He even goes so far as to condemn adults alluding to adolescence (i.e. by sucking on a lollipop) as a perverted endorsement of child-rape. This is wrong for many reasons:

  1. Wells: ‘The Lolita archetype has been perverted from that of a child to that
    of a’ “pin-up model”

    The word “precocious” itself means: (of a child) having developed adult characteristics earlier than usual. Indeed, HH lectures at length about the maturing characteristics that define “nymphets” and distinguish them from “little girls, with tummies and pigtails” (p. 17) even going so far as to carefully describe (p. 20) the “sequence of somatic changes” including breast development (at ~10.7 years of age) and the appearance of pigmented pubic hair (at ~11.2 years of age) which characterized the  object of his obsession. Wells is wrong about Nymphets being consummately childish. The Lolita archetype is defined by the collision of childishness and adulthood.

  2. Wells: “There is something monstrous about Humbert’s desire for
    Lolita”: she is a child and “not endowed with womanly allure”

    There is indeed something monstrous about HH’s desire for Lolita: the obsessive, sociopathic disregard for the lives, well-being, and consent of people who love him or are under his care; It is his plot to drown L’s mother so that he can have more time and power to rape the child under his care that makes HH a monster. Desire is not what makes HH a monster – his monstrous actions and destruction of life are.

  3. Wells: ‘Fantasizing about under-aged individuals, or even adults who appear under-aged, is an endorsement of child-rape’

    This non sequitur is the fundamental assertion underlying Wells’ final, grim entreaty that we all think of a sobbing, raped child the next time we see a 28 year old sucking  on a lollipop in GQ magazine. Give me a break. Biologically-speaking, attraction to pubescent individuals is healthy – the DSM-5 defines pedophilia as attraction to pre-pubescent individuals. Wells has no ground to stand on when condemning normal attraction to pubescent and youthful characteristics. There is, in fact, nothing unhealthy or insidious about desire itself, despite Well’s puritanical and prudish conflation of HH’s twisted sociopathy with the natural admiration of youthfulness and the emergence of womanhood.

Contrary to Wells’ impassioned arguments otherwise, if anyone has “bought in” to HH’s twisted vision, it is Wells himself – who tries to teach us that admiration/desire are the same as actual rape. It’s not, and don’t (to use his dumbass hashtag) #BelieveHumbert like Wells does – there is something playful and innocent about admiring youthfulness and adopting the symbols of youthfulness even long into adulthood. Healthy adults distinguish between fantasy and reality – something that Wells needs to learn how to do for himself.

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