Monday, August 9, 2021

Tavi Gevinson on Teen Age-Gap Sexual Affairs


In Tavi Gevinson’s The Cut piece, “Britney Spears Was Never in Control”, she wrote that the Framing Britney Spears documentary reminded her of a number of men in her past whom would be comforted by the news that it’s deemed anti-feminist slash sex-negative to think that there’s anything wrong with sexualizing nymphets:
In the flurry of recent Britney Spears commentary, I thought of a few men who would be relieved to learn that it is considered anti-feminist and sex-negative to suggest that there is anything dubious about sexualizing teenagers.
Gevinson shared that when she was 18, she was in a sexually abusive relationship with a wealthy much-older man that, at the time, she classified as “complicated” slash “gray”. And at the time, Gevinson and her partner, both, believed that her celebrity: “[...] status in the world canceled out the power he wielded as an adult man.” But now Gevinson: “plainly” sees it as “assault and abuse.” 
He also seemed to believe, like I did, that my status in the world canceled out the power he wielded as an adult man [...] I held fast to the assertion that teen girls are as intelligent and capable as anyone else. I had built a career on it.

[...] encounters I classified as “complicated” or “gray” and now see plainly as assault and abuse. 

Then Gevinson wrote that “[...] youth does carry currency [...]” but it “[...] can be mistaken for power [...]”. [Emphasis added] And she shared that she was [fully] aware that her “[...] youth was an asset”. Thus, we can conclude that Gevinson deems youth as a currency and as an asset but that youth is powerless. 

I thought I was confused, but then she wrote: “But any claim to total powerlessness ignores the way youth is intertwined with our society’s conception of beauty [...]” Wait, is Gevinson saying that youth has currency, it’s an asset, and that it has some power? #confused
At the same time that young women are disadvantaged by age and gender, youth does carry currency, which can be mistaken for power. If you are a woman, however, this currency is not on your terms. When my abuser said he thought that it was I who “had all the power” while he was a hapless, insecure, wealthy, much-older-than-me man who didn’t know what he was doing, I at first believed him. I was in a splashy phase of my career. I did get us into parties. I was insecure, too, and terrified of appearing naïve, but I was also aware that my youth was an asset [...]

But any claim to total powerlessness ignores the way youth is intertwined with our society’s conception of beauty

Later, Gevinson clearly admits that she did have some power when she was 18, but I think that she’s saying that her power didn’t (fully) come from her youth but that it came from her “whiteness, thinness, cis-ness”:
When I entered the world of adult men as an 18-year-old, I was aware that I’d been granted access, visibility, and currency through my whiteness, thinness, cis-ness—what Janet Mock calls pretty privilege — as well as my social status. I could not reconcile my awareness of my power — and all the safety it promised — with the idea that I was also vulnerable in any way.
To add to the confusion, Gevinson admits that she did feel empowered during her age-gap relationship, but then she philosophically explains that feeling empowered is not the same as having power:
Like me, some felt empowered at the time of their experiences but have since come to see that there is a difference between having power and feeling empowered 
Gevinson shared that her age-gap relationship ended after she was “disposed of” for “becoming too much of a real person” and when her “body shut down and could no longer engage in sex.” In addition, she suspects that she was “disposed of” “[...] for growing up or ceasing to exist as his sexual object [...]”.
I was disposed of when I made the mistake of becoming too much of a real person and when my body shut down and could no longer engage in sex. I’ll never know for sure if he was intentionally punishing me for growing up or ceasing to exist as his sexual object, and I have no reason to trust whatever he’d tell me now, but it’s too late: I already internalized the timing as proof of my expendability.

Of Rookie magazine, Gevinson, the founder and editor-in-chief, wrote:
Rookie was realistic about the challenges girls face, publishing a wealth of great writing about consent, gender dynamics, and sexual assault. 
But I would imagine that, in hindsight, Gevinson regrets publishing Amy Rose Spiegel’s piece “Older Men: Everything you always wanted to know about them, and weren’t at all afraid to ask” where Spiegel assured the nymphet teleiophile readers of Rookie by writing:
“First, being attracted to older guys is completely and totally normal.”
“It doesn’t mean you have “daddy issues””
“Being attracted to someone older just means you are a human person who sometimes thinks other human people are sexy!”
“YOU ARE VERY MATURE FOR YOUR AGE...So it’s totally fine to moon over people who are older than you!”
“It’s totally doable [...] ”
However, in the end, it appears that Gevinson is anti-age-gap relationships as she feels that older men are too powerful for younger women. Even if the older man feels that he’s “hapless, insecure”, his older age trumps all; thus, leaving any teen\young woman utterly powerless. 

And it appears that Gevinson is implying that only older men rape teens\young women who are too drunk to consent, that only older men coerce teens\young women into having sex, and it appears that Gevinson is implying that being in a non-age-gap relationship will prevent any of those horrible things from happening to a teen\young woman. 

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