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[ptsotl] Is Lana Del Rey pro-pedophilia?


From today's edition of Put That Shit On The List: My friend @ZipperZZZZZ called out Lana Del Ray for her pro-pedophilia aesthetic on Twitter the other day. And then the internet happened. It brought up a good opportunity to have a discussion about the sexualization of youth in contemporary music. 
 
I was listening to the preview for the new KickDrums song featuring A$AP Rocky and Lana del Rey song, “Riding” when I finally lost it.

“Pick me up after school, you can be my baby,” she coos. “You say that I am flawless, true perfection... so give me all your drugs.”

I’ll admit, singing about getting picked up after school by a rich powerful man who gives her attention and drugs, isn’t the most blatant example of, what I’m now calling, “pro-pedophilia,” in Del Rey’s work. Del Rey could arguably be singing from the voice of an 18+ college student here.

 

And as readers of PTSOTL know, DelRey isn’t alone in embracing a Lolita aesthetic among contemporary female musicians. 


But she is the most famous pro-pedophilia celebrity of the moment, and she does this consistently.

In “Off to the Races,” she pays direct homage to Lolita, quoting Vladimir Nabokov, when she sings I'm the “light of your life, fire of your loins” over the persistent soundtrack of playground noises and children in the background. 

In “Put Me in a Movie” she is the most straight forward about her pedophile undertones when she begs, “Come on you know you like little girls. Come on you know you like little girls. You can be my Daddy.”


While “Lolita” may have become a pop-culture term for someone who wears heart shaped glasses, frilly socks and makes frequent references to candy, there is another story behind “Lolita.” You know, the one about a grown man having sex with a child.

Just because “Lolita” is fiction doesn’t mean pedophilia is.

Pedophilia is a real thing that happens to an immeasurable amount of children. It is immeasurable because most victims keep quiet be it because it is too dramatic and traumatic a thing for them to deal with, because they are being threatened, or because they don’t know what the fuck is going on. But pedophilia happens. It happens in poor neighborhoods, and it happens in white upper middle class neighborhoods to young girls with pouty faces and cute outfits on.

Del Rey sings songs about sexual relations with children. They are pretty, appealing songs. I can’t be the only one who thinks that’s weird.

So, after listening to “Riding” and I realized Del Rey’s Lolita shtick wasn’t going anywhere, I decided my observation should be shared. Specifically with the three or four people who actually read my Twitter feed. And, the slim chance Del Rey would hear, I included her twitter handle too. 
 
In the case of Del Rey, I’m not saying freedom of speech should be at all limited, but it shouldn’t be danced around through self censorship either. If something is about child sex, it needs to be OK to talk about how it is about child sex. To not do so is to suggest that pedophilia is OK, nonexistent, or should be ignored in polite company. Not talking about it makes it even harder for victims to speak out, and it creates a comfortable environment for abusers. In other words, to not talk about sexual abuse when it is there, is to perpetrate the problem.


I’ve never been a very good speller. I know this. Many people on the internet helped remind me. A few people were upset by my statement and called me a bully. 50+ people re-tweeted, and 33 people favorited. But, more than anything, people were confused by what I meant and why Del Rey retweeted it.

What I mean by “pro-pedophilia” is someone who endorses a culture with pedophilia in it. It’s pretty much the same idea as rape culture. When I say Del Rey is “pro-pedophilia” I mean her songs support a culture where pedophilia is common, tolerated, and condoned.

So that’s why I tweeted what I did. As for Del Rey’s end, I don’t know why she re-tweeted but here are a few of my best guesses.
  1. She thought I was being mean, and wanted me to look stupid for my dumb spelling, and for the Internet to be mean to me back.
  2. It was a mistake. She didn’t mean to do it.
  3. She wanted to open up a dialogue about the undertones of pedophilia in her work.
Number 3 brings me to another point: It’s not unlikely for a victim of sexual abuse to try to capitalize on their experience. Perhaps Del Rey can relate to Lolita more so than she lets on.

The truth is, I’m not out to stop Del Rey. Freedom of speech is important. What I mind is that aesthetic is described not as mimicking pedophilia but mimicking Lolita without discussing the implications. Why? Are people scared about talking about it? Is it impolite because it makes people uncomfortable? 

Like I said, I can’t ignore it anymore. 

 
And Lana Del Rey, what ever the reason was you re-tweeted me for the six hours that you did before taking it down, thank you for being brave enough to open up the discussion. 

 
This post originally appeared on Put That Shit On the List Phoenix music writer Luke O'Neil's internet concern. 
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