The provocatively titled documentary Are All Men Pedophiles? is no less provoking and challenging in its content. The filmmakers sift through the history of ancient customs and human development in their attempts to gain a fresh perspective on the worrisome phenomenon of pedophilia.
We witness the evidence of criminal pedophilia all around us from the flagrant abuses of the Catholic Church to the more subtle and insidious sexualization of underage female models and entertainers in the media. Teen sex is one of the most popular search terms in the realm of online pornography. The average age of an in-demand model is 16. The tradition of older men coupling with much younger women is nothing new in Western society - it's been well documented dating back to the times of ancient Rome - and it's even more egregious and commonplace in other regions across the world. But how much of this activity is the result of cultural taboos and forbidding modern laws, and how much of it might be ingrained in the very nature of the human species?
The question alone may prove incendiary to many viewers. Those who brave through, however, may find value in some of the film's enlightening insights. For example, the science-based definition of pedophilia proposes that an offense occurs when the perpetrator preys upon a victim of pre-pubescent or early pubescent age. Puberty for females begins around the age of 12. This differs from the definition as accepted by widespread public perception and outlined by many laws, which determine the age of 18 as the point of legal consent.
The film goes on to mirror the cultures of ancient times with the world we exist in today, and uncovers a series of striking and challenging similarities in the process. Victims of sexual abuse are present in the film as well, and they give haunting voice to the irreparable pain and destruction caused by these atrocious acts.
Are All Men Pedophiles? is certain to be a divisive viewing experience, but it's one that is likely to provoke a new way of thinking on this forbidden subject.