There’s been so much said about drag queens, trans people, and children, and I don’t really want to detract from any of that. I’ll start with a short video of Free Talk Live’s Tiktok, where a former co-host got really upset about the drag queen thing.
Watching that episode, it repeatedly becomes clear that Conan doesn’t have any idea what happens at drag shows, nor is he interested in learning about what happens at drag shows. He has imagined the Worst Possible Thing happening, and he pretends that is what happens at drag shows, and then he becomes upset about it. This is not uncommon. From what I can tell, it is what most conservative people are doing in regard to drag shows, as no amount of telling them that drag shows aren’t inherently sexual gets through to them.
Drag shows and movies have a lot in common. There are definitely some highly sexualized movies, such as “I Spit On Your Grave” and “Jennifer’s Body.” There’s also that movie where Sharon Stone flashed the audience with her crotch, and the movie “The 40 Year Old Virgin” has a plot that is entirely about sex and getting laid. However, the existence of these “adult movies” that are highly sexualized obviously doesn’t mean that movies are inherently sexual, and it would be absurd to make such an argument. Just because Jennifer’s Body exists doesn’t mean that The Brave Little Toaster is inherently sexual, and everyone knows this except Brother Jebediah, the most prudish of all Amish people.
Earlier today, I was tagged in a video on Twitter featuring the child drag queen pictured here, with the person who tagged me saying that I’m always asking for evidence of sexualized children, so there it was. While it’s a bit weird to think of this grown adult going around and searching the Internet for sexualized children, the video, of course, was posted to Twitter by LibsOfTikTok. For those who are unaware, LibsofTikTok scours the Internet for sexualized images and videos of children, and then posts them to Twitter. For some reason, this isn’t viewed as obsessive, crazy, and tremendously fucked up. Instead, there are about two million people following this, presumably to see the vast collection of softcore child pornography that they have put together. At least, that is what they allege is going on here. I’m not convinced this stuff is sexualized, and that’s the point of today’s article. However, if it is true that these pictures and videos are inherently sexual, then what we have here are 2 million people who shouldn’t be allowed within 500 feet of a school.
The teen pictured here isn’t wearing a particularly revealing outfit. During spring and summer, it is routine to see people of all ages wearing significantly less clothing than that, and, of course, there are child and teenage cheerleaders who deliberately make it a point to wear more revealing clothing than this. For that matter, the dancing wasn’t especially provocative either. The most revealing part of the outfit was the back, which had a few strings stretching across it, but I must have missed the memo where society decided that backs were sexy.
Different people are aroused by different things, though. There are plenty of people out there who can masturbate to pictures of feet, so what I call the “Can I masturbate to this?” test isn’t foolproof, but, as a general rule, one can find out if something is “sexualized” by asking the question of whether one can masturbate to it. James Joyce wrote many letters about how turned on he was by farts, but no rational person will suggest that farts are inherently sexual, just as no rational person would suggest that all movies are inherently sexual.
This raises the question, then, of what is sexualization? What is sexualized, if the image of the teen above is not sexualized? The answer, believe it or not, is that nothing outside of sex itself is actually sexualized. Even if the drag queen above was completely naked, it wouldn’t automatically be sexualized.
“Pavlov’s Dog” is a phrase referring to an experiment conducted in the 19th century where a man rang a bell before he fed a dog. It didn’t take very long before the simple act of ringing the bell would excite the dog and cause the dog to salivate hungrily. The dog had come to associate the ringing bell with eating. This is a phenomenon called conditioning, and it’s extremely useful today for training dogs and for countless other purposes. I carry treats around constantly to reward my dog for good behavior, because psychology has shown that rewarding good behavior is a more effective way of training than rewarding bad behavior, and it is consistency in this that causes her to be very well-behaved.
While we may not like to think of ourselves as easily trained, the simple truth is that we are easily trained. In my early 20s, a friend of mine bought a new vehicle that dinged incessantly if the car was in gear and the driver wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. In time, to make the annoyance go away, the friend began putting on his seatbelt as soon as he sat down in his vehicle. Within a very short time, my friend had been trained to put on his seatbelt.
Little things like this are happening all the time to us, and most of the time it goes unnoticed, but governments around the world and shadowy, evil corporations are spending untold amounts of time and money figuring out exactly how to train us to be exactly what they want us to be. That, however, isn’t the purpose today’s article, so let’s return to the subject of nudity.
As I said, the teen could be completely naked and it wouldn’t be inherently sexual. Just as Pavlov’s dog was conditioned to associate the ringing bell with food, so have humans come to associate nudity with sex. Because everyone is clothed all the time, we have created a mystique around nudity, such that any nudity at all is exhilarating and feels forbidden to look at. This is why young kids are so excited when they stumble on their parents’ porn stash–even though they are too young to feel sexual arousal, they are looking at something that has been forbidden to them, and for that reason alone they like it.
As we get older, though, we begin to associate nudity with sex. We look at naked people when we masturbate. We get naked in order to masturbate. With few exceptions like showering, the only time we see naked people in person is when we’re about to have sex with them. Of course, orgasms cause the release of all sorts of fun chemicals that act as rewards to our brains, and we come to associate nudity with the pleasure of those chemicals.
With all this being the case, a person’s sexual arousal in response to a video of a person dancing is that person’s own responsibility. This is true of all emotions. Emotions are internal reactions to external stimuli, and no one has the power to make anyone feel anything. I don’t have the power to make someone angry; only they have that power.
Now, they may be reckless with that power. Indeed, most people are. Most people allow themselves to be readily and easily manipulated by giving strangers power over their emotions, but frivolously allowing other people to control my emotions is, again, my choice, even if it is a choice I’m making without realizing it. You can do whatever you want to try to elicit an angry response from me, but I and I alone have the power to make myself angry. This is true of all emotions. You can’t make me angry, sad, aroused, or happy. Only I can do these things. You have the same control over your emotions. No one can make you angry, sad, aroused, happy, or anything else unless you give them that power over you.
And if you give people the power to control your emotions, then you give people the power to control you. Control yourself and control your emotions. Don’t let other people control you. You alone determine how you feel in reaction to things. Just because you’re aroused doesn’t mean the video is sexualized.