Anne Hendershott on the academics who want to redefine pedophilia as intergenerational intimacy :
The publication of Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex promised readers a radical, refreshing, and long overdue reassessment of how we think and act about childrens and teens sexuality. The book was published by University of Minnesota Press in 2003 (with a foreword by Joycelyn Elders , who had been the U.S. Surgeon General in the Clinton administration), after which the author, Judith Levine, posted an interview on the universitys website decrying the fact that there are people pushing a conservative religious agenda that would deny minors access to sexual expression, and adding that we do have to protect children from real dangers . . . but that doesnt mean protecting some fantasy of their sexual innocence.
This redefinition of childhood innocence as fantasy is key to the defining down of the deviance of pedophilia that permeated college campuses and beyond. Drawing upon the language of postmodern theory, those working to redefine pedophilia are first redefining childhood by claiming that childhood is not a biological given. Rather, it is socially constructedan historically produced social object. Such deconstruction has resulted from the efforts of a powerful advocacy community supported by university-affiliated scholars and a large number of writers, researchers, and publishers who were willing to question what most of us view as taboo behavior.