I'm the unnamed reader quoted by Jonah Goldberg on the National Review weblog this afternoon. I sent the same loaded question to 12 of the magazine's writers and editors:

Do you share John Derbyshire's belief that females are only desirable to look at nude from the ages 15 to 20?

Derbyshire, a conservative columnist for the magazine and an infamous contrarian, declared earlier this week that Jennifer Aniston is too old to be attractive in the nude:

Jennifer Aniston, GQ Cover, December 2005While I have no doubt that Ms. Aniston is a paragon of charm, wit, and intelligence, she is also 36 years old. Even with the strenuous body-hardening exercise routines now compulsory for movie stars, at age 36 the forces of nature have won out over the view-worthiness of the unsupported female bust.

It is, in fact, a sad truth about human life that beyond our salad days, very few of us are interesting to look at in the buff. Added to that sadness is the very unfair truth that a woman's salad days are shorter than a man's -- really, in this precise context, only from about 15 to 20.

Derbyshire's weird belief that his standard of female beauty is universal could be dispelled by a five-minute web search on any number of terms, all of which I will leave to the imagination except for MILF. Different strokes for different folks.

But when he asserts that the ideal nude could be as young as 15, the 60-year-old writer ventured beyond the realm of too-much-information to the lecherous land of Lolitaville. After Derbyshire's column was called out by Andrew Sullivan, I was dismayed that none of his colleagues criticized the hypothetical appreciation of jailbait.

Many of these writers are self-professed social conservatives, so vigilant against the "coarsening of our culture" that they deplore the word sucks and the lack of a pregame handshake at the World Series. These people take offense like Rush Limbaugh takes Oxycontin.

How could none of them use their bully pulpit to fulminate against an adult objectifying teens below the age of consent? You can't pick up a paper without reading another gut-wrenching story about a loathsome babysitter chaser for whom such feelings are not hypothetical at all.

Derbyshire wrote earlier this year that homosexuals shouldn't "advertise their preference to high-school students, as they do in some parts of this country."

He advertised his preference for high school students, and so far the closest anyone has come to condemnation is this comment by Tim Graham:

At the risk of being tarred as a total old-married geek, old married guys probably shouldn't be nostalgic for the nude female figure, age 15-20.

-- Rogers Cadenhead

Comments

"Derbyshire's weird belief that his standard of female beauty is universal could be dispelled by a five-minute web search on any number of terms [...] How could none of them use their bully pulpit to fulminate against an adult objectifying teens below the age of consent?"

You know, a five minute web search could also dispel the belief that the age of consent is universal. 15 is legal in many countries, including Austria, China, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Poland, Russia, Spain, and Sweden (as well as a couple US states, depending on circumstances). It's also just one year--or less--short of 16, which is the age of consent in most states of the US.


 

I guess that speaks for a more generous international interpretation of John Derbyshire's column, Jesse, but I think setting an age of majority of 15 is exploitive. Adults are supposed to drop kids off at high school, not pick them up.


 

Rogers -- that's not really a loaded question.
(Also, age of consent age of majority.)

Anyway, legal or not, it's pretty normal for adult men to be attracted to teenage girls. (I'm 16 myself, so this is only an observation, not personal experience.) Like, there were numerous people doing these "countdowns" to Lindsay Lohan, the Olsen twins, etc. being "legal," and I didn't hear any real controversy over that. It's indeed a bit perverted and over-the-top to make such a public show over it, but I don't think it's far-fetched to say that many or most adults can be at least somewhat attracted to teenagers, and I don't see anything wrong with it (as long as they don't try anything on a girl before she's legal).


 

MILF? That's so 2004. All the kids are talking 'bout the Next Big Thing: GILF

www.bustedtees.com


 

I think it's wrong for those of majority age to chase after minors. We can see from varying standards of what is the legal age of consent that there is a certain moral relativism at work. During the Vietnam War, I heard lots of stories from returning soldiers about all the teenage "whores" (as they called them) available cheap.

Most of these guys wouldn't have done the same thing here in the States, I don't think, but somehow it seemed alright to them in that environment, during wartime. James Jones, if memory serves, wrote about GI's having sex with teenage boys in the Coliseum.


 

The man speaks the truth.In genreal past a certain point(say 25) the older you get,the uglier you get.
I do not endorse or condone illegal action toward ANY YOUTH.With that being said I think that they are trying(society in genreal and uncle sam)to define pedofiles with too broad of a brush.
Women mature 18 to 36 months sooner than men.It is kinda of stupid to say that because a 15 year old girl wants to have sex with a 24 year old guy she is a victim of rape.
It might piss parents off if thier daughter starts screwing at 14 but that does not make it rape.I think that the age of consent should be lowered to 14 in all states.


 

Thank you for outing these libidinous louts. "Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue." La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680), Sentences and Moral Maxims, 1678, Maxim 218

Only Republicans pay for sex. Only dull Republicans think the only attractive women are underage or barely legal. These hypocrites dare to talk of "family values!" These right-wingers evidently want fawning obeisance from female concubines, not relationships with intellectual equals. William F. Buckley, Jr. would be offended by the level to which his magazine has sunk.


 

C'mon, Roger, you're just looking for a stick to beat Derb. He's simply stating his opinion about the attractiveness of the female form at certain ages (he's probably not far off), not saying he wants to have congress with them, or even wants to ogle them.


 

Someone give Jennifer Anniston a sandwich.

Quick!


 

I got a tubesteak right here...


 

In my time, a true gentleman knew how to appreciate the beauty within every woman regardless of age. Pity on these damn-fooled conservatives who have never learned what it means to be a gentleman.

samuelclemens92101@yahoo.com


 

1. Couldn't disagree more with Derbyshire on the aesthetics of the female nude being limited to such a narrow age range.

2. The criticism of Rogers comments about Derbyshire's low age range of 15 seem off the mark. Fine, 15 is the age of consent in some parts of the world, but the problem for Derbyshire is this statement is completley inconsistent with his other statements.

This is in the same ballpark as Bill Bennett's gambling.

It gets a little tiring to be lectured on virtues and morals by degenerate gamblers and elderly perverts.


 

Favoring the nude form of underage girls fits pretty well with the conservative old testament-retro views on the role of women in society and family. Ie as subservient chatel.

I suspect that a lot of these jerks feel strong connection with the polygamist patriarchs of Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven.


 

While you're busy burning Derbyshire in effigy, save a spot on the fire for the 90 year old grandma who appeared on Carson and cracked Johnny up by saying, "There's really nothing prettier than a sixteen year old girl with half her clothes off."

I think Jennifer Aniston is hot, and would gladly look at her naked... but I wouldn't hide in a parking garage and force her to have sex with me. I played Call of Duty 2 on my Xbox 360 today, and had a ball slaughtering hordes of Nazis... but I harbor no significant desire to spend the winter in Stalingrad or summer in Africa. And so on, and so on.

In short, our fantasies are not our realities. This really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.


 

In short, our fantasies are not our realities.

True, but don't you think that a society filled with appreciations of jailbait is one in which minors are more likely to be abused?

My opposition to Derbyshire's column was motivated by the lack of a reaction from his socially conservative peers. If we can't count on them to make the argument that bad messages in our society can have bad effects, what good are they? Some of these people want the FCC to regulate satellite and cable TV. Where's that zealous paternalism when it comes to protecting people who still need parenting?


 

Okay. So John Derbyshire is a near-senior citizen who likes to look at nude photographs of teenage girls.

That's a fact; he's only speaking the truth. He can't help having been born a pervert, and we can only hope that he doesn't act on his sexual urges. If his wife doesn't leave him over this, she probably doesn't read his meandering columns anyway.

My complaint about the article causing all this ruckus: What the HELL does it have to do with conservatism, politics and America? What does it have to do with standing athwart history, yelling "Stop"? NR used to be the magazine of civilized, intellectual free-marketeers. It was the publication that ushered Reagan into power.

Now it's a bunch of dirty old leches sitting around at their typewriters and fantasizing about celebrity girls a fraction of their age (Derb has referred to other actresses in the past, usually underage waifish Asian girls, Brookhiser wrote stuff about women wearing high heels in the New York subway, and every week Nordlinger has a crush on a different girl-celeb) instead of getting REAL jobs.

Sick.


 

Rogers,

The reason that we would need the protection of a law is that men do find girls attractive as so as they develop child bearing features.

Derb is simply telling the truth. Women have been bearing children at 13 and 14 for millions of years. Of course Mother Nature has built has to find them attractive.

Just because you wish it were otherwise doesn't make it so.

Liberals have such a difficult time telling the difference between their fantasies of how they world should work and the reality of how the world does work.

You share that in common with the far right.

All your moralizing is spit in the wind. It doesn't change reality. It makes no difference.

Of course, Derb is completely off his rocker about Jen.


 

"True, but don't you think that a society filled with appreciations of jailbait is one in which minors are more likely to be abused?"

Any society which recognizes (and even trades upon) the obvious sexual allure of adolescents while trying to maintain its fanciful, self-indulgent notions of childhood innocence and sexual icky-ness will always suffer from problems with abuse across the scale. The same can be said for the allure of adult women and rape, or the allure of homosexuality and gay bashing.

Sexual crime is largely a result of and a breeding ground for sexual shame. Some societies generate guilt as their most grotesque of national products. Repression creates perpetrators so rife with self-loathing that they become blind to any productive, positive outlet. And it creates victims who are saddled with a sense of guilt and loss that has more to do with their culture's perceptions of the survivor than with the act endured.

Now, one way to deal with this is to attack lust. It didn't work for communists in the financial realm, and it hasn't worked for the drug warriors with narcotics, but hey, reality never stopped anyone from crusading.

The alternative is to stop stigmatizing sexuality in all its forms. That doesn't mean you open season on fourteen year-olds... there are valid, logical reasons to legally restrict the sexual activities of minors. (First among them: parental rights.) But tossing around words like "depravity" and "perversion" and encoding them in law essentially demonizes thought itself and disposes of any notion of context... it generates masses of otherwise normal folks who are convinced that primal bits of their lives and personalities are vile and shameful. Nothing good ever comes of that.

Or put another way: a modern psychosexual variation on Original Sin doesn't help anyone, and it ain't gonna protect people from abuse.


 

Just because you wish it were otherwise doesn't make it so.

I know it's liberal pass-the-bong do-goodery, but I'm a believer in the notion that good ideas can knock off bad ones by being expressed often enough by enough people.

Thirty years ago, prejudice against interracial relationships was freely expressed, and you could even find condemnations of it in American newspapers. Today, it's extremely rare for a mainstream figure to express such sentiments, as the Creators Syndicate columnist Samuel Francis did shortly before his death.

The argument that admiring jailbait is natural is as flimsy as the notion that interracial couples are unnatural. It's natural to shit in the woods, but I'm guessing that everyone in this discussion has indoor plumbing.


 

Rogers says, "The argument that admiring jailbait is natural is as flimsy as the notion that interracial couples are unnatural."

Checking back on comments is always interesting on this blog, Rogers.

I suppose that you turn your eyes away when confronted with some "jailbait" chance to admire? Is it "unnatural" to admire of-age pulchritude?

"It's natural to shit in the woods, but I'm guessing that everyone in this discussion has indoor plumbing."

Lol, I used to live in a log cabin in Arkansas, Ozone if anyone is interested!

BTW, is Aniston a teenager?


 

Gentlemen
I can not see how one's view changes with witch political party someone belongs to. Since everyone in politics lies through their teeth the get elected I wouldn't trust their views on any topic. That said.....what is defined as jailbait? A 100 years ago( thats 3 generations of those bad with math, maybe 4 for short lived families) a woman of 15 would almost be beyond marrying age and most men wouldn't want a 25 year old as their new wife. For those of you that don't believe a younger woman between 17-21 don't find older men attractive, then you live in a bubble. Go to any large social gathering(we're talking 1000's here) and as long as you don't loook like a pervert with grey hair, ugly brown glasses and a pot belly....in short you take care of yourself. It's very reasonable that a younger girl will try to pick you up. It's natural mean want a young healthy wife and women want a strong provider. Yes I know they say it's not like this anymore.....hogwash I say.
As for physical attractiveness over thirty......? Kind of makes you wish you took the girl with smaller breast doesn't it. They don't look as nice as the big ones when you're young and your hormones are racing, but they're a damm site better looking when the hormones slow down and those big breast are hanging down to the navel LOL.
Here's a question for you boys......if a 60 year old man goes out with a 40 year old women is he more of a pervert then a 30 year old man who want to go out with a 17 year old woman?


 

Gentlemen,
I quote
'As for physical attractiveness over thirty......? Kind of makes you wish you took the girl with smaller breast doesn't it. They don't look as nice as the big ones when you're young and your hormones are racing, but they're a damm site better looking when the hormones slow down and those big breast are hanging down to the navel LOL'
Is that what your wife is like then? LOL!!! Poor you, perhaps if you were a little less shallow you would realise and appriciate that beauty, attractiveness and sexuality has very little to do with whether a lady has saggy boobs or not. You are obviously a complete tool and are totally missing the point. You are probably a very bad lay too with an exceptionally small penis.
I quote again,
'Go to any large social gathering(we're talking 1000's here) and as long as you don't loook like a pervert with grey hair, ugly brown glasses and a pot belly....in short you take care of yourself. It's very reasonable that a younger girl will try to pick you up. It's natural mean want a young healthy wife and women want a strong provider.'
Ok I see... that's why I see so many teenage girls drooling over hot pics of 50year old midlife crisis victims in 'accountant of the year magazine'Do you know they just cant get enough of the really interesting articles on buisiness law... Obviously these older guys are just sooo hot.
Do you actually live on this planet? The really sad thing is that you actually believe your own bul****
www.cosmogirl.com


 

you guys are some of a bitches


 

If Jonah Goldberg generally finds women/girls attractive only between the ages of 15 and 20, I think it's OK for him to admit it.

But if he states as a fact that women are only attractive between the ages of 15 and 20, that's not the same thing.

The first is admitting something specific about how he relates to women.

The second is taking his own preferences and stating them as some kind of universal law about female attractiveness.

I think this illustrates one fault that is annoying and stupid about too many self-labeled 'conservatives' and too many people of other ideologies. Too often, ideologues decide that how *they* personally are is some kind of law of nature that ought to be applied to everyone. If you're not like them you're implicitly some kind of freak. Or everyone really is like them but some people are in denial.

"I personally find females are generally attractive only between 15 and 20, therefore I shall implicitly state that normal people find females attractive only between those ages." [I guess if you find your 35-year old wife attractive you're a weirdo pervert?]

"I am not simply a lesbian, I am also narrow-minded and self-serving, so I shall rationalize that all women should make themselves at least potentially sexually available to me by becoming lesbians, who are far superior to heterosexuals." [Gee, thanks, time to break up all the happy marriages. I guess the men are all supposed to date or marry fish or bicycles, instead of the women who are interested in them.]

"People who are of my racial/ethnic/lingustic/ sexual/gender/party group are normal, people who are not are implicitly abnormal and defying the laws of nature."

Etc.


 

just wanted to weigh-in here on this topic.. i'm not a regular visitor to this site, but happened accross it during a web search on goldberg.. also, it seems like there was more flaming than bashing here than i expected to see on asite with commenters of such caliber, but i digress.
at any rate, i don't think the 15-20 range is valid.. i know some pretty hot 28 year olds.. but the point has become more is it right or wrong to consider 15 year old girls attractive? that gets into abuse, age of consent, and a million other spinoff topics. i definitely don't think it's out of line.. thinking a 15 year old girl is attractive and attemping sexual debauchery with a 15 year old you think is attractive are 2 totally different things. the other main issue here is that in the time we live in, at least here in the u.s., lines between whats acceptable and whats not have become increasingly lienient, especially in the filed of tween and teen girls. call it hypersexualization, call it the media, call it whatever you want. i am a 28 year old educated professional, i work with a fortune 50 company in a mid-sized
midwestern city. i don't specifically lust after younger girls or anything like that, and my company does a significant business in the primary and secondary education channels, which means i visit schools quite often. alot of the craziness i've seen walking those halls as a visitor is enough to turn my head. last month a co-worker and i were in a small, private high school, and a decent, respectable girl who couldn't have been a day over 15 years old flipped up her skirt at a bunch of guys walking down the hallway. she was wearing nothing underneath. most of the outfits that these girls wear are provocative enough, much less the attitude that goes with them. i graduated high school 10 years ago, in 1996.. and there wasn't a girl to be found in my school with the straps of her thong showing above her low-ride jeans. last week i was talking to my nephew, who is in the 6th grade. he told me a story about how the girl sitting in front of him in class showed him her thong.. what??
i mean come on.. most 15 year old girls in this day and age look about 21 anyway.. who's to say it's wrong to think they are attractive? men instinctively find younger girls attractive anyway, and thats not wrong, it's just the way it is. the flip side to the argument is this.. i don't know whats causing it, maybe it's too much mtv, or text messaging.. but most 15 year old girls out there that are resonably attractive have done A LOT more in the sexual realm than you're willing to believe. and i'm not talking about the out crowd, or the "slutty" girls.. these are the nice, beautiful, national honor society students. do younger girls like older men? to an extent.. it represents safety and stability to them, if even on a subconscious level. personally i think if 15 or 14 or 19 or however old girls want to dress like they are legal, then they should fall under adult sanctions. i'm not saying it's ok to go rape a teenager or anything, sexual crimes are repugnant. i'm saying that unless you're some ugly pot bellied dirty old man, it's really not that hard to get with a teen.. and thats pretty sad. in my college days i could sit on a webcam and have 13-15 year old girls willing to flash me, while their parents were in the same room, with their backs turned, watching tv!! and these were regular, all american, good (supposedly) girls. these are the girls where you say oh well maybe THOSE girls, but not MY teenage daughter. YES.. your teenage daughter. i think it's funny that 50 years ago, when sex wasn't nearly as commercialized or public as it is now, that after gym class in high school, you went back to the locker room and showered naked with all your classmates (of the same sex of course). but now, in a time where sex is literally everywhere you look, where parents are permitting their daughters to buy g-strings at victorias secret, when 3 of 4 teenagers have viewed porn and/or been graphically propositioned for sex in internet chat, that now after gym class, students would rather put on their clothes over a gallon of sweat than get naked with their classmates in the shower.. that seems totally backwards to me, but it's an interesting point.

anyway i think i've strayed just a little off topic, but the whole thinking young girls is attractive thing is stupid. these girls might be young, and definitely not developed enough to make decisions on their own.. but they know what they are doing, trust me. if a 14 year old wants to have sex with an older guy, she'll do it. and she'll know exactly what she's doing.

in closing, i'd like to say this about the general attractiveness of young girls. let say you were really thirsty.. and you went to the fridge, and there were 2 cans of coke sitting on the shelf. one can wasn't open, and the other one was, and you don't know how long it's been sitting open, or whose drank out of it.. which one would you pick?

don't try to overanalyze everything. this country would be a lot better off if people would just take things for what they are. it is what it is.


 

It is not natural or healthy to prefer looking at adolescents to mature women.

The World Heath Organisation defines adolescents as anyone male or female between the ages of 12 and 20.

Surprising as this might be to some of you the bodies of those aged between 15 and 20 are not sexually mature or even physiologically mature.

This assertion of the status of
adolescence for this age group is born out of statistics that show that outcomes of pregnancy in young girls between the age of 15 and 20 are worse than any age group including 30 to 35.
Teen pregnancy and childbirth in the age group 15 to 20 carries with it the increased risk of maternal mortality (50 percent higher globally) and the increased risk of early delivery, low birthweight, misscarrage and fetal abnormalities.
The reason for these increased risks is simple, the fetus has to compete for resources with the mothers body as the young mothers body is still growing.
So anyone who tries to assert any half baked theory about men naturally preferring 15 to 20 year olds as they are more fertile and healthy is sadly misguided.
It has more to do with our diseased society and media that men find immature girls more attractive.
Even intelligent men are not immune to the conditioning of the media and advertising I am afraid.


 

Well, I have to agree with most of the scientifics of the above statement, but having slept with adolescents as well as "mature" young women while in college, I can tell you that it's not the "media" or "popular culture" that makes them more sexy and better to bed, albeit at the sacrafice of being less experienced. And any red-blooded american male, educated or not, is really lying to themselves if they don't admit it, I don't care what you all say.

I agree with the above poster about how tweens and teens are being hypersexualized. It kinda turned my head when the Victoria's Secret fashion show was broadcast on network tv a few months ago, and I shake my head when I see tween girls and their mom's at the mall, buying g-strings at v-s. I got the girlfriend a v-s gift certificate for christmas, and when she dragged me in there to shop with her, I wasn't being treated or looked at like a "dirty old man" by the under 18 clientele, who made up about 60% of the people in the store.
I couldn't agree more with the statement 'it is what it is', as it is exactly that.

The bad thing about the whole equation is this.. it's not illegal to take your expensive stereo system outside and leave it on the sidewalk, but it is illegal for someone to come along and take it...


 

Just a quick comment, as many of those who have posted appear blissfully unaware of reality: The DSM (and pretty much any other scientific source) defines pedophilia - the attraction to children - as involving "sexual activity by an adult with a prepubescent child."

Now, pardon me if I offend anyone, but this dehumanizing of women - whether 15 or 30 - is just another example of patriarchy at work. Women (and, not to be sexist, men) should have the right to consent to sex without the government "protecting" them. There is a reason that the DSM IV does not consider those who are post-pubescent as children.


 

Re the above post. No, those young people who are 'post-pubescent' are indeed not children, they are adolescents as defined by the W.H.O.
There is also a condition known as ephebophilia, the attraction to adolescents, as opposed to the attraction to mature adults. Many of those who have posted on this site are probably sufferers themselves.


 

he is appear crazy
because limited age from 15 to 20 never is be true
women - girl - old-maid its 21 year


 

shit


 

Derbyshire must be living in some kind of Babushkastan of his own mind...
Last time I looked there were lots of hot women out there, dressed or undressed, in their 30's, 40's, and yes dude, even 50's.
In fact I've often thought it's one of the coolest things about our baby-boom generation, that so many women stay so hot so long!


 

Who cares?!?!
I once saw a magazine with John Madden on the cover. I didn't find him attractive at all. But I don't condemn, condone or debate the fact that one editor chose to put him on the cover.
Derbyshire is probably and idiot, and the National Review is quite likely trash (I can't say for sure because I don't read it. Why not? Because it's trash.)(They really ought to do an in depth analysis of the relative attractiveness of John Madden and Jennifer Aniston), but his taste in women is COMPLETELY irrelevant.
Do something more productive with your time.

BTW: the fact that Derbyshire is dead wrong is already proven. Would GQ, a very sucessful established men's magazine really put an unattractive photo on its cover? Never.


 

As far as I can tell, John Derbyshire is clearly a closet case! If you look up "repressed homosexual," Derbyshire's hideous mug should pop up. That he also, apparently, is into underage girls comes as somewhat of a surprise. But then, he does look like a sex offender. If I saw John Derbyshire near a park or school, I would call the police.

Perhaps "the Derb" dropped this bombshell to distract from what he has been repressing. After all of his articles about homosexuality (an obsession of his), I am sure his comrades began to suspect something.


 

There are many sexually attractive girls and women from 13 to 50, some older, some younger.
The repressed souls here, who condemn those that see reality, are sad indeed.
All of the haters and puritans here, who call young women "children", and call normal males perverts, for seeing the obvious, are the same people who call for children to be tried as adults when they commit crimes.

They are the true perverts.