• Mapness as a deviant identity

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    Mapness as an identity

    Analyzing mapness as a deviant identity requires, first and foremost, establishing that it is an identity. 

    An identity is something that can take a double meaning. It is both a state of being a certain kind of a person/having certain features and the act of including oneself in a certain group, describing and defining oneself in a particular way. So, saying someone is a map can mean both that they have features, associated with mapness, and that they describe themself with map-related language.

    Minor attraction is an attraction of an adult towards a child or a young teenager, or of a child or a teenager towards a much younger child. Mapness is the minor attraction itself, plus the additional details and contexts that come from existing as a map in the society. Even if you, as a map, aren’t actively interested in any child right now, you do not stop being a map. It is not only because you stay capable of experiencing this attraction, but also because you keep the memories and the thoughts of your previous feelings and you recognize statements about pedophilia, hebephilia, and so on as something related to you. Processing these feelings leads to identifying yourself as a map (or some other related label, such as pedophile or childlover), and expressing them to other people leads to being placed in the social position of a map.

    Mapness as deviance

    Maps are stigmatized for their attractions. One cause of the stigma is the conflation between pedophilia and sexual acts with children, which makes people perceive maps as abusers/potential abusers. Another cause is connected to the inferior social position of children – taking a lot of interest in children that aren’t “yours”, prioritizing children is frowned upon, because it is a challenge for the age hierarchy. One of the ways in which adult supremacy is enforced is promotion of the belief that children are inherently uninteresting and incapable of contributing to a conversation.

    An attempt to restore this order of things takes place when mapmisiacs claim that nobody can genuinely find children attractive, and that pedophilia is just an opportunistic act. They conceptualize wanting to be with living human adults as some sort of a basic trait everyone initially has, and any deviation from it – as settling for less when you failed at gaining an adult partner. By this logic, not only maps are potential rapists, they also have some fundamental character flaws that make them unlovable. This heavily overlaps with prejudice towards other non-normative orientations, including aphobia. In addition to that, it mischaracterizes sexual abuse of children, which is often committed by parents and/or beloved and respected members of the society, because continuing abuse is easier in a position of authority.

    Another approach to mapness includes recognizing that it is an attraction that actually exists, but treating it as an outcome of something pathological. They point at childhood trauma and delayed development, porn or sex addiction. This idea lies at the core of conversion therapy for maps, since they believe the attraction would go away by itself when the underlying causes are removed or lessened. Even somewhat supportive therapists who don’t seek to promote conversion may still make such assumptions about a map, if they did not unlearn perception of mapness as inferior. This idea is also the source of presenting map feelings as urges that need to be carefully monitored and controlled by an external force.

    The combination of the above creates a situation, where maps are one of the most stigmatized and widely hated minorities. The normative society synonymized a map space with a child sexual abuse space, and seeking a map space – with seeking child sexual abuse materials. Those who try to explain the amount of importance their orientation has to them get hit with the sexual addiction and anti recovery assumptions. So, unlike many other deviant groups, such as gay people or therians or autistic people, maps have not yet succeeded in creating publicly available support spaces, which makes questioning or newly self-realized maps especially at risk of abuse and trauma. Map activists and knowledge, collected by maps, are systematically erased from mainstream social media, more stable map-owned sites are predictably harder to find, and there aren’t official map-led support resources offline. A large part of being a map in the contemporary age is rediscovering what was said and done before you like and archeologist.

    Attitudes within the community

    Some maps internalize the message about inferiority of mapness and genuinely believe that accepting it as orientation and putting maps in charge of the narrative will result in acceptance of child sexual abuse. They often think that bettering of maps’ social position can happen only through strengthening ties with CSA prevention organizations and mental health professionals, and that a more bold and positive look on mapness stands in the way of it. These people spend time in heavily mapmisiac spaces, where their behavior and self expression are policed, and they become basically hostages of their environment. This is one of the many forms of abuse of maps by the oppressors, and the fact that following this lifestyle is one of the rare ways to not get immediately silenced means that more new maps become exposed to it and get sucked into it. Survivors of this kind of abuse later struggle finding place in the wider map community, because, unless they abandon everything related to their past identities, they become blacklisted as antis.

    Within the map community there also exists a pushback against considering mapness non-normative/deviant. This pushback comes from people who have disdain for identities that are somewhat similarly stigmatized (zoophilia, cluster B disorders) and instead want unity with somewhat better off groups, such as western LGBT+. This category of maps supports the artificial distinction between paraphilia and sexual orientation, much like mapmisiacs do, but places mapness on the other side of the line. In support of their point of view, they often cite higher acceptance for adult/child relationships in Ancient Greece and other societies and claim that the current attitude is an abnormality and a result of neo puritanism. However, in reality these relationships were still a component of the age hierarchy, where the child took a subordinate place, and the modern shift is explained by the change in a child’s social role from something resembling “underclass citizen” to “house pet”. If before children were seen as incomplete and inferior adults that are supposed to take low roles in adult social life, now they are seen as aesthetic status tokens of their parents and are segregated from adult life. Neither is good for children, and an actual preference for children, separate from training them for adulthood, would still be considered deviant even before.

    It is worth a note that those who support integrating mapness into the society as a normative sexuality most often do so primarily with hebephiles in mind. Having an attraction to babies and toddlers is obviously non-normative to anyone who recognizes the existence of the norm. And those whose defense for mapness is built on categorizing it as normal are bound to fragment the map community and leave the most marginalized kinds of maps out of their program. This may be compared to the kind of queer activism that prioritizes cisgender gays and ignores trans people, or worse, treats them like a liability and an obstacle to normalization.

    Uniting around the common deviance of our identities and instead fighting for acceptance of the deviance is a better choice. This is a position expressed by me, as well as a large part of the queer, trans, multipara, and neurodivergent sector of the map community that I here represent.

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