Let us examine this argument:
In the case of the allegedly lascivious Lolitas, Kefalas sees this flight from reality very clearly: “People don’t want to hear about the economic context, the social context” to young teen sexual activity and teen pregnancy, she told me. “For a 14-year-old to be having sex it’s usually a symptom of a kid who’s really broken and really hurt. Those who are having sex without contraception are a distinct set: they’re poor, from single-parent households, doing poorly in school, have low self-esteem. Teen pregnancy is so high in America compared to other places not just because of access to contraception but because we have a lot of poverty. But Americans don’t want to see themselves as a poor society. They want to make a moral argument: if only teens had better values.”...So, childhood innocence is a myth which we invent to chastise children for not being innocent when in fact it is we who are not innocent and projecting our sins onto innocent children.
Luthar is right: we – the adults in this society – are “a mess.” I think it’s time to stop projecting our dysfunction onto our children.
Pretty sure that pretzel is not what Aries had in mind.
If childhood innocence were really a myth, it would totally be Lolita's own fault for being a junior slut, and that would be the end of the controversy. On the other hand, since we do believe in childhood innocence, we hold that Lolita is not at fault, but the skeezy men who prey on her, or the corrupt culture that exposes her to sex. (Ok, I have never even read Lolita. This analogy has to end.) Why would adults even attempt school reform if we thought that poor kids were just unavoidably dumb criminals in the making? So it is in fact the myth of childhood innocence that prevents children from being held morally (and legally) culpable for their bad behavior, which is, I think, what Judith Warner wants, but doesn't want.
What this has to do with "projecting our sins" onto children, I am not sure. Does she mean to suggest that not only should we not blame children for their misbehavior, but that this misbehavior doesn't even happen? Children are actually angels, and it's adults who are getting pregnant at 15 and dropping out of school and joining gangs or whatever?