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In a New York Times op-ed about something else entirely, columnist Ross Douthat uses this example of the state of our culture:

In a country where the latest hit movie, “Kick-Ass,” features an 11-year-old girl spitting obscenities and gutting bad guys while dressed in pedophile-bait outfits, there isn’t much room for real transgression. 

Emphasis mine.   

Is Douthat really saying that – that a pedophile could be lured, seduced, baited into sexually abusing a child, if she wears certain outfits? That by wearing these outfits, little girls are baiting pedophiles – that they know these outfits are something pedophiles might enjoy and have selected them for that purpose?  That a pedophile is but a fish led to the hook by the bait?

In fact, the movie is very careful not to sexualize the young Hit-Girl. Her own costume covers her entire body -  in MULTIPLE layers!  The point is that she is a tiny child swearing at, torturing and killing people, NOT that she is a tiny child seducing them. 

So, given that information, what does this mean for a definition of "pedophile bait outfits"?  Does it mean:  an outfit that covers a child’s entire body? "An outfit that is intended as a superhero costume"?  

Isn’t a "pedophile-bait outfit" any outfit a child wears?

But, I’m pretty sure Douthat means "an outfit that involves a plaid skirt." Sorry, Hit-Girl: despite the fact that you are 11 and an actual schoolgirl,  by daring to don the tartan, you have become a naughty schoolgirl.  (BTW, Hit-Girl does wear a schoolgirl uniform at one point, it’s as a "lost, crying child" disguise, not as some kind of sexual temptation.)

What I don’t understand is how this even saw print. This article is not in, like, Victim Blamers Post-Sentinel. It’s in The New York Times. A writer has commented in the nation’s foremost newspaper that a child can deliberately sexually entice an adult, can bait them.  It’s the kind of  remark that makes you want to put on a superhero costume and start meting out some justice.  But watch your hemlines, kids!

Don’t let Douthat off the hook. Email the New York Times or comment on the article.

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