I have been thinking more about the role age plays in my daily life and have tried to figure out what ABDL* has to do with age. I have been bothered by the fact that there is a subset of people in the ABDL* community who are constantly being put down for saying they are "babies trapped in adult bodies". These individuals are consistently invalidated and written off as being mentally ill and "letting their ABDL get out balance". I would not go as far as to say I am a "baby trapped in the body of an adult", but I would say I am "age non-conforming" and I identify as agequeer. None the less I have felt unwelcome in the community and I wonder how many others out there who are like me.
From my website:
What Do We Mean When We Say "Age"?:
“One is only as old as they feel...”
Lets start by breaking down some definitions:
"Age Identity"- a person's private sense, and subjective experience, of their own age. All societies have a set of age identities that can serve as the basis of the formation of a social identity in relation to other members of society. In most societies, there is a basic division between age attributes assigned to the different age identities. Society assigns age identities on the basis of one's chronological age and appearance. One's age identity is no more attached to their chronological age than gender or sexual orientation is to one's biological sex. Some mainstream examples of age identies are: baby, toddler, child, teen, young adult, adult, senior, and super senior. There are however, other age idenities outside the typical spectrum which are important to ABDL*s such as
"Assigned Age Identity/Age Group"- Socially constructed labels given involuntarily to individuals based on their outward appearance.
Example: A male person appears to be about 45 years of chronological age, is labeled as a "middle-aged man".
"Mental Age/Mentality"- used in more of a clinical/legal sense to convey the equivalent level of one's mental function compared to others of the same chronological age.
Example: A chronologically aged male of 45 years who has a mental age of 2 would most likely be described as being severely functionally impaired and unable to live independently.
"Chronological Age"- someone's age as counted from birth.
Example someone born in 1990 is chronologically 23 years old in the year 2013.
“Age non-conformity”- defined most simply as behaviors and self-expression that does not conform to the social expectations for one’s assigned age identity.
Example: Thumb sucking that continues past preschool.
“Age-dysphoria”- sadness and general sense of unease in individuals that feel that their age identity is not in line with their body or the way they are percieved by others. Individuals experiencing age dysphoria essentially feel that the world sees and treats them as if they are the wrong age.
So what do all these words mean? Ultimately the word “age” by itself is meaningless without context. Age non-conformity explains the motivations and behaviors of some individuals within the ABDL* spectrum very well. While a great number of ABDL*s consider themselves adults, and their ABDL* behaviors as simply a fetish, there are others withing the community who consider themselves to be outside the typical socially constructed age groups. For this subset of ABDL*s, there is a disconnect between their age identity and their physical body that leads to a phenomenon called “age dysphoria”. While there are some individuals who identify as babies/children 100% of the time, there are also age identity equivalents of the more fluid gender identities that exist such as: genderqueer, bigender, agender.... The author of this website himself identifies as agequeer because his behaviors and self-expression do not neatly align with any particular age norms. Fluidity means essentially the same thing with regard to age as it does with gender with the exception of the fact that fluidity is no longer the opposite of being static. Static is the cultural norm for gender whereas for age it is not. The majority of the human race does not have a static age identity, instead it is for the most part a linear progression also known as “growing up”. Fluidity in an age related sense means moving between characteristics of age identities in no particular order.
So in a nutshell, saying someone else is "20 years old" doesn't really carry a lot of meaning. There are several different types of ages one can have and none of them have to match up with one another. Most importantly though, age identity is not externally visible and only the individual themselves can know with certainty what their own age identity is.
Examples Of Age (me):
Chronological Age: 21
Assigned Age Identity: Young Adult
Mental Age: 28 (28/21*100= 138IQ)
On another note: I have previously asserted that ABDL*-phobia is legitmate and that parallels can be drawn between it and homophobia/transphobia. This was met with criticism and accusations of being transphobic. Ironically these accusations of transphobia were backed up by inherently transphobic ideas that were potentially offensive to non-binary people. Some people said I was insulting the LGTBQ+ community by drawing parallels between ABDL-phobia and transphobia because they felt transphobia was so much worse.
Lets be honest ABDL-phobia is not an underdog. In a fight between ABDL-phobia and transphobia in terms of crappyness they are both close. At the very least they both suck, and ABDL*-phobia is every bit as legitimate...
Lets remember the old phrase: "Women and children should be spoken to and not heard". Society deems women and children inferior. This phrase explains why transphobia and ABDL-phobia exist.
"Crappy Advantages" of ABDL*-phobia:
1. Misopedia is more prevalent than mysogyny.
2. Aesthetic standards are harsher for ABDL*s. True most transgender people can never 100% meet societies aesthetic standards or are non-binary, but ABDL*s are totally screwed. Some ABDL*s could benefit from hormone blockers during puberty and hair removal, but ABDL*s can never pass. Also there are 2 bins for at least some part of the transgender population to fall into. There is no "gender-binary" equivalent in age identity. No passing or going stealth for some ABDL*s. EVER.
As far as "Crappy Advantages" of transphobia: 1. Larger portion of human population affected by it, 2. Sexual Violence.....more I don't feel like getting into. Transphobia is established as infinitely crappy.
At the end of the day the issue here is that PHYSICAL APPEARANCES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH "WHO" SOMEONE IS. Identity whether it be gender or age is wedged firmly in the mind of the individual and no one has the right to decide it "for" them except the individual themselves. Furthermore, identity is not a choice. We are "who" we are because we are.
I guess my main issue with saying that ABDL-phobia is insignificant compared to transphobia is that at least the transgender community DID SOMETHING and made some progress. Things are getting better (at least in some places).
You people (not specifically anyone at ADISC or ADISC itself, just our community as a whole), haven't done a damn thing except bash Stanely and Riley. We need to do something. Every year we have suicidal members in binge/purge cycles. Every year (when ADISC allowed teens) somebody would be disowned/ homeless because they are ABDL*. Every few months we become the butt of a joke on tv. I know for me personally I don't have as much motivation and feel hopeless. Why bother to go to college and get a degree. What am I going to do with it. Get married to a woman.... have lots of sex.... be a grown up? The other aspects of my life are wonderful, but even on my happinest days there is always a part of me that wants to jump off a bridge. I am terrified to think of what will happen in 20 years if the outlook for ABDL*s isn't better. I will probably kill myself at that point. Right now what keeps me going is the hope that things will get better.
We need to do something. Being an ABDL* has to suck less. A lot of ABDL*s don't understand that there isn't a "keep it in the bedroom" option for some of us. It is like a heterosexual male crossdresser telling a trans woman to "keep it in the bedroom". Not a realistic request.