The phrase “jump the shark”, according to the Urban Dictionary, is the point at which something loses its touch and begins to grasp at straws. It was coined by Jon Hein, who wrote a book citing examples of television shows that reached a peak and then began to go downhill. It refers to an episode of “Happy Days” in which Fonzie jumped a shark on water skiis. From that point on, the show ran out of story lines and came up with ridiculousness to keep it on the air.
Last week, when I read some news stories about a group of Jeffrey Epstein victims who are behind a proposed bill to block “childlike sex dolls” I realized that we might have arrived at the point where sex offense laws have jumped the shark.
To preface my thoughts; I greatly empathize with Epstein’s victims. What happened to them is horrible. That’s not the point. I’m also not in favor of “childlike sex dolls”. Until Sen. Lauren Book introduced a bill about them, I didn’t even know they were a “thing”. I’ve been involved in advocacy for more than a decade and have heard the stories of hundreds of registrants. Not one began with “well it all started when I saw this ad for a childlike sex doll…” Again, totally not suggesting that these things should be allowed to exist, but that’s not the point.
The point is; are “childlike sex dolls” really a problem or have lawmakers simply run out of ideas for new laws to capitalize on “sex offender panic” and are so desperate for ideas they are coming up with this doll agenda and then trying to sensationalize it by throwing Jeffrey Epstein’s name into the headlines?