Ruined Childhood

Ruined Childhood

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Updated Mar 03, 2015 at 09:55PM EST by Brad.

Added Mar 08, 2010 at 02:08PM EST by Joe.

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Raped or Ruined Childhood is a slang term used to describe a nostalgic subject that has been marred by a new discovery or an implication of suggestive nature, either in the image or video itself as well as comments. To a lesser extent, the term can be also used to describe a fan’s disappointing reception of a highly anticipated sequel to a classic work. This concept can be applied to almost anything with nostalgic value including toys, cartoons, movies, and games. However, it should NOT be confused with Rule 34 which is the act of simply making something pornographic.


The phrase was used online as early as December 2001 in a petition[1] to have George Lucas hand over his position of director on the third Star Wars prequel film to Peter Jackson, who directed the Lord of the Rings movie franchise. This campaign was launched in response to Lucas allegedly “ruining” the fans’ childhood memories of the Star Wars through his prequel works, which were met by poor reception upon releases. The petition received 7487 signatures.

The next year, the phrase “ruined childhood” was used on Something Awful[5] to describe a Photoshop Phriday contest in which users changed titles of classic literature and comics into sexual innuendos, attempting to change how people thought of the content, similar to One Letter Off Movie Posters.


The phrase appeared again in reference to the Star Wars prequels in 2003 when a user on the Star Wars Community forums[2] started a thread titled “Raped childhood support group” for people to share their disappointment after seeing The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. “Raped childhood” was first defined on Urban Dictionary[3] on October 11th, 2004, again with a Star Wars mention. In 2009, the phrase was used in reference to Power Rangers[11] and Back to the Future.[12] It also has been used to describe alternate theories about the universes of Pokemon[6] and Rugrats.[7]

On October 27th, 2011, the single topic blog Ruined Childhood[13] was created, pairing images of nostalgic television shows including the Simpsons and Rugrats with rap lyrics. As of March 2012, the blog has over 53,000 followers. These types of images can be found on the Tumblr tags for “raped childhood”[9] and “ruined childhood.”[10]

On January 24, 2011, humor site Cracked[8] compiled 17 photos that appeared whimsical to a child with their behind-the-scenes counterparts, spoiling the magic of several famous movie scenes and television setups.

In Mainstream Media

In October 2008, South Park referenced the phrase in the episode The China Probrem[4], depicting George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg raping a Stormtrooper and Indiana Jones, respectively.

Notable Photos

Notable Videos

Search Interest

Search interest peaked slightly in February 2011, hitting an all-time high in January 2012.

External References

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Top Comments


Just so everyone knows, raped / ruined childhood is not an offshoot of Rule 34. It is the discovery that the things you enjoyed when you were a kid weren’t entirely so innocent now that you are an adult and the cruel world has made you realize just how much filth is everywhere. A rule 34 picture is designed with the intention of ruining someone’s childhood memories (i.e. a drawing of two cartoon characters having sex), but that is just rule 34.

A true example of a raped / ruined childhood would be if you went back and watch a cartoon, and realized that the animators snuck in a quick cycle of animation where it looks like the characters are humping each other, or a dirty joke or gag that would have went over your childish mind but it is apparent now that you are an adult. Or, it could simply be that your favorite show / movie / game was actually highly subversive, but you did not realize it until you were an adult.

TL;DR version: The key difference between rule 34 and raped / ruined childhood is that rule 34 is meant to take something innocent and then ruin it by re-imagining it as something lewd and foul, whereas raped / ruined childhood is when you realize as an adult that something was wrong with the thing you liked, and you simply didn’t realize it until you were an adult.


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