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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Teacher-Student Relationships, the Double-Standard

I was watching the South Park episode, Teacher Bangs a Boy, where Ike's teacher initiates a sexual relationship, and the news has been filled with this sort of traditional "role-reversal" here in America as late, so I wanted to address it.

Yes, I have been thinking too much lately, and while this is a paranormal-based blog, philosophy, sociology, psychology, and similar matters are always important to these studies - especially since so many "mainstream" researchers and scientists often point to changes in, or a general lack of knowledge on, these subjects to explain-away a lot of genuinely paranormal phenomena. Now, exactly how this particular topic is applicable to anything paranormal, I can't say; it may well not be. But it does have to do with sociology, philosophy, morals, mores, and values - all of which are important - so I include it.

As the episode illustrates, and many have pointed out before, there is an incredible double-standard involved in these molestation cases: when an adult male is the perpetrator, he is socially and criminally condemned; when a female is the perpetrator, the entire case is all but openly laughed about. It isn't even so much the double-standard involved here that bothers me; I truly wonder if there is a psychological difference in the cases.

One of the biggest excuses/reasons I hear whenever it is discussed is how "some boys are very mature for their age." Yet, traditional knowledge tells us that girls mature faster than boys... so how is it that boys who enter into sexual relationships with older women are naturally more mature and therefore, it's not as big a deal as when the roles are reversed? Why is it that only girls can be victimized thusly? Again, ignoring the obvious social double-standard at play here, is there any scientific truth this this concept; are young girls more predisposed to lasting psychological damage from such relationships?

Obviously, society plays the largest role in this, as it decides to see and portray the girl as victims, but not the boys. And while this is dangerous to my mind, what is even more dangerous is the implication: that young boys who engage in sexual relations with older women are "manly" and to be quietly revered, while the young girls are to be pitied and coddled. These are dangerous concepts for a host of reasons, but the most important is the legal ramifications for the perpetrator; the adult male is seen as a victimizer, while the adult female is seen as psychologically or emotionally disturbed - and each is handled accordingly by the law.

That is the real double-standard at play here.

But is there really a similarity in the psychological damage young boys and girls experience as a result of these relationships, or are they so different that they deserve to be separated as they are? And do the young people in these relationships later display similar behavior and psychology? We know that molestation victims tend to become hypersexual in adulthood, but is this true for both genders?

Further, given the sociological double-standard at play in such cases, is anyone even bothering to look into these matters?

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