Wednesday, August 04, 2004

America - the land of the Double Standard

So Mary Kay Letourneau was released From prison today after serving 7 years for child rape. It's a depressing enough story just on the face of it, woman living an (allegedly) idyllic life with her husband and four kids seduces one of her 6th grade students and ends up having two kids with him. I won't go into detail because if you're that interested you can find out about it yourself.

What I find irritating is how certain media outlets are spinning this story *so* differently from cases where the man is 35 and the girl is 12. There are people siding *with* Letourneau, who actually have the audacity to call their affair "love", and write as though the "happy ending" for their story is the two of them getting back together. Never mind that the ex-student is unemployed, "working on his GED" (quite the catch obviously) and has had little to do with the actual raising of his kids, a job taken on by his mother. These are the of people (man or woman) who should never be allowed to have kids to begin with. Am I the only person who thinks this? Probably not, but there are two reasons why she's getting all this love from the world, IMHO:

1) She's a woman, and a pretty hot woman at that. Not that it excuses what she did in any way, but look at it from the perspective of the reporters who cover the story. I mean when I was twelve, there's no way I would turn down an opportunity to live the stereotypical male, Van Halen "Hot For Teacher" fantasy. Nor would, I suspect, any male reporter covering the story. So logically , one could guess that by going easy on Letourneau, they are (consciously or not) allowing themselves to live that fantasy *with her*, figuring "nobody gets hurt". If they don't treat it as something horrible, then they are not horrible people by indulging themselves in a little imaginary "thought recreation". If you think this is crazy, ask yourself whether the coverage would be different if Letourneau looked more like Aileen Wuornos and less like Charlize Theron.

2) The "nobody gets hurt" philosophy of the Mrs Robinson relationship. I can't believe that people don't think that the student Letourneau had the relationship with wasn't hurt by this. I mean with all the attention the trial received there's no way he's going to lead a normal life. At 21, unemployed, and "working" on his GED it sounds like his life is already two or three tracks off the right one. And what about her kids? Both the two she had with the student and the four she had with her (now ex-) husband? I mean sure, her daughter's smiling in the release picture, but eventually she's going to have to come to terms with how she came into being. And somehow I suspect that neither her mother nor her father is going to have the emotional maturity to explain what happened with any sort of credibility so as to prevent these girls from a tidal wave of emotional problems of their own once they hit puberty. God help them. At least her ex-husband had the good sense to take his four kids with him to Alaska. Maybe they will have a chance at leading a normal life. Divorce is hard enough as it is without all the drama this particular one has brought.

So what's my point, you say. I guess I'm just frustrated at the state of the media these days. I'm tired of the "double standard society" that America has evolved into. "Your kids are fat but mine just have slow metabolisms", "juvenile crime is terrible but don't you *dare* raise my property taxes to property fund the public schools", "Violence on television and in video games is freedom of speech but Janet's naked breast is the end of civilization", "Interning Japanese Americans during WWII was injustice but interning Arabs at Guantanomo is fine because this time we're doing it *right*". The whole thing just makes me with I was British. If Bush wins in September I think I'll renounce my citizenship on grounds of the ignorization of America.

That's all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the life the of the American "double standard." It's refreshing to know that you have learned the true meaning of life at last. Remember, all things that go down must also go up. This is the so called "circle of life" into which you have been born ...like it or not.

After all, Elmo seems equally disinterested in both...

I have a hard time believing that Elmo was traumatized by Katy Perry's decollatage after discovering that he had already "been arou...