Thursday, July 03, 2008

Gender Role Reversal

I can't find much on this story from the Shreveport Times (Louisiana), but a 39-year-old female teacher has been arrested on cyberstalking charges for posing as a 14-year-old girl and harassing a 14-year-old boy through MySpace. According to the brief article, there is no evidence that the teacher and boy ever met face-to-face.

I think this is worth noting because we spend so much time worrying about girls as victims that we need reminders that boys can also be subject to such things. Outside of the extremely bizarre case of Mary Kay Letourneau and her former student and now husband, Vili Fualaau, this issue has been a completely non-issue but remains a lingering question: "Is a sexual relationship with a young male and significantly older female harmful?" There is all sorts of research on the negative effects of younger females partnering with older males (higher rates of pregnancy, sexual coercion, drug use...) but there is NOTHING on the opposite. I've looked. And wondered as a result. Which means that I am challenged by my own stereotypes and assumptions. I think that this large an age gap at this developmental time cannot be healthy. But is there evidence? That remains to be seen.

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