Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why the Double Standard?

I recently posted some things about rape and not-rape from a female perspective. Well, I conveniently seemed to have forgotten that women can be straight up mindfucking rapists, too. Yet, no one really seems to think that's a problem. Read this Rolling Stone article about Traci Tapp. She makes Mary Kay Letourneau look good.

Getting Away With Rape the Traci Tapp Way

What pisses me off about this case is that the whole town seemed to be in on it. Why is it perceived as harmless when a woman in a position of authority takes advantage of someone, or in Tapp's case, a variety of boys, in a subordinate position? There are a lot of irritating assumptions and dynamics going on with the recent spate of hot for teacher scenarios that wouldn't fly if they were male teachers doing the same thing to female students. In fact, a male teacher from Maria High School on Chicago's southside just got HAMMERED for fucking around with a student. Why? Because he was a creepy looking Chinese dude and Tapp is a cute little white chick?

I'm sure the common response is going to be, "It's different for guys." Maybe it is for some of them, but that's assuming that no teenage boy is capable of a complex emotional experience, just like it assumes that every girl who screws around with teacher is going to end up irrevocably damaged. It's unfair to assume that a teenaged boy, especially an emotionally vulnerable one, shouldn't be protected from the actions of an ostensibly responsible adult in a position of authority, even if she's hot.

I'm curious to hear what any of you out there in the internets think about this double standard. How about the strident and unapologetic shennanigans of Traci Tapp (best molesting teacher's name ever, by the way)? Is this not some serious bullshit?


Luke Baggins said...

I agree that it's a crime, the parents of a teenage boy in one of those scenarios are entitled to press charges. But I don't think it's as serious a crime as the male teacher on young girl scenario. It's not really a double standard. It's just that you have to stick something into somebody for me, or any 12 people on a jury, to see it as a crime on par with rape. Women teachers are generally not doing that to the boys in those scenarios, and the day that one of them does strap one on and roger a male student who then honestly regrets it, she'll probably be viewed as something more like a rapist.

But then that "honestly regrets it" part comes out. It's just hard for me to believe that any sexual activity with someone who can't physically overpower you can be traumatic in a way that would amount to anything like rape.

So it clearly is a crime, even when the teacher is as hot as Debra Lefave, but it's never going to get viewed as seriously when it's a woman teacher on a male student. Maybe if a really large woman demonstrably capable of wrestling the victim to the ground who rogers him with a strap-on and doesn't give him any reach-around, maybe that woman would get judged according to the same standard men are held to in that position, by me and whoever's on the jury.

Oh and I've compiled a list of all of Skippy's many essays on this topic to better illustrate the guy's perspective on this here.

Luke Baggins said...

Oh, to clarify, I haven't read the Tracey Tapp story yet, so I don't actually know anything about how bad her case was, I was just talking about the double standard in general.

Oh and all that talk about wrestling could lead the reader to believe I had left the topic of completely "consensual" underage sex. That was not my goal.

The point I was aiming for is that the seriousness of a male authority figure taking advantage of an underage student is magnified by the physical power imbalance that is often pointed in the opposite direction in cases like Letourneau.

Nora said...

Luke, you make interesting points. I think what bothers me about Tapp is that she pretty much had carte blanche, legally, socially and professionally, to use young guys she taught however she wanted. I'm not interested in "you gotta stick it in to be a really bad rapist" argument, although I guess I see what you mean. I'm far more interested in the fact that just because women can't physically overpower most boys even, doesn't mean that their mind fucking isn't destructive. It's like I always say: bruises heal, but psychological wounds last a lifetime!

With this case, though, if you read it, I wonder how such One Tree Hill kind of drama was allowed to play out on all levels of adult behavior. Every adult involved seemed to act like a dumb-ass teenager, with the gossip and indulgent ignoring of illegal behavior, as long as it was at the hands of a pretty lady.

To know me is to know that I am totally not a prude. I'm sure there are cases where teachers and students screw around and no one gets hurt; no one is damaged.Fine. I think what gets me about this story is that she was blatant and unapologetic, and that at least one of the kids was emotionally damaged. She was in a position to help him and instead, she fucked him and fucked him over. While society would probably rush to the aid of a girl in that position, he seemed to have been roundly ostracized. While the kid may have ended up to be a screw up anyway (rough home life and emotional problems) the fact is, she got away with using a vulnerable kid and barely paid a consequence.

Hot Carl said...

It should be noted that the story is very sensationalistic and one sided. Because of this, I look at the "details" of the article with a very skeptical eye.

With that said, there shouldn't be a double standard in these types of statutory rape cases. Part of me wants to say its worse when a man does it, but that is probably just the Cro-Magnon me thinking that. That and the fact, I would've totally banged Miss Tripp if given the opportunity at that age. :P

Nora said...

See, that's the thing. It appears there are other boys she banged who didn't have a problem with it. That's one thing. But the guy that the story is written about seems to have had a hard time dealing with the ramifications of fucking his teacher (I am not writing "hard time" or "ramifications" with a straight face, by the way). He was a 15 year old kid. She knew how screwed up his home life was. She traded him in for one of his football coaches and flaunted it in his face. That demonstrates more than a lack of sensitivity. At the very least, it's a clear indicator that she shouldn't be trusted with a position of authority.

Nora said...

Let me put it like this: I know a woman who, when she was 14, had an affair with one of her coaches, who was 21. She wasn't raped. She wasn't taken advantage of; if anything, she worked him over. If I were her mother and found out about it, I probably would have flipped because he is supposed to be smarter than that. Jailbait, douchebag. Jailbait. Do I think he's a rapist? No. I think he's a retard. Do I think she was emotionally fragile and vulnerable? Ha. No.

If, however, she'd had a wreckage of a homelife and cried to him and his answer was to fuck her, I would have a different view on the situation.

It's less about the letter of the law with me than it is about the context. And what chaps my hide is the assumption that the potential for damage is less when the woman is the offender because she can't stick a dick in the victim/participant/whatever you want to call him. Maybe it's because I have a son now and will rip the face off of any bitch who hurts my baby. Maybe because it's just lame that if my friend and her coach had been caught together NOW, he'd spend his life on a sexual offenders registry even though she was not only a willing participant, but in all actuality, the boss of that operation.

It's just fucked up. I suppose I would feel better if at the very least her teaching certificate had been revoked.

Hot Carl said...

Typically, when I read about a story involving rape, it usually falls into one of two categories. In one instance, the assault involves a man physically forcing himself onto a woman. In the other, a woman seduces a younger male, almost always a student, into a sexual affair.

When you compare them side by side, it seems logical to assume that the physical assault is the more heinous offense. However, its an unfair comparison because they are two completely different types of crimes that just happen to be associated with the same name, rape.

I believe this association has seeped into the psyche of many people. So, when someone hears about a rape involving a male student, an early rationale is to compare it to a woman getting physically raped, rather than a male teacher seducing a female student because the former is so much more prevalent than the latter. The justification then becomes: its easier when a male gets raped because its not an encounter where someone was overwhelmed physically but rather one in which he took part in willingly.

Therefore, the stereotype or double standard, if you will, is a result from an error in logic brought upon by people's exposure to two different types of crime sharing the same name.

Nora said...

Excellent point, which is why we need to remember this is statutory rape, which is usually voluntary, therefore not sexual assault. Since we're talking about statutory rape, or ti quote Mitchell, a "batch of statch" here, we need to look at the osychological underpinnings more than the physical ones. And in this case, this chick took liberties with many young guys. The reason statutory rape even exists is because we had to draw the line somewhere, and this kid was far younger than 18 when she started toying with him--and after the collapse of a relationship with a former student.

Psychologically speaking, someone in a position of power used a subordinate's lack of logical reasoning and preyed on his reactionary teenage dick to get the results she desired from him. When she was done, she disposed of him casually. He didn't take it well because he was still a kid, and he didn't feel that he had any recourse.

This could be a version of the not-rape concept. In fact, it illustrates the idea perfectly. However, this is now a matter of public discourse and when you look at the facts beyond the sensational spin they put on the story, it is a clear cut case of acting SO inappropriately that someone, some adult, should have called her on it. At worst, if all the hear-say is based in fact, she knowingly broke the well-known statutory rape law repeatedly. And I'm no Constable Connie, here. I might knowingly break a law here or there, too. But not in order to get busy with guys who knows what "Steve from Blues Clues" looks like, presumably because he'd been a rapt member of the Blue's Clues audience not long ago himself.

It really is a question of why some people get to flaut the law and others have to pa dearly for the same offense.

Nora said...

And Hot Carl, you are totally forgetting about teenage Lolitas or vulnerable souls who get sucked into a hot older guy's rap. The SAME thing happens with male teachers and female students, probably a lot more than we know because the participants might be good at keeping secrets. At any rate, not only are those cases dealt with swiftly and usually more harshly, they might be viewed as more destructive just because of the way we are trained to think of what a sexual violation is.

I'm saying that the law is objective. Cases are sometimes subjective. In THIS case, though, I feel like she got away with a pattern of bad behavior and breaking of the law that a man would not get away with. And I think it's insulting to men to assume they ALL feel only one way about a sexual relationship with a woman and one way only. That's a very superficial assumption to make. There are different ways to hurt and abuse someone and boys are vulnerable to getting hurt, too.

Hot Carl said...

I don't believe her flaunting of the law had much to do with the fact that she was a pretty woman. There are other similar cases out there with, believe it or not, hotter teachers that this Tapp lady.

In her specific case, I would speculate that she got a slap on the wrist because countless others, as named in the story, would've taken the fall as well. To avoid that type of fallout, she was disciplined in such a manner that allowed not only herself to save face, but more importantly, the rest of the school officials who turned a blind eye to the entire matter.

Nora said...

That is my point exactly. Why did her investigation result in a softball job? Why her? Is she really that harmless? That broad should come with a warning label.

Women do get ligher sentences usually, and I think that's-again-a matter of thinking that it's no biggie if a woman seduces a boy.

Nora said...

And I totally agree with your assessment of the statch batch sitch.

Nora said...

Check out the Jezebel article. I'm on my phone and don't want to deal with making a link, but Jezebel is in the sidebar.