Fangirls, I know we talk about gender inequality all of the time here, but one of the things that we haven’t really touched on with it is how sex is treated in relation to gender inequality. That’s still pretty broad to think about, so let me narrow it down; Ashley and I were discussing the differences in ideals with older women dating younger men versus older men dating younger women the other day.
Age is a perceived issue within all sorts of aspects of life. Older women are “less desirable” and considered to be more “naggy,” while older men are “distinguished.” That on it’s own is a problem, but not really why we’re here. Today I want to talk more about the stereotypes that come with women dating younger men. This conversation came up because Ashley and I were watching the news, where it was shown as shocking for a young girl to be dating her teacher. Ashley turned and said to me, “but if a boy dated a female teacher, he’d be praised.” And she’s right. People should not date teachers not only because of age differences (specifically people under 18 dating teachers, because that’s illegal), but the teachers’ jobs have to be considered too. In college, it’s slightly less taboo to date a professor, because people are over 18 (usually) in college. But that is still incredibly dangerous, because there is the possibility of grades having been changed for sex. And that’s bad for everyone; the college, the professor, and the student.
But at the same time, there’s a stigma that goes along with sex, especially when there is a considerable age difference between the partners. I have noticed that it is far more likely for men to be applauded for both having sex with a female teacher, or for being a professor and dating a young female student. The media doesn’t necessarily pat them on the back, but the stigma is definitely different. “Good for him,” is something I’ve heard in relation to this. He’s getting it, one way or the other, and she’s either old enough to change his grades, or young enough to be an attractive young student he can “teach” thing to. Blech.
With females, it’s very different. Whether she’s the student or the teacher, I’ve seen a lot of blame get placed on the female in that situation. It’s “robbing the cradle” if he’s younger, or “gold digging” if he’s older. There is no winning. And it doesn’t just apply to student/teacher relationships, but instead to many relationships with an age difference.
Bottom line: if you’re in a relationship with a professor or student, be careful. It’s probably best to wait until you’re out of his/her class, or even graduated. Don’t risk people’s jobs and livelihoods for a relationship. And if you witness people with a seemingly vast age difference together, try not to put them down (unless it’s illegal, rape, or abusive). Everyone has a different situation, and it’s not right to assume gold digger or cradle robber.
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