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It’s not just girls who go to school in the middle of nowhere with no boys to flirt with who form passionate romantic obsessions with male teachers.
It happens at every school, in every town, all over the world.
It’s because they don’t realise that they’re acting from a position of power.
I draw a line in my head between the older men I fancied at a teenager who resolutely refused to engage with it, and those who indulged it or even courted it. Older men at parties who made comments about my body or came on to me. And I wish they’d known that I didn’t fancy them because they were interesting or attractive, but because they seemed powerful to me. They were sad men who were dazzled by youngness and flattered by my attention.
When it happens it’s not motivated my malice or designed to be predatory.
Dating a teenager is a particularly intoxicating opportunity for men who struggle with women their own age. She’ll see you as wordly, she’ll see you as impressive.
The benefit of being an older man is that you’re able to attract more conventionally attractive girls. If you tell her she’s ‘mature’ for her age, she’ll believe you.
The response to the news that these films are being made is one of disgust.
People are asking why, they’re questioning in what world Elle Fanning and Jude Law feels like an appropriate romantic pairing and some people have suggested that it’s unlikely that a woman that young would want to be with a man that old. I might not like it, you might like it, and we might all wish that is wasn’t true, but the thing is, teenage girls do fancy older men. When we pretend that teenage girls don’t have a sexual identity, or that they don’t ever find older men attractive, we ignore the problem.