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Monday, 8 October 2018

Lolita Syndrome

Young girls being involved with older men is a much-explored topic in literature: Jane Eyre, Love Lessons, Into the Water, and of course Lolita, are a few books I've read that feature teenage girls being involved with older men. (The reverse happens too of course - an older woman with a teenage boy - but this post is only discussing the former which is more common).

I don't think this is a black-and-white topic, as few things are. There are biological and societal reasons as to why some young girls want grown men and vice versa. Girls (typically) mature faster than boys. Women are more fertile when they're younger and become less fertile as they approach forty. Younger men lack the experience and perspective that older men have. Many young girls may want to appear grown-up and sophisticated and think that attracting the attention of an older man makes that so.

I've always looked pretty young for my age, so when I was younger there was barely any chance of a guy a couple years older daring to get with me, let alone a man ten years older than me. I've never been one to find guys much older (or much younger) than me attractive anyway. Two or three or even six years older is fine; ten or fifteen years older starts to creep me out. These differences are also relative and age gaps tend to shorten as we get older. Me being 21 dating a 27 year old is totally cool; a 15 year old with a 21 year old is kinda creepy due to the differences in maturity and experience.

Or is it? Is age just a number when it comes to teenager girls and grown men? I think there are two ways of looking at this.

a) Is it mutual? When there are reported cases of teenage girls being in love with their school teacher, everyone is so quick to blame the teacher and called him a paedophile. I'm not saying that a grown adult male getting with his teenage student isn't wrong. What I am saying is that there are plenty of young girls out there who will encourage the situation, and it's very naive to say otherwise. (I know it's just a story, but in Lolita, Lo definitely isn't some innocent bystander - she is sexually mature for her age and certainly encourages Humbert and seems mutually involved, which makes the whole thing more gross in my opinion).

I had female friends who looked older when we were teens, and they wanted older men. Some girls develop early or they want the attention for whatever reason, and they encourage it. Or of course, they genuinely are in love with the man and he is not mistreating her at all, their age gap is just abhorrent. I don't think this should be ignored - sometimes two people fall for each other and it really is just that. Age doesn't matter in that scenario; whether the girl was 15 or 25, the feelings would be the same.

b) Was she coerced? This is obviously the more serious case. If a young girl is taken advantage of by an older man, that is very different to her flirting and giving off signs that she wants him. In both cases the man should know better, but I think him encouraging the situation in order to exploit a vulnerable naive girl is much worse. This is why it's so important to look at details and context.

There are all kinds of reasons behind both situations. The girls want to feel special, taken care of; they don't like dealing with the immature boys at school, they want a father-figure, they want to be sexy and sophisticated. I find it quite sad that some girls feel they need to resort to flirting with older men in order to feel appreciated, and I guess because I grew up close to my dad I never felt like that.
(I seek attention from guys within my age range instead XD).

And then with an older man there are various factors as well: a young inexperienced girl is easy to control and manipulate. Or she's just innocent and doesn't have the ability to 'challenge' his need for domination and power. Or maybe she's just a sweet kid and he finds her easier to talk to than a woman his own age. I don't know, but this isn't a simple issue.

Let me hear your thoughts on it anyway!


Just some science behind older men-younger women (though this is referring to grown women, not teenagers)

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