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From Avoiding Kids: How Men Cope With Being Cast as Predators:

These days, if Rian Romoli accidentally bumps into a child, he quickly raises his hands above his shoulders. “I don’t want to give even the slightest indication that any inadvertent touching occurred,” says Mr. Romoli, an economist in La Cañada Flintridge, Calif.
Ted Wallis, a doctor in Austin, Texas, recently came upon a lost child in tears in a mall. His first instinct was to help, but he feared people might consider him a predator. He walked away. “Being male,” he explains, “I am guilty until proven innocent.”

I think that men feel like this, and I know I’ve been nervous for similar reasons in the past, is a pretty sad commentary on the state of our society. I mean, yes protecting kids from predators is important, but turning every male into a potential predator doesn’t help anyone. It breeds unhealthy paranoid attitudes in children and in the community at large. Ultimately it leads to false accusations (intentional or not) that can tear apart families and ruin the lives and careers of people who didn’t do anything wrong. It’s a bit like the attitude towards sexual harassment in the workplace. Both are very real problems that need to be taken seriously, but the way to solve the problem has been to make every man a suspected offender. And it is every man not everyone. It’s evidence of inherent sexism in our culture toward both women and men. Men in that it assumes all men are potentially violent or otherwise criminal and need strict boundaries to prevent them from becoming the foaming beasts that they surely must be when rules are not in place. Women in that it assumes women to be primarily docile and non-threatening and there is no reason to be concerned that she might be victimizing anyone because she is a woman and therefore must be a victim. The fetishism of the violent or dominant woman in the form of dominatrixes is evidence of this underlying cultural attitude. An attitude which makes every man feel like a criminal just for waking up in the morning. It’s an attitude harmful to everyone.


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