media portrayal of female pedophiles in context with the larger problem of normalization

Trigger warning: rape, pedophilia, child sexual molestation

In the last few months, I’ve paid more attention to female pedophiles and sex offenders who make headlines. There are a few similarities in these stories: the women are typically white and in some position of authority, the news media gives them a nauseating amount of sympathy that male predators do not (and of course should not) receive, and they are rarely, if ever, named as pedophiles. The most disturbing of all of the similar threads is that male boys are perceived as un-rapeable by women, and the media certainly works to maintain this despicable perception. There have been a few cases where defense teams have claimed that the preyed upon boys were taking advantage of these women because, I guess, their uteruses had floated to their brains which clouded their judgment and decision-making abilities.

I have a certain visceral reaction to the lattermost proposition which I have been unable to define or put into words as of yet. There is something so extraordinarily sick about the assumption that boys ask for this, enjoy it thoroughly, and will suffer no consequences in the future. It suggests that women can never be fully developed adults, but this seems to coincide more with how white their skin is and the amount of prestige or authority over others they wield. So, to my mind, these women understand how they have been objectified — in a multitude of senses, including how they are allowed to conduct themselves in positions of power — and weaponize this status to avoid blame or continue in their criminal behavior. This makes me physically ill. Perhaps the best depiction, or gestalt image, that represents my reaction is genocide spokeswoman Scarlett Johansson prancing around in a flesh-tone latex suit for her latest movie being viewed as untouchable sex object. Jesus fucking christ.

Recently, I was linked to an article about the time Bill Maher condoned the crimes of Mary Kay Letourneau in the wake of the apparently singular fascist threat Milo Yiannopoulos’s predictable views on pedophilia (that’s another post, but anyway). Maher being a fascist piece of shit in his own right, I’m sure he read something special in about Vili Fualaau’s Samoan heritage that added to his oh so liberal and enlightened view on the situation.

“I admit that it’s unorthodox,” Maher continued at the time. “She’s 35, the boy is 14. He was younger when they started. But she is pregnant again. That was the story this week. This is the second child by this boy. They are keeping the mother in jail because she won’t conform to what society feels should be the perfect American family,” he added.

“Yeah, that’s perfect,” Lisa Montgomery Kennedy, a guest on the show, sarcastically injected.

“Sickening. Absolutely sickening,” added Republican activist Celeste Greig. “The woman is over 20 years older, and she raped this kid.”

“Raped? Come on,” Maher retorted, later adding, “How can a woman rape a man?”

Feminists have worked very diligently to educate the public on what responses our bodies can still have even at times of sexual attack or coercion. There should not be a double standard for female pedophiles. Further, Fualaau isn’t even allowed to have had a childhood according to this insane, absolutely criminal read and then broadcasting of this horseshit. Letourneau groomed him and has now altered his entire life because of her selfish predation. He was robbed of any choices he could have made with an entire media machine virtually disappearing any agency he could have exercised once coming into the age of majority. They winked and nodded as they ran with their cloak and dagger narrative, claiming that he did indeed love her, this is just one of those unique situations that sometime just happen for no other reason than troo lurve that never sees age. I’d rather gag myself with a rusty spoon than be in a room with anyone ever who entertains such detached notions of how society works.

I scan a lot of bad media and listen to a lot of network pseudo-investigations to get an initial read on these cases. I was not able to keep my screams and profanity internalized when I came across the story of Linda Lusk as told by 20/20 — and as so often happens with these stories on female predators, the story is indeed focused on them.

I assume most reasonable people would sum up Lusk like this: attractive and bored white middle class mother abuses her status as former mayor and uses her husband’s school principal position as supply for her unholy desires to groom and molest a 14 year old boy, Bubba Frank. But wait, ABC says, there’s more! And they give Lusk platform to arrogantly explain how she couldn’t help but groping and falling over Frank’s genitals. She’s quite a piece of work, continually gasping at the idea that she could ever be seen as a sexual predator.

The 53 year old was so wishy washy about any guilt that she should take on that she ends up saying nothing, really, other than she should be able to do whatever the fuck she wants and people just have to deal with it. The school district does not allow convicted sexual offenders at their functions, and as of 2013, she was saying how she didn’t care about their policy, that she was going to walk right the fuck in to her daughter’s graduation and that everyone else can go to hell and “mind their own business”, as if protecting their children from this weirdo isn’t their business.

The coup de grace was her and her family blaming any “misjudgment” she made on the death of her physically and mentally disabled son. I still don’t quite understand this defense; it was never made clear. More importantly, it doesn’t make any damn sense (unless there was something she exacted on this poor boy before his death that wasn’t explored). It also opened up the program to sickening victim blaming with claims that Frank knew what he was getting into, and this fucking criminal asshole pedophiliac megalomaniac Lusk ended the whole thing saying how little she cares about how he moves on seated next to her newest husband, some 28 year old schmuck who left his wife and daughter in another state to be with her. In the most entitled and smug manner possible, she said she’s just sad that Frank hasn’t admitted any responsibility. Penises come with responsibility, vaginas do not, boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider, girls go to Mars to get more candy bars.

Somehow the fact that she so badly missed taking care of her deceased son’s every need (???) as his disabilities required without seeking therapy or counseling afterward were the direct causes of her abusing Frank. Lusk’s daughter said as much, verbatim: “she would not have done this if he hadn’t died”. Where on god’s green earth should such sewage be broadcast to? Well, nowhere. If we didn’t live on topsy-turvy capitalist hell planet, the outrageous crimes of the petty bourgeoisie would be shunned and not made into primetime voyeuristic pleasure. However, what her daughter, still presumably a minor at the time of filming, goes on to say on about how her mother handled his death is telling of emotional incest Lusk acted out on her. “Sure, I took it hard, but it was nothing like what she went through”. Sorry, Mama Lusk, you’re not supposed to put your children in a position to handle and process your anger and sorrow.

These tells that the media gives us from time to time about the conduct of criminals before they went on to commit their crimes and abuse can be illuminating for a few reasons. They are often in the periphery as with the documentation and/or coaching of her daughter’s responses in the Lusk show, and they have a story to tell with regard to what a society is being encouraged to accept at present about organized pedophilia rings and child trafficking. Along with the narratives that purport to denounce one thing but really say another, all of these ripples and waves must be combated if we care about a future where children can recall their history, where they can enjoy a childhood and develop into adults who even desire to see an equitable society for all. In following posts, I will explore more avenues of this normalization that also poisons relations between parents and children even when there is not sexual abuse present.

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