Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

Isn't She a Little Young? (Statutory Rape, Don't Do It)  | e-mail post

As their motto says, Virginia is for lovers. Apparently, some of the residents there didn't quite understand the implied "who are both past the age of consent" caveat at the end of the motto. It seems that the problem of statutory rape in Virginia is so significant, the Virgina Department of Health has started a campaign to curb it. In addition to the great tagline "Isn't she a little young?" there is also the call to (in)action: "Sex with a minor. Don't go there." That is almost so absurd I am reminded of the "Teenage Suicide - Don't Do It" bit from the movie Heathers. The difference being that in Heathers it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek.

As with any absurd advertising or branding message (of which there are no shortage), I always try to to imagine the meeting where the idea was sold, with people standing around the boardroom table saying "Brilliant!" "Hip but accessible" "Pure genius" and slapping the back of the "gifted" copywriter responsible for such drivel. Admittedly, this is probably better than the message I would want to give these people: "Don't you have any self-respect?" or "Can't find a girl your own age, loser?" I have a feeling I might be too direct and might not help the offenders think through things.

Now, for those of you who might say, as this blogger did, "How about a billboard telling these litttle 15 years olds not to dress sexy and shake their ass in front of 35 year olds?" I can only say this: it's not your fault for thinking some too-young girl is sexy, but do you have to try to screw anything that makes you pop a woodie? Isn't part of what living in a civil society means that we should try to protect the youth, often from their own misjudgement? In all fairness to that blogger, however: I do agree, young girls probably shouldn't go out of their way to dress in such provocative ways, but that's an entirely differnt discussion (or rant, depending on my mood).

Also, this campaign is not aimed at people who are surprised that they ended up in bed with an underage girl: it seems to be targetted at people who are actually dating them. As the press release from the VDH says: "The campaign hopes to change the norms around relationships with minors, making it no longer acceptable for adults to engage in sex with minors." No longer acceptable? When was it? Did I miss something?

As Mathhew McConaughey's character David Wooderson said in Dazed & Confused: "That's what I like about these high school girls, I keep getting older, they stay the same age." I suppose for some people, that's not just comedy, that's really how they see things.

In any event, look for the billboards and bar napkins if you're in Virginia. I'm doubting you'll run into Roman Polanski there; according to George Bush and the State Department, he and his pedophile ilk will all be heading to Cuba, the new vacation destination for sex tourists.

Hope and cynicism are really running in a dead heat on this one.

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Monday, July 19, 2004
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