A discussion about the number of teenage girls seducing “˜innocent’ men on television got me thinking about a Blue Heelers episode from a couple of years ago. Two high school girls have fallen out because the young, good-looking band conductor is sleeping with both of them. He denies it, but as the evidence mounts, so he falls on the defence “˜you know how teenager girls are’ (looking directly at the female cop, Jo) “˜always showing off, begging for attention’.
Jo doesn’t buy it. And neither do any of the other cops at the station – male or female. And this is after pretty much all of the younger male cops have been the subject of some teenage girl’s fantasy. Throughout the series, the writers illustrate that a man who’s young, good-looking and in a position of authority is always going to be a target for young women looking for adoration and security – but that the onus is on them, as the adults in the situation, to resist temptation, no matter how much it flaunts itself in a low-cut top or bikini.
I liked that general theme. That, regardless of whether or not the girls came onto the men, it was the men’s responsibility to put a stop to it. “˜Always showing off, begging for attention’ was not an excuse to commit statutory rape/paedophilia – even among men who’d had that kind of temptation thrown at them. (And I can’t remember clearly, but I’m sure BH adressed this issue in reverse – older woman/teenage boy – and came to the same conclusion.)
I liked that the audience was never asked to excuse the man for his behaviour. I liked that the girls, even if they had tempted him, were shown as victims whos only crime was experimenting with their burgeoning sexuality. I liked that they were seen as victims of a sexual predator, not the other way around.
I miss good Australian television.