For an article dedicated to exposing the cultural double standard when it comes to female predators, the Seattle Times article does a fairly good job of reinforcing that standard. For the most part, it does address many of the perceptions associated with female predators. It addresses the fact that people generally consider boys “lucky” to be raped by women and the acceptance of female predators’ claims that they “love” their victims or that they were in a “relationship.” It delves into the way that boys perceive their abuse and how they are less likely to disclose it. The article even mentions how female predators are viewed as different from male predators, as somehow less bad or less evil.
And that is where it falters. Instead of questioning that notion, the article bolsters it with a rather apologetic, almost supportive explanation for female predators’ behaviors by Dr. Leigh Baker. Baker has a… theory as to the types of sexual predators. She labels the four types as inadequate, narcissistic, anti-social and pedophile:
An inadequate adult (and predator) has trouble forming attachments with other adults and is most comfortable with children, she says. A narcissist loves him- or herself to the detriment of others; someone who’s anti-social doesn’t abide by society’s rules; and a pedophile is sexually aroused by children.
One wonders which types female predators would fall under:
While some women are pedophiles and some men do profess their love for the children they sexually abuse, women are more likely to “couch it as a relationship,” according to Baker. Men are more likely to be serial pedophiles; women seek that “deep spiritual oneness” that Letourneau says she found.
The traits women predators exhibit — seeing themselves as a victim, low self-esteem, a sense of inadequacy, needing to be the center of attention, putting their own need for a connection before common sense — probably place most women predators into two of Baker’s four categories.
“My suspicion is if you took a large enough number of female predators, they would fall into all four types. But, we know women are less anti-social than men, and there are fewer female pedophiles, so I think most women are narcissistic or inadequate types of predators.”
An interesting conclusion, one that basically reinforces the notion that female predators really are not that bad and that raped boys really have nothing to complain about. After all, it is just narcissism and a feeling of inadequacy. It is not as if these women chose boys who came from broken homes, boys who were in desperate need of attention and used these boys to satisfy their own sexual desires. These women have absolutely no attraction to children whatsoever. It just so happens that all of their victims were pre-pubescent or barely pubescent boys. It is just pure coincidence.
Oddly enough, if one does a little research into the characteristics that define male predators, one finds a rather intriguing psychological traits:
Goes to great lengths to present him/herself as an exemplary person; developing a persona of goodness above reproach, thus thwarting any suspicion of wrongdoing —especially against a child, whom they have judicially professed great care and concern.
Rationalizes his/her illicit activities, emphasizing his/her positive impact upon the victim and repressing feelings about the harm he/she has done.
Often portrays the child as the aggressor. This usually occurs after the child realizes that by withholding “sexual favors” the child will obtain what he/she desires, such as new toys, clothing, or trips.
Talks about children as one would talk about an adult lover or spouse.
Is usually non-violent and has few problems with the law (pedophiles are more often than not respected community members).
Now, I do not have a degree in anything remotely related to psychology, but this sounds a lot like narcissism and matches–almost verbatim–the behaviors of female predators. And yet, the descriptions above are not of male predators, but male pedophiles. So why does Baker automatically reject the notion that female predators are in fact pedophiles for the rather whimsical idea that they are just seeking “deep spiritual oneness”(…with children)? Coincidentally, Michael Jackson carries a very similar view as many of the female predators described in the article. One might recall the milk and cookies comment and the ever-popular “Jesus Juice” controversy. No one hesitates to call Jackson a pedophile, even just for his desire to sleep in the same bed with children.
One cannot say for certain that Baker is trying to absolve female predators of their responsibility for raping boys, however, if public opinion is going to change it has to begin with the people the public turns to for knowledge and information about the predators. If the psychological community continues to excuse, downplay and deny female pedophilia, then the public is essentially righteous in their feelings that boys are just “lucky.” It is an empty gesture to state that boys are just as victimized as girls and in the same breath state that female predators really are not that bad and are just lonely. That kind of statement is two ticks away from endorsing female pedophilia. That should not be something any decent psychologist should want to do.