Monday, October 12, 2009
A New York Times article on October 11 states that the Polanksi case reveals how much American attitudes have changed regarding sexual relationships between adults and teenagers. Is this true?
The article then refers to the movie Manhattan and its depiction of a relationship between an older man and a 17-year-old girl. The author suggests that the public would be less tolerant today of the view implied in the film that the relationship was not socially objectionable. Indeed, an executive who was involved in the purchase of Manhattan by United Artists, is quoted as saying that it's unclear whether such a movie could be made today.
It would seem that an instance of sexual contact between an adult male and a 13-year-old girl allegedly involving drugs and alcohol might be perceived to be significantly different from (as depicted in Manhattan) a relationship of some duration between an adult and a girl of 17. But it may be that as a society we have learned more about the frequency and emotional costs of sexual contact between adults and teenagers.