There's nothing funny about rape and Adam Sandler's new movie 'That's My Boy'
By Dr. Keith Ablow
Published May 02, 2012
Adam Sandler’s new movie, “That’s My Boy,” should be BOY-cotted by anyone who believes that statutory rape of a 13-year-old is wrong.
That sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? I mean, after all, “That’s My Boy” is a comedy that makes light of the seduction and statutory rape of a 13-year-old boy by his pretty teacher. -- A rape that results in the birth of a child.
Yet, Hollywood thinks it knows two things:
1) Sex sells
2) Little boys do not need or deserve the same protections from sexual assault as girls because they actually like it.
They’re entirely right about sex selling, of course. In our almost hopelessly repressed culture just about anything, including a movie with such a sordid premise, can reawaken the sexual feelings we tend to wall off and deny. And yes, those same feelings will get some people to part with a little time and a little cash for a movie.
Hollywood writers, producers and directors are entirely wrong, however, about believing that 13-year-old boys are fair game sexually for adult women because the boys will enjoy going to bed with them.
It should go without saying that 13-year-olds aren’t immune to the psychological fallout of being manipulated into bed by authority figures, like teachers, who are supposed to help them to focus and to learn, not help themselves to their bodies. And it should go without saying that a 13-year-old boy who has a son after being raped by his teacher isn’t going to live happily-ever-after.
The truth is that both girls and boys obviously have sexual feelings when they are 13-years-old (and much, much earlier). Both girls and boys fantasize about what it would be like to have romantic relationships with attractive teachers, or coaches, or youth group leaders.
They’re supposed to be having these thoughts; they’re a normal part of sexual development. But they are supposed to learn that those who care for them in other ways—as their educators, for example—won’t commandeer those natural and innocent impulses for their own pleasure.
They are supposed to be learning things like trust in others and respect for authority and that they are worth being kept safe when their parents allow schools or churches or athletic leagues are left to care for them. They are supposed to learn that they matter for their minds and potential.
Sadly, too many Americans, however, agree with Hollywood on both counts. They think adolescent boys can’t be harmed by adult women who have sex with them. They think males are merely sexual “animals,” without any feelings. That those feelings begin in the teenage years and continue forever.
Imagine, after all, a film company making a comedy about a 13-year-old girl who is seduced by her attractive male teacher, has a baby with him and always remembers her exploits happily—because it was a great "conquest."
Now, imagine theatres across America showing this film. Imagine people buying tickets to see it. Imagine newspapers and magazines rating it with three or four stars, along with a wink and a nod.
That just couldn’t happen.
Because we still want to think it is open season on males in this culture. After all, aren’t they the sexual predators among us?
Remember all the jokes about John Wayne Bobbitt being castrated by his wife after she found out that he had had an affair? It was the stuff of late night comedy routines and one-liners at the water cooler. People even chuckled when he hopelessly tried to regain his image as a man by working in the adult film industry for a while.
Well, imagine late night comics doing stand-up routines about a woman being maimed genitally because her husband is angry she had an affair, who then becomes a porn star people gawk at.
Does that sound funny? Not so much, huh?
If we want a culture that protects girls and cherishes women’s rights, we’d better stop denigrating the sexuality of boys and men. And there’s no better place to start than boycotting Adam Sandler forever and his film “That’s My Boy” right now.
Let this be Adam Sandler’s well-earned legacy: He tried to make it funny for 13-year-olds to be raped.
Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team. Dr. Ablow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.