On The Howard Stern Show James Franco denied ever having sex with Lindsay Lohan after she put him on her sex conquest list but said he made out with her a decade ago when she was a teenager. James Franco is 9 years older than Lindsay Lohan. Today Lindsay is 27 and Franco is 36, if they hooked up that wouldn’t be very much of a big deal. 10 years ago, that’s a different story.
James said, “All right, we maybe kissed… it was lame. I can’t believe she put me on that private list, she’s so delusional! When we made out it was so long ago … I was like a nice guy; It was also like, ‘What the hell am I doing?’ She was young.”
I think it’s funny that when James Franco was 26 he thought making out with a 17-year-old was weird but now that he’s 36 he has no problem pursuing 17-year old girls for sex. James then went on to suggest Lindsay stalked him,”She even broke into my room one time because she was so at home there I guess they just gave her the key. And so 3 in the morning, I was on the couch and I open my eyes and there’s Lindsay in my room at 3 am and it’s like okay what do I do now. I read her a story.”
He asserted that she was cray, “I don’t know if she was using something or whatever, but she would just turn horrible, it was like the bad Lindsay and you just had to get away.”
Here’s what’s pretty damn obvious, Lindsay was a 17-year-old girl with a crush on a 26-year-old man who was obviously half-flirtatious with her but half-annoyed with her. If you are an adult and a teenager is coming onto you, politely tell them to stop it. James is the adult in this scenario but 10 years later here he is making her out to be a mean stalker who makes him uncomfortable. Have you ever met a 17-year-old girl? Had he not seen Mean Girls yet?
So what’s the real trouble with older men pursuing younger women for sex and relationships if the younger person wants to participate? Though it’s hard to understand just think about how, let’s say, “clueless” and even “stupid” you were about your “relationships” in high school. Welp, that’s why. There are somethings in life that you really just aren’t old enough for. Every relationship you engage in will change you in some way and a relationship that has a great age disparity, has a great power disparity and thus can be even more damaging. Some will date older people and remain unscathed, unhurt and totally fine. Some will be permanently scarred. No matter the outcome that doesn’t absolve the older person from guilt.
The only difference between a sixteen-year-old girl and twenty-five year old woman is her mental faculties. This presumption that youth and beauty are synonymous is a creepy and weird. Think about yourself when you were sixteen, was that really the most attractive version of yourself? The real reason why older people pursue younger people is not because they “look cuter” it’s because it’s much easier to manipulate someone who has less experience.
For example, after you’ve dated a few people your bullshit detector is much more fine tuned. If your first boyfriend is 35 when you’re 18, he has the upper hand of all that life experience and you don’t. A younger person is more likely to believe a liar because they don’t know any better. It’s much easier to convince a younger person that it’s their fault when they are upset. Think of all the times a friend, a significant other or parent blamed you for feeling bad about something they did.
Standing up for yourself is something earned with age and experience. This is why teenagers can’t consent to relationships with older people. It’s not because teenagers are dumb, it’s not because teenagers shouldn’t be having sex, it’s not because teenagers don’t want sex, it’s because it’s simply too easy for an older person to manipulate the sensibilities of a younger person who trusts them.
Our entire society is fundamentally designed around the premise that when you are young you respect your elders, that you should listen to older people and that they know best. As a young person we’re surrounded by older people telling us what to do, it will take decades for us to be the same age as our bosses. We are primed a groomed to place trust in older people and let’s face it, the people any of us can actually trust are few and far between.
James Franco, a 36-year-old man said he was “embarrassed” about picking up a 17-year-old girl for sex on Instagram. Then he says it was “lame and stupid” of him to make out with an underage girl. How many times are we going to let the people around us shrug off predatory behavior like it’s just a faux pas?