Men, who fetishize preteen and teen sex appeal are complete and utter freaks. Thankfully, the Harvey Weinsteins and Warren Jeffs’ of the world are finally getting their comeuppance. Yep, for some of those sleaze-bags, religion becomes the supposed carte blanche for committing atrocities towards (usually) women and children. So, back to Lolicon: The ultra-short skirts in schoolgirl uniforms continue to have anime and manga fans drooling and spraying their pants. Sailor Moon is not the sole archetype of this, however; Western lit and pop culture have a lion’s share of that, as well. Two creative works come to mind that draw subtle parallels to each other. No, Lolita is not one of them.
The Lover: A young adult novel told from multiple points of view (a husband, a wife, their daughter, the wife’s lover, the daughter’s crush). American Beauty: Alan Ball’s genius deconstruction of the “happy suburbia” myth. All of the characters are rich in dollars but utterly destitute in sense and empathy. Jane and Ricky are the exception.
The Lover has workaholic family man. Adam virtually, if unintentionally, prefers the company of his inner demons to that of his wife and daughter. The wife, Asya, resorted to having an affair with Gabriel, Adam’s hired hand. Years later, Gabriel”s whereabouts are unknown (given the war-torn climate), so Adam feels obligated to find him. Between that and a decades-long dry spell, Adam begins lusting after Tali, his daughter Dafna’s classmate. Following several fumbled advances, he actually goes through with the seduction… His family has no clue. Dafna is especially unaware; she believes herself to be the first of her friends to experience sex, having been with Na’im, her father’s apprentice. Adam isn’t having it, so he sends Na’im away, even though he is Dafna’s age. Father of the year, huh?
American Beauty focuses on Lester, who is stuck in a professional rut and a loveless marriage. His wife Carolyn is aroused more by Italian sofas and fat bank accounts than by her loving, albeit timid, husband. Carolyn sleeps with Buddy, her rival in real estate, and instigates an affair. Meanwhile, Lester has recurring visions of petals around Angela, his daughter Jane’s flamboyant classmate (the stereotypical bragadocious cheerleader). Fortunately, Lester’s plan derails, when Angela comes clean about being sexually inexperienced. (She had previously gloated to Jane about f**king everyone from fashion photographers to guys at Red Lobster.).