I think I speak for a lot of guys here when I say that interacting with small children as an adult male has complex social rules attached to it, that many (like myself) do not even want to touch with a five foot bamboo pole.
If you think I’m being overly dramatic, think about how a mother would respond if another woman she was just meeting picked up her child in a playful manner and commented on his cuteness. The mother would go “She’s just being maternal. And she called my little bag of bones adorable! That makes me feel happy! Yea!”
Now, let’s replace the woman with a man. The mother wouldn’t have the same thought process at all.
“What a creeper…please put down my child so I can pepper spray you.”
Now, I wouldn’t recommend picking up small children for the hell of it, especially in vehicles, but I do think there is more tolerance for women interacting with children then men.
Now let’s throw poor Phil O’ Peda into an education career, a profession which only makes the news when a teacher gets frisky with a student. Add the already negative social views of men and children, and what do you get? A lot of assumptions and mistrust. Who wants to feel that at work?
And though I am disgusted by the male teachers who do perform these sexual acts, I can’t help but be sorry for male teachers in general. In high school (and college!), about 50% of my male teachers were labeled “perverts”. This wasn’t the case at all. They were all just socially awkward or new teachers learning the ropes. But since they weren’t this guy…
…they were this guy:
I don’t think that’s really fair, but people’s judgments often come from popular societal misconceptions.