In my time as a PLL fan I’ve read a lot of stuff written by fans, mostly on Tumblr. I have found that most of the people who are condemning the relationship between Aria and Ezra are older (for this fandom) women. Obviously that has to do with a level of maturity and experience that most younger people simply don’t have. But do I think that these young women would date one of their own teachers? God I hope not. I believe the reason so many people (young and older) “ship” Ezria rather than condemn them is because Lucy Hale and Ian Harding are only two years apart in age. So looking at them on your television, laptop, tablet, whatever, it doesn’t visually strike the gross-out chord that it would if you saw an actual 17 year old making out with an actual 25-26 year old.
Here’s an actual teenage girl around the age of 17, Elle Fanning:
Now, if you saw her gettin’ down with Ian Harding, would that look normal/appropriate to you? It wouldn’t to me. As much as I love Lucy Hale, I really wish, if they insisted on exploring this type of relationship, they would have cast someone who is actually high school age to show the proper juxtaposition between the two characters, their physical maturity, and their mental maturity.
Morally, I have a really hard time with this show sometimes. They know they have a HUGE following of young women who are in their formidable years, yet they continue to pepper us with instance after instance of young women allowing themselves to be preyed upon by older men. Not only do they depict these heinous acts on a nearly weekly basis, they never provide a responsible, reasonable adult telling them, “Girls, this is not okay. You do not have to put up with this.” Instead they just have absentee parents and more monstrous adults. I know that in the very beginning Ella and Byron were (rightfully) against Aria dating Ezra, but even they’ve “come around” by now. Besides, Byron had an extramarital affair with one of his own students so it’s not like anyone should reasonably be taking his opinion to heart one way or the other.
So, in summation, girls, please don’t date your English teacher. Or your lacrosse coach. Or the cop who lives down the street. Don’t let the aging barista feel you up. Date someone your age. I know there’s always the argument for the alleged fact that women mature at a swifter rate than men, thus we should always be dating someone at least a couple years older than we are. I think a good rule of thumb is to date people around your own age until you’re out of high school. The differences between a high school age girl and a college age boy can be staggering and you may find yourself in situations you don’t really want to be in but aren’t sure how to get out of. Be smart, be as mature as you can be while still maintaing your youth, talk to your friends, talk to your parents, use your enormous, beautiful brains.