Last week an American substitute teacher called Julie Amaro acquired a criminal record for disorderly conduct and lost her licence to teach. Her reaction? "I feel wonderful."

Wonderful, it turns out is a relative term because four years ago Julie was facing a 40-year prison sentence for risking injury to a minor by allowing them to see porn on a laptop.

The court tossed out the original charge, since the laptop wasn't hers and the porn came from spyware pop-ups that she didn't know how to cancel. Despite this, the state prosecutors continued to pursue the case until Amaro eventually agreed to plead guilty to the misdemeanour charge just to settle the affair.

Local newspapers have, quite rightly, led a vocal campaign in defence of this poor woman. But I imagine that their reaction would have been quite different had this teacher been a man. Men - especially single men - can't claim computer illiteracy so easily as women. We are all assumed to spend late nights working out clever ways to plumb the internet's vilest depths. Men are assumed to carry an inbuilt preference for porn. Men are often portrayed as barely in control of their basest desires. Not only is there no smoke without fire, but we generally believe that this fire burns when we can't even see the smoke.

But what I wonder is this: what is our problem with porn? Do images of explicit sex corrupt more than images of graphic murder? Both carry 18 certificates but only one of them will land you in jail. Saving Private Ryan or Saving Ryan's Privates? Silent Hill or Hillary Scott? Which would you rather your thirteen year old was watching behind your back? Are we too uptight about sex or too relaxed about violence?