It really isn't. I'd like to agree with you on that and find some other kind of explanation but I spent 7 years teaching swim lessons and wow...you couldn't even begin to imagine the sort of shit I saw from parents. The first thing that happened every session was every single mother with a female (and half the male) child would stay poolside for the first few days at least. This was expected for me after a certain point. When they saw I wasn't groping their daughter by day 3 they usually backed off a bit. And by that I mean literally backed off. To a seat or something instead of hovering a few feet from the pool. The real problem came when the children grew attached to me. I don't know what it is, but kids in the toddler to 7/8 year old range just fucking love me. Maybe it has something to do with me being horribly immature. I don't know. But they really do. I would have kids crying because they didn't want to leave my class after time was up. Then there were two completely different reactions. One I loved, where the parents would talk to me afterwards and say things like "My child has never liked the water at all, thank you so much!" and even to the extent where they would request from my employer for me to teach private lessons. The other half was dirty/suspicious looks and complete silence, even if I tried to engage the parents about how I thought their child could best improve outside the lessons. That was extremely disheartening. When you spend time trying to teach a kid how to not drown, when their parents don't trust you, it really puts a damper on things. And the thing was, this never happened to my female coworkers. They had complete trust from the start because "Hey! You have the genitals to produce one of these too! You're automatically trustworthy!". Yes, I do realize I seem like an asshole complaining about this, but it really did hurt. My point is that it's not more complicated than pedophilia hysteria, that's precisely what it is. Any male in our society who shows interest in any way towards children is automatically a pedophile. The real kicker is, when I was in that job, I was a TEENAGER. I mean, what the hell. The sideways looks and lack of response when I tried to talk to parents was made worse by the fake smile I had to put one when interacting with them.
However, I have to say that there were parents, sometimes, who just didn't give a shit about all of that. There is one experience that will stick in my mind for a long time. I was a manager, and one of my instructors didn't show up so I had to get in and teach her class for her. This one little girl absolutely HATED getting in the water at the beginning of the class, but by the end I couldn't get her to stay on the wall! She kept floundering out to try to grab onto me and by halfway through the class might as well have been my personal barnacle. At the end, her mother came up to me afterwards and said something along the lines of "She has NEVER wanted to get in the water much less leave the wall and try to swim. Somehow you got here to learn two strokes today, thank you so much. Is it possible to do private lessons?".
I'm telling that story to bring some balance. There are parents who understand and those who are paranoid. I don't want to exclude the former group from my little argument. However, those were the exception, not the norm. In general, males in society today have to completely ignore children out of fear of being labeled as, or at least suspected of, being pedophelic(is that a word?). And that has to change. How do people expect young men to become good fathers if they are discouraged so heavily from interacting with children?