18

Discussion in 'Women's Issues' started by Kevbo, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. Kevbo

    Kevbo Member

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    On the "roadside distraction" thread I asked how everyone felt about young women willingly objectifying themselves for the sake of advertising for car washes. Not unexpectedly, some respondents criticized guys who slow down to ogle these young women, especially given that the women were likely not legal. Others (including myself) mentioned that, at a glance, it can be hard to tell who's legal and who isn't.

    It's a strange thing, isn't it? If a woman's younger than 18, we're perverts if we give her more than a passing glance. If she's 18+, the rules change dramatically. The fact that she may not be significantly different in either mind or body for some considerable period before and after the magical 18th birthday is not counted as an excuse.

    I know that 18 is an arbitrary number; I don't know who chose it, but for legal purposes there had to be some standard dividing line or characteristic to distinguish women (and men) who are considered mature enough to be held responsible for their actions. (And we have another one at 21.)

    But we've all known people who were either way ahead or way behind on the maturity progression line when they celebrated #18. (It's probably generally true that women are ahead of men sometime into their mid-20s or so, with individual exceptions abounding.) But while we occasionally lament that clearly responsible "kids" have to wait to drink while certain other "adults" should NEVER be allowed to vote or breed :->, we never really integrate that into our worldview about what's creepy and perverted and what isn't.

    Please understand, I'm not in any way advocating that older, predatory-type people take advantage of younger, impressionable people, especially those younger people whose bodies are way ahead of their emotional and mental development. I'm not saying that at all. But the simple arbitrariness of the "18" rule has led to some really regrettable situations, such as 19-year-old guys being labeled (often permanently) "sex offenders" if they sleep with their 17-year-old girlfriends. Never mind that both male and female might very well be "equally developed" on physical and emotional scales; the law (and society) ignore the actual truth of the situation for this artificial distinction based entirely on physical age.

    I'm not speaking from any personal experience here concerning statutory rape, though I did date a high school girl while I was in college. (No sex occurred, not even the near-occasion of it :->) I'm not even sure that there's a question here. I guess it just feels like a shame that there is this weird rule about how the sexes can interact with each other when near the 18 "breakpoint" and I'm wishing there was a better way of judging someone's maturity.

    I'll close by saying, as another disclaimer, that I have no interest in younger women beyond the platonic. I will admire a shapely figure that wanders into my visual field :-> but I respect that there are limits to this appreciation. I'm in my mid-40s, and while I interact daily with plenty of 18ish women (waitresses, cashiers, etc.), I don't have any romantic interests in them, simply because the cultural differences are too great. (I am a good listener, though, so I've had my share of female-to-Kevbo crushes to deal with.) If the social mores concerning interacting were relaxed, I still don't think I'd be interested in chasing down any woman young enough to be my daughter. Even if there was some initial spark/common ground, it would be an uphill climb to keep such a relationship coherent since the younger person would be going through all sorts of phases while the older person would be more likely to be locked in.

    Kevbo
     
  2. WowALotANamesTaken

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    I live in NZ and the age of consent here is 16, in fact 16 seems to be the most common age of consent world wide. I agree with what you say, although it's interesting to read on how quite a few countries are more relaxed on the issue, especially the ages where the boundaries are a bit fuzzy. This link has a good map of consent ages around the world, as well as info on the oceanic countries. Ages of consent in Oceania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
    #2 WowALotANamesTaken, Nov 18, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  3. WowALotANamesTaken

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  4. ManlyBanisters

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    In societies that operate as many modern socities do (by a legislated system of rights and duties/responsibilities) there has to be a cut off point. It is far easier to do this with an age limit that to start arguing about how emotionally and physically mature a person is on a case by case basis. Most countries/states operate some kind of a 'Romeo and Juliet' clause to account for the fact that 18yos will be sexually active with 17yos (or 16 with 15, etc.) without any actual abuse of rights or breach of responsibility taking place. It isn't perfect but I can't think of a more efficient way of doing it.
     
  5. Kevbo

    Kevbo Member

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    I know what you mean, ManlyBanisters -- there are contexts that will be considered. But some other posters included links to ages of consent around the world, and talk about a sliding scale! I guess my muddled thoughts are that these arbitrary numbers we use for efficient legal purposes creep into people's perceptions of normal social interaction. Let's say I look at a 17-year-old woman a little bit longer than usual. As a 40+ man in the U.S., I could catch some heat for that. But if the woman's 18? Not so much. Even though, for many people, we are splitting hairs on the 17 / 18 maturity level. I freely admit I have no better solution to telling someone's maturity level, but the way we as society unthinkingly assimilate a convenient legal standard into our moral reasoning is kind of disturbing...

    (And again, I disclaim any intention of horning in on teenage women :-> ... I'm thinking more of the principle of the whole thing.)

    Kevbo
     
  6. cbrmale

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    The age of consent here (the Australian Capital Territory of Australia) ranges from 12 if a partner is no more than 2 years older, to 16 for any age. This reflects reality, with many sub-16 year olds having sex (the median age, or the age where half the population has had sex, is 16 in both the US and Australia).
     
  7. WowALotANamesTaken

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    That would be me :) Although I don't remember a sliding scale. The point I was trying to make is that the age of consent, and the moral views around it vary greatly world wide. Even in the US there are different ages of consent. You say that people would think of you badly for looking at a 17 year old, but not an 18 year old... well why? Even if a girl is 18 if a much older man looks at her lustfully is this still not wrong? What about in countries where the legal age is 14? What age is it wrong? What does legality have to do with morality? Not a hell of a lot in my experience.
     
  8. 3664shaken

    3664shaken New Member

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    The 18 year old age is highly arbitrary and I don’t get it either.

    When I was 14 most people who met me thought I was 18+, I matured very early, started my period at 8 and had C Cup breasts when I was 9. I was ogled by grown men from basically 11-12 years old on. Many of them thought I was legal and I found it flattering that 20-somethings were hitting on me constantly when I was 14-16, none of them having a clue to my age. I was also very mature for my age socially so I could play the part well.

    I find it creepy when 65+ year old guys drool over 16 year old and I don’t like men who ogle girls that LOOK like their 12, but seriously at 16 most girls are semi-developed to fully developed, most are sexually active, and many dress to illicit responses from men.

    When I was young (hell who am I kidding I still do it) I dressed certain ways on purpose to get people to look, I had a secret string Bikini and other clothes that my mom never knew about, so I think it’s natural that older guy’s would look.
     
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