Conversing with brave devil’s advocates in defense of creepy guys

Two comments threads in response to the above image on Faceyspace.

HUMAN 1:
Not trying to be a jerk, honest. But if you think a guy can date a guy, a girl can date a girl, a guy can say he’s a girl and date a guy or girl. Then why is age gap bad?

Up to a certain age, everyone is the equivalent of falling-down drunk in their decision-making.

Now, some people can hold their liquor better than others. And some people, even blitzed, might not think unkindly on their drunken hookup when sobered up.

Yet: This is in no way a justification for sober people trying to have sexual involvement with drunk people.

In the same way, it’s not a good thing for two drunken people to hook up when they’re both buzzed, but neither one is taking advantage of superior capacity for inhibitions just for that.

So, two underage people having a romantic relationship & sleeping together is not really a good thing, a lot can go wrong, but it’s on a different ethical level than an adult taking advantage of someone with significantly less life experience, someone they know they can manipulate.

Like with operating a motor vehicle, we have some arbitrary cut off that doesn’t make as much sense in itself as it does that we have one somewhere.

An age of consent of 9 is nuts. So is a BAC of 0.24. But it’s not like 18 is magically OK or 0.079 is safe & proper.

If you’re a 22-year-old and the age of consent in your state is 16, you might still be a terrible person without breaking the law. And a creep. But also, if you’re 68 and dating

But also, if you’re 68 and dating 20-year-old women, it’s super duper weird & creepy and shouldn’t just be shrugged off as ‘Oh well’ even if for the sake of society it has to be completely legal because it’s counting hairs.

The original image itself is a generalization and not inclusive of all sorts of behavior, genders, & sexual attractions, but let’s acknowledge that the main problem is older men pursuing women who are physically, emotionally, and romantically/life-experience-ly children. Betty White isn’t trawling high schools for fresh meat, and I think gay men still are harshly punished by the justice system in most places as dangerous predators due to other prejudices against them more than the offense.

HUMAN 2:
But technically 18 is Adult so you’re saying an 18 year old man dating a 17 year old girl is “fucking gross”?

HUMAN 3:
There’s also a law most places for that which limits the age difference to two years if one person is underage.

I’ve met 20-somethings who think it’s chill to date 16 year olds

HUMAN 2:
I mean that is a bit weird yeah but what about Scott Pilgrim dating a high school girl?

Which medium of Scott Pilgrim suggests that he and Knives are a good couple with a healthy relationship that ought to be together, or even that Scott is normal or a cool guy for dating a high schooler?

I’m not an expert, but everything I’ve seen seems to go out of its way to say that was not cool, a good idea, or something to be anything but frowned upon even if the age of consent in the setting of Canada is 16.

But also, your original argument is not genuine. People accept that there are edge cases. People accept that the age of consent is a messy, gradation thing. It’s not relationships between 17- and 18-year-olds that anyone is expending any time or effort criticizing.

On the other hand, even if I can legally seduce a 16-year-old into sex as a 21-year-old or 30-year-old in some state, province, or country, that’s not an argument for doing it or acting like it’s OK. It’s not any less gross for me to fly to East Timor to bed a 14-year-old just because the legality is different in that place.

If I’m the sort of person who wants to screw vapid, less educated, less confident people who don’t have nearly the same life-experience or capacity for intellectual engagement, I’ve got something creepy going on, and basically everyone is vapid and boring till they’ve had the time to triumph, fail, fall in and out of love, and make mistakes with people who don’t have a life-experience advantage over them.

When you’re also 16, you don’t know any better because they’re your peers. Five years later, you ought to.

HUMAN 2:
Hold up I’m just playing devil’s advocate and joking with the Scott Pilgrim comment. Please don’t get any ideas that I may be the type of person who “wants to screw vapid, less educated, less confident people”…

After posting, I changed some pronouns to try to make it more obvious I wasn’t accusing you specifically of anything. I apologize if that wasn’t clear before.

But ask yourself: what is the benefit of ‘just playing devil’s advocate’ in bad faith to something you probably already know the answer to?

There’s a difference between asking a genuine question to get it answered for future conversations where someone might say something similar compared with bringing up a straw man and defending it as nothing more than a meaningless joke.

HUMAN 2:
I feel the language of the original post is not clear enough because it demonizes relationships between 17- and 18-year-olds. Honestly, I wouldn’t really see the problem with 17 and 20, especially given the fact that males mature slower than women. But 26 and 16? 22 and 15? Fuck that.

If you feel the original post wasn’t clear enough, you didn’t think much about it or else don’t know much about the subject.

I’m not being rude, I’m just saying you defaulting to 17 as underage and 18 as adult shows you don’t know much about the law, or variation among them, so I find it difficult to believe you have anything authoritative to say about a two-sentence, one-panel comic.

We do have common ground on the grossness of someone 26 dating someone 16, or 22 dating someone 15. We don’t have common ground on men maturing slower than women as a justification for older men matching up with younger women.

HUMAN 4:
Also if women do mature quicker than men it’s only because they’re forced to because of shit like this, societal pressure, and the sexualization of young girls.

HUMAN 2:
Here’s my biggest problem with this though, why are we using legal definitions to decide where to draw the line on relationships? Why does 18 *magically* make someone an adult?

There are some 17 year olds who are as conscious as 20 year olds, and the opposite is true as well, if two consenting people have an attraction to one another, why is that a bad thing?

I want to make clear that I am talking about couples where both genuinely want to be with each other, please do not generalize men who have these sort of relationships as psychotic individuals who only seek to manipulate women.

(Yes I understand “consent” legally defined is not consent until 18, but again I ask why.)

We use legal definitions because you have to draw a line somewhere, and there is some general consensus on where that arbitrary line ought to be even if not complete agreement.

The age of consent in Washington State is 16. In Texas, 17. In California, 18. States also define differently how close in age someone can be for it to be an affirmative defense to a statutory rape charge. Often these are called ‘Romeo and Juliet laws’.

So what you’re saying does not have basis in the reality we share and laws we are subject to. Please use the Google machine on this subject before continuing to ask your rhetorical questions.

For a more detailed answer, though, read my reply to Human 1.

HUMAN 2:
Look I’m going to make this as simple as possible I’m not advocating for anything bigger than a three year age gap between a minor and an adult (in many Romeo and Juliet laws this is the norm).

I’m only pointing out this comic is flawed because it demonizes people who have legal relationships as adults and minors :-/

HUMAN 3:
There are always exceptions to every rule and focusing on this one thing isnt constructive dialogue

HUMAN 2:
Who doesn’t agree that a 30 year old dating a 16 year old is fucking weird though? If that’s what point this comic is trying to make, how is it constructive if it is the general consensus?

HUMAN 3:
This is literally targeting a phenomenon which you have no experience with and therefore didn’t recognize in the comic. This is a caricature of a specific type of asshole who does this shit, and many communities tolerate behavior like that. It isn’t about H2, don’t worry m8.

HUMAN 2:
I’m just confused why this turned into a shit show.

It went bad at ‘technically’ — that’s rarely-to-never a good place to begin on a subject like this, because you’re admitting as you do it your point is narrow, intentionally against the meaning of the larger message, and doing so for sophistry rather than communication or an honest exchange of ideas.

You’ve been saying ‘But what about this thing no one else is talking about or reasonably intending’. And if the response to that has not been wholly positive or encouraging, that should not come as a surprise.

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