Adolescence:The forbidden topic
When I first came up with Gutterdelve my characters started their story as teenagers. But later I decided to age them up for many reasons with a big one being I simply didn't want to deal with any more controversy. I mean when you already want to tackle realistic issues people are not 100% comfortable with you don't want that additional burden of teens having "under aged sex" or getting involved in occult ritualistic orgies!
Yet I notice this disturbing trend of denying the teenager experience. From youtube to Vox some think the age of consent being 18 is still too young and that we should even further regulate relationships based on age brackets. Yet more infringements upon our freedoms but when people are duped into thinking it's "morally right" they'll gladly sacrifice their rights at the alter of virtue signaling dopamine triggering "social justice" just so they can feel as if they're "the good guys" in an ongoing war against pedophiles and other sexual deviants.
Initially I agreed with the conservative right on these topics. I don't think children should be learning anything about sex or sexual identity as young as 10 years old. A child's mind simply is not ready for those things because they have not gone thru the hormonal changes to have an idea of whether or not they're straight or gay nor do they desire sexual interaction in the first place. The most you might get is a girl liking a boy in class but they probably haven't done anything beyond holding hands and exchanging their lunchables! Even if they have "played doctor", the male cannot produce sperm at that point in development so it's pointless to introduce the mechanics of sexual relations to kids until they're much older. In other words,when they're all at least 14. (And "teaching about sex objectively" doesn't mean endorsement of it! Teens should know the potential downsides too such as unprepared for pregnancies,birth control procedures that are not always 100% full proof, and sexually transmitted diseases.)
When I was young I grew up on movies like Bueller's day off,Stand by me,The Craft,Hackers,Porky's,Buffy The Vampire Slayer,Lost Boys,Back to the future,Teen-wolf,and even American Pie. At their time these were the most honest portrayals of teens I had seen. Aka, the young protagonists had agency,intelligence,cracked dirty jokes,and yes they got into sexual situations or at the very least thought about them. There were also consequences for their actions too so usually there was still a moral lesson hidden amongst the entertaining hi-jinks. The films I mentioned didn't encourage debauchery or hedonistic behavior but they were brutally honest about teens being essentially young adults with many of the same worries and obstacles their parental counterparts were experiencing. Will I get this job? Will I make it into a good college? Does he/she like me? Did we go "too far" bullying that person? Should I bone the easy hawt ditz or wait to lose my virginity to the one girl I grew up with and truly care for? These are inquiries that pop up from the murk often, revealing to us the life of adolescents is more complex than we as adults remember it to be. And yet in every discussion I see about teens they are ALWAYS victims,never accountable for their own actions and when "what about the children?!" is predictably blared from the fog-horn of the soccer-mom emporium, teens always get lumped in with little kids even though the wants and needs of children compared to the wants and needs of adolescents are drastically different.
To be honest, I don't like being "that guy". The curmudgeon that comes along to remind new parents that yes,their teenage offspring are not perfect darlings,that they have sexual desires,and are probably writing erotic fan fictions on 4 chan and literotica, or drawing erotic Doujins on some rule 34 site! And no, there's nothing wrong with any of that but I find many adults today have "convenient amnesia" about their own teenage years all while trying to further infantize today's youth under the deceptive labeling of "protection".
As a Gen Xer I was at the cross roads of my parent's era and this era. In his 20's my father married my mother who was 17. At the time no one found this to be absurd or obscene. The age difference was a complete nothing burger. In my own youth I knew teen girls with older men and again,no one raised a stink. Often the parents knew and were okay with it. So long as the guy courting their daughter worked hard and brought home the bacon (And she was happy with him) all was peaceful. Perhaps rural mountain life is simply a little bit "different" from the big cities. Yet all too abruptly later on I was left with a moral crisis when the whole script was flipped. Suddenly age difference relationships were frowned upon and teens were portrayed as these consequence free thoughtless pod-tards until the magical age of 18 (Or 16 depending on your zip code!) that simultaneously gives them a brain, a soul, and a heart! (This was at the same time kids were given Ritalin as a substitute for playing outside during recess and "soy" started to become a popular food group among the far leftist "intellectual elite"!)
So,is it immoral to perceive teens as young adults? Is having a guilt boner for a well endowed 16 year old gymnast/ice skater the same as having a guilt boner for an 8 year old prepubescent child? Will a teen girl be traumatized for life just because someone online sent dick picks to her inbox or requested some lewds? To me the logic answer to all these is "no" but merely bringing this up has gotten my replies deleted from discussions. Indeed rather than being met with arguments I'm often presented with this eerie silence until I'm aware my post is simply no longer there. Sadly the culprit in this case seems to be the very conservatives I usually agree with because they are reacting to the backlash of corruption within child protective services,public schools,the mainstream media, pedophile laden Hollywood,and planned parenthood that have ruined many young lives in one way or another. There's a reason parents are more vigilant than ever before and I'd be lying to imply they are paranoid for no good reasons. Many of us know about the Satirist named Soph who despite only being 14 was viciously attacked by a reporter working for VICE just because her humor rubbed certain leftists the wrong way with her critiques centered around big company nepotism,censorship,and Islam. Additionally there was the whole MAGA hat debacle in which young lads standing in front of their school were yelled at and harassed by marching protesters for their outward support of our current president. It's sad we live in times where adults will compromise their own values and go after those as young as their own children just because different opinions contrary to theirs were being expressed peacefully. What I mean to say is yeah, I'd be scared for my son or daughter too if I actually had one. I get it.
Be that as it may, in our rush to protect and baby teenagers we've robbed them of the experiences that make them grow into wiser and better people. These days when someone skins their knee on something on the playground we completely take that thing away instead of improving it/making it safer. "Welp, I guess kids will have to deal without monkey bars because they're too dangerous!" Likewise if a student burns himself or herself in welding class the school will immediately drop welding from the curriculum. To me this is not the right way to go about things. "Getting dirty and getting hurt" is how we adapt and learn. The more we're encased in a safety bubble the more our minds are hindered and restricted when it comes to development.
I'm rather confident this is why we have increasing numbers of adults who still act like children and end up living with their parents well into their 40's! Just my theory but you gotta admit,it holds weight! I'm not saying to let teens run rough-shod and wild with no supervision what so ever but it wouldn't hurt to acknowledge they're no longer "little kids" thus should be treated differently. That and I don't think the government should be able to place additional restrictions upon our romantic relationships after everyone is the age of consent. Some people have a fetish for older lovers whereas others have a fetish for younger lovers. So long as its' legal it's no one's fucking business,least of all moral busy bodies and politicians on capital hill!