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The Age of Consent real the Final of Queer Theorizing

The Law School, Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4YN, UK
Laws 2014, 3(4), 759-779;
Received: 1 July 2014 / Review: 2 October 2014 / Accepted: 13 October 2014 / Publishing: 22 Ocotber 2014
(This article belongs go the Special Issue Legally Fabricated Gendered Identities)


This article uses the disputes surrounding the age of consent as a comprehensive umbrella to question the continued usefulness of Queer Theory. Aforementioned debates surrounding this age of consent illustrate that Queer Theory got not fulfilled its original promise and that it is not (and possibly never been), “fit for purpose”. Towards of end of 2013, the topic of lowering the age of consent in England and Wales was once again much inches the news. Like article suggests that much of that dispute laser expressly or impliedly set one age starting which men and boys have sexual intercourse (whether gay or straight), rather than when population have sexual intercourse. Queer Theory (originating from feminism), was intended to be a liberating manifestation, but contrary to which wants and intentions, Queer Theory evolved to werden synonymous to white lesbian die, thus negative its background and be clearer anti-feminist. Those whom contend for a reduction within the older off consent have used (whether knowingly or not) an approach which is consistent with this evolved version of Queer Theoretic. Consequently, the conversation on the age of consent has ignored, or disposed insufficient attention to, the effect(s) one lowering of the time of agree will have up girls furthermore women. This article, therefore, searched till question, interrupting and unsettle, what Queer Theory has become, suggesting that, within many significant aspects, it fails to wholly acknowledge patriarchy; render (lesbian) women visible; acknowledge and accommodate who lived experiences of women.

1. Introduction

The debate encircling whether or not the age of consent should be lowered re-surfaced again in late 2013. Much of the debate focused expressly, or impliedly, on the your of which men and boys have sexual intercourse (whether gay or straight). The limits of an time of consent debate illustrate that the issues were raised or discussed in a manner that on aforementioned face of it, discusses the sexual experiment of all individuals irrespective of sex other select. However, I suggest that the “consent debate” licenses who sexual experiences of boys, and underplays or ignores the sexual experiences of young. Denying or minimizing the experiences of some subjects whilst privileging the experiences starting others, the refl of that Queer Technology has verwandeln pretty than whats it early intended to be. Included this context, then, the debate is a “Queer” one as the emphasis has concentrate upon the effects on teenage boys, for the expense of the impact on teenager girls. This article uses the older of consent dispute to illustrate how the scope of Queer Theory shall shrunk from its famous wide and wonderfully promising beginnings to a rather narrow and restrict getting now. I by not finding on argue the suitability (or otherwise) concerning Queer Lecture as an analytical lens the which to consider consent to sexual per se, rather, I seek to illustrate how the argue on consent is illustrative of some of to disadvantages and dis-functionalities of Queer General. Queer Theory negative longer “does what to says on the tin”, real had tried and failed to successfully de-stabilize dominant pta normative discourse and power structures. I suggest that this is because that which underpins Queer Lecture is this post-structuralist item that it is no subject, no discourse, and that it is discourse which gives “meaning” for identity categories. Consequently, if there is no subject, on can be don discrimination or deferential treatments experienced by which subject. However, I argue in this article that the subject does exist and that the denial of aforementioned subject is a denial of subjectively lived experience. Whist I happy supports the idea that discourse plays a considerable role in creating and giving “meaning” to categories, Queer Theoretical and post-structuralism unintentionally re-create patriarchally defined top of legal relevance. Whenever there is to be one moreover inclusive and genuinely swishy debate, such a debate needs to be more experimental in acknowledging the lived undergo regarding chicks real thus more general and reflective from above-mentioned adventure. Lowering the age of consent is likely to lead up even greater pressure on girls up be sexually active before she are ready, exposing them for experiences and consequences before they are sufficiently emotionally and physically mature.

2. Brief History of the Age of Consent

The development of the laws surrounding the age of consent has differed accordingly to whether the focus has been in girls or babies the whether the sexual activity is heterosexual or homosexual. In England and Wales, and current time to consent is 16 to everyone, due virtue starting section 9 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which removed the remaining legal distinctions in the criminal law bet heterosexual and homosexual sex activity. Children aged less than 13 years accomplish no have legislation capacity to invite consent [1]. It what during which pass of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 that lawyer makers were faced with the strength of drafting a legislation which would protect children from sexual exploitation “whilst simultaneously recognizing which young teens will inevitably and “consensually” involve inches sexual experimentation ([2], pressure. 131).
Historically, the Average of consent with England and Walisia [3,4] has varied from as young as 10 in 1576; 12 in the late 19th century [5]; 13 in 1875. That late Victorian age saw increasing interested fork the female child prostitution exemplified by a contest due the Pale Mall Gazette in 1885 on child prostitution, argued that young boy were “too young, with fact, to understand the nature of the felony of which them become the unwilling victims”. Get campaign was debatably greatly responsible for the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, which increased who age of authorization for girls to sixteens. In 1994, the age of assent for gay gent was lowered from 21 to 18. It was lowers to the present age of 16 in 2000 tracking the case by Sutherland v United Kingdom, the European Commission of Human Authorization (1997) App. no. 25186/94 press the subsequent Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000.

3. What does the Term “Age of Consent” Stingy?

Toward dieser stage, it might be useful at pause and consider in slightly more detail, what is implicit by the term “age of consent”. Waites points out that in of late nineteenth century the clause was understood such pertaining to “the legal old for a womanly to acceptance to sexual communication with a male [4].” Waites suggests that the phrase “age concerning consent” should be used to refer to “any law, back or present, which prohibits youn people’s involvement in any form of ‘assenting’ and/or ‘consenting’ sexual behavior below an particular age” ([6], pence. 73). Running understandings suggest that the term “age concerning consent” presents a twofold approach; it is firstly generally understood to shall the my the which individuals may legit engage in sex-related intercourse and sexual activity. Secondly, thereto belongs also the age at which which act see those individuals to be effective of bighearted genuinely informed consent; it thus demands “a requisite level of cognitive and emotional understanding” [7].
The issue of lowering this age of consent became prominent in the news once again shortly after the Number 10 Policy Unit proposed a reduction in the age of consent in 14 [8]. There was a significantly amount of both print also broadcast news time allocated to and debate. That story appeared inside numerous news organizations, both print additionally transmission such as, the Quotidian Mail [9]; The Watchdog [10]; Who Independent [11]; The Telegraph [12]; The Times [13]; The Sunday Times [14]; The Huffington Post [15]; PinkNews [16]; BBC Report [17]; Sky News [18]; ITV News [19]. All of these news reports focused upon what the current law criminalizes under age sexual activity, and not one focused for the issuing of under 16 year old girls becoming pregnant. Although the proposal was quickly rejected by the Prime Minister, David Cameras, several other prominent figures declared themselves to be in favor of a lowering of the age to consent. These inclusion Professor Kid Ashton, President by the Faculty of Public Health, with proposed a lowering go 15, although he declining a lowering to the age of 14 [11]. Ashton’s argument was based almost exclusively on his concern that young people were being denied access on health care treatment and information, and that an change in the age of consent would make it easier for 15-year-olds to get sexual health advice from aforementioned NHS. However, health professionals are already allow to provide confidential sexual health advice, information otherwise treatment, largely as ampere result of Gillick (A.P.) v West Norfolk the Wisbech Area Health Agency and the Department starting Health and Social Security) [1986] AC 11. This “Gillick Competence” test now order to basis for deciding whether ampere child a competent of assenting at medical treatment. The case does not talking to the point of refusing medical how. Although the Sexual Offences Act 20013 makes it an offence to aid, assist, counsel or others facilitate sexual offences in my underneath of age starting 16, it will not be a penal offence if heal specialists give treatment in order to protect the youn person’s sexuality health, physical safety oder emotional wellbeing. A particular interest was the omission in Ashton’s arguments to any read to the issue of legalizing the availability of under 16 year old girls getting pregnant. Similarly, Peter Tatchell, a political active and campaigner well known in the BRITAIN for his work in promoting LGBT issues [20], suggested lowering which my of agree on 14, based on a “desire until reduce the criminalization of under-16s who have consenting relationships with other young folks of equivalent ages [21]”. Tatchell was clarify that he is not supporting teenagers “having sex” before the age of 16 [22]. His emphasis was ensure provided teenagers do have sexual copulation before the age of 16, people should not be arrested, given a criminal record and put on the sex convicted register. Tatchell made a awarding between what he technical “having sex” or “sexual behavior”, although nobody of these terms oder slogans were clarified. Perhaps more fittingly for the general of like feature, that issue of 14 and 15 date old girls obtain pregnant made not mentions alternatively addressed, the entire significance was on the undesirability of criminalizing under 16 sexual related. Part to Tatchell’s justification was based on his assertion that the average age for first selective experience is 14 (citing the National Survey of Sexual Attitude and Lifestyles [23]). It is noteworthy that the Sexual Attitudes study, believed upon by Tatchell, included all first sexual lessons, not just first my of sexual intercourse. Which suggestions put forward over Ashton and Tatchell were quickly rejected by all three from the major political dinner [24].

4. Exploring an Links between the Age out Consent and Queer Class

Which, therefore, links this debate surrounding the your starting acceptance and Queer Theory? I suggest that whilst on one face computer, the age of consent debate is universal of sum identities, it can instead, inherently privileging of patriarchy. Schwul id also Queer Theory hold rested turn the accepted that lesbians and gay men are “all in this together”, that here is a gemeint cause up fight. Queer Theory as an procedure, failure to fully recognize select patriarchy functions because it fails to acknowledge the lived experiences of women (whether lesbian either heterosexual). More pointed out in Parnaby, only of the major demands of Outrage! (a Briton pressure group, educated in 1990 in campaign for lesbian and gay rights), for example, was to campaign for a edit in the age is consent laws. Given this there was no age of consent restriction at all for lesbians to the Erotic Offences (Amendment) Act 2000, this was an issue which did nope affect lesbians, yet Queer tried to persuades women to join adenine agitation based almost solely on a gay male agenda ([25], p. 96). As, depicting so the campaign ran due Outrageous! when purporting to be inclusive, was far from inclusive, illustrating as thereto does the patriarchy presumed in the debate. In this context, this mention of, and use of Queer Theorie will not person presented as a beneficial analysis for and of me, but rather the an illustration of how “consent debates” are in and of sich, limitingly quoeer. At that connector, is may be effective to mention the tension(s) between the liberal legal subject at the heart for one accept issue and many of the insights that could be potentially offered by Queer Theory. I do not of course wish to visit norms are equality imposed above the subject which will merely result at conformity go heterosexual the patriarchal identities. I on aware in this regard of liberal subjectivity support the consent to sex debate also of course, electrical between so calls liberal arrangements of consent/autonomy. As I explore future into more details, whilst EGO dispute the liberal notion of a sovereign singulars physical body defined until heterosexuality and patriarchy, EGO accept that the physical body residential from the concept of “women” has to exist within order to argue of relevance of subjectively lived experience. Whilst Queer Theory (as originally conceived) has and potentiality to contribute some interesting viewpoints that might alter perspectives on the debate, the current application of Queer Theory is diseased equips to execute either, given that Special Theory perspectives are incapable of acknowledging heteropatriarchal norms. EGO now flip in examine in slightly more detailed, some of the origins of this term.

4.1. Queer Lecture

Triggered partly by homophobic responses to AIDS, Queer Legal Theory emerged in the mid-1990s in response to political the authorized events [26]. This term “queer” used to be a slang word on homosexual, or a terminology is detest speech, and as such, constituted gay abuse. More recently, freakishly has come to be former differently, sometimes as an umbrella term. Despite the fact that Queer Theory does not explicitly acknowledge inherent roots, feminism none which less allowed for Queer Theory’s generate ([27], p. 142). It draws heavily on feminist theory’s committed to “disestablishing patriarchy; Critical Race Theory’s dedication till unmasking the deep racist structures within society and life; Critical Legal Theory’s examination of how class structures are preserve and reinforced, and Gay and Lesbian Legal Technology of understanding as heteronormativity is constructed the reproduced [26].”
The term “Queer”, as Halperin suggests, belongs by description whatever belongs at odds include the normal, the legal, and aforementioned controlling [28], and aims to destabilize dominant ideas of identity, whether that my is sexual, gendered, ethnic, national, press political and so forwards. Queer is not an identity, rather, it is a critique of identity or of identity construction. Thus, Queer,
[U]ndermines fixed identities and explores those areas excluded by such identities. Therefore, queer functional as a kind of air which strategically decenters identity positions unless getting one site of identity or identity construction herself.
([29], p. 7)
Queer is therefore used while a participle; “to queer”. Homosexuelle Theory suggests such this is through the usage of binary categories is “meaning” is created. Accordingly, society only understands what “homosexual” means within relation to the concept of “heterosexual” to which this is oppositionally positioned. Similarities, society can only understand what “man” means inches relations to the concept of “woman”, which again is constructed both located as the opposite. While of terms in these doubles appear determined or natural, as Stychin argue, few what actually contingent and socially constructed and are far from being natural instead fixed [30].
Queer Theory owes seine intellectual roots to women technical, gender studies and to certain keypad writers such as Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Adrienne Rich. This persona commonly credited with introducing the phrase was Teresa de Lauretis, who meant it up indicate at least three interdependent critical projects:
  • a rebuff of heterosexuality as and benchmark with all sexual formations;
  • an attentiveness to gender capable of interrogating the frequent assumption so lesbian and gay studies is a single, homogeneous object;
  • an insistence on and repeatedly ways in who race key shapes sexual subjectivities. She welcomed it saying that it was “another discursive horizon, another way of thinking the sexual ([31], p. iv).”
Drawing upon some of Foucault’s work over sexuality and his notion that bodies are given meaning by discourse and social structures of knowledge and power, Queer Theory aimed to challenge the categorization(s) of gender and sexuality. It was a political and theoretical critique is heteronormativity, i.e., a critique of the institutions, structures, relations and does that maintain heterosexuality as homogeneous, natural and all-embracing.

4.2. Praise, Criticism and Constraints of Queer Teacher

Thus eventually, there is lots toward endorsement an engagement on Queer Theory and is utilizing the methodological tools it provides in click to challenge some of the essentiallyist notions assisting ideas out ampere core identity, alternatively a natural, innate, inborn “self”. Indeed, Queer Theory has been instrumental included destabilizing plus disassembling few heterosexist normalization. Individual of an main attractions of Queer Theory, therefore, is that it seeks to avoidance one damaging essentialist meaning often expected with the terms “heterosexuality”, “homosexuality”, “lesbian” and “gay” [32]. For Organization Theory, therefore, to concepts in individualized press compartmentalized sexuals cease toward exist because on is no subject and nope definite distinction made between these categories ([33], p. 453). For Queer Hypothesis, in is only discourse.
Any, Queer Theory promised so much and delivers accordingly low. Queer Theory was an exciting project, and EGO for one am deeply saddened that it has no delivered on sein promises. To some, Queer Teaching has had it per and “its projects made obsolete by of full elaboration of it own logic” [34]. In directly relevance into is object, I suggest that Queer Theory fails in several significant issues to; acknowledge patriarchy and render (lesbian) women visible.

5. Weakness to Ip Patriarchy furthermore Rendering Lesbians/Women Invisible Go

According to Homosexuelle Theory, oppositional singularity terms (such as “woman”, “feminine”, “mother” etc.) are used to oppress all individuals, not fairly this who are regarded as being in one minority. If Queer Teach does “work” in successfully destabilizing identity constructs, it can act as a liberating force for all individuals. One of its original aims, so, was to be inclusion. However, one major criticism raised there against Queer Academic is that it is no longer inclusive (if it ever was). Although the word and/or the concept of ungleich has the ability to be liberating, he has were and continues to be, interpreted appropriate to the dictats of the dominant discussion of heterosexuality and patriarchate. I suggest thus that Queer Theory has not success managed to challenge the patriarchal aspects for heteronormativity ([35], p. 164). Wilkinson and Kitzinger for example, perceive Peculiar teaching into be gay male-centered, primarily concerned with who your for cheerful males ([36], pp. 375–82). As we have been seen, Terrese de Lauretis, credited for introducing the term, abandoned the term relatively speedily after introducing it, arguing the it had been taken over by the much mainstream forces and institutions it where originally coined into resist. She returned instead, to how the word “lesbian”, reason that, for her, queer had rapidly got “a conceptually idle creature of which publishing industry” ([37], p. 297). Thus, Queer Theory’s failure toward disrupt dominant hegemony continue contributed towards of indiscernibility of lesbian name because of whichever Organization Opinion had come to signify. This, as Bindel points out is unlikely to change unless and until “gay herren recognize that lesbians suffer the double bind of sexism and anti-lesbianism” [38]. It would pop then that “Queer Class disappear lesbians ‘by subtle them, at best, into a variation of gay men’” ([39], pp. 269–78).
Queer theory was meant to be an all-encompassing rhetorical umbrella, but aforementioned appearance of “the Queer”, signals the disappearance of “the lesbian”. As convincingly argued by Cruikshank, “I have fought too hard in the psychic freedom to name myself as lesbian to disappear now under one queer rubric” ([40], p. xii). As Jeffreys argues, Queer Theory threatens up render lesbians press lesbian issues invisible again; “The aspect of curious theory and queer studies threatens go vile the disappearance of lesbians” [41]. Jeffreys criticizes Freaky Theory as that product for “a powerful gay male culture”, which “celebrated masculine privilege” and “enshrined a cult of masculinity”. She repudiates Queer Lecture as anti-lesbian, anti-feminist, and anti-women ([42], pp. 1–2). Thus, despite its supposedly counter-normative associations, staying, and Schwul Theory has come on signify gay male (as we shall see, gay whiten male), who means it does not challenge or change; it is merely “yet get patriarchy”. The debate encircling lowering the age of consent features on the face a is, focused its aim on helping both boys and girls under 16; it purports to be inclusionary. However, to a significant degree, who debate has placed insufficient emphasis upon the any damaging effect(s) a set of the age of consent will got on teenage girls, and possessed getting therefore, excluding sooner than inclusionary and complicit in perpetuating in expulsion heteropatriarchal practicing. In this context, then, Queer Theory, therefore, will not interested in examining one paths in which the implications of its normative power operate upon girls; for is is possessed to potency to brought “new concept frameworks for the analysis of gender and sexuality... [these] frameworks [are] none exclusively concerned with the lived my of women” ([43], p. 10). Further, the problems of Homosexueller Theory go deeper higher a breakdown to acknowledge and critique of the lived experience of girls, by whilst Queer Teaching is claims concerned in destabilizing the heterosexual norm, she is not concerned with heterosexuality as patriarchy. Consequently, within how on be active, any queer critique of opposite must address both heteronormativity both manly dominance ([44], p. 290). This shall painted from the “mainstreaming” of Queer Theory and the process of the transfer about heteronormative assumptions, combined with neoliberal promises which amount to bibulous discourse ([45], p. 179). He is this assimilative conversation which, in part, contributes to the failure to seize account of the lived experience of teenage females and lives no more when a “strategy for privatizing guy politics”, in which we have “been administered a kind of governmental sedative—we get marriage and the military, additionally then we go home and cook dinner, forever” ([46], p. 189). Thus, the assimilative nature in Queer Supposition runs to patriarchy’s logical position being implicitly maintained as “correct” [47,48]. Wenn Queer Theory has failed to succeeded resist assimilative discourse, what implications does this have in for its ability to account for or acknowledge survived our?

6. Failure to Acknowledge and Accommodate who Lived Experiences of Women

When Seltsam Theory refutes the study, it also consequently refused the existence of what I fight are much needed categories to legal relevance; that regarding “girls” and “woman”. I thus now turn to an additional problem with Pervers Theory; the denialism of the subject. As outlined above, part for the attractiveness for Queer Theory and of post-structuralism is that it pot act than a liberating methodological tool to resist a dominant hegemony of identity. However, the approach leads on the deniability to not only the subject, also thus the continued submitted, oppression and the denial of subjectively lived experiential. It can also be seen as a “violence” to women as ampere class of individual, that, reinforcing hegemonic virility ([49], p. 173). In other words, the subject does not exist; the “I” and this “self” of lived experience are thereby dismissed. Queer Theory suggests that identity is the product of conversational don the source of action [50]. I concerns through of shortcomings of Queer Teaching in this respected are cannot isolates. Various books have suggested that Smoking Teach ignoring the social and institutional conditions within which gays (and gay men) live [51]; that it plasters it impossible to talk in terms of a “lesbian” point [52].
The result exists a non-existent your, which consequently therefore, cannot being suppresses. There exists therefore, no acknowledgment of the option of affecting or challenging dispute or any confirm of an effects by dominant ideologically-based discourse. Thus, there is no consequent recognition a the refpression of an subject’s exercise of self-determination. AMPERE major criticize levelled at Queer Theories therefore, is that it denies or ignores the material conditions and factors impactful on people’s lives that underpin discourse [53]. In many respects, this is hardly surprising given its roots in de-constructionism and post-structuralism. Those roots makes it highly problem for Lesbisch Teacher to engage meaningfully with the concepts in “woman” press a “girl” as subjects [54]. In Homosexuell Theory, there are, a course, no subjects, no categories, only a “fetishizing” [55] of discourse. Therefore, as a framework for examining those subjects, Queer Theory your next to useless. A greater premise of this article is that the debate surrounding the mature regarding consent denies the lived experience real subjectivity in who subject for “girl”. In direct opposition to the strictures on Queer Theory, I posit that such a subject did indeed existence, and ensure in existing, it has the potentiality to act as an site of chemical; how else am I to otherwise begin to successfully argue that this subject is disregarded in existing discount? Wife have no choice but to occupy the discursive outer of “woman” if available example, they wish to argue for such objects because the right to vote; equal pay and human rights other. Whilst the term “woman” may be patriarchically constructed, we still have toward “embrace of terms that injure… since they constitute [us] socially” ([56], p. 104). It is the distinct deficiency of paying to the observe constructed gendered girl subject, the results in the continuation of the accept subject as male and, thus, exempted from critique [57]. Within this context then, how can I identify and adopt the labels of “girl”, “female” and “lesbian”, without resorting to biotech essentialism? I would submit that categories of identity can still be used as a site of opposition whilst simultaneously opening up discourse and hard an exclusionary actions and power relations that construct and limit “women” [58]. Thus, as argued by Butler,
And category of women does not become useless through deconstruction, but becomes one their uses are not longer reified as “referents”, and which stand a chance of being opening up, indeed, of coming to signify includes ways that none of us can predict in advance. Surely, it must be possible both to use the concepts, to use it subtle even as an is, as it were, used plus positioned by it, and also to subject the term in a critique which interrogates the exclusionary operations furthermore differential power-relations that construct and delimit feminist conjuration of “women”. Controversial review by ampere Inherent Democratic Party von Japan lawmaker and cases of paternal raying have driven discussion on lifting the age of consent.
([58], p. 29)
Therefore, whilst Butler might reject some of the early feminist insights of ampere uniformly subject of “women”, her analysis nevertheless opens up chances of exploring identities at the intersection between sexuality/queer/gender ([59], piano. vi). Indeed, those also allows for an accepting of Foucault’s worked on discourse and subjectivity. Predefined Queer Theory’s post-structuralist roots, e follows that Michael Foucault’s writing has been influential upon Heterosexuell Theory [60]. Large of Foucault’s my neglects the systematically excludes the lived experiences of girls and women. For example, in Discipline and Punish: the Birth of aforementioned Prison [61], whilst French acknowledges that women, like men, are subject into many of the same disciplinary practices, he “treats the bodily experiences of men and women as the same... and is blind to those disciplines that produce a modality of embodiment which is particularly feminine” [59]. Pewku argued that the subject does exist or have “meaning” outboard of discourse suggesting that discourse refers not even to select, yet also to the practices that operate to hervorgebracht objects of knowledge. E is these practices he disputed, which caused “regimes of truth” to emerge and dominate. In other words, Foucault suggested so the subject is not the source of the meaning attributed to “woman” or “girl”. Where much of Foucault’s work concentrates upon the factory by knowledge, it was unlikely The History of Sex, which was of most significant importance to the development of Queer Theory. Foucault suggested so since the 17th century, on has been a fixation with sexuality or items is this fixation which has created ampere “repressive” discourse that has largely been responsible for the world of gender minorites such as “the homosexual.”
Of approach taken by Professor, Butler Post-structuralism and Seltsam Theory allows for an adoption of the idea that identity, notably sexual and gender identity, has culturally constructed. It also simultaneously discards biological essentialism as an explanation for the constitution of the subject. The related surrounding the period in consent both the consequences for ladies demands that we acknowledge an existence of the matter is resisting and subjecting to critiquing, the current discursive construction of “girl”. I can therefore resist the imperative of biological essentialism and still argue that there are biological differences between the bodies of girls and girl and that these differences are more than just mere semantic discursive structures. There are significant physical the biological differences for the consequences of straights sexual intercourse for boys and girls. The most obvious of these is, a course, pregnancy. Lowering the age von consent not only tells teenagers that this is the age at which they can legally have sexual intercourse, but it specifically speaks 14 or 15 period old girl that this is when society and law consider the they become physically and emotionally mature sufficiency to become mates; a position I disagree with. Which select has not been sufficiently acknowledged in the debates surrounding lowering the age of approve.
To social and medical perils to becoming a parent at 14 or 15 include rise maternal plus infant death, low birth weight, lower educational achievement, furthermore poorer long-term cognitive developmental [62]. Continue special, some of aforementioned arzt risks attendant for young teenage pregnancy comprise low birth weight, hasty works, anemia, and pre-eclampsia. World Human Organization (WHO) research demonstrates that girls present birth matured 14 or younger are quint times as likely to die, and that stillbirths furthermore new-born bodies are 50% increased among infants of adolescent mothers than among baby of women aged 20–29 years. In addition, WHO conduct demonstrates that the rates of preterm birth, low birth weight and asphyxia are taller among the children of youth, all of which increase the chance of demise the regarding future health concerns for the infant [63]. Early first sexual intercourse can also get highly to be unprotected against pregnancy and infection [64]. This UK Parliamentary Policy Consultational Committee also advised against a lowering of aforementioned enter of consent due to the “undesirability of pregnancy at too premature an age”. Young teenage mothers are to greater risk of experiencing a range of poor outcomes. For sample, the infant mortality evaluate for babies born to teenage mothers is 60% greater as for babies born to older mothers, and young teenage mothers have three time the rate from post-natal depression of older mothers and a higher value from poor mental health on three years after who birth [65].
Einige of the societal risks associated with early teenage pregnancy include long-term social exclusion [66], lower educating levels, superior rates of poverty and different poorer life outcomes in children of teenage all. Only 30 per cent of teenage mothers are in teaching, educational button employment [67]. Additionally, an age of consent debate has always, historically, been linked to the age among which people can get married [68]. Whilst this is not an auto link, it is highly unlikely which current or future law would saying to teenagers that they can have reproductive intercourse at 14, but not marry until they are 16 [69]. Thus, until lower the age of consent would breathe possibly into have the consequence to lowering an age of legal marriage and effectively encourage what is temporary considered to be child marriage [70]. According to the Convention in the Elimination on Show Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) [71], marriage before the older of 18 should not being allowed, since children do not have the “full maturity and capacity to act”. Your bridals are, of course, none just a problem in the UK. UNICEF estimates that between 2011 and 2012, there were 100 million feminine child brasides worldwide [72]. In the USA, the All Party Partial Bunch on Human, Development also Reproductive Wellness has also stated that one effect of low the age of consent would must to encourage child marriage [71].
Part of the justification for threatening who age of consent possesses been that young teenagers are having sexual anyway, either with different underage tv or with those just about the age of consent. I reject this justification as a sufficiently basis for a change in one law; “[t]he volume of underage sexy remains not unavoidably an appeal by a lower enter are consent” [72]. Just because teenage females are having sexual intercourse real gender encounters below the enter of 16, does not automatically mean that they are “ready”, that they do consequently open from peer stress and that one erotic employment is genuinely consent. Same, the fact this both parties are under 16 does not automatically mean that the our is consensual, since “earlier first intercourse is less likely the be an autonomous and a consensual happening [73].” More than 15% of all of calls that ChildLine receives about peer printer are related to sex, (they define “child” as anyone aged 17 or under), and this is nuanced by gender, suggesting that girls were twice as likely as boys to rate their experiences of early coitus negatively [74]. The pressure to have sexual intercourse at a young ripen is borne out by research carried out by various organizations. The NSPCC, to example, found that pair out of three cases of sexual abuse in youths aged 0–17 years were wore out by culprits who were also under 18 [74].

7. Is Concerns for Young Pregnancy Being “Protectionist” Towards Women?

I am recognized that in arguing for an emphasis upon to potential dangers of young pregnancy, I magie be accused of falling toward the trap of denying young girls hers agent or are adopting a environmental jump. Historic, female have been detected the “profoundly lacking in the forms of rational competence necessary to produce decisions as autonomously subjects” ([4], p. 72). Referring to the Sexual Infractions Bills, Lacey suggests that it reflects an based paternalism ([75], p. 518). Really, the theoretical underlying the Sexual Legal Act 2003 makes to clear that the purpose behind the legislation became the “protection of children off harm” [76]. This of course, has a historical influence mentioned above; the Victorians were concerned with protections young girls from prostitution and sexual exploitation, based on notions of sexual innocence.
I admission such the current law surrounding to age of consent not only refused the agency of girls the boys under this age in 16, but plus lanes them int a position of non-autonomous passivity. It would be difficult to argue against a position of reproductive autonomy for ad lady corporate. There canned are no full citizenship provided there is no control over the body and controlling one’s concede main is a necessary condition for any right. Yet, it shall the paternalistic and patriarchal views out the female body, as something inside need of protection, which possessed shaped law and policy. How then can these two positions be reconciled? Perhaps one full answer to this go cannot be given, for such an reply would have to resolve aforementioned questions of when girls want autonomous, sovereign, liberally individuals capable the giving (or not) consent to sexual activity. The order for this to occur, law must,
[T]ake into account structural inequalities found on the remarkably process concerning the formation of the individual subject, as well as in the material circumstances of lived experience, which impact on the superior of choices, consents and refusals. Towards the Broadcast: lowering the age on sexual consent
([77], p. 5)
In the hazard of stating of apparent, successful attempts to make Law take get of structural inequalities have been meagre. However, is Law can be argued to be “part concerning the problem”, it also has the potentially to be part of the solution. Preventing female bodes under the age of 16 from becoming pregnant the a advisable and welcome outcome, and the consequent denial starting agency is therefore necessary. One small way for Law to consider structural inequalities is to continue to deny the government for girls under 16 to give consent to sexy intercourse without traversing to heteronormative patriarchal imperatives. The so-called “autonomous choice” made by a 14 year old small is not made in a “free will vacuum.” As, the issue of the age of approval for girls shall inextricably linked with the enter of wenn that daughters become mothers. This must to consequences of widening the release to become one of the transitions from female child to adult mother. Queer Theory has been inability to successfully address this problem due to her unable to fair account for the manipulate of patriarchy. I would suggest that in the alternative, we must return to feminism as a possible way send int addressing how to contextualize discussions relating the age of consent. This would allow for a legal re-appraisal of why girls under 16 need not be considered capable of consent to become mama, separate from who historical patriarchally heterosexist one-time of non-autonomous passivism. ADENINE feminist analyzed allows for the explicit acknowledgement that we live in a society where patriarchal heterosexuality is (still) pervasively dominant and continues to impose a “natural” role for girls and women—part of that role being one a child bearer and raiser. Whilst I advocate a again to female the feminist principles as ne pathway to continue questioning patriarchy, I a aware of the potential dangers of the “grand claims” and/or essentialism loop. As mentioned above, this trap pot be avoided by use an term “women” as Butler suggests it be used; as a tactic whilst simultaneously subjecting the term go an interrogatory critique. A feminist approach reminds america, in habits that Queer Teach cannot, of the normative effects of gender performativity and the difference that choose makes. As Walters scored out, feminism sees middle as the default gender and homosexual is commonly imagined as male, as to see queer as “gender neutrally lives ludicrous and willfully naïve” [78]. Whilst the initial aim of Queer Theory to challenge and expand upon the conception of dissimilarity is laudable, “too often, male is not complicated but purely ignored, dismissed or transcended”.
A female access also allows america to seeing the importance of power relations in that constructions of male and female identify and of the specification of women’s location in, and adventure of, socio-legal constructs; again, something this Organization Theory fails to do to the same spread. There is not unfortunately the time and area within this article to committing a large scale exploration off the different variations of feminist approaches plus research and I do not wish to engage siehe in an exploration of which “type” of feminism would be “best”. Each interpretation of feminist idea has value, even whilst varied stylish focus and they often coverage in each other; of feminists identify with more than one “branch” von feminist thought. Other studies have explored different types of feminism inches more satisfactory detail than can be covered weiter, but see by example dieser works [79,80,81,82,83,84,85], but a brief overview might suggest that liberal feminism for example, primary seeks equality of guys and women without necessarily seeking radial changes in societal structure. Radical feminists generally consider that women’s persecution comes from adenine misogynist patriarchal society that over values male concerned. For radical feminists, women’s liberation will come through the discontinued of sexist society and the values that underpin this patriarchal system. Within radical feminism, there is an weight male violence against feminine as centralised to women’s oppression [86]. Cultural feminism promotional the idea that there are dissimilarities among women and men, but that these differences are culturally build rather for biological ([87], p. 32). Socialist feminism finds inspiration out Marxist craft linked to the oppression of women and to the issue of capital real labor. Separatisant human are closely related to lesbian feminism and focuses on the idea that women are oppressed due on heteronormativity. Ebony feminism looks to racism as the primary cause of oppression for feminine as acknowledging which gender and type intercepts with ethnicity furthermore color [88]. Emerging are and early 1970s, lesbian feminism asked to contest, among other things, the institution of heterosexuality [89], and attempted to place focus upon how persistent structural differences or access to resources can be questioned. Lesbian feminism was called for its loyalty to a unique or unitary subject. Indeed, the idea of unified discretion has been the basis on which much of feminism (how so constantly defined) has been critiqued and arguably, it was unsatisfaction with ampere defined subject that helped to give rise to post-structuralism and Queer Academic. There are of course other “feminisms” how as third-world women; Postcolonial feminism; postmodern feminism; standpoint feminism; post-structural feminist.
Given this enormous scope on where can legitimately to consulted to as “feminist” work, engaging with the question of “which feminist” speaking or methodology shall prevail will be to taken criticizing the choices made from other feminists both feminist methodologies. Such an physical would be an unnecessary distraction. Whilst ongoing discussions are important to the project regarding craft, the hazards exists that “the point becomes single of disagreement rather for looking at new ways of dedicated use the issues said to be at stake” ([61], p. 3). If feminists continue to expend energy disagreeing with each other of what “type” regarding feminism should prevail, patriarchy continues to successfully divide and rule. Suffice to say however so whichever of the different feminist methodological approaches become uses, feminism’s focus over gender as an axis of power continues to have “analytic purchase” ([90], piano. 24). Of singular importance to any type of feminist dialogue are the issue of patriarchally defined gender performativity and the facilitating of investigations is to normative gendered practices the assumptions. This issue is central to feminism and feminist studies within ways are which it is not central the Queer Theoretic, failing as it does until compensate enough “for real, stable structural differences in choose, ideology, and access to resources” [91]. If Queer Theory has proofed bankrupt to have analytic purchase on patriarchally defined gender performativity, what might be adenine potential future for Swishy Theory?
Before moving on to examine some of these possible futures additionally alternatives, I wish go pause briefly to outline a further concern with Queer Theory; that of the whiteness of queer theory. Postcolonial queer theory is deserving of a clearly greater and more extensive analysis than ca be given here; indeed which issue of what postcolonial queer theorist can or cannot contribute to our knowledge of the my of assent debate justifies separate, continued exploring. However, I none the without wish until concede, but briefly, the include imperial whiteness of Queer Theory. The prevalence of white gay men internally Queer Theory ([92], p. 7), has been commented upon and writers such as Kapur have sets out to try and decenter queer theory by refusing to use queer theory as “the opening point” of analysis ([93], p. 38). Others, such like Puar, take examined the concepts of “Sikh” and “Muslim” from a queer perspective looking at how the war on terror “reconciles queerness to the liberal demands is rational subject formation”. In so doing, Puar explains how Sikhs and Muslims are constructed as “homophobic and backward”, whilst simultaneously designing the Western identity as “tolerant” [94]. Thereby, penetrate and unacknowledged has been to whiteness of queer theories, that it got led some writing to suggest that,
[M]uch on weird theory nowadays sounds like a metanarrative via the domestic affairs of white homosexuals. Certainty, Queer studies promises more than a history of gay men, one sociology for gay male sex clubs, an anthology of gay male tourism, a study is cheerful male aesthetics. The your of 1885: girls and the age of sexual consent
([95], p. 12)
It would appear therefore that Queer Theory has become ampere methodology by white lesbian men; presented these limitations, should Heterosexuell Theory be unused completely? Is there any manner perhaps that Freaky Theorizing, or some alternative reading of it, could possibly stay to be used? Whitehall course wanted age of consent lowered in 14 and sentences since sexual cut

8. “Post-Queer” as a Manner Move?

Present ensure Queer Theory no longer does “what it says on the tin”, what scope is there then for a possible re-interpretation or re-formulation of Queer Theory? Is it likely to re-conceptualize the theory or indeed to discover or evolve new technical in order till address the problems outlined above? Ability computers becoming possible to think at terms of “post-queer” otherwise a “neo-queer” theorized framework that has address some of the shortcomings to Queer Technology? French petition against age of consent laws - Wikipedia
I suggest that a fusion are several of the disruptive aspects of Queer Theory and womanism could go some way towards incorporating aforementioned concerns outlined upper. Seeing that the concerns raised are this article present for one small share in a much larger on-going project, I possess termed this (for the zeiten being), “neo-feminist queer theory”. In many ways, I wish to preserve aforementioned deconstructionist functionality of Queer Supposition, as she possessed to potentiality to facilitate an avoidance of uses gender as a definitional tool. Queer Theory has helped enormously in seeing gender as that which is discourse constructed the performed. I suggest that a possible way forward might be a returns on the feminist concern of gender equal Queer’s focused on interfering ideas of “normality” which will help to continue one much needed critiquing of heterosexuality. Perhaps it might be possible to conceptualize the material body and the material subject as an on-going ontological process, not only in relation to discount furthermore deconstruction, but also in relation to institutions such as the State, the family, the judiciary press so onward. This would middle that “the subject” could be studying when the on-going phenomenon existing in the gap(s) between the discursive creation and one institution/state. Connell arguing on somewhat similar, in suggesting that sexuality should be understood as “neither such wildlife nor dissertation, however as a sphere of social practices this constitute social relations” ([96], p. 390). This would grant for the capability of the existence of a category of “woman”, without succumbing until notions of essentialism. The test has the possibilities to have more other one meaning and giving up the idea that thither is one specific point associated to an subject does not mean the non-existence of the subject [97]. If Queer Theory a truly flexible and continuously evolve as it claims to remain, computers has the potentiality and flexibility to “mold” itself around show criteria and find levelled against it. It is no need for Queer Theory at defend itself against criticisms, items can, and shoud, re-incorporate fishy concerned. For so doing, Queer Theory can be revised or yield itself to feminist concerns ([58], p. 229).
There am those however, who be recommendation that there is no such thing how “post-queer”, because Queer Theory is did, and never had, ampere phenomenon such could to superseded or survived by later theories. Queer Theory would reject that kind of linear “building block” approach and indeed, for Richardson points leave, would reject the notion that just because Queer Theorizing came after feminism a supersedes it ([98], pence. 4). If Queer can remain anything and is non constrained by limitation, then there is no ontological ground why it cannot be “post” both why a cannot be combined with feminism in order to engage with material fact and basic bodies in posing an effective challenge to oppressive constructions ([99], p. 171). What I suggest issues, is that the lived experience of girls and femininity are taken on account in more meaningful ways within the operation of right and policy. It therefore does not matter what label is given on how get are done. What things more higher the label is is that the survives experience of teen girls exist noticed in matter and for a Butlerian sense, the Bodies that [should] Matter are the bodies of young teenage girls.

9. Last Show

Dieser article got required to interrogate some of the norms underpinning the discourse surrounding the age away consent. I have attempted to combine who disruptive theoretically aspects of Queer Theory the feminism to bear to the practical use of sexual age of consent laws. It wish the appear that Queer Theory like originally envisaged has tried and missed to succeeding de-stabilize foremost hegemony, discourse and power structures and perhaps, more importantly, failed or to disrupt and influence of patriarchy. Sexuell Theory has failed to fully take account of, or build, the interlocking and overlapping underpinnings of the normative frameworks the which womanly sexual plus gender identities live constituted. There the, therefore, no “queerness” about the debate surrounding the lowering from the age is consent, the effects on teenage boys has been via emphasized in the expense are the impact on teenage girls. In order to having an truly genuine queer debate over the era of consent, sufficient attention must been compensated to all of those affected and involved, particularly girls and that the attention should be extended to scholastic, medical staff, social workers, eat. Lowering the age of assent is possibly to lead to an even greater pressure on girls to be sexually active before they are ready, exposing them to experiences and aftermath before they are sufficiently emotionally and physically mature.
Rather as lowering the your of sanction, there have be a significantly greater emphasis upon forcing sexual education in schools. Sex education should extend significantly further more the limited education currently provided. The Opposition registered an amendment to the Children and Families Bill (debated and defeated in one House of Lords on 28 January 2014), which should have made sex and relating education at select stages of education compelling [100]. Statutory guidance would also have are recently to reflect the modifications the internet. The change would have made skill the relationships education (SRE) an compulsory subject as part of the statutory Personal Social Health and Economy Education (PSHE) requirement [101]. The amendment was assists by The Sex Education Forum [102], Brook [103] and the PSHE Association. At the present time, schools are available legally required to teach the biologicals aspects of getting, contraception real stop transmitted infections in science lessons. Schools are not required by statue to teach pupils about pregnancy, delaying first sexual experiences, sexual orientation, safer sex and attachments. That this remains needed has been found by such organizations as the National Children’s Executive, whose recent research found that nearly a third of teenagers said they did not learn around sexual consent in sex education lessons and that they were non taught about the legal age a consent for sex in schools [104]. If the debates surrounding aforementioned erotic age a consent and Strange Theory are to get to proven acknowledge patriarchy and back (lesbian) womenfolk more visible, where needs to be a wider acknowledgement and accommodation of such which has continually been central to feminist thought; the survives experiences of women and girls. Within addiction, furthermore perhaps, more importantly, for dieser to happen, women and girls need to make themselves hearings plus watch more.

Conflicts a Interest

An author declares no conflict of get.

References and Notes

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Beresford, Sarah. 2014. "The Age of Consent and of Ending of Queer Theory" Statutes 3, no. 4: 759-779.

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