Being born in the year 2000 and not being a 90’s kid has meant I’m referred to as part of “ama2000.” I’m part of the new generation that people on social media seemingly want nothing to do with, the generation that calls ancestors the “underground gang,” or refers to witchcraft as “ghetto aviation.” It’s been interesting and funny, being part of these wars between 90’s kids and “ama2000’s,” but the most interesting thing that happened, was when all the millennial babies reached the age of 18. Going on social media and seeing memes about us being fair game since we were finally legal, was so jarring. What happened to being the annoying skrrr skrrrs and being told to go and do “HOMEWORK!”? When did we suddenly go from being seen as untouchables to being “ripe fruit” ready to be picked? From then, as I became more aware of this trend, I began to wonder, is age nothing but a number once one has reached the age of consent or is constitutionally considered an adult? Is a five-year difference, for example okay throughout or is there a point in time where it’s suspicious?
I recently learned that the decision-making part of the brain fully develops at around the age of 25, under normal circumstances that is. So, when one is younger, their brain is still developing, their decisions are not made with a fully developed mind. And when we all think back to some of the silly things we decided to do when we were teenagers, or for some when they were in their early twenties, it begins to make sense. It has become more and more apparent to me that age is a whole lot more than just a number, especially in the case of teens and young adults.
— AfroBloggers (@AfroBloggers) March 6, 2021
Take a relationship between a twenty-year-old and a fifteen-year-old for example. As a 20-year-old, really, what is there to talk about with someone who’s fifteen? A number of fifteen-year-olds are struggling through form three, trying to figure high school problems out and maybe going through a rebellious teen phase, while most twenty-year-olds are starting on their journeys of adulthood. It’s five years, but the difference is jarring and vast. Before we even tackle the age difference from a legal perspective, the twenty-year-old, whether intentionally or unintentionally is bound to take advantage of their younger partner because of the power imbalance.
Now we look at that same five-year difference between a twenty-year-old and a twenty-five-year-old, it’s more acceptable. There could be stuff to talk about, the conversation could flow. The age difference and thus difference in experience is there yes, but the power imbalance is not huge, if it’s even there at all. Both people are young adults, both are probably still trying to figure out the journey and find what works for them, there is a lower likely hood of anyone being pressured to do things they don’t want to do.
Younger people are easier to impress, eager to please, and easier to manipulate and even groom. So, seeing older people actively seek out teens and young adults always gets the alarm bells ringing, because what kosher reasons are there to seek out a romantic relationship with someone who’s still trying to find their feet and is broke 90% of the time?
I don't think zim men realize how revolting paedophilia is and its alarming how our society has normalized such a culture.
— #VEZA_THE UNFOLDING (@LauraBonginkosi) October 4, 2021
Zimbabweans disappointingly ignored that he had sex with a minor – statutory rape. @Zoelekka says this proves Zim has a paedophilic culture of grown men bedding kids. Read, share, subscribe! #ForIngudu #ZimCreatives #ZimBloggers @AfroBloggers @ByoBlogger https://t.co/h02mD6LZaw pic.twitter.com/G4lWSAfza7
— iNgudukazi Magazine 💛 (@ingudukazi) December 11, 2020
Even when one has reached the age of consent, or isn’t a minor, they can still be taken advantage of. Legally, it might not be an issue, but the same law some of us choose to use as our beacon of morality has grey areas where it should be black and white and can be (and in some cases is) an oppressive tool. So, reaching the age of consent doesn’t make everyone fair game, and at the end of the day it comes down to us to be responsible citizens of the society and choose to do what is right. In my opinion, age is not nothing but a number, it can be weaponized and used to cause harm in the dating game. To act oblivious to its importance and implication in relationships would be irresponsible of all of us as a society. I wish you all happy, and responsible dating!