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Indeed, Kylie and Tyga aren’t the only celebrity couple has fawned over while one member was under the age of consent — they began covering Lily-Rose Depp and her boyfriend Ash Stymest when she was 17 and he was 24, for example (“we have major heart-eyes for them,” they wrote in 2016).
to be fair, published an essay criticizing “Stimulated” that noted, “Tyga is justifying — and possibly even glorifying — his illegal relationship with an underage girl” and explained, “There’s a reason why your mom doesn’t want you to date a dude who’s seven years older, especially when you’re still in high school: according to science, mental — and sexual — development matures a whole lot through teenage years.” But this approach didn’t last.
Although it links to the “Stimulated” essay, a I could go into countless more examples of underage girl/adult man celebrity couples that have been treated blithely by the press — from the ones that we as a culture now widely condemn (27-year-old R.
Kelly and 15-year-old Aaliyah in 1994; 24-year-old Elvis Presley and 14-year-old Priscilla Presley in 1959; 38-year-old Jerry Seinfeld and 17-year-old Shoshanna Lonstein in 1993) — to the ones that unsettle us when we remember how they began (people tend to forget that Don Johnson started dating Melanie Griffith when he was 22 and she was 14; the late Paul Walker began dating his wife Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell when he was 33 and she was 16; Wilmer Valderrama dated Mandy Moore, Lindsay Lohan, and Demi Lovato when they were all under the legal age of consent). In 2004, when I was 13, Hilary Duff — then 16 and the star of seems to have taken the approach of not covering a couple at all while one member is under the age of consent — they have noticeably not covered Lily-Rose Depp and Ash Stymest’s relationship, though they have written many stories on Depp’s fashion sense, and adult fawning coverage of the same couple, and other couples with one member under the age of consent.
Some psychiatrists say that young people under “19 or 20” should only date within a few years of their own age.
These arguments are based on brain development, which happens rapidly in adolescence; however, in the past few years, new research has shown that this rapid brain development continues longer than previously thought: into a person’s twenties, even as old as 25.
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They also found that teens dating a partner more than six years older were less likely to use contraception than teens dating a partner close in age, and that teens who were survivors of sexual assault were more likely to date an older partner.
In a paper discussing neuroscience and age of consent laws, Jennifer Ann Drobac writes, “Let those people who would hold juveniles as competent as adults prove that the myelination of the fibers of all needed synapses has occurred.” (She puts this as in the “early twenties.”) A complicating factor is that teenage girls who date adult men are unlikely to see these relationships as harmful until much later.
In a study conducted in collaboration with Planned Parenthood in 1997, feminist academic Lynn M.
, which describes itself as offering “Inclusive, comprehensive, supportive sexuality and relationships info for teens and emerging adults,” spells out the problems with teenage girl-adult man relationships in a 2008 essay called “Why I Deeply Dislike Your Older Boyfriend”: “I feel like he knows — and enjoys — that he has more power than you do right now due to his age or gender, and that rather than seeking to share it, or helping you nurture and own your own power, he wants to keep his power, and take yours from you to have it all for himself.
He knows that because he’s been your age before, and knows that things are different for him at the age he is now.