21

It must surely not have been too long ago right? Does anyone have any data on this?

The grandmother of one of my friends was 14 when she married my friend's grandfather... My friend's grandfather was 32 when he got married to a 14 year old teenager girl that would become my friend's grandmother...

This was around 53 years ago since my friend's grandma is 67 years old now...

By most people's standards today my friend's grandpa would be considered a pedophile ( or hebephile for those who prefer more technical terms but either way it would be considered HIGHTLY inappropriate in most of society's eyes today! ) but my friend told me that it was " normal " back when this marriage happened...

So when did it became taboo when this was so common not too long ago apparently?

Do you think the Second Wave of Feminism may have helped turn this into the taboo it is today?

I think an advancement of neurological studies may have helped too as it became more and more clear to science that teenagers have different brains from adults when many cultures did not recognize that adolescence was even a thing until very recently apparently I heard...

Do you know any similar cases to my friend's grandma in your families or friends's families by the way?

I'm just astonished by how recent this all was... Not even 60 years ago...

It must surely not have been too long ago right? Does anyone have any data on this? The grandmother of one of my friends was 14 when she married my friend's grandfather... My friend's grandfather was 32 when he got married to a 14 year old teenager girl that would become my friend's grandmother... This was around 53 years ago since my friend's grandma is 67 years old now... By most people's standards today my friend's grandpa would be considered a pedophile ( or hebephile for those who prefer more technical terms but either way it would be considered HIGHTLY inappropriate in most of society's eyes today! ) but my friend told me that it was " normal " back when this marriage happened... So when did it became taboo when this was so common not too long ago apparently? Do you think the Second Wave of Feminism may have helped turn this into the taboo it is today? I think an advancement of neurological studies may have helped too as it became more and more clear to science that teenagers have different brains from adults when many cultures did not recognize that adolescence was even a thing until very recently apparently I heard... Do you know any similar cases to my friend's grandma in your families or friends's families by the way? I'm just astonished by how recent this all was... Not even 60 years ago...

40 comments

Extreme age differences, even when legal, were very much looked down on. We have a lot of marriage records, especially in Western countries, going back for centuries and the norm has almost always been that at first marriages, men were perhaps a year or two older than women, and marriages tended to happen in the early 20s. When there were extreme age differences, it was usually frowned on. Two examples from very different periods of history:

  • Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII of England, gave birth at only 13 after being married to a middle aged man. This was considered a shocking scandal at the time. Nobles often married young. Sometimes noble children as young as 7 were married to each other. But it was always taken for granted that everyone would wait for sex until a reasonable age of maturity, with married children often remaining in their family homes for some time. Beaufort never had another pregnancy, and numerous contemporary sources said "well of course she didn't, because her creepy asshole first husband had sex with her when she was only 12 and having a baby that young broke her body."

  • Mormon founder Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered for having sex with teenage girls under the guise of making them his "wives." He was in his late 30's and the age difference was considered as outrageous as the rapes themselves.

I don't wish to give away personal information by explaining how I have expertise in this area, but this info is fairly easy to confirm with reliable genealogy/history sources. People have always understood how dangerous it is for teenage girls to give birth, and how poorly suited teenagers are to have families. The general rule in history for ordinary people has always been marriage no earlier than the late teens, with a fairly small age difference between husband and wife. The slightly older age of the men makes sense due to their requirement to prove they could provide within patriarchal economic systems.