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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

This is actually a little known phenomenon because a lot of pervy men love to think they could have been marring children in the medieval ages but it is not true. In history there is a theory called European Marriage Pattern (EMP) which explains how Europe acted in a different way than other societies in their tendency to self control the growth of population by marrying its youth late. It was actually normal to marry in your early tweenties (aproximately 22 for women and 25 for men) most of the time as the best way to not have too many children that couldn't be fed and result in food shortages and mass diseases that are common in over populated societies. It is theorized this was one of the factors that lead to superior advancement of european societies. It was always seen as a "bad" but acceptable thing for older men to marry young (normaly political alliances or rich men marrying poor girls). In my society it was traditional like 100 years back from now that if a men did something like that all the village would go with bells to make a lot of noise the night of the wedding. So in Europe it was rare to marry very young girls, there are other socities (Muslims especially) where it sadly is the norm, in the sense that 60 % or more marriages are child bride marriages in places like Sudan.

It was when the legal definition of a "minor" was created. It varies from country to country. Some people got sick of watching men marrying girls young enough to be their daughters. Some abolitionists tried fighting child prostitution during the Edwardian age and helped pass laws to stop it. Some of this is covered in the the book "The Spinster and her Enemies," by Sheila Jeffreys.

[–] Mandy 22 points Edited

CAPULET But saying o'er what I have said before: My child is yet a stranger in the world; She hath not seen the change of fourteen years, Let two more summers wither in their pride, Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.

PARIS Younger than she are happy mothers made.

CAPULET And too soon marr'd are those so early made.

Romeo and Juliet Act 1, Scene 2. They're talking about Juliet.

Well happy to know William Shakespeare was calling it out even back then... Nevertheless this shows us that it must have been common in his time too otherwise that dialogue would have caused a scandal for the Elizabethan age of his time...

[–] VestalVirgin 12 points Edited

From how it is presented, it seems that it was, at best, mildly controversial.

More on the level of how much TV time modern parents think is good for children.

After all, Juliet does get married soon after this dialogue, and it is presented in a positive light. Granted, Romeo is not much older, but still.

Paris is certainly not presented as the villain here.

Capulet is presented as overprotective father (and hypocrite, I think his wife mentions she was already pregnant with Juliet at that age.)

I think "normal" really depends on the region, and the people who were involved in it or had family involved in it have incentive to lie about how accepted it was. Marriages where the woman was 18-22 were the norm in my grandmother's generation, but people still side-eyed huge age gaps and women younger than 16 getting married.

That's what I've learned from talking to a lot of older women about it 1:1, anyway. And those older women were all over the political spectrum and from different regions.

Where are you from? The family of this friend of mine is from Latin America...

I'm from the USA, and to be fair most of the women I've discussed it with have been from USA, Canada, and Western Europe.

[–] Amareldys 14 points Edited

I think this must be a regional/cultural/social circles thing because I certainly don’t know any people who got married in the 60s who were in their early teens. Early twenties, sure. I don’t even know people who got married in the 1940s that young.

My guess it correlates with education. If a woman is expected to finish high school, and some sort of uni or vocational school, then it is cruel to marry her before she can do that.

In “Little Women” written about the 1860s, the girls are not allowed to marry until they are 20. They are well educated pastor’s daughters.

Even in agricultural societies, girls were rarely married off that young

When Henry the 8th married Katherine Howard, her youth caused a scandal. People have been skeeved out a long time

My aunt got married at 15 in the 1960s because she was already pregnant by a 25 year old man.

Yikes. That sucks.

Yes. And I am the only one in the family that thinks this was terrible. But I will say one thing to my uncle's credit and that is he married her and stayed married to her for over 65 years until his death, never cheating on her and being the sole provider for that whole time. She could have had that experience at the hands of a much worse man.

Which country was she from?

Will not answer this because: see username. But a country that is not associated with very young marriages, nor from a religion known for very young marriages, but a culture that considered "honor" paramount (past tense deliberate as you would not likely see same treatment today).

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.

I know that one of the very first thing women successfully fought for was raising the legal age of consent for girls . . . for this very reason!

[–] LavenderLane 8 points Edited

I am a 22-year-old woman, and when I was in high school we already viewed 20 year old men that were attracted to us as creeps. There were still a handful of relationships but it was always girls that had a lot of issues at home dating older men, it wasn’t a normal occurrence from my perspective at least. My boyfriend was in a fraternity and due to me taking a gap year/ him being young for his age group we were only actually nine months apart but I was a freshman when he was a junior and his friends were giving him crap and saying that was gross. Fraternity guys. So not exactly guys that you would expect to be shining beacons of morality lol but they found that inappropriate.

I want to say in the 2000s or 2010s is when it shifted. I remember being a little girl and seeing comments about jailbait online, and I thought I wanted to be that because I didn’t understand the sexual component I just thought it meant like a pretty child. But I know that reddit used to have a jailbait thread and that got taken down in the 2010 right? And I can’t remember the last time I heard someone make a jailbait joke like that is creepy now.

In my personal opinion I think the age of consent should be raise to 21, with every age below 21 having a four year “wiggle room” of Romeo and Juliet laws.

raising it to 18 is more reasonable in my opinion. As upsetting I find that middle age men could legally have sex with 18 year olds, they ARE adults.

But it is too low right now. The idea that 16 year olds can legally have sex with anyone, barring those in positions of authority over them, it's absolutely revolting. As long as they keep in the similar age exceptions, 18 should not be controversial.

[–] LavenderLane 0 points Edited

Drinking and smoking are both at 21. As a society we recognize that even young adults still need some level of protection. And 18 still includes young adults in who have people in a position of authority over them 18 is high school.

I am 45 and men who dated teenagers were certainly seen as creepy when I was young. Not that that stopped me from dating one, but I was a troubled teen in many ways, so it was par for the course

[–] Riothamus scrote 3 points Edited

I think it's always been taboo on some level. Teenage boys hate older men who date their peers for obvious reasons. Excusably-immature boys without resources lose out to inexcusably-immature men with meager resources.

At least they know the girls will dump the "cool older guys" when they can buy their own alcohol.

Same, American here. Goodness, I raised holy hell in my house by dating a 19 year old boy when I was 16!

I'm 44, and yes, it was definitely seen as gross 25-30 years ago, but it also was more common.

Now the most scandalous young couple that I know of is it 15 year old girl with a 19 year old boyfriend. This is considered pretty inappropriate by my current community, to whereas it would have been pretty normal when I was 15.

My dad got my mom pregnant with me when she was a junior in high school and he was 20. I used to work with a woman who's a year older than me, her parents got married about 55 years ago, when her mother was 15 and her father was 25. I think things are improving.

[+] [Deleted] 7 points

When Jerry Lee Lewis married his thirteen year old cousin back in the fifties he was booed in the UK and his career was finished here and severely impacted in the US.

The Victorians raised the age of consent from 12 because of how shocked they were at the number of children being sexually exploited.

By 1800 the average age of marriage in Britain was 28 for men, and 26 for women. During the 19th century it never went below 22.

So it’s not a new thing at all. People have always been mostly disgusted by grown men chasing children but famous men have occasionally been given a pass (Bill Wyman and Mandy Smith).

I mean, there are always people out there trying to normalize it.

I think in farming cultures, people in general got married earlier, but that meant both males and females, which is a little different. They didn't necessarily have as much education to go through & they definitely didn't have as much access to birth control, so once they started having sex, they'd start having babies. Whatever age you started having sex, well, just imagine what the consequences would have been in a different time, and perhaps you'd have been married with a family a little younger. I don't think that's quite the same as pedophilia though. That's how all those rules of virginity before marriage and courtship and all that were so strict in some families - otherwise, you're likely to end up with a couple of excited 15 years olds out behind the stables...

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