Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Age of Consent


I know the age of consent is generally 18. That’s the age where we’re considered to be old enough to understand what we’re getting into when we do stuff like have sex.

If you’re 18 you can kill people, as long as you join the armed forces first. And you can also vote but you can’t drink beer.

But I think there are some things for which the age of consent ought to be a whole lot higher than 18. One of those things in particular is shilling for cripple charities. Believe me, I know. I used to be one of those charity spokescriplets. I was a poster child for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. But by the grace of God it was way back when I was cute and apple-cheeked. And that was long before the internet, so precious little, if any, historical record of my reign remains. These days, if you do something regrettable in public, it’s likely to be recorded somehow and forever enshrined on the internet.

It’s true that nobody held a gun to my head and forced me to be a poster kid. I did it for the same reason I went to church. My heart wasn’t in it but doing it pleased the adults around me. But I can see now that I was far too young to understand the potential consequences of my actions.

There was no way I could begin to comprehend concepts like oppression and it’s deep cultural roots and how the life-blood of cripple oppression is the insidious mask of benevolence and compassion it hides behind and the manner in which my playing the role of an eternally-grateful Tiny Tim with no agency except my begging prowess deepens the roots of cripple oppression by reinforcing the one-dimensional stereotypes on which it thrives.

That’s some heavy shit for an 8 year old to wrap their arms around. Hell, that’s some heavy shit for a 38 year old to wrap their arms around. So I think the age of consent for being a cripple poster child ought to be at least 45. I don’t see how anyone with less life experience than that can grasp how what they’re doing impacts others. And they’re bound to have the same jolt of remorse later in life that I had, like when you want to have an ugly tattoo removed. Except these days it’s worse because with the internet, ugly tattoos are permanent.  

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