Age of Consent: Background information when reading All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Discuss |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

A Novel

by Bryn Greenwood

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood X
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2016, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2017, 432 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

Age of Consent

This article relates to All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

Print Review

The age of consent, according to western law, is the age at which a person is capable of agreeing to engagement in sexual activity. Stephen Robertson, in his article "Age of Consent Laws", states: "Narrowly concerned with sexual violence, and with girls, originally, since the 19th century the age of consent has occupied a central place in debates over the nature of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and been drawn into campaigns against prostitution and child marriage, struggles to achieve gender and sexual equality, and the response to teenage pregnancy."

According to Robertson, the first age of consent statute appeared in 1275 in England, and was part of a rape law. Called Westminster 1, the statute declared "ravish[ing] a maiden within age" a misdemeanor, whether she consented or not. Within age referred to the legal age of marriage, which, at the time, was twelve years old. In 1576, it became a felony to engage in sexual activity with a girl under the age of ten, thus drawing a distinction between the maturity of a ten year old and a twelve year old. The girl did not need to prove that she struggled in order for the perpetrator to be found guilty, seemingly indicating an awareness of a power dynamic at play; however, the law did not apply to married women (who could be as young as 12 years) on the one hand, nor did it acknowledge the possibility of consent on the part of the girl on the other.

At the end of the 18th century, as part of the Age of Enlightenment, the development of children became a focus, and so their distinction from adults became more solid and defined. As a result of this the age of consent came under scrutiny in many parts of Europe. In France, for example, the age of consent was increased to thirteen years old in 1863. It also now included boys. In the U.S. at this time, the laws only applied to girls, and each state determined its own laws, which stayed lower than some in Europe – ranging from ten to twelve years old.

The age of consent has shifted and evolved over time, but one consistency has been its inconsistency. Different countries and different eras have continued to adopt different standards and laws, and have engaged in different kinds of debate.

Map of Age of Consent

Today, many countries in Europe have their age of consent set at sixteen. Included here are Britain Cyprus, Finland, Georgia, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland. In France, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Greece, the age is fifteen. In Austria, Germany, Portugal and Italy the age is even lower: fourteen. In Asia, the age of consent in China is fourteen, and in Japan it is thirteen. In South America, Brazil, Peru, Paraguay, Ecuador and Colombia all have the age set at fourteen. In some countries, the age of consent is tied into marriage laws. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, sexual activity outside of marriage is illegal, but marriage is legal at any age. In the U.S. the age of consent still ranges by state. Today that range is between sixteen and eighteen years of age.

Age and gender of the minor are not the only ways consent laws can differ from one another; heterosexual and homosexual consent laws can vary too. The Bahamas, Bermuda, Chile and Paraguay have a higher age of consent for homosexual activity. And some countries have different consent laws based on gender. In Papua New Guinea the age of consent is fourteen for boys and sixteen for girls, while in Indonesia it is sixteen for girls, but older for boys who must be nineteen. Yet more inconsistencies arise in specific case categories, such as when someone is in a position of power or trust over another person – like in a relationship between a teacher and a student. In England, the age of consent is sixteen, but if the person is a student of the other, then the legal age jumps up to eighteen.

Age of Consent Map by MissMJ

This "beyond the book article" relates to All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. It originally ran in August 2016 and has been updated for the October 2017 paperback edition.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Kinship of Secrets
    The Kinship of Secrets
    by Eugenia Kim
    Of our 20 First Impressions readers who submitted reviews for The Kinship of Secrets, all rated it ...
  • Book Jacket: Empire of Sand
    Empire of Sand
    by Tasha Suri
    Tasha Suri's debut novel, Empire of Sand, reads like something out of 1001 Arabian Nights, both ...
  • Book Jacket: In Byron's Wake
    In Byron's Wake
    by Miranda Seymour
    It's tempting to think that our age of celebrity worship coupled with the 24-hour news cycle is ...
  • Book Jacket: The Latecomers
    The Latecomers
    by Helen Klein Ross
    The Latecomers is the third novel written by acclaimed author Helen Klein Ross, following What Was ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Becoming
by Michelle Obama

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    House of Stone
    by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

    A masterful debut, pulsing with dark humor, that explores the often destructive act of history-making.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts

To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts

"Caitlin Hamilton Summie is our modern Chekhov."
- Savvy Verse & Wit

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Everything I H-D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.