Age of Menarche, Age of First Childbirth, Age of Consent, and Related Maternal and Infant Morbidity and Mortality

Occasionally I stumble upon discussions of myself within the internet community. I don’t see this often, but I found one particularly foolish discussion here.

Here’s the quote they’re discussing, for those who’d rather skip the link.

“White” Girls are “good to go” by 13, easy, with exceptions for those not yet “bleeding.” Some of the sub-Saharan’s may skew younger, as may some other particular breeds, but the age we’re taught to prefer in modern society, early 20’s, is about ten years late.

The peanut gallery responded with the usual nonsense without any bearing in reality, though I’m inclined to forgive ignorance. Here’s a choice comment.

Gross. And inaccurate to boot.

Girls are not “good to go” by 13 in any sense of the word beyond “Now I can force my penis into her without *me* being injured by it”.

13 year old girls are usually not physically developed enough for sex without sustaining at least minor vaginal trauma. They certainly aren’t physically or emotionally developed enough for any resulting pregnancies. They also aren’t mentally and emotionally mature enough to deal with the physical, social, mental, and emotional requirements of a relationship with anyone who isn’t also 13 years old.

How is that being “good to go” again?

For those that aren’t aware, first sexual intercourse usually involves some modest trauma. I’ll let ya’ll read up on the details. A separate question, “Are females age 13 more likely to experience trauma from intercourse than females age 23?” may be worth discussing. As with anything, individuals vary, but analyses of available population data (go do your research) reveal that the age of a mother does not correlate well with maternal mortality rates. Here’s a quote that tries to keep the “ew, gross” theme alive.

We conclude that the overall evidence of effect for very young maternal age (<15 years or <2 years post-menarche) on infant outcomes is moderate [in other words, not non-existent]; that is, future studies are likely to refine the estimate of effect or precision but not to change the conclusion. Evidence points to an impact of young maternal age on low birthweight and preterm birth, which may mediate other infant outcomes such as neonatal mortality. The evidence that young maternal age increases risk for maternal anaemia is also fairly strong, although information on other nutritional outcomes and maternal morbidity/mortality is less clear. [emphasis mine]

-The Impact of Early Age at First Childbirth on Maternal and Infant Healthppe_1290259..284 Cassandra M. Gibbs,a* Amanda Wendt,b* Stacey Peters,aCarol J. Hoguea aDepartment of Epidemiology, andbHubert Global Health Department, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA

Here’s another, directly addressing infant mortality. As Heartiste says, science. Ya gotta love Dark Enlightenment.

The relationship between teenage fertility and infant mortality has been a controversial issue for some time. From a policy point of view, it is crucial to understand the nature of this relationship given that pregnancy among teenagers is on the rise globally. This study conducted a meta-analysis of the relationship between maternal age and infant mortality. Two important determinants, race and age, were considered; no evidence of a systematic relationship between age and infant mortality rates was found. The policy implications of this finding are considered.

-Department of Sociology and Social Work, University of North Texas, Denton 76203, USA. Health Care For Women International (Impact Factor: 0.63). 01/1997; 18(2):115-26.

So, yeah, sorry, but reality doesn’t agree with our moralistic presuppositions. I know it sucks. The universe doesn’t care.

Finally, toward the end of the comments, beneath the accusations of pedophilia, et al, there was this choice opinion.

“Good to go”? Sure, if you just breed girls to get the dowry. If, on the other hand, you have children because you love children, you probably won’t let your 13-year-old daughter marry some 40-year-old man, would you, tteclod? Oh, you weren’t thinking about girls as daughters, just as fuck-dolls, were you? Well, here’s news for you; every girl is someone’s daughter.

When my parents were expecting me, back in 1969 when they were 21 years old, older relatives muttered “children shouldn’t have children”. Was that also part of the modern society?

Why the scare-quotes around “bleeding”? You do know that it’s literal bleeding, for about a week every month, for some 40 years of our lives, right? The bleeding often starts when the girl has reached a certain weight, not when her body is physically and mentally ready to have children.

“Some of the sub-Saharan’s” are married off at 13, and many of them are mothers by the age of 14. Quite a few die in childbirth, though.

Ten years late, for what? Are you in a hurry? You do know that in the societies where it’s OK to marry off your 13-year-olds, it IS marriage that is the key, right? That good to go 13-yo will grow up and soon be early 20’s, and you’ll still be stuck with her. What then?

Anybody who’s been reading this blog will know a few little details about me. I’m in my 40’s. I’m married to the mother of my children. I have a teenage daughter. I have some concept of women, and living with them. Here’s a little more.

My first child was born when I was 25. This happens to match the age of my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother upon first child-birth. I don’t anticipate much different from my own daughter. As with her female ancestors, I expect her to finish college and maintain something of a profession. That’s how I live my life.

None of that changes biological realities. “Girls” are “good to go” around 13 years old. That’s part of what makes teen pregnancy such a problem in a society where we’re trying to get our “girls” a little more education before we send them off into the world. Age of consent may be a worthwhile rule to enforce, but we’re not really enforcing it to care for the physical well-being of our young females. Implying that men are sexually aberrant for experiencing sexual attraction to sexually capable women is criminalizing natural male sexuality. Sure, I’ll agree not to fuck girls under age 18 and file that along with not fucking women to whom I’m not married. that’s civilization. It’s the Patriarchy that invented it, so we know.

But if you think nubile 14-year-old women aren’t sexually attractive, you’re an idiot. [Yeah, I added a year.]

As for me, my personal tastes skew a little older, about 28+, mostly because I’m 40-something, and women under 25 can’t carry a conversation. It’s a bit like talking to my daughter, or fielding pedophilia accusations from the peanut gallery. I spend way too much time educating, and not enough time learning.

[Post-script: It never ceases to amaze me that I am reliably categorized with fundamentalist religious zealots. I’m atheist.]

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2 responses to “Age of Menarche, Age of First Childbirth, Age of Consent, and Related Maternal and Infant Morbidity and Mortality

  1. That’s part of what makes teen pregnancy such a problem in a society where we’re trying to get our “girls” a little more education before we send them off into the world.

    There’s no reason that young mothers can’t attend college and continue their education. When my parents went to college, they lived in the “married dorms” which were apparently quite common at the time.

    Especially in the era of the internet – where anyone with internet can watch MIT lectures and download their textbooks – why in the world should young mothers not go to college?

    I write about teenage sexuality on my blog all the time because, well, I lived it. Yeah, 13 year old girls are horny little things – they get “hotpants” – and being prudish about it doesn’t do anyone any good. Sure, 13 is too young for sex, but 16 probably isn’t.

    So, these daughters either lose their virginities to their husbands – or they lose their virginity to sleazy hipsters that for whatever reason aren’t particularly shy around women. It’s like the “First Night” of the middle ages where the king got to deflower all the young women. Though now, it’s not the king, just some teenage boy that probably won’t even give the gal all that much pleasure. Is this really a good system?

    By the way, some “save yourself for marriage” speaker was kicked off of a high school campus for “hate speech.” Yes, that is right, suggesting that women lose their virginity to their husband is “hate speech.”

    The trick is, you need to make sure the boys marry and become fathers young – otherwise, when they hit 30, they realize they don’t have to settle for just one woman. If women are going to be promiscuous while young, you can hardly complain that when men hit their “sexual market peak” – about 30 – they are going to go for women in their “sexual market peak” – about 20.

    The two groups that lose out in our Slut Culture are younger, romantic, “beta boys” – and older women.

    I have been shocked at how anti-monogamy older women are. Personally, I blame feminism, but they blame porn.

    • It’s harder, is all. I completed my Master of Engineering in my 30’s with a pregnant wife then newborn, while building a guesthouse, and when I hired my first subordinate engineer. My wife did her Master’s while starting a new business after leaving her first career employment to spend more time with the kids. My daughter’s already fielded one marriage proposal from a man not ready to marry. That’s really the crux of it all: between modern economic conditions and the population of young (and not-so-young) men available, most girls are better served with a trade education (my daughter is permitted to study art on top of other things, not to the exclusion of other subjects) as a fall-back position. That’s most easily accomplished when young and undistracted by a new husband and young children. Failing that, yes, get an education with a baby in tow, but the reality of that circumstance usually entails a lesser degree or some other set of compromises, usually involving compromises with the quality of effort spent educating your own children.

Don't bother.

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