There's been a massive outcry this week over the young lass who allegedly performed sex acts on 24+ blokes in a nightclub in Magaluf. A lot of people seem to think it's an indication of our crumbling society. Part of the dangers of drinking. Others have ignored the drinking and seem pretty stuck on this being a case of double standards. Sexism.
I really don't feel like either are particularly relevant. Would it have made the papers if it had been a young boy performing sex acts on women whilst being a drunk Brit Abroad?
Yes because it taps into a well-worn, often touted theory that our country is going to hell and so are our young people. That we should shame them and show them the error of their ways, safe and smug in the knowledge that technology did not advance in time for any of our f*ck ups to be recorded on mobile devices. That we may not have our youth anymore, but at least our dignity remains intact.
If we are shocked that this happened in public? Then we need to reconsider what that really means. Because it didn't happen in a local nightclub. It took place somewhere that is flocked to by children, worked in by children/adults that have never really grown up. A place that has a Lord of the Flies mentality. There is always anarchy when young people are held exclusively responsible for themselves. Drunk or Sober.
Put a young person who does not know themself yet in an unregulated environment like this, and mass consensual sex acts are the least of your problems. Because that's the real danger here. Raising young adults who do not know themselves. Have no idea of what boundaries are, no self-esteem. Then letting them loose and plying them with alcohol amongst their peers.
We did this.
There is one other place where young people are in charge of themselves. Where they get to keep their drinking away from responsible, mature, fully grown up supervision. where Lord of the Flies or young adult totalitarianism reigns supreme:
Having a general drinking age of over 21 means that young adults are forced to conduct their drinking behind closed doors. When they do that no one is regulating their behaviour. And horrendous things happen when young people who haven't fully developed a moral code get together and alcohol is consumed. Things that shock us in the UK when we read about them, but are quite commonplace in The States.
We are making a huge mistake in the U.K. by having the legal age of drinking the same as the year we become adults. Alcohol is not a right of passage, it isn't synonymous with adulthood. Yet having it at 21 spells clear disaster as our friends in the U.S. have clearly demonstrated. Having it at 16 would be stupid because no young person should associate sex with alcohol any more than they already do.
I like 17. It gives kids a year at home to be supervised before they go off to Uni. Time to breathe, Be around alcohol legally and get to safely experiment with it in front of adults. I like that it's the same year we are also able to learn to drive. Give a kid the option of supposed freedom like alcohol, and actual freedom like being independent enough to drive? Most will choose the former. The ones that don't are a great indicator of early addiction issues, right in front of our noses. Early enough for us to do something about.
Way before it gets to the point of being a poor, lost, inebriated 24 year old lass performing mass sex acts in a grotty Magaluf nightclub.
It's not nice that another young girl has been humiliated because of a lack of knowing herself. It's awful that she won't be the last. But it's not an excuse to have a public outcry about young people drinking. Not when we could be refocusing our efforts on actually doing something constructive about it to make sure it happens less in the future.
Because cheap alcohol and the freedom to get as drunk as we like doesn't appeal to a young person who does know themselves. Knows who they are. What they stand for. What they will not accept. How they want to be treated by other people. Young girls who have a sense of self-worth don't feel the need to bow to peer pressure.
They don't end up as cheap media fodder.