#GirlsWriteBack: "The Rules" by Jamie Sugai

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#GirlsWriteBack is a summer writing project hosted by the GirlSense & NonSense Blog. It features weekly essays, poems, and fiction by young women writers responding to news headlines.

The Rules By Jamie Sugai

Responding to: “Spain raises marrying age from 14 to 16

Dear Adults Who Make the Rules,

When your kids or even just the teenagers in your town are thrown into middle school, they are given the responsibility to pick their future. We are put through a series of activities to pick our career and lifestyle. Climbing up into high school means that you pick a path to follow and you have to know what you’re going to be doing in life. We are taking classes to prepare and deciding on colleges and majors, but when it comes to our personal lives, teenagers are never “old enough” to know what we want.

Constantly kids are told that what they like and who they like is “just a phase” and that they’ll “grow out of it.” If you want to be a different gender or no gender you are often shot down by adults and unaccepting people. If you want to like the same sex or multiples sexes, you are often shot down by adults and unaccepting people. If you want to dress a little differently or just choose to be a different person than expected, you are often shot down because you’re not “old enough” or you “don’t know what you want.”

I have recently learned that in Spain, the previous (as in a few days ago) age of consent was 13. In addition, the previous legal age to marry was 14. So that means, if I was in Spain, I could’ve gotten married last year. It is unbelievable that at the same time adults are telling kids they’re going through a phase and don’t really know what they want, they can get married and choose to have sex. Although the legal age of consent and marriage has been raised to 16, how could we tell people they don’t know what they really want when at the same telling them to pick a career and get married?

I say just do what makes you happy and be the person that makes you happy, regardless of what others say. (Also props to those five under-16 couples that go married last year and apparently had their life figured out.)

Sincerely, Someone Who Doesn’t Want To Get Married Right Now