When I was 14 (I’m 43 now) I read book like Summerhill, Unschooling, why Johnny can’t read, etc – and inspired, found out “What’s my legal status at 14 yrs old?”
At 14? Legally? An infant.
While they’ve made some exceptions (14 yr old can be tried as adults in murder cases in many places), generally, if you’re 17 yrs old and 364 days, you’re an infant. A baby.
Very archaic system.
the power dynamic make it a difficult issue. Power dynamics go both ways; but that’s where “age of responsibility for actions” comes into play.
Theoretically, all people are expected to have finally reached the ability to have full self-determination at a particular point in development.
Most places use 18. Some younger. At one time it was older. 21 or 25 wasn’t uncommon.
Personally, I see nothing wrong with a graduated scale that’s not ageist (speaking beyond the OP issue here) – but how do you measure maturity? Responsibility?
I’m not defending the age of 18 or some other age for these things.
But I think society will continue using simple, convenient numbers like number of years on the planet to determine certain barriers.
It’s ageism. But there’s many other issues besides this one that can get focus that also involve ageism in culture and law that can be addressed.
I believe in the 70s (before my time) there was some academic work in this area but I think there’s far more practical ageist law to combat than this one.