What's It to You?
I recently saw a meme (pictured above) that highlighted the so-called “myth of consensual sex.” For context, there is ongoing public discourse related to Leonardo DiCaprio’s supposed proclivity for dating young women.
What’s it to you?
Personally, I don’t know DiCaprio, don’t care about his alleged dating habits, and I wonder what business it is to others regarding the actor’s decisions. “Deric, then why are you devoting a blogpost to this issue?” I imagine an astute reader asking.
The meme related to this post highlights the insincerity of dialogue related to consent—when one party voluntarily agrees to the expressed and legal proposal of another party. In the United States, at a federal level, the age of majority (adult) is 18-years-old for consensual sex.
Even under strict standards, as relates to advocacy of RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), consent is described as:
Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent should be clearly and freely communicated. A verbal and affirmative expression of consent can help both you and your partner to understand and respect each other’s boundaries.
Consent cannot be given by individuals who are underage, intoxicated or incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, or asleep or unconscious. If someone agrees to an activity under pressure of intimidation or threat, that isn’t considered consent[,] because it was not given freely. Unequal power dynamics, such as engaging in sexual activity with an employee or student, also mean[s] that consent cannot be freely given.
Using the steel man technique, I suspect public disagreement with DiCaprio’s purported dating preference relates to RAINN’s final sentence. It’s an activist-oriented consideration related to DiCaprio’s imagined financial and popularity status juxtaposed with a 19-year-old’s unequal power and privilege.
What’s it to you?
Does it make sense to infer that because a 19-year-old woman (not a child) doesn’t maintain fame or wealth that she’s somehow denied sexual agency? How infantilizing!
Not long ago, a person in my inner circle suggested something similar about her young adult-aged daughter. When older men approach the young woman for intimacy, my friend considers them “pedophiles,” because of the age difference.
For now, I’ll set aside the ridiculous notion that anyone 18-or-older who dates an 18-or-older individual is a pedophile. Rather, I’ll focus on how illogical my friend’ logic is regarding this matter.
The flawed logic looks something like this:
Premise 1: Men in their 40s who date women between 18 and 25 are perverse.
Premise 2: John Doe is a 48-year-old who dates an 18-year-old.
Conclusion: Therefore, John Doe is perverse.
The flaw of premise 1 relates to a moralizing should, must, or ought-type statement. It implies that men in their 40s shouldn’t date women within a particular range.
What’s it to you?
According to whom is premise 1 globally or objectively true? Per the meme, does a 32-year-old single woman on Twitter serve as the moral arbiter of the universe?
Who is to say what two consenting adults must or mustn’t do, as long as the activity in which they engage is legal? Does the opinion of a stranger on social media dictate social norms to which we all must adhere?
If a man and woman engage in an intimate relationship with a 30-year age difference between them, why ought they not to do so? What is it to the uninvolved person regarding John Doe’s relationship?
I won’t opt for the low hanging fruit argument related to whataboutery by demonstrating the numerous examples of exhibited behavior when sex or gender roles are reversed. Rather, I’ll rely on critical questioning to assess the matter.
Who says it’s reasonable, appropriate, or acceptable to interject your opinions into the affairs of others?
What’s it to you as to how others live their lives when no law is being violated?
When is the age cutoff for a 48-year-old man’s ability to date a person younger than himself?
Where does your inflexible and arbitrary rule come from?
Why not allow the unreasonable standards of others to also be imposed on your life?
How much would you appreciate others declaring you a pervert for something that’s no business of theirs?
To what extent will you continue self-disturbing while haranguing others?
Far be in for me to tell you what you should, must, or ought to do. After all, what’s it to me? You’ll continue freaking out about DiCaprio, he’ll carry on dating whomever, and I’ll go about my day drafting poorly written blogposts which help me to practice critical thinking.
Also, and in anticipation for the inevitable MeToo-style character attack on the actor, I will preemptively disavow any past, present, or future conviction of foreseeable sexual assault or rape charges concerning the entertainer; albeit, incredulous allegations won’t receive the same denunciation.
If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.
As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.
At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!
Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW
Enriquez, A. (2021, October 25). Q. How does fair use work for book covers, album covers, and movie posters? Penn State. Retrieved from https://psu.libanswers.com/faq/336502
Galpin, K. (2022, January 9). Leonardo DiCaprio insider reveals why star doesn’t date women over 25. Joe. Retrieved from https://www.joe.co.uk/entertainment/leonardo-dicaprio-insider-reveals-why-star-doesnt-date-women-over-25-356543
Guzman, A. (2023, February 7). DiCaprio insider denies he’s ‘dating’ French Israeli model, 19, after pair were pictured at party - but why did she post and then suddenly delete a picture of New York City this morning? Daily Mail. Retrieved from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-11723073/Model-19-spotted-Leo-DiCaprio-48-French-Israeli-posed-cover-Glamour.html
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Nigel the Treasure Hunter. (2023). These two are the same ages as Leonardo DiCaprio and his new girlfriend - The myth of consensual sex [Image]. Know Your Meme. Retrieved from https://knowyourmeme.com/photos/2529069-these-two-are-the-same-ages-as-leonardo-dicaprio-and-his-new-girlfriend
RAINN. (n.d.). What consent looks like. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. Retrieved from https://www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Leonardo DiCaprio. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_DiCaprio
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Whataboutism. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whataboutism