Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. The same goes for tolerance. 13-year-olds are children, physically and mentally. Even if kids are forced to grow up too fast for their own good - which is very often the case in certain countries - and even if they get to choose who they marry - which is very often not the case- they are too immature to realize the full consequences of what they do. That part of the human isn't fully developed until people are 21 years old. So if anything, 18 is too young.
Once again: moderation. It isn't bad to have an ethnocentric point of view. You can still tolerate and even accept other cultures. What is important, that one has a good understanding of what they are talking about and that one is true to their heart. Having an open mind doesn't mean everything should be justified.
This is going to earn me a lot of hate, but whatever. I think we need to change the official age of ADULTHOOD to 16. By that time, a man or woman is sexually mature 100%. However, we also need to keep the ages for smoking, and drinking alcohol the same because of their ill effects. By age 16, you should be fully capable of understanding how dangerous, but rewarding love can be. You should be able to understand, biologically, your own body, male or female. While you're still growing, I still think the age of sexual consent should be 16. By that time, you should be fully matured sexually.
Back to the question: I don't really have an answer. Morality is strictly a person by person thing, and only one's personal convictions can determine what morality is and isn't. Only groups and populations can come up with moral standards, and even then, we need to keep in mind that we should not oppose differing moral views, but listen and understand one another. If someone in Japan draws a sexually posed 15 year old girl, I am okay with it, because I understand that their age of consent is 14, and they're not breaking any laws. Lolicon, however disgusts me. Anyway, while I do think the laws are okay as it is, I think you should be able to portray romantic and sometimes sexual relationships between teenagers and not get in trouble for it. Teen sexuality is a HUGE issue, and it doesn't get talked about in the media enough in a way that's even remotely satisfactory. I certainly hope that I can be an author that will bring this issue to the forefront as well as thousands of others who are trying to do the same. May we come into a time where sex is longer something to be feared, but rather, something to discuss seriously and with open minds, and open hearts.
"I noticed lots of artists *not naming them* draw young girls, not always in a sexual manner but in still a romanticized way. And they end up being looked down on."
Free speech is a two way street. Your right to provocative and objectionable art is the same as someone to criticize you for it. If we WERE to get rid of freedom of speech, people drawing kids in sexual situations would go before their critics.
I definitely believe in free speech. Theirs and Yours.
"is it just cultural ignorance that drives people to riot and burn people at the cross? Or is the moral compass of a single country being challenged?"
Well, if you were to understand culture as the most probable result as a unit of values in a bunch of people (clan, society, you name it...) then: yes, it's very likely that ignorance on other cultures (which may be slightly different to cultural ignorance) is a big factor when it comes to riots and burning people on the cross. However, you can't address that as the moral compass of a single country as a thing that's different from culture, because it encompass the moral of a lot of people, who can be called country and society, ergo their culture.
And deeper into that, you will have to be able to understand the values of each individual in that society (or culture) just to understand the reason behind the attack to an artist, who in his own eyes, was just expressing himself. However, if said work weren't to comply to the rules of the place where it was posted (namely deviantArt), then he/she will be in a big trouble.
>Now I'm only wondering, is it just cultural ignorance that drives people to riot and burn people at the cross? Or is the moral compass of a single country being challenged?
Morality is not 100% relative to culture. There is a such thing as cultures which as a whole justify immoral things. Some things might be so complex it's impossible to PINPOINT what the best way is, ans so it is slightly subjective in that it may be better to come to a decision either way. But that doesn't mean that nothing matters on a universal scale.
Hmm. Reading the other replies, I think I should probably clarify, because I may be talking about something else.
Sexual attraction to a sexually mature person is not biologically inappropriate. So I would hope we're not talking about LITTLE little girls here. Once you're past that one criterion, what age you consider a person old enough to enter into a sexual relationship or to have their sexuality expressed in a clear way is a cultural matter as reflected by varying ages of consent across the US and around the world.
Sexualization of little children IS a problem. It's why people object to beauty contests for little girls and shows like "Toddlers & Tiaras". The standard of beauty these little girls are expected to conform to is a sexual one. Why anyone would want a child that age to be sexually attractive I have no idea.
I think it's nothing more than that certain people really, really love feeling morally superior to others. Throwing the "pedo" label around over a matter of local culture is an easy way to get there. (Hell, not even the US can agree within itself what an appropriate age of consent ought to be. There's no reason at all to expect it would be agreed on internationally.)
Culture relativism is not simply saying "it's okay because it's their culture." In fact, culture relativism has absolutely nothing to do with whether a culture's behaviour is right or wrong. It simply means that you need to understand it in context, and know why they do the things that they do before you judge them.
For example, when it comes to the particular issue of "child" sexualisation, you might be calling a fourteen-year-old a girl because in your culture she is, but in other cultures a sixteen-year-old girl is not a child. She's a grown woman, with her own life and her own responsibilities and no mommy and daddy to hold her hand. She's expected to act like an adult, so is it so wrong to allow her to have sex like an adult? And are we in any position to criticise them for sexualising such young but independent women when we ourself tend to prefer "college girls," who may be older but certainly aren't any more mature? Clearly it is not just their culture, but ours as well that prefers women as young as we can get them without them technically being considered children.