This Article proceeds in five parts. Part I reviews the history of the legal and social movement from gender-specific to gender-neutral statutory rape laws. This Part includes an exploration of critical scholarship responding to the Supreme Court's Michael M. decision. Part II explains the limitations of gender-specific legislation. This Part illustrates that there are two categories of gender-neutral statutory rape jurisdictions: age-differential statutes and arbitrary prosecution statutes. This Part also explores challenges to these statutes, particularly arbitrary prosecution statutes, on equal protection grounds. Part III provides empirical data that men are prosecuted at a rate four times greater than females and catalogs the overwhelming disparity between the prosecution of teenage males for consensual statutory rape and prosecution of teenage females for the same crimes. Part IV tests the outcomes of statutory rape prosecutions and considers whether the move to gender-neutral rape laws has achieved feminists' goals such as removing female stereotypes and granting females more power over their own sexuality. Ultimately, this Article highlights how cultural movements can have long-simmering, unintended consequences, and the pernicious effects of the legislative shift to gender-neutrality stands as a cautionary tale to the #MeToo movement and its fight for workplace equality. This Article concludes with hope, offering a solution for change in the future.
Leslie Y. Garfield Tenzer, #Metoo, Statutory Rape Laws, and the Persistence of Gender Stereotypes, 2019 Utah L. Rev. 117, https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/1116/