We’ve Got to Talk About Enthusiastic Consent

by A. Lynn. This article was originally posted at A Nerdy Feminist. Cross-posted with permission.

A recent work event got my wheels turning and I began to think about how we so rarely talk to teens about enthusiastic consent.  [TW some discussion of rape culture. Detailed discussion of consent.]

I’ve written a bit about the topic before here and there, because I think it’s really important. In it’s simplest form, enthusiastic consent is a move away from “no means no” to “yes means yes.” It’s a paradigm shift that requires open communication and challenges the assumptions of our rape culture.
As Elfity explains at Persephone,

The idea of enthusiastic consent is quite simple. In a nutshell, it advocates for enthusiastic agreement to sexual activity, rather than passive agreement. Many of you may be familiar with the book Yes Means Yes!, which popularized the idea. The concept also requires that consent be given to each piece of sexual activity, meaning that a yes to one thing (such as vaginal penetration) does not mean consent to another (like anal penetration). Basically, we’re saying, “Yes! I want this!” or, “No, I don’t think I want to do that,” and we’re asking “Is this ok?” To do these things is to be respectful of not only your own bodily autonomy, but also your partner’s. It’s just common courtesy, really. To give enthusiastic consent isn’t exactly to scream that you want it at the top of your lungs; it’s more that an unsure or hesitant yes is not enthusiastic consent, and needs to be considered.

Clearly, this is great stuff. Like I said, it challenges our rape culture which far too often shames people, especially women, into being afraid to openly articulate what they really want. I’m ecstatic that this concept is making headway in leftist circles. But I am concerned that this message is not making its way to the people who probably need this information the most: teens.A few years ago I was a part of a sex education program that I was really proud of. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but it did answer girls’ most pressing questions and was not abstinence only. We didn’t assume that all girls were straight. We didn’t assume that sex would only occur within a marriage. We told girls that they had to communicate their boundaries with their partners before they were actually in a sexual situation. We told girls they had a right to protect themselves and that no one had a right to their bodies. However, I can’t say that enthusiastic consent was totally present. I mean–consent certainly was. We affirmed repeatedly that no one should ever do something they don’t want to do or that made them uncomfortable, but I’m not sure it went beyond that.And the more I think about it, the more I am certain that a sex education can’t be complete without a section on enthusiastic consent. What I’m particularly concerned with is the feelings that accompany enthusiastic consent and the fact that we’re not talking about them with youth. Read more
Posted on by A Lynn in Feminism 10 Comments

Confronting the Equal Pay Myth

by Renee Mitson

Renee is a public relations and social media professional who recently moved from Boston to Toronto. She has a B.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Simmons College and a M.A. in Media Production from Ryerson University. She is interested in confronting gender issues in the workplace and creating a strategy for gender equality in the business world.

Many will argue that men and women are paid not only equally, but also fairly. The first point they make is usually that men work longer hours, followed by the fact that women like comfortable positions that don’t involve risk, and then the entire discussion is closed up in a tight little package with the argument that women are busy having babies, and what are men doing that whole time? Right, working.

We can argue till we are blue in the face that women in the SAME POSITION get paid less (such as my friend who got offered 11K less than her fellow graduate and friend for the same position when she had a higher GPA and more experience in a computer engineering position). We can argue that women do not “choose” lower paying jobs, and that last year more women graduated from law school than men. Going by that statistic and the one-sided logic alone, it should only be a matter of months before women are out-earning men, right?

We all know this argument is crap so let’s not insult ourselves by having it. Read more

Posted on by Renee Mitson in Feminism Leave a comment