Fun fact, when I was first exposed to consent seminars and deliberate education on that kind of thing, I was a little wary of it at first but also quickly impressed with it as a good idea, because prior to that point in my life (college), people just didn’t talk about this stuff. So I remember having a tentative positive impression of the whole thing. Because I believed “people in my culture just don’t know how to communicate about this, or that it’s okay and good to communicate about it explicitly.” That’s what I believed. And maybe that still is partially true.
But the more I’ve grown and the more I’ve developed my thoughts on the subject, the more I’ve become dissatisfied with their surface approach toward basic communication templates instead of underlying values, because the actual larger problem at hand is that American masculinity is a cult of violation.
July 10th, 2016 at 12:47 pm
I think it’s possible that the main impact things like that can have isn’t learning to be mindful of your partner’s consent, but learning to be mindful of your own.
I may be way off-base here, of course, but a lot of times people will raise objections about how it’s unlikely that consent seminars will teach people who don’t care about their partner’s consent to do so – and yeah, I can buy that. Some people may not know, but some people just won’t care.
But I think what can be useful there is the subset of people – especially but not exclusively women – who are coming in from a fundamentalistish Christian background with all the baggage of how consent isn’t real and you can’t have/withdraw it, and coming to this seminar that is predicated on the assumption that of course consent is a meaningful thing, of course you can give it and withdraw it, and here’s how to pay attention to that – even if on the surface they think ‘of course that can’t be true, that’s unChristian, I have to do XYZ’, they have still gotten exposure to that idea, and even just exposure can help along realisations.
I don’t think I’m disagreeing with you here – I think it’s a neat idea, but maybe not particularly effective as it is set up and envisaged. But I do think maybe people conceptualising it and framing it in terms of all the people who are taught that they can’t give and withdraw consent might make it work better, because I think that’s an important message to reach out with, and university is a natural time to be able to access it.
July 10th, 2016 at 1:06 pm
Yeah. Helping people get in touch with their own comfort zone is a very worthwhile project.
July 10th, 2016 at 2:45 pm
Library, that is such a good point! :)
July 10th, 2016 at 2:50 pm
Sorry! I meant “Libris”. I’m on my phone and I thought I was paying attention to autocorrect problems before hitting “post”, but I guess not!
July 10th, 2016 at 6:23 pm