OMG. I found this amazing blog about consent written by a team of individuals who call themselves "the consent crew".
I'd love to share some quotes defining important terms, specifically consent culture, from
a post titled Consensual Consent
written by Melina
"Before I go further, let’s get clear on some terminology. Consent Culture is the antithesis of something called “Rape Culture“, a label given to describe a cultural attitude- prevalent in human society- that ignores the individual’s right for bodily autonomy, and instead glorifies the idea of forcing or coercing another to bend or submit to another person’s wants. Consent Culture is the solution we offer to the oppressive nature of a phenomenon called Patriarchy(that says a man can over-ride the autonomy of any other gender) and Kyriarchy (that says a person with sociocultural privilege- be it gender, orientation, race, position or otherwise- has the right to over-ride an individual’s free will, simply because of their privileged position). Privilege refers to an inherent socio-cultural bias that favours someone or gives them a particular advantage not due to personal merit or effort- such as the economic class someone was born into or a person’s outward racial or gender appearance. There are some forms of privilege that are considered to be universal (such as Male Privilege, a global phenomenon where the masculine is treated as default superior in many aspects of life), and there are some examples of privilege that tend to be the exception to the norms."
“A consent culture is one in which the prevailing narrative of sex–in fact, of human interaction–is centered around mutual consent. It is a culture with an abhorrence of forcing anyone into anything, a respect for the absolute necessity of bodily autonomy, a culture that believes that a person is always the best judge of their own wants and needs…
I don’t want to limit it to sex. A consent culture is one in which mutual consent is part of social life as well. Don’t want to talk to someone? You don’t have to. Don’t want a hug? That’s okay, no hug then. Don’t want to try the fish? That’s fine… Don’t want to be tickled or noogied? Then it’s not funny to chase you down and do it anyway.”
SO excited about this description. Consent Culture is one where we always have choice to engage, say yes or no, to all kinds of interactions in life and have full autonomy over our body.
What I love about this blog thus far is that they touch on a lot of intricacies that exist and continue to unfold as one begins to fully embrace living a life of consent. It's a deep issue!
"We believe that most of us have no desire to hurt or harm another person. However, we also believe that we have all done so, in moments of selfishness, where we have forgotten to consider another person’s autonomy. This makes it sometimes challenging to talk about Consent. In fact, some people are afraid to engage in this conversation, because they know they’ve made mistakes. If you are one of those people, please know you aren’t alone.
The deeper you go into the “rabbit hole” of Consent Culture, the more you find there is that you had never considered before, and the more you begin to see every interaction with another human being through that lens of Consent. That can be challenging, for many people. You might start to see your relationships differently. You may question things you have done for loved ones, and things that loved ones have done for you. It can be especially challenging for people who have been the victims of consent violations to realise that they may have violated the consent of others."
It's so true! Raised in a culture that does not fully acknowledge consent, we've all experienced many ways where we have acted non-consensually towards another and received a fair amount of non-consensual behavior as well, mostly because we were unaware.
I'll speak for myself here. When I became more aware, I realized how much I really had to check in with another to make sure they were fully consenting to an interaction with me.
This has affected all my relationships and what I've embraced as a concept is to *never assume anything* and to *always ask for everything*.
For example, if I'm having trouble with a dynamic with my partner or my work and I really need to talk about it with a friend, I call them and ask if they feel available (mentally, emotionally, physically) to support me in that way.
If I'm hearing a friends story and I feel desire to give advise, I ask them if they feel open to my advise or if they just prefer me listen.
If I want to eat my friends food, I ask them how they feel about me eating some of their food.
Also- if they say no to any of my requests, I don't take it personally. Instead, I feel grateful that they are truly honoring they're full yeses and no's and support them listening to their authentic truth.
Sometimes this can be (emotionally) challenging. And if we want to create a culture of consent and therefore love, this is what it takes. Because essentially what you're gifting another you're gifting yourself.
These are examples for how you can embody consent as a life practice reinforcing a culture of consent.
Not only does this phenomenon encourage people to truly check in with themselves to see if they're a full yes the interaction I'm desiring to have with them, but it also supports the notion that *we are all constantly changing*. What we were okay with yesterday we may not be okay with today- another important proponent of consent. Nothing is permanent.
Almost EVERYONE I've interacted closely with who hasn't experienced another so dedicated to consent has commented on how my interaction with them has changed the way they view life and themselves. What I like to think is that I'm offering them more empowerment because *I value their choice*. I want our interaction to be mutually agreed upon and feel really good for both of us.
When you start get into it, there are some friends and lovers or group dynamics where there is some kind of *implied green light consent*. This means that a friend or loved one can give you "green-light consent" to an interaction with them. For example giving you permission to always touch them without asking. The acception is that you can trust them to let you know if and when it starts not feeling good for them, they will ask you to stop. Another example is that you wish to participate in a contact-improv jam. There's a pre-determined agreement that if you choose to dance with someone there, you will be touching each other. Hopefully, the green-light consent dynamic is agreed upon by everyone involved before it's played out.
AND we're all human and learning and will mess up sometimes as the article mentions above, including me. I will still mess up too. But hey- better to do it consciously than unconsciously right?
Consent as love, consent as life.
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