Skepchick Quickies 10.1


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Amanda,

    One argument against the Hodag being a real animal is that I’ve never heard of it until now. I think I would have heard about something that eats our pets, and is that strange by now. I don’t live in Wisconsin, but I have a feeling I would have heard about that thing in the news, especially if it ate someone’s dog.

  2. The Consent Model has some real problems. As sweet, kind, and guileless as the connection seems. The assumption is STILL that sex is a transaction. A thing that men do TO women. The author simply assumes the availability of the man. There is no question of HIS ‘consenting’ to anything. Nor really of her having any real agency in her own possible sexual activity, beyond ‘letting him.’

    The Consent described is rooted in the same assumptions as Rape Culture: Sex is a commodity that men acquire from women by persuasion, purchase, coercion, or assault.

    The real revolution would be a sexuality that was actually mutual. Of participation and communication rather than consent.

    It may be that the encounters described really did meet this standard. But not the way they are described.

    1. An excellent point. Though if the consent modeled in the article was common, then women would feel more free to express their desires and therefore ask for consent from men.

    2. The Consent described is rooted in the same assumptions as Rape Culture: Sex is a commodity that men acquire from women by persuasion, purchase, coercion, or assault.

      As long as you walk around with that assumption, no model is going to make a difference: any behavior is going to be coercive. You have to start by not viewing sex — or intimacy — that way. That’s the zero-th step.

      What the Consent Model shown here offers is one way for someone who does not intend to be coercive to signal the other person that, at a minimum, she has a choice and he will respect it. It’s the first step towards an interaction where both people’s autonomy — and both people’s desire — are respected[*]. But only the first step.

      [*] Note that someone’s desire being respected doesn’t mean it will be satisfied. On the other hand, if you desire the other person’s comfort and feeling of safety more than your desire for pleasure, then it’s a win whether she reciprocates or not.

    3. I think this is because many women are used to having to assume that any man might be interested in sex and that if they respond the wrong way they will “lead him on.” While it would be preferable to not assume men were pursuing sex it is not an especially safe or effective approach. Espicially if things have gotten to the point of naked dance kissing.

      Also, responding to that article, I think “Can I kiss you?” is only as awkward as you want it to be.

    4. I don’t agree at all. Maybe you read a different article, because I read one in which the man was not interested in sex either, and just wanted to make out. I see nothing transactional in the anecdote given, and nothing at all objectionable. Maybe you can clarify where you see the problem, in specific terms and not general ones?

      1. The issue is that if I assume x guy will not think I’m interested in sex unless I specifically say so is that it will get me into bad situations. Maybe x guy is fine, he’s totally honest and will respect my boundaries. But maybe w guy from earlier was like that at one point but went from seeing friendly to suddenly shifting into disrespectful or scary behavior. If “rape culture” is a thing then I can’t get rid of it by just pretending it’s not there and treating everyone as an individual.

        This sucks if you are x guy and genuinely aren’t going to do anything disrespectful, but it sucks more to have to deal with harassment on a day to day basis. To certain extent x guy is going to have to go out of his way to communicate that he respects the person’s boundaries. It can’t be assumed that he does.

        Or to put it another way, here’s an anecdotal story from a past online acquaintance. She wasn’t the kind of person who usually goes to bars, but a friend of her’s invited her so she agreed to go along. At one point a couple guys came up and started talking to her. They told her repeatedly that they were from out of town and were just looking for someone to hang out with and talk to during their visit. She trusted them on this and spent a while talking to them and getting to know them. After a while one them says that he would like to be sexually involved with her, so she explains that she isn’t interested in that and just wanted to talk. The guy, who gets very angry and defensive, starts saying that she was leading him on, that she acting inappropriately, etc. The guy is backed up with her friend, who says that she shouldn’t have agreed to talk with them if she wasn’t interested in sex. To them, obviously the guy was interested in sex because why else would he talk to a woman at a bar? She still isn’t interested, but it ruins her night. She shows up on the internet wondering if she did something wrong, if she really broke some kind of secret bar code and was leading the guy on.

        This is obviously just one guy, but if it happens to you enough then you are going to start being a lot more careful about how you interact with men. And if you’ve had to deal with violence, street harassment, abuse, or any number of issues you may have -those- fears too. It’s not about stereotyping all men as only being interested in sex, it’s about having to be careful about finding out what sort of man is there in front of you and maybe having boundaries about when you’re even willing to expend energy figuring that out.

        The piece is notable -because- the guy went out of his way to be respectful at every step of the story, even as the author was worrying about this stuff. That matters a lot and it helps.

        1. Err, my comment was directed at John, not you. I totally agree with YOU. I don’t agree that the article in question shows sex as transactional or that the “consent model” in it is inherently problematic in the ways that John seems to think.

          What you say reminds me of those guys who go onto dating sites and send out messages to women, and then get their panties in a twist when the women don’t message them back. If she isn’t interested, she should at least have the courtesy to say so, right? Except that, of course, when women DO message back men to politely decline their advances, they are frequently called everything that is horrible in every available language and there is no way to know in advance which guys will be THOSE guys.

          (this also elides the question of whether or not someone is entitled to a response, from anyone, for any reason, the answer to that question being, “no, not even if you spent a long time crafting your foray and were really thoughtful and caring,” because putting un-asked-for effort into a thing does not obligate someone else into reciprocation)

          1. “Err, my comment was directed at John, not you. I totally agree with YOU. I don’t agree that the article in question shows sex as transactional or that the “consent model” in it is inherently problematic in the ways that John seems to think.”

            Whoops, my apologies. Maybe my comment will still be helpful to someone.

            Agreed about the dating site thing too. Not to mention that straight women (or really lesbian and other orientationed women too) get a huge number of messages from men so it’s not necessarily realistic to reply to all them.

  3. There is no question of HIS consenting, because this is a story where HE asks, but where do you get the interpretation that sex is a transaction and something men do to women in this? It’s a story about mutually enjoyed kissing and of, shock, participation and communication. I think you’re reading connotations into the very word consent that this model of mutual consent doesn’t imply.

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