Consent and Feminism

The topic of consent in the past few months has blown and it took a high profile sexual misconduct case for this to happen. It is sad but also very good that the topic is finally out there and individuals are thinking about it. It is good to think about it because one now lives in the constant fear that what if he/she might get booked for an assault. I personally feel it is great because now you start focussing on your partner and their body, their feelings and their emotions instead of your own personal desires.

Let’s define consent and I am taking up the definition by Oxford Dictionary, the word is defined as “Permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.”

So when one is talking in terms of intimacy and proceeding to partake in the activity, they should make sure that the other individual is comfortable or not. Sometimes a simple ‘yes’ may be out of hesitance or coercion or a pressure to just say ‘yes’ and so what comes in your mind is whether these verbal cues are sufficient or not. What comes to play is to understand the body language of the individual and its super difficult but with the right education one can get this right. Consent does not equate to desire and it’s a debate and deserves a dissertation.

It is difficult to come to terms with an episode of sexual misconduct, it is even more difficult to come to terms with an episode where the perpetrator of the misconduct actually happens to be a dude who is identified as a ‘woke feminist’ sauntering around with the Time’s up batch pinned to his blazer when only a while ago he had ignored the very clear ‘cues’ that enunciated a woman’s feelings of ‘not interested’ or ‘not comfortable’. I am talking about Aziz Ansari here.

You may read about the complete case here.

Most of the patriarchal societies tend to have a tendency where a ‘no’ is not considered a ‘no’ but rather a signal to pursue and ‘chase’.  It is often thought that women love to be chased but you have to understand the situations in which we like to be chased. We are talking about a ‘no’ and a ‘no’ or any form of hesitance, discomfort or pressure to perform should be considered as a sign of moving away and stopping the intimate actions immediately.

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Men, mostly, with the way society raises them have been taught that it’s alright to chase a girl because she wants it. In most cases that makes the ‘man’ equivalent to a ‘dog’ and we don’t want a Rottweiler mauling us.

Aziz Ansari’s case makes you think if it is the downfall of the #MeToo movement. I don’t necessarily agree because we have finally started to dive deep into a culture where sexual assaults end up with victim blaming and the assailants are not discussed at all. As agents of education: parents, schools, social media and blogging platforms should constantly try spreading awareness with regards to a responsible sexual behaviour where both parties are consenting and desirous of each other.

There are many layers to consenting; if you are kissing then it does not necessarily have to end up in an intercourse. Maybe your partner is up for a kiss but nothing else! And you should try being as aware as possible. This awareness usually comes about when you give the other individual an amount of respect that lets them freely express their thoughts. Don’t be a selfish idiot. Let them open up and be a bit comfortable.

When someone is in an inebriated state (drunk, intoxicated) then its best to leave them alone, sometimes drunken actions don’t match up with sober thoughts and that could be troublesome. Also if the person is completed passed out or in no condition of making decision then it is just morally and legally wrong to be intimate. That is rape. There is a reason why drunk driving is punishable because you cannot make rational thoughts.

Lastly, marital rape, in a country like India or most of the south Asian countries Arranged marriage is the norm. Most partners are coerced into having sex with their significant other either by the husband/wife themselves or by the society which may include the in- laws. Marital rape is not recognized as a crime in India and that leads to abuse over women, mostly. People don’t think there is anything wrong with married couples engaging in intimacy whether consenting or not.

The only solution, like aforementioned, is to have respect for one another. Give the other person a chance to voice his/her consent and thoughts and take them into consideration. Most patriarchal societies give men a sense of entitlement that makes them feel that having non-consented sex is alright and if someone raises their voice then it is rubbished off by simply saying ‘boys will be boys’. This is rape culture and there is no such thing as non-consensual sex, there is either sex or rape.

As a girl who is still studying these topics and actively engaging with online forums on related issues my knowledge is slightly lesser and still needs more to write more but I understand one thing, if I say ‘no’ or even make someone feel that ‘I don’t want it’, then it should be respected.

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