Consent: Where Responsibilities Lie

We have seen music videos that present inequality between men and women;  women are fragmented, oversexualized creatures whose sole purpose is to please the dominant male artists.  Men have the freedom in music videos to exert power over women, and it is simply assumed that women enjoy it.  The reality, however, can be quite different.  It is our responsibility to separate what we see in music videos with how we act in everyday relationships.  Mutual consent is the key to successful and respectful relationships.  Our job is to understand that consent “should encompass more than yes or no,” and that “silence is not consent.”  We are responsible for communicating to our partners what we do and do not want, and we should ask them to share their feelings as well.  Consent is not passive;  we should not allow ourselves or our partner to simply see how far we can go, or do what we like without asking about our actions.  Unlike the fantasy of music videos, actual male/female relationships need the female to say what she likes too,  instead of only the male taking charge without discussion.  When everyone in the relationship takes responsibility to speak honestly about their desires, respect any instance when a partner says no, and ultimately treat each other as more than just their bodies, then it will be easier to put distance between the sexism in music videos and sex in the bedroom.

Bussel, Rachel. “Beyond Yes or No: Consent as a Sexual Process.” Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power & a World without Rape. By Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti. Berkeley, CA: Seal, 2008. N. pag. Print.

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