Consent, Redefined

I first want to take credit for coming up with an amazing clickbait title.  Good job, Smartassicus.  Why thank you.  Alright. Now that the self ego-stroking is out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks.  I want to talk about consent.

Let’s start off with the most obvious thing, which is consent in the context of sexual advances.  The #metoo movement has been awe-inspiring.  Women have stood up and spoken out against all forms of harassment and assault.  Not so much that women haven’t been telling us all along.  They have, and we as a society did not listen.  A lot still don’t.  The swell of #metoo was what was so amazing. It is by far the most wide-sweeping discussion on the topic of sexual consent.  It made me re-evaluate interactions in my life, and realize that I was a #metoo for women at times.  I am not going to qualify or explain, because I don’t want it to appear to be excusing my behavior even if it isn’t rape or assault.

But I am going to swing away from focusing on just sexual consent, as although it is so very crucial, I wanted to address it at a basic all-encompassing level that rings true as to why the #metoo movement is so valid and important.

 

I need you all to stop for a moment, and be prepared to think.  This isn’t meant to be condescending, there are so many of you who have probably worked this out long before me.  But It’s a mental exercise.

 

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I used Bush in two back to back posts, which I believe violates the Geneva convention.

One thing directly related to consent is bodily autonomy.  This is a term used far more in discussions (Ha. Discussions.  More like nosy religious people using emotionally charged falsified data and empty rhetoric to scream at women, particularly the vunerable about how evil they are and…) Ok. taking a deep breath.  That’s a topic all to itself.  It’s safe to say I’m pro-choice.  It’s also used in reference to the freedom of sex workers, but I have already written a piece on that.

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I am pro-choice.  I choose not to kill this man because she already slayed him.

 

Bodily autonomy. The concept that you have complete control over your own body.  You decide how you use it, what is allowed, what is not. Stand alone. inviolable. absolute.  let’s take that down to the cellular level.

If you have autonomy, you have autonomy over everything.  Otherwise it isn’t autonomy.  If we expand the concept to what it really means, it means you are not beholden to anyone for anything. At all.

No one has the right to your time, unless you consent.

No one has the right to your attention, unless you consent.

No one has the right to anything.  It is yours.

The only thing people can do is request things of you.  They must ask.  No, your employer has no right to demand anything of you.  They request, and offer remuneration. You either agree or don’t.  if you don’t agree, you are choosing to leave the job. But it is your choice.  Another place where pedantry can muddy the water is in parenting.  Well, the baby is crying. I have no choice but to take care of it.  But that’s really an extension of the choice you made to have the child.  You (hopefully.) had the child willfully.  Autonomy is not just a barrier to demands, it’s also a responsibility in the choices we make. You’d think that this was an elemental and perfectly understood concept, but it isn’t.  People demand things of others all the time. Husbands (or wives, but let’s be honest about percentages) pester their spouses for sex.  Employers make unreasonable demands. friends ask too much of you when you can’t handle it but they are friends and you don’t want to let them down. So on and so forth.

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Demand resistant force field for sale. Only costs all the monies.

Most of the time demands are benign, sometimes they are not.  But having any expectation on anyone for anything is actually, not acknowledging the autonomy of the individual you are demanding it from.

But what about marriage? Monogamous relationships?  Aren’t you duty bound by your oaths and promises?  The short answer is no.  You maintain your relationships, and the boundaries you set within it, by autonomy.  No piece of paper can declare you must be faithful to a person.  No tax status can make you agree to boundaries.  And if you think about it, do you really WANT it to?  You partner(s) are there by choice.  At least they should be. They should adhere to agreed boundaries because they autonomously agree to.  I am trying to encompass all different relationship types simply here, but the essence is that every day, every choice, every thing, is yours. Yours alone. And you have the absolute authority over how any of it is used.

As a last point, I of course need to address people who are in situations that choice is removed from them.  That happens.  I am not blind to people who can’t leave a shitty job because it will ruin them, afraid to leave an abusive relationship for many number of reasons, or people who have been criminally forced in to things they do not want to do.  This is unacceptable behavior.  It is violating someone else’s autonomy.  When you think about it, it is a truly despicable act.

There are a few things I haven’t addressed, and don’t plan on doing so.  I’m perfectly prepared for the “well actually” that can come with discussion like this.  I welcome it.

 

Now follow my fucking blog.  You know. If you consent to.

Love to all*

*some**

**few of you.

 

Smartassicus out.

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Consent, Redefined

  1. This is a great post. People forget that they have the right to say “no” without having to qualify anything. I know that I’ve been in many situations where I felt obliged to do something I didn’t want to do, for fear of upsetting someone. I think we all need a sticky note on our bathroom mirrors that says “You are entitled to say NO”. *loves to you.

    • Exactly. Every interaction should be at your discretion. Nobody else. Do things for people because you care. Not because you must.

  2. Very well stated. This is hard for me because I can’t not be there for someone when I know they “need” me. Even when it’s really just them using me for comfort. Which is, incidentally, why I rarely initiate conversations with others. I’m afraid of encroaching.

    • I understand the struggle between self care and outer care. Both are needs.

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