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The online diary of an ethical pervert.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Walk like a slut

Ah, I appear to have gotten political again. And annoyed. As some of you will already know I am going to be at Slutwalk this Saturday, please feel free to come and say hello.

My reasons for going are quite simple - I am very, very bored of people thinking that what a woman wears is an advertisement for sexual advances. I am also deeply bored of the abhorrent idea that an item of clothing is a red rag to the bull of rape. It is incredibly patronising to everyone concerned that this should still be part of our culture. And yet it is. Even in leftist media.

Slut-shaming, victim-blaming and the phenomenon of "asking for it" throw together everything that is ugly, unwarranted, stupid and sexist about our attitude to sex and sexuality. Not only does such negative and wrongheaded thinking actually prevent people from enjoying better sex (great article from The Pervocracy here) it also stops us, via classic misdirection, from really tackling the genuine problem of consent.

Because there is a problem about consent. Certain local authorities have recognised this fact and are working on it. Kudos. This is the problem with consent: lots of people don't seem to know what it means. They can't possibly know what it means. If they did then alcohol consumption would not be a factor, what someone wears would not be a factor. Neither gin and tonic nor tiny dresses can consent to sex, so we shouldn't assume we can fuck someone because of those things.

In almost any other situation except sex we would never automatically, innocently assume or infer consent (though we might do it to trick someone into agreeing, but that's a different problem). If we truly want to know the answer we would ask. And even then, we would judge the response on context and err on the side of caution. Who assumes a business deal has been agreed to based on the type of suit the other person is wearing? And if that deal was agreed over an awfully boozy lunch, might you also want to get a confirmation when they were sober before proceeding?

Perhaps we in the BDSM community could assist in this matter, after all, consent is our bread and butter. We tackle difficult issues of consent frequently, including areas of dubious legality, where our desire to do something is at odds with what it is legal to do. I wonder if we could promote the way that we approach our most successful sexual relationships - discussion, negotiation, existing frameworks and networks of support - to place a different, better emphasis on active, positive consent.

I'm not suggesting that there are never any problems within BDSM, merely that perhaps we already have a useful toolkit for avoiding them and should talk about it more openly. In the meantime, I've got my hotpants and I'm going walking.

1 comment:

suggestivetongue.com said...

"I am very, very bored of people thinking that what a woman wears is an advertisement for sexual advances." This is my reason for going as well. I want to be able to wear whatever I want and have it say absolutely nothing about my presumed sexuality. Idiocracy.