Navigating Consent in the age of WEB 2.0

I am a product of rape culture.

Even though many of us are evolving on our understanding of consent, we’re still the products of rape culture.

What is Affirmative consent?

Pressured into sharing your Snapchat, Instagram or even your number?

How does Affirmative consent work in terms of Tech?

I have on countless occasions been pressured, harassed and physically chased, yes I was chased down the street. Pressured, harassed and coerced into providing any sort of access to contact me by cis men. Affirmative consent is not just about getting permission, but about making sure encounters are based on mutual desire and enthusiasm.

So with affirmative consent, or “yes means yes,” we imply that WOC have the power to be their own agency when it comes to sex and consent?

While this is a wonderful ideal to strive towards, it ignores the reality that womxn say “yes” sometimes out of fear, and sometimes as a result of coercion and just to be left alone. Especially, in terms of exchanging contacts or adding people on Instagram or other social media outlets.

While every no means no, not every yes means yes.


Unfortunately, within this societal framework, we have yet to come across a model of consent that works without fault under the patriarchy and the gender roles constructed.

Solving the issues of consent is a long way off.

However, we must continue to talk about consent. It needs to be part of our sex education programs. It needs to be something that we learn and understand from a young age, especially consent in relation to disabilities.

I only starting to learn about consent, unfortunately after already being sexually active and not realising, that on numerous occasions, the lines between consensual sexual activity and non-consensual were blurred to my understanding, which was completely warped from what I ‘thought’ I had to interact and/or react.

Now reflecting on this, I release that there were many occasions that they were not consensual.

And so in order to counteract the downright dangerous lessons, porn is teaching our young people, porn that used to be harder to access is now in 2017, easily accessible by those who have access to the internet, or a mobile phone device. Most young people within this society have these things or know of people that can access such content from the Web 2.0, we need to start talking about sex and (un)learning gender stereotypes.

It’s of urgency that we need comprehensive sex education to teach our young generation about healthy sex, relationships and how these function in relation to tech, by using tech correctly and appropriately and knowing how to consciously navigate the Web 2.0.

If we can stop seeing and learning about sex from the dominant patriarchal perspective, we can encourage and respect mutual consensual pleasure.

Sex and consent education should not just be about STIs and unwanted pregnancies; (which also needs updating) but it should also discuss love and pleasure and relationships and interactions.

It needs to teach us about a variety of relationships and equip us with the tools and confidence to talk about sex and what we want, feel comfortable and safe to do.

In doing so, we may finally bring up a generation that truly understands consent.

References

Mogilevsky, M. 2015, online, Need Proof of Rape Culture? Here Are 5 Ridiculous Things Some Men Say When Accused of Rape Accessed: 6th October 2018 https://everydayfeminism.com/2015/06/ridiculous-responses-to-rape-accusations/

Brunwin, R. 2015, online, ‘The Problem With How We’ve Defined Consent’ Accessed: 6th October 2018

http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/11/the-problem-with-consent/

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