Thursday, October 21, 2010

A banner day

Working on a college campus as I do, I see a lot of signs. Free this one, impeach that one, save these other things…every liberal notion you can imagine has a sign somewhere at Penn. That usually doesn’t bother me, but this week my eye was caught by some banners extolling the virtues of consent. Here are some examples:

- Sex without Consent isn’t Sex
- The Joy of Consent
- Consent is an Aphrodisiac

The first one I am all about; it seems obvious to me but, clearly, not so much to others. Who’da thought anyone would need a reminder of that?

The second and third banners I find…well, vaguely objectionable. It’s all well and good to remind people that consent is something you seek before you try to have sex with someone, but to promote it like a new trend or an erotic enhancement just seems wrong.

Maybe I’m a stick-in-the-mud, but I wouldn’t even take a Diet Coke from someone’s fridge without asking first, and that’s not because Diet Coke tastes better when it’s given by permission. It’s because if I take a Diet Coke without permission I’ve stolen it. That’s theft. I learned that early on…so early on, in fact, that I don’t remember being taught the lesson. Breezing past the consent part of sex is not an oopsie; that’s assault and, at its conclusion, rape. These are both crimes and moral transgressions. Something else you should have learned early on was that you keep your hands – and all your other parts – to yourself unless invited.

Obviously, rape usually occurs in a heterosexual context (there are, after all, more heterosexuals than not), and I freely confess to not being up on all things hetero. However, I’m pretty sure that straight people are as capable as gays of getting the whole consent thing, and it seems most of them do. So I just don’t get these banners, and although I don’t normally get twisted up over stuff like this, I vaguely disapprove.