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The definitive consent playlist

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One of the fallouts of the #MeToo movement in India is widespread confusion — sometimes genuine, sometimes disingenuous — about consent. Why did she say yes first and back off later? Why did she flirt if she wasn’t serious? Why did she break up with him after having sex with him? And so on. What does this confusion boil down to, really?

In the best case, it rests on an underlying uncertainty about whether women are rational and sentient beings. Such uncertainty is often expressed in explanations — or should we say mansplanations — that generally involve words like “fickle”, “confused”, and “emotional”, and lack words like “consistent”, “intelligent”, and “rational”. Even smart and well-meaning people often fail to notice when women are being rational and consistent, because we are raised in a culture that constantly reinforces our gender stereotypes. We fail to notice even when our intention is genuinely to respect and support women.

In the worst case, #MeToo is confusing because we have accepted, sometimes unconsciously, that women are not rational and sentient. The dehumanisation is implicit in the assertion that women behave arbitrarily and evilly when they “willingly” have sex with someone who wields power over them and accuse him of sexual assault decades later. Or that they have no right to withhold sex from their partner, or that last Friday’s consent was a lifelong surrender of bodily autonomy.

All of us — women and men, straight and LGBTQ — are raised in the same culture that tells us a thousand times every day that the words, wishes, and aspirations of women are worth less than those of men. Here’s a song list that cranks up the volume on cultural messages to the contrary. Listen.

Song: NO
Artist: Meghan Trainor
The title, in all caps, is designed especially for men who can’t take hints. “All my ladies, listen up! If that boy ain’t givin’ up, lick your lips and swing your hips and all you gotta say is: My name is NO! My sign is NO! My number is NO! You need to let it go! https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/the-definitive-consent-playlist/cid/1672902?ref=opinion_opinion-page

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