Jan 10 2012

Consent is back!

In keeping with my new policy of barely writing posts ever, I suggest you check out this essay written by Lisa at A Radical Transfeminist. The article enlarges with no small eloquence on my favorite topic, women’n’consent. I snip a large-ish chunk of it here for your consideration.

Here Lisa discusses the nature of the dudely habit of deliberately misunderstanding refusal. You know, when they suddenly experience an utterly confounding ambiguity in standard modes of refusal that, in all non-boink-related contexts, are completely transparent? This purposeful denial of women’s humanity, it’s pretty much the nub of patriarchal oppression.

I’d like to ask the reader to do a brief mental exercise. (If you’d rather not, just skip to the next paragraph.) I’d like you to remember the last time you found it difficult to give an explicit “no” to somebody in a non-sexual context. Maybe they asked you to do them a favour, or to join them for a drink. Did you speak up and say, outright, “No”? Did you apologise for your “no”? Did you qualify it and say, “Oh, I’m sorry, I can’t make it today“? If you gave an outright “no”, what privileged positions do you occupy in society, and how does your answer differ from the answers of people occupying more marginalised positions?

This form of refusal was analysed in 1999 by Kitzinger and Frith (K&F) in Just Say No? The Use of Conversation Analysis in Developing a Feminist Perspective on Sexual Refusal. Despite the seeming ambiguity in question/refusal acts like, “We were wondering if you wanted to come over Saturday for dinner”, “Well, uhh, it’d be great but we promised Carol already”, they are widely understood by the participants as straightforward refusals.

K&F conclude by saying that, “For men to claim [in a sexual context] that they do not ‘understand’ such refusals to be refusals (because, for example, they do not include the word ‘no’) is to lay claim to an astounding and implausible ignorance of normative conversational patterns.”

Especially intriguing is the notion that the unequivocal “no” is the exclusive purview of privilege.


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  1. Boner Killer

    Saying “no” always has so many social consequences for women, particularly if it is directed at a man, particularly in a public space. This constantly seems to happen every day, especially notice it in post-secondary classrooms with some male teachers – they take on a “dominant” position and make it so saying “no” – to anything – puts you in danger of being publicly shamed or humiliated.

    Unfortunately, even in cases of sex, “no” doesn’t seem to register with dudes who want to obtain sexual access. Maybe all of the porno has finally rotted their ability to understand the concept of “no.”

  2. MTJ

    Thanks so much for the link. It’s a wonderful post, well worth the read, in case that means anything to anyone.

  3. Cathy Brennan

    So this same blogger you refer us to for this consent essay also seems to suggest that lesbians who don’t want to have sex with women with penises are bigots. That’s what I like to call “rape mentality.” Oh, the cognitive dissonance, it burns.

    See http://radtransfem.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/significant-othering-attraction-down-the-privilege-gradient/

  4. Lishra

    It seems worth noting that Lisa also has written a post saying, “As a lesbian, I demand that women who identify as straight consider whether they’re attracted to me.

    As a transsexual woman, I demand that people who ‘aren’t attracted to trans people’ challenge that self-identification.”

    Demanding that women try to be sexually attracted to you? How does consent fit into that one?

  5. Jac

    I just ended a friendship with a guy who would not accept refusals except in the form of an outright “no,” but who simultaneously insisted upon me treating him with kid gloves in such context. “No” was too rude, but he’d respond to any other denial by trying to talk me into what I just declined. After I told him I didn’t want to hang out anymore, he sent me a barrage of emails trying to negotiating hanging out again. When I refused, he sent me a “goodbye forever” email, to which I replied with my own “goodbye and don’t contact me” email. Of course he couldn’t respect that request, either, and he created a new email address to circumvent my spam filter and also msged me on a mutual social networking site. Dude has serious control and consent issues, and it isn’t my responsibility to fix them.

  6. Liz

    What a nifty paper!

    This file may be of interest to people who may not have $25 lying around:


  7. awhirlinlondon

    Stonkingly good post you linked. Thank you, and for introducing those of us who did know of her.

  8. speedbudget

    Lishra, she is demanding consideration if whether or not one is truly attracted. In other words, are you really straight, or is it just that it’s easier to be so in this society?

    To the topic, reading about “no” as a power dynamic was one of those, “Holy crap, you dipshit! Why didn’t you think of that?” moments. I mean, come on. That is so brilliantly simple and true. Who does get to flat-out say “No” in this society with no explanations, no trying not to hurt others’ feelings? Bosses and parents.

  9. Saurs

    (Just one productive comment before the handwringing “wot about the cis straightz” brigade shows up, complete with bad faith rhetorical “questions.” Some kind of record.)

  10. speedbudget

    Oops. I am truly gullible. I even was saying “gullible” really slowly a bunch of time the other morning cause of someone’s G+ post about how it sounds like “oranges” if you say it slowly.

    Sorry for the derail.

  11. Saurs

    (speedbudget, does it sound like “oranges”? I’m going to be trying this out all day now.)

  12. Saurs

    (Oh, you were you saying that was a trick. Fuck, I’m an idiot.)

  13. speedbudget

    (Oh, you were you saying that was a trick. Fuck, I’m an idiot.)

    This was my exact reaction hours later, only with a lot more cussing.

  14. Ginjoint


  15. quixote

    As Saurs said, “That is so brilliantly simple and true. Who does get to flat-out say “No” in this society with no explanations, no trying not to hurt others’ feelings? Bosses and parents.”

    I knew that!

    And yet I never really connected the dots. Also, Kitzinger’s point that it’s only among men wanting sex that typical quasi-refusals become incomprehensible. Never connected those dots either.

    Nice feeling, to see better. Thanks for the illuminating post.

  16. allhellsloose

    I have to agree with Lishra on this. Spot on post.

  17. allhellsloose

    I’m sorry but I hate gender binary.

  18. allhellsloose

    So transsexuals have covered the gender binary. Does one get this from FtMs. They don’t demand. They don’t proclaim. They don’t blog or go on the WWW about it.

    Only the MtFs. Sorry but it’s true. I hate men.

  19. Wandering Uterus

    From the article:
    “Our analysis in this article supports the belief that the root of the problem is not that men do not understand sexual refusals, but that they do not like them.”

    The fact that it’s going to take even MORE research to establish this is what merits a facepalm. To us, it’s mere common sense. A man rapes a woman because he wants to, not because he’s been somehow tricked by the woman’s feminine wiles into behaving against her will.

    Instead of telling women to say “no” outright, or that, “No means no,” why do we not have some pithy quote to direct at the dudefolk? I think, “When in doubt, don’t whip it out,” is marketable enough to put in PSAs.

    Seems to me that this so-called controversy over refusal is merely about providing the man a defense if he’s caught. “I didn’t know she didn’t want it,” sounds better in court than, “I just wanted to rape her.” That is, if a case even gets into court.

  20. Wandering Uterus

    Forgot to specify that it’s the Kitzinger (pdf) article I’m discussion. Perdon.

  21. Cootie Twoshoes

    How’s about a little personal anecdote to try to keep this thread from going down the transphobic drain?

    About 12 years ago I was having consentual het PIV sex with my then-boyfriend. At some point it went from not very pleasurable to uncomfortable to extremely painful. I told him clearly, “You’re hurting me.” His hissing response? “You like it.” I was so shocked and disturbed by this that I let it continue until he was finished with me. Since then I have repeatedly berated myself for not firmly telling him to stop and get the fuck off me. But then one glorious day I read Twisty’s wacky consent scheme, and it totally clicked. If we had been engaged in any other partnered activity, say moving furniture or rowing a boat, and I had said those words, there would have been no reason for me to specifically articulate “no” or “stop,” because he would have immediately stopped the pain-inducing behavior.

    Happy ending: I dumped him not long after.

  22. Hermionemone

    allhellsloose wrote:

    I have to agree with Lishra on this. Spot on post.

    I also thought ‘demand’ was a bit strong, but in the article where Lisa lists those demands, she was challenging people to enlarge the bounds of their P-induced standards of attraction. See for yourself in
    where it makes a listtle more sense in context.

  23. AlienNumber

    Why how endlessly fascinating (by which I mean not) — Catharine MacKinnon writes about speech acts and then MaryKate McGowan writes about speech acts and silencing some more, and then a dozen more feminists, but we need to get a Xy named Lisa – hand-delivered by our own Twisty – to tell us all about it?

  24. gingerest

    (Oh NO here we go again with the trans* fight but let me just point out that after Lishra’s cherry-picked quotations, Lisa goes on to say, “It’s worth noting that these demands are in challenge to received sexualities assigned at birth, i.e. culturally normative sexualities, and don’t apply ‘symmetrically’ to non-normative sexualities. I demand that you and I challenge ourselves to extend our sexuality to dating down privilege gradients, not up.”)

    Cootie Twoshoes: You *have* stopped berating yourself, right? It’s not a happy ending yet otherwise.

  25. AlienNumber

    We women already date down our privilege gradients.
    Should Lisa be perhaps preaching not to the choir, but perhaps to dudes? Wouldn’t that be amazing- if dudes (instead of women) dated people uglier than them, lazier than them, less interesting than them? Now THAT would be interesting.

    You know what’s not interesting? When a dude tells women that they should take a chance on some asshat. Didn’t they make a movie encouraging just about that like yesterday and the day before? “Superbad” or was it “40 y.o. Virgin” or choose your own piece of Hollywoodian heterosexist anti-woman propaganda.

  26. quixote

    (People, take it outside. Twisty has repeatedly asked that the fem vs trans thing be fought elsewhere. This place is into fem and trans. We spend our time on feminism cuz that’s who we are, but that doesn’t change the + sign. If you feel otherwise, it’s just basic politeness to STFU in her space.)

  27. Cootie Twoshoes

    Oh, yes, indeedy, gingerest. I should clarify that I dumped him not long after he hurt me, but it was Twisty’s wacky consent scheme that dissolved the burden of my self-blame. Until that point I had played the game of the P, thinking it was my fault he kept me in pain, believing it was nothing like rape since we began consensually, feeling disgusting that I didn’t say the word “no.” I don’t play that game no more!

    It goes back to the linked article in the OP. Suddenly, a phrase like “you’re hurting me” has a way different meaning if you’re a woman in contact with a dude. It may be ignored, it may be interpreted as encouragement. Through the ubiquitous P-filter, it could mean any ol’ thing except what it actually means.

  28. ElkBallet

    Similar to the argument in “The Myth of Mars and Venus,” my favorite part is where she says that the only people who wouldn’t pick up on those cues are people with autism. So to claim men don’t understand is to say maleness is a disability.

  29. Twisty

    OK, look. This post is about consent. If you want to complain about a post I didn’t even link to, feel free to write about it in your own blog.

    If you want to make anti-trans remarks, you can do that in your own blog, too. This post is about consent.

    Incidentally. On Savage Death Island there is no trans “debate.” Period. If this makes your pussy hurt, recall that nobody is forcing you to read this blog post — which is about consent — against your will. The rest of the Internet will welcome you with open arms, but I will not. Sayonara.

  30. EmilyBites

    They understand when women say no, they just don’t care.

    This is another excellent article on the issue of ‘men just don’t understand rejections couched in the normal language of humans that they themselves use daily when the answer is no, I won’t shag you’:


    Nobody asks their friend ‘Want to play tennis?’ then when Friend says ‘I would LOVE to, you know I love playing with you – but I am really tired and I have this thing I have to do really early,’ shows up at 6pm on the court expecting to see their friend. Nor do they just start serving balls at their friend’s face.

    We all understand a refusal, but when it comes to sex, women are expected to say the magical words in the holy order while doing the sanctified semaphore before a no is accepted. In what world would you reply to someone who asked if you wanted to share an ice cream with a firm, shouted ‘NO!’ accompanied by a STOP palm in their face, your feet planted firmly apart ready to kick their ass properly?

  31. susanw

    The ubiquitous propaganda of the pornified Patriarchy has silenced women’s “NO”.

    1 She says “NO”, but she means “yes” because
    A. Despite her hot lust for you, she is brainwashed to fear slut shaming. Ignoring her “NO” is liberating her.
    B. She likes forced sex, the rougher the better, and is goading you to provide it. Ignoring her “NO” is gratifying her.
    2. She says “NO” and means “no”, but she’s wrong because
    A. Victorian repression has crippled her natural passions. Ignoring her “NO” is curing her.
    B. She uses sex to manipulate and control men. Ignoring her “NO” shows the ball busting bitch she can’t get away with it.

  32. susanw

    While my list of self-serving, porn-fantasy excuses is being moderated, may I thank Wandering Uterus for “I just wanted to rape her.” That’s it. Men rape us and tell themselves (and anybody who bothers to ask) the flimsiest pathetic lies to cover their asses and stifle their humanity. There is some sick code of silence that lets the lies stand.
    Maybe we need billboards that say things like: ”If she’s not kissing you back, you’re raping her.” “If she’s crying, you’re raping her.” “If she won’t look you in the eye, you’re raping her.”

  33. Kea

    This constantly seems to happen every day, especially notice it in post-secondary classrooms with some male teachers …

    Yes, indeed, in my experience there are two really difficult areas for consent: sex and intellectual authority. In many countries, the former has unpleasant legal consequences for the inattentive male, at least in principle if not in reality. The latter doesn’t even have that. No one, to my knowledge, has ever been convicted of ruining a woman’s career and life over her ‘wrong opinion’ or ability to say ‘no’ when academic ethics require it, but it happens so, so very often. I never thought of this as being analogous to rape, but now I see it is.

  34. Keri

    Even when you say “No, no, no, and FUCK no, leave me alone you crazy ass Fucktard nutjob” it doesn’t matter. I have a stalker so I can attest to this. Yeppers.

    This issue not only enrages me on a Global Accords Governing the Fair Use of Women level, but on a very personal level, like the fact that I have to carry mace and a taser in my car (and that thing scares the shit out of me). Also, that I have to look around every time come in or out of my house or my job and make sure I have my cell phone in my hand.

    I even had the talking to from the special ladies victim’s cop (and she wasn’t as “sexy” as the ones the t.v in case you were wondering) about “trusting my instincts” when I feel I am in danger, as well as keeping “journals” and “timelines” of his creepery and violations. I kind of just want to light those on fire and stick them up the ass of the policemen from whom I have had to beg for help.

    It makes me so very very angry. Goodie for me, the extended protection order is up next week so guess who is filling out the application to get it re-upped and has to go prove to the P that I deserve to live without being harassed and maybe raped? (Because you know, there’s an 80% chance I will be statistically).


    Now, I shall go have a xanax and watch some Portlandia and just calm the hell down.

  35. Shelby

    “They understand when women say no, they just don’t care”

    Word. Far too much credit is being given to the nature of language and the possible ambiguity in refusal or consent. My rapist wouldn’t have given a rats arse whether I was screaming yes, no, or reciting my shopping list. The whole really thing had nothing to do with me.

  36. laix

    In stranger rape ‘consent issues’ become less important in legal terms but the majority of rapes are known perps and this is where the patriarchy has a field day with consent for all the reasons stated above.

    Rape has nothing to do with consent and everything to do with ‘the servant paying their final due’….
    Rape as a major weapon of war is about the victors killing the vanquished . All about womon as object for use and abuse. No is non-existant in all sexual violent acts against womon

    Men (subject) Fuck (action) Womon (Object! )

  37. damequixote

    I think most males have rape fantasies and when they’re with women they act them out to the extent that the woman may be saying no but that’s what she says in his fantasy so it’s great, not gross. In this way they are masturbabting and you are, well, porn. With skin. Skin porn.

    In a barely related note, I’ve been having to go to a crazy number of gynos recently (fibroid issue) and have a new rule that Dr’s really hate. When they are examining (the dreaded exam), I refuse to talk about anything except the most basic questions concerning the exam. Example, “Does that hurt?” That gets answered. Otherwise, I tell them we can discuss whatever it is further when his/her hands are not inside me. I was noticing they were asking things that were much more invasive in nature etc when they were invading me, a la torture/interogation technique. O how they bristled. Odd how the question was so important it never was asked again (not). Even the female Doctors (taught this junk from the male establishment) seemed up ended by this but stopped their line of questioning never to return to it as well. (And these things were not related to my condition).

    Guess the post reminded me how hard it was to say no to any (male or male-ish) “authority” in such a compromised position and how far that really goes. And how much that mindset hates the word ‘NO’.

    My New Years Resolution is to blame the patriarchy to the point of exhaustion on a daily basis. So far so good.

  38. Julezyme

    True story: I went on “date” number 2 with a male friend, many years ago, to test whether friendship might blossom into romance. Made out on the couch, both fell asleep in my bed, woke up in the morning, started making out again, which led to sex. Condom on, PIV, at it for five, ten minutes, when I realized that, actually, I wasn’t feeling date number three, and was basically having politeness sex. At which point I stopped moving and said, “Hey, sorry, but I don’t really want to be doing this.”
    And So He Stopped.
    And asked if I was okay, and I said yes, thanks, and we had a little friendly cuddle and then got up and had breakfast.
    Never did date him, but I want to put this guy on a motivational poster about “How to NOT be a rapist douche”.
    It’s not hard!

    I like the tennis metaphor, previous poster.

  39. Doctress Ju'ulia

    This again. Yes, consent, what is it..? :(

    Awesome as always, and amazing comments, too. Thanks.

  40. Cathy Brennan

    ” If this makes your pussy hurt, recall that nobody is forcing you to read this blog post — which is about consent — against your will.”

    Wow. Just wow.

  41. redpeachmoon

    Great discussion ‘Consent’, as usual, kicks up some unsavory memories in my own history. Somewhat related topic: Has anyone seen this awfullness? ‘girlwriteswhat’?

  42. smash

    Seriously? “Makes your pussy hurt”? How is that a feminist thing to say?

  43. yttik

    One of the biggest obstacles to revolution is women’s inability to build solidarity with each other. I can understand why “girlwriteswhat” has aligned herself with males. Women can be pretty nasty to each other and will nearly always stab you in the back to side with men. After a while you get tired of being called squishy brained, a cuntalina, or mocked and told not to read this if it makes “your pussy hurt.”

    Women can’t do gender loyalty because then we’re accused of being gender essentualists. Never mind that men align themselves over gender and have developed a rather powerful good old boys network. Believe it or not, the kind of “love” women show for each other on blogs like this is what sends two thirds of us running back into the open arms of men.

    It’s not enough to hate some of the behaviors of men. It’s not enough to blame the patriarchy. The only truly radical act is to love women and to stand up for them unconditionally.

  44. Embee

    Similar to you, Cootie Twoshoes, my exhusband used to delight when he hurt me during PIV sex. In addition to his being a sadistic fuck, it made him feel “big.” Because the whole world stops for a big penis. I mean, if a man has one of those he can literally do no wrong. (see Ron Jeremy)

    What I did not know at the time, was that his ability to reach my cervix with his unremarkable penis during intercourse was a direct correlation to how little he had turned me on, and nothing whatsoever to do with his size.

    Damequixote I am will be adopting your rule. Of course, I cannot answer any questions during an exam anyway because I am generally sobbing hysterically as a result of my sexual PTSD.

  45. Keri

    So telling some to kiss off if a blog makes “your pussy hurt” will send women running back to the arms of men? That’s all it takes?

    In the “open arms” of men lies a living hell. I saw that “girlwriteswhat” nauseating MRA ball-sucking garbage video she made. Barf.

    I think solidarity means a serious revolution that can’t be undermined by getting your feel bads hurt because some was a bit edgy.

  46. ivyleaves

    I am exceedingly outraged by those women who are so mean spirited and against solidarity that they would repeatedly feel free to hijack another woman’s blog without her consent, and then start pointing fingers when her exasperation isn’t phrased nicely enough for them.

    And bringing up a phrase that was already apologized for in the past is doubling down on it. I am hoping for some severe moderation.

  47. Embee

    Moderation, please. Particularly because the complaining in neither clever nor embiggening. It is merely whining.

    Also, after much unscientific study, I have concluded that any post beginning with the word “um” or containing either of the phrases “Just saying'” or “Wow. Just wow.” will be asinine. Mine included.

  48. speedbudget

    Troll tone arguments being spewed by the Blametariat? What is going on here?

  49. Cathy Brennan

    “Lisa” at Radtransfem is detailed here: http://radicalfeministcrafts.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/the-on-going-problem-of-female-proxies/

    Go anarchy!

  50. smash

    This is not about tone. This is about reifying rape-speak and rape-culture in feminist space.

  51. Noanodyne

    Who is allowed to be in the Blametariat, exactly? I’ve been reading and commenting on this blog since it went up. And the blog mistress has always been perfectly capable of handling who she wants to be commenting here, or not, and I’m sure she can continue to manage the job.

    Twisty’s consent scheme is something that I’ve roundly praised many times here and abroad. It’s precise and clear and I hate to see it muddied by linking it with someone who is on record as plainly not understanding what living in a permanent state of “consent” is like for females who are lesbians.

  52. Anne

    Somewhere I was recently linked to a write-up of some study that indicated that men are incapable of hearing women’s voices; they process them in some special region of their brain reserved for music or some shit. The write-up made like this was biologically inherent, rather than thousands of years of cultural indoctrination that what a woman says just doesn’t matter all that much. When you tell them dinner’s on the table or you’re leaving them for another man they can sure as hell hear you.

  53. Twisty

    I don not understand the big whoop. I liked Lisa’s post on consent, so I linked to it. I don’t have time to vet every random blogger’s entire body of work for potential radfem infractions before quoting a paragraph here and there, so excuse me for living if her life’s oeuvre fails to delight on every level. Shit.

    As for the “wow-just-wow,” I raise you a “cacao.” Mang, sometimes you people make my pussy hurt. Shit.

  54. Lidon

    Haha! I like the word “cacao” (and vagina, for that matter) better than “pussy”. But that’s just me. Once again, another great post that reminds me not to act polite and “nice” for fear of being mean and bitchy. God, deprogramming takes so much time and effort!

  55. Tigs

    wow, wow, cacao!

  56. eb

    There are quite a few instances outside sexual intercourse where an explicit or implied ‘no’ is rebuffed or not understood.

    Having a picture taken comes to mind. I don’t like getting my picture taken, yet I can recall numerous times when my specific ‘no’ resulted in being grabbed by the arm and forced into the picture. Why? Because the photographer didn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want a picture taken. They didn’t understand ‘no’.

    I’ve actually had people say to me, “I don’t understand why you don’t want to do ____.” Even after an explanation, they still don’t understand.

    Here’s a dinner party example:
    You have been invited to a fancy schmancy dinner party catered by Wolfgang Puck, many celebrities will be in attendance. You can bring one person. You ask a friend, who is into such things as fancy dinner parties and celebrities, to join you. The day of the dinner you decide you don’t want to go. You call your friend and say, “No, I really don’t feel good.” Do you think she’ll understand your ‘no’?

    When someone really wants something, whether it is sex or any other kind of power, most people “suddenly experience an utterly confounding ambiguity in standard modes of refusal.”

  57. Twisty

    Good point, eb. Although I suspect it’s not so much that the photographer doesn’t understand the “no” so much as a deliberate choice to ignore the “no.” The inclination to ignore the “no” is totally a facet of privilege (whether real or imagined). People who forcibly take your picture perceive themselves to occupy a higher social status than you do.

  58. susanw

    Ignoring “No” may not always be a function of actual privilege, but an unconscious assumption that Everybody, wants her picture taken, to be prayed for, to have sex, etc.
    It is a fundamental disrespect for the personal values of others, and an unwillingness to question one’s own. This selfish parochialism may be innocent, but –wait- the luxury of maintaining it IS privilege, actual privilege. Spot on, Twisty. It’s Convenient Cluelessness, and it’s privileged as hell.

  59. Kali

    I highly recommend Deborah Cameron’s “The Myth of Mars and Venus: Do Men and Women Really Speak Different Languages?”. This entire notion that men cannot understand what women say or what women want is a self-serving lie pushed by the patriarchy so that men can continue to ignore and override what women say and what women want.

  60. Twisty

    “It is a fundamental disrespect for the personal values of others”

    No just values, either, but actual personal bodily sovereignty. It runs the gamut from that Hollywood movie thing where romantic dudes turn reluctant women’s faces toward them by shoving their chins, to the state saying “we own your uterus now, it’s all for the best.”

  61. KittyWrangler

    @ Twisty and @eb –
    When I was a little 19-year-old studying photography I snapped some photos of a friend’s face even though she stated quite clearly she didn’t want me to, because I was regrettably being a self-important asshole. She didn’t want her photo taken because she said she always looked horrible in them and didn’t enjoy it. She had slightly higher social status than me, being slightly older, objectively much cooler, more confident and much more knowledgeable in our area of study than me. I was in fact just beginning to learn not to be a doormat. My precise thinking was, “I’m sure I can take awesome photos of her because I’m so talented and she’s not unattractive. That’ll change her mind. She’ll be totally glad she did this and her photo-dread will be fixed thanks to me!”

    Not that I need to point out why that was asshole-ish, but I hadn’t considered that she may have had better reasons to say “no” than I had to say “yes, anyway.” Even though I didn’t have male privilege I was accustomed to seeing the female “no,” in movies and pop culture as not only negotiable but a sign that something needs fixing in a woman. Women in movies and songs always need to be taught how to be by someone else, usually by men but often by other women (makeovers, getting set up on an unwanted date, tricked into [x life improvement]). They are always thankful to have been invaded.

    Now I recognize that “yes, anyway,” thinking taken to an extreme from jeers I’ve received on the street about how some guy’s special penis can change my mind about keeping to myself. Also if a man had said “no” in the camera situation he’d have said it differently, more confidently and without laughing nervously because of socialization and probably would have been more concerned with avoiding photos than avoiding hurt feelings.

    The author of the linked article was absolutely right that the idea that “no” places all responsibility and little power with an oppressed person in assaults. In a somewhat nonsexual situation, say a male schoolyard bully and victim, no one would say, “no thank you” to a wedgie because it’s understood that no one is asking a question. Friends and family wouldn’t ask, “Yes you cowered and cringed but did you say no to the wedgie? It isn’t always clear.” The entire premise that there is a question-answer session prior to assault is a complete red herring to distract from the very nature of assault. There is no, “Pardon ma’am, but may I threaten and humiliate you by screaming obscenities while you walk alone to the grocery store?” and even if there were, how nervous would you be saying, “no?”

  62. susanw

    You’re right. Rebecca West’s “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” challenges oppression that is so broad, deep and dynamic that I can’t wrap my head around all the ramifications. Thank you.

  63. Embee

    Do you ever see a man trying to avoid having his picture taken, and the isue being forced? I think it is generally the other direction. “Smile!” “Be pretty!” “Be an object.” “You cannot say no.” “I will ‘capture’ you (on film)”

    During puberty (a typically rough period for my mother and me) I watched her douse my chauvanistic uncle with a cup of coffee for taking her picture after she’d asked him not to do so. Everyone was all atwitter that she’d done something so rude, and I remember with pride that she pointed out that, yes, throwing coffee is typically wrong, but the fact that no one was discussing Uncle’s rudeness was sexist and unfair.

  64. AlienNumber

    This whole notion of “consent” is patriarchal bs anyway. Rape has nothing to do with consent or lack thereof and everything to do with the use of force. Consent is irrelevant. It’s irrelevant in the taking pictures scenario (they still take the picture, don’t they?) and it’s definitely irrelevant in the sex scenario.

    Women are unequal to men economically, socially, culturally, politically, you name it but then we are able to consent to sex with men – or not – all of a sudden? This is why men don’t hear the NO, because the NO coming from the mouths of babes is irrelevant, it’s like it’s not there.

    Consent is a pro-rapist concept. We should focus our attention on the use of force in sex (“sex”) or the coercive circumstances around the rape (such as the unequal power between the parties).

  65. yttik

    “This whole notion of “consent” is patriarchal bs anyway.”

    You’re absolutely right. Since women exist in a constant state of perceived consent and we’re viewed as always asking for it anyway, the whole notion of “consent” just becomes perverse. Consent then is a pro-rapist concept, used to justify their actions.

  66. pheeno

    “As for the “wow-just-wow,” I raise you a “cacao.” Mang, sometimes you people make my pussy hurt. Shit.”

    This made pepsi shoot out of my nose.

    Ow and hahahahaha and ow and hahahahahaha!

  67. Fede

    That was a great post you linked to, Twisty. It also made one consider getting a hold of that Kitzinger and Frith publication.

  68. Barbara P

    Wow – I’m having an ongoing tussle with someone who wants to take my picture/video without giving me any warning of it happening (and an extremely blatant, deliberate “misunderstanding” when I say “just let me know before you start snapping pictures, b/c I like to be aware of when I’m having my picture taken”).

    Crap – you’re not all watching a video of my life are you? And if you are, am I feeling the “radical feminist gaze”?

  69. KittyWrangler

    @Barbara P – Is the “radical feminist gaze” the same as the jaundiced eye?

  70. IBlameRonPaul

    Thanks for posting and analyzing, Twisty. I would add that the refusal to accept “no” from a woman isn’t limited to sexual consent, either. I’ve personally been steamrolled in employment and social situations for saying “no” or its more polite and vague counterpart, “I’ll get back to you, but that’s not looking possible.” I’ve had people get very angry with me because they felt entitled to my “yes” – to extra work, extra favors, covering for them when they did something dumb, and so on.

    Last summer, when ElevatorGate roared across the blogosphere, I remember being very disappointed, in some cases, even outraged, by the anti-Rebecca Watson camp. Her video isn’t controversial at all. The responses to it illustrate perfectly the where the popularity of the online MRA movement flows from as well. It’s nothing more than a collection of men to whom sometime, somewhere, a woman said “no” – and these men are outraged that we don’t “know our place” as docile, quiet, subservient objects who do whatever others order us to do.

  71. IBlameRonPaul

    On a related note, it has come to my attention that I’m frequently quite bitter on here. In just the past two weeks, I have blasted shoe companies, MENSA, white-boy hipsters, Rebecca Watson critics, and myriad sordid antics of the Religious Right. Unquestionably, I come across as a strident, bitter misanthropist who loves to hate.

    In real life, though, I’m quite friendly and cheerful. It’s just how I I have to play as a woman in the patriarchy, but also, it’s self-preservation. If I spent all my time offline (or online) thinking about sexism, racism, classism, and the other injustices in the world, I would be dead of a high blood pressure-induced heart- or brain-splosion. It’s difficult to even get through one article about women’s oppression in Iran or Saudi Arabia, or semi-suicidal American 50-somethings who are one missed unemployment check away from homelessness without my forehead vein pulsating. My hat’s off to the women providing safe spaces online for us to get our anger out via blaming.

  72. Barbara P

    If a woman can’t be a bitter misanthropist here, where CAN she be one?

  73. Sistertongue

    Kim Chernin is a wonderful author, poet, etc. In one of her books, The Obsession: Reflections on the Tyranny of Slenderness: Harper & Row (1981), she invented the term “The tyranny of niceness,” to describe the position women often find themselves in when they refuse the patriarchal requirements of femininity. In other words, the waters get dangerous when we utter the words, “no.” She wrote a great deal on eating disorders, which is, metaphorically, very often the physical manifestation of the psychic dilemma of refusal so deeply embedded in the female body. Refusal to eat and/or the throwing up of material is a woman’s rational and radical protest of having to ingest these toxic substances. Purging is, in fact, a biological function of a healthy organism. Our goal is to remove the source of toxicity so we do not have to undergo the continual purging/cleansing women often do in our unfortunate, toxic, dude obsessed and possessed environment.

    These toxic substances are served to us on a daily basis, often in subtle ways. Consent is part of respect and it is very, very relevant to the topic.

    Here’s my recent “No,” moment, which occurred just a few days ago.

    I run into an acquaintance from the very small village I live in. He is, unfortunately, one of these completely unaware new age types in possession of a master’s in theology, which makes his goody love attitude that much more difficult to bear. Consequently, I have always maintained myself at the far perimeters of his social circle. In this incident, we happen to intersect in the post office and engage in a brief chat wherein he tells me his son is involved in a theater project in mexico and wants to tour it in the states but the group needs some serious cash to do it. I go home and dig up websites where one can list art projects and raise funds for them. I e-mail this to the acquaintance to pass along to his son. All done.

    Without warning, without permission and, very quickly after that simple exchange, I find myself now being inundated with daily e-mails about this and that spiritual gathering, this and that political concern, this and that tragedy on the nearby pueblo, all accompanied by sincere and spiritually vomitous missives about how I should be feeling about all of these concerns and events. I realize that mr./minister new age acquaintance has presumptuously placed me within his flock of sheep, without my request and without his asking. That is the root of the problem, failure to ask and then receive a positive response before proceeding, which is a privilege males grant themselves, but at which they balk when demanded by a woman.

    Having spent many years in the mental health field placing serious boundaries around seriously unboundaried people and, having been sexually harassed often during my former career in said mental health field, I know that drawing the line in the sand as quickly as possible is the most effective way to stop those behaviors before they become “too big to fail” if you know what I mean.

    I send mr./minister “we are all one” new age/sensitive man a short e-mail stating that I wish to be removed from his group mailing list as I do not need information that I either already know about or that I simply do not care about. I let him know I am already quite involved with the field of vision I choose to pursue and quite competent in determining for myself what I wish to pay attention to and what not. What I do not write is the fact that people who do engage in his behavior are actually quite egocentric in their idea that others need them to tell us what we should be paying attention to and directing our emotional orientation to them. “Helping and informing” here is a disguise for overbearing and condescending, attitude and behavior.

    I receive a response, the content of which actually reveals the internal, confused state of those who act without others’ consent, that is, those with a sociopathic orientation to others. The subject heading of his e-mail read: “I wish my ex-wife could have been as clear and direct as you are.” My immediate, visceral and correct response? Ew, this is weird and creepy. And it is. This is the bait and hook routine, used by so many of said sociopaths. The bait is the alleged “compliment” inside of which he has secreted the hook of reeling me in with some kind of girly, gossipy curiosity about his past relationship to the ex-wife. The clear design is that I take the compliment, then engage in some long-winded “conversation” about the ex. I have never met his ex-wife, never even knew he had one, do not have nor want the kind of personal relationship with this man that would entail “sharing” about his ex, and his previous marital conflicts certainly have nothing to do with my simple request not to receive his e-mail ejaculations.

    The body of the e-mail is polite, saying he will respect my wishes, but, again, he tries another line, finishing on the repetition of how “we” should all be sad and praying for this” tragic” incident in the community. Again, the final part is merely a distraction from the direct “no” in my e-mail and a goober attempt to hook me back into his pseudo-spiritual concerns. The use of “we” is a psychological attempt to get me to identify with him (group mind is a powerful persuader) and his concerns. Very, very common tactic.

    Demean, distract, disrupt and defend/offend. Those are the basic tools the dudes use to get us to continually engage in THEIR narrative. Which, as we know, is all about what THEY want. Knowing these are the unconscious tactics he is using (unconscious in that they are so deeply embedded within him he has no clue this is what he is doing), I do not respond, at all. Doing so would only encourage him to continue. The smart fish doesn’t go for that shiny, pretty lure and doesn’t end out on the hook. The smart fish swim to deeper, more fertile pools. And the the proverbial new age, christian dude shephard/fisherman sociopath is left in his boat, alone.

    This example is, obviously, very low-level and innocuous, but these are the avenues employed on a daily basis to insidiously invade us with the idea that we have to oblige all comers and engage in the tyranny of niceness. (never heard of a “polite fuck” and that’s just yuck). It is the cumulative effect of these constant, mundane intrusions of our boundaries that set us up for rape and domestic and public violence against women and children that pervades our culture. “Letting things go” at that quotidian level contributes to the gross outbursts of violence that always ensue when wrong situations are allowed to fester unaddressed. I could have just as easily chosen to keep receiving his drivel and just deleting, rather than opening, the e-mails. However, because dudes have equated silence with acquiescence, I deliver the message “NOT OKAY,” early, quickly and without emotion. They are dogs difficult to train with numerous redirections required before they even begin to wake up and alter their behavior. If I do not do my part at the basic level, I become part of the later problem.

    I am going to continue with the example here only to elucidate how the patriarchally well-trained collude with the game. I tell the above story to a good friend of mine, who is a cancerian gay man of the more feminine flavor and, thus, quite overly-trained in the adolescent, romantic notion that we are supposed to maintain relationship no matter what the cost. I have patiently waited, for many years now, to see him stop letting himself be used as a doormat. He hasn’t quite made it to his feet, yet, but he’s certainly off his knees. His talents, support, humour, good-heartedness and desire to wake up make the friendship very worthwhile.

    I relate the above story to him, complete with my deconstruction of the series of events and my interpretation of them. Even after clarifying the subtleties of the instrusiveness of the situation, his first response is, “Yes, I mean, if he had said to you ‘Hey, what you are saying is very interesting and I’d really like to sit down and dialogue with you about it . . . ”

    I cut him off immediately. “What? Did you hear what I said? Why in h– would I want to sit down and “dialogue” with him? This guy is functioning at the spiritual/emotional level of a Head Start child and why should I give my valuable time to that? What, so I can sit and smile and be bored out of my mind??!! What exactly do I get out of that?”

    The conversation is taking place over the phone, but, in the ensuing silence, one can easily perceive the ‘deer in the headlight’ synaptic paralysis going on in his brain. A sign that disruption of the patriarchal narrative has occurred.

    After a long moment, he recovers and tries again: “Well, see,it would be okay if he had just apologized sincerely, then you could go on and develop a good friendship. ”

    “NO!” I see that, in the silence, the P-brainwashing program has been re-booted and is functioning again. S—, it is so deeply embedded we just automatically follow it.

    I respond: “You’ve missed that point. What ARE you talking about? I already said that I do not WANT a friendship with this dweeb. I gave him useful info for his son, period. I run into him maybe twice a year in the village and engage the way small village folk need to to survive and get along with each other in a remote area and that’s all. Where are you getting this idea of a ‘relationship’ I am supposed to pursue here? Why are you expecting me to waste my time when I have far more interesting things and people going on in my life? Use the sword, drop the dummy and move on.”

    I know the example is lengthy. I do so, however, not only to unravel the strings (expectations and their enforcing tactics) that keep us bound to the assumption that we are always supposed to “relate” no matter what comes at us from the P-stunted brain, but also the secondary cultural pressures we face in trying to step out of it’s lop-sided dysfunctionality. The terrain, dude-y traps and all, is exhausting to traverse both from direct and indirect sources that constantly collude to engage us in their narrative and ultimately disconnect us from our own. Deconstructing them on the level of plain daily activity allows us to cut those ropes so we do not end out in the horrifying situations of violence they contrive for us to step into. Violence and rape does not come out of nowhere, it builds, over time, through a thousand, small unnoticed events. Disrupting the flow toward violent events is the name of the game.

    I was, for many years, the director of the sexual abuse team at a major, urban teaching hospital. In that capacity, I conducted clinical/forensic evaluations not only of the victims of rape and other forms of violence, but also the perpetrators of those acts. I also testified as an expert witness in many of these cases, which numbered in the thousands. Perps/sociopaths come in every permutation under the sun, wearing many different costumes and masks. They are our boyfriends, our lawyers, our teachers, our landlords. I have spent a lot of time mapping the contours of the seriously disturbed grey matter behind those masks. It was, indeed, a wretched undertaking, full of filth and fetidness. And, under no circumstances, should anyone having suffered under such disturbed minds and hands ever be blamed for their sick doings. 98% of all perpetrators of violent crimes are men. Fact. Period. If they do violence, sole responsibility for it lies firmly in their hands. Given my experience, the vast majority of them are well beyond any desire or ability to change.

    It was a scummy experience. However, I did emerge from that murky tower of babel very well informed and well-armed in my understanding of their goals and tactics. Cutting through to their core, foundational elements is key. Once that is accomplished, recognizing them in any costume in which they might try to disguise themselves becomes remarkably easy. Avoidance of stepping into their dude-y traps becomes a cake walk. Women, unfortunately, often miss the subtle, unmistakable signs and innuendos along the way and naively walk into those dude-y traps.

    Trust should be a given in human relationships. Unfortunately, it is not. For me, that is a sad testament to humanity. Betrayal is, in fact, part of their modus operandi. Perps offer false trust (the pretty lures) and then, at the other person’s most vulnerable moment, the betrayal comes. That betrayal is actually as damaging as the physical wounds themselves. So, the point is to not get into that position. It is not right that we have to do that, but we do. At least for the time being. The smart fish defeats the fisherman by avoiding the lures. Running out angrily or stupidly into the center of a pack of wild wolves is just going to get us torn apart.

    I am a practitioner and teacher of taoist martial arts for many years now and, fortunately, also was during my clinical/forensic years. Defeating the enemy is all about dancing around them and disappearing from their field of influence altogether. It requires knowing them and their habits so well that one can ANTICIPATE any move they are going to make and, very simply, step out of the way before they reach you. “To yield is to win,” is the foundational philosophy of this feminine martial art. It does NOT mean to passively submit to someone. It also does NOT mean living in a state of paranoia. It means to live in a state of calm confidence in our own abilities to see all around us and to protect ourselves no matter what situation arises. It means to trust one’s self so well that we can clearly perceive and discern the other person, recognize when the signs are all wrong and then make the necessary movements to avoid contact. No harm comes to us then and the opponent (those undeserving of our sacred trust) usually ends out on the floor in their own mangled, bloody heap. Or running off the stage when they realize they’ve been caught with their pants down.

    The “winner” is the one without the scratches and bruises, the one who dances on home and makes a nice dinner to share and laugh over with authentic friends, the ones deserving of our trust.

    The book I recommend to everyone, a must read is, “The Gift of Fear,” by Gavin de Becker. Excellent, aasy to read, empowering, dime store paperback that not only carefully examines how women so often over rule our own gut instincts and wisdom (because of our cultural, patriarchal brainwashing of being nice and polite), but also the psychology of the sociopath/perp, and further provides simple, practical advice/guidance on how we can listen to and use our natural instincts for our own best interests. After you have read it, hand it to your daughters.

  74. Twisty


  75. Will Blame for Food

    Most men don’t understand that “no” applies to them. “No” is a word they are privileged to use; it is never to be used against them.

    On the periphery of my life is a middle-aged man who *RAGES* for months at a time when he gets some form of “no” from me – ranging from “I didn’t think that was funny” to “No, you are not telling the truth about something I said or did.” He gets really enraged when I draw clear boundaries. Then it’s all about how I am a conniving, manipulative liar.

    It’s exhausting. Until I read this post, and the accompanying comments, I didn’t realize that was the crux of what was going on with him. It’s been a relief to hit the “Eject” button where he’s concerned.

  76. AlienNumber

    Cacao to cacao!

  77. Darragh Murphy

    Holy crap!

  78. Sistertongue

    I am unfamiliar with the term Cacao, but I assume it means something good. If it doesn’t, don’t tell me, I’d rather just believe it is the fantastic cry of an exotic, brightly and irridescently-colored bird in south america. Then again, maybe it’s the brazilian version of the hustle.

    cacao! cacao! cacao!

  79. Kea

    Excellent points, Sistertongue, but it can get tricky when one ends up ostracised completely, due to one’s uncanny ability to see the dudes as they really are. Just making that note. I have no regrets.

  80. IBlameRonPaul

    I have never met his ex-wife, never even knew he had one, do not have nor want the kind of personal relationship with this man that would entail “sharing” about his ex, and his previous marital conflicts certainly have nothing to do with my simple request not to receive his e-mail ejaculations.

    Yes, the time-honored ex-wife gambit. I had one of these, except it involved a colleague, who used the “soon-to-be potentially ex-wife.” It also involved pretty clear verbal and physical passes at me, and when I distanced myself appropriately, lo!, I received a long, hurt e-mail demanding an explanation for “the changes happening between us.”

    Unfortunately, in the end, as is fitting for my patriarchal role, *I* wound up apologizing for dissolving friendship, and mumbled something about it being “too much to handle, what with my depression and all,” an apology for which my current self would like to kick my old self’s ass. However, I did not indicate I wanted to revive it past the occasional polite e-mail as necessary to “preserve the [business] relationship.”

    Soon after I was laid off from my job, I received another sermon from my prince of patriarchy, with tidbits of gossip about a co-worker and the glad tidings that the “ex” in “ex-wife” was official. The sweet prince, who turns 50 this year, had also finagled himself a girlfriend off a dating site popular among 20somethings, and couldn’t wait to share the news. I told him I was exceedingly pleased to hear about his conjugal bliss, but that I lost my job, and that life “is what it is.” Unsurprisingly, I haven’t heard back since.

  81. Sistertongue

    Everyone. Stop engaging with jerk-offs.

    Stop demeaning yourselves, there are enough jerk-offs out there already trying to do that.

    Stop engaging. No engagement, no ostracism. It’s not tricky at all once you know why and how you need to use THEM (money? housing? food? – if it isn’t any of these, you are creating it yourself).


    More damage is done all around by people who do not know how to NOT push that send button.

    Silence is a virtue, particularly for ourselves.

    I’m off into the jungle now . . . cacao everyone.

  82. Kea

    Sistertongue, making assumptions about the circumstances of others whilst giving them advice they don’t need, is condescension. Don’t do it.

  83. TansyJ

    Fascinating (horrifying) examples of this phenomenon can be found at


    I must confess to finding myself morbidly fascinated by the site. But it fits quite nicely with the study cited, in that most of the letters posted go something along the lines of: “I know I mooched off you for months and embarrassed you in front of family, friends, colleagues, and strangers, and threatened to set fire to your cat when you dumped my sorry ass but I don’t understand why you kicked me out, and why we can’t be friends now and also what it means that you won’t return my calls or emails for months on end? I’m so confused by that behavior, you should get in contact with me so you can explain it.”

    Of course many of the women who refuse to respond at all are treated to such behavioral escalations as: exes showing up at their house, work, school, slashed tires, and in one notable case, a random hook-up looking up her family’s information online and calling them all telling them that he was desperately worried about her because in their last conversation she had said she was down about her life and thinking of “ending it all” (she hadn’t) and that he hadn’t heard from her in 48 hours could someone make sure she was okay?

    Dudes: always confused about what “no” means (when it means they don’t get their way).

  84. tinfoil hattie

    sistertongue, you’re coming dangerously close to mansplaining.

    There is no such thing as opting out completely. Patriarchy: we’re soaking in it.

  85. IBlameRonPaul

    Everyone. Stop engaging with jerk-offs.

    Stop demeaning yourselves, there are enough jerk-offs out there already trying to do that.

    Remember, sometimes writing back to show that you don’t care turns them away faster than silence. Some of the pushiest people I’ve met take silence as affirmation, or to mean “it got lost in the spam folder,” or even, as consent (women only). Sometimes, when used in the right way, a dispassionate, disinterested voice enables me, as the sender, to take my own little scrap of power back.

    In the “open arms” of men lies a living hell. I saw that “girlwriteswhat” nauseating MRA ball-sucking garbage video she made. Barf.

    I think solidarity means a serious revolution that can’t be undermined by getting your feel bads hurt because some was a bit edgy.

    Thank you. Girlwriteswhat is indeed barf, and the best part of the barftacular spew she calls her blog is that she openly, passionately, unquestionably HATES women. She calls herself bisexual, even, but she HATES women. How does that work? Unfortunately, I know women exactly like her. They do the, “I’m bi, so I’m oppressed TOO,” thing, but they can’t bear actually dating women, and proudly proclaim in the next breath, “Oh, all my friends are men because women are ALL ALIKE and I just can’t stand them!” Well, thanks. Unfortunately, besides constituting a higher-than-I’d-like proportion of my ex-girlfriends, these women provide a splendid illustration (to me) of why there is no sisterhood.

    Actually grasping oppression under kyriarchy from the queer woman’s perspective requires more than rounding up your husband and three kids, and telling the world you know all about the discrimination queer women face from the comfort of your edgy video/type-spew blog because you got a haircut not unlike a Mommy-chop (just like every third married woman, hipster lady, and punk rock riot grrrl in America – short hair’s so rare), and society has looked at your hair (of a length which is in many magazines and on the runway) and said, “It’s ok.”

    Her blog, in sum: “Bi men have it rough because this one guy I met on the Internet can’t get a date, but I have it easy because no one cares that I, a married woman over 25 with 3 kids, have short hair, and that is why it’s okay for Men’s Rights Activists to threaten to firebomb courthouses and rape women to ‘prove’ a point.”

    Women of America – lesbian, bi, trans-, cis-, or straight – she does not speak for ANY of us. She just speaks for violent male criminals.

  86. IBlameRonPaul

    Oh shit. I just realized that men who date women hate women, and a good proportion of women who date women hate women.

    No wonder I blame the patriarchy. I think I might want to punch a wall today.

  87. Tigs

    Why you hating on the Head Start kids?!


  88. Keri

    How did you enjoy girlswriteswhat reference to a “male safe space”, to which she took objection to a lady invading? Ha! It is to laugh. What I wouldn’t give for a female safe space.

    As for women hating women, my very beloved daughter is gay and has very confusingly been with some gals who are seriously effed up and do some things I feel break the sacred lady code by being quite nasty. Fortunately, she has now found someone good, thank the baby jeebus.

    I, myself, am gay, even though I kind of forgot that during the breeding period somehow. I rank high on the Kinsey scale in that I just prefer the company of women all around. Lucky for me, me and my lady friends have our own little tiny faux Savage Death Island in which I take refuge. The dude creepery abounds though, and beats our door daily. Fuckers.

  89. speedbudget

    She calls herself bisexual, even, but she HATES women. How does that work?

    I bet she kisses ladies at the parties when she gets drunks and a bunch of dudes are looking on.

  90. speedbudget

    Oh, Lard. “gets drunks.” I need another coffee. Preferably with some cacao.

  91. damequixote

    “Female safe place”. If only. Reminds me of a news story a couple of years ago where this beautiful young woman in a small town was killed in an accident (motorcycle?). After they buried her, they arrested 3 or 4 local guys with shovels trying to dig her up. Apparently they had all wanted to have her so they were going to dig her up and, well, heck I can’t even type it. Suffice to say they had brought condoms. (Google it. True story)

    Women aren’t even safe 6 feet under the ground in a steel box. Dead.

    Her consent alive likely meant just as much.

  92. Comrade PhysioProf


    Was that the longest comment ever posted here?

  93. IBlameRonPaul

    How did you enjoy girlswriteswhat reference to a “male safe space”, to which she took objection to a lady invading? Ha! It is to laugh. What I wouldn’t give for a female safe space.

    Ha! As if everywhere on the Internet, some feminist blogs excepted, isn’t a male safe space already. And as if misogyny weren’t the cultural norm, applauded at one turn, upvoted on YouTube at the next. Finally, as if cuddling up to the lowest common denominator on the Internet requires any effort or thought whatsoever. Please, girlwritesshit, you’re not fooling anyone!

  94. susanw

    Most discussions with non-feminists of the “Did she say no?” / “Did she say yes?“ criterion for rape bog down because people see no difference between the two questions. Linking sexual choice to the issue of opt-in vs. opt-out, which outrages privacy advocates, might make a dent in the assumption that all women are in a state of consent to whatever sex is on offer as a default condition. Do you want your health provider to presuppose that you want your medical records shared with pharmaceutical marketing departments, and have to opt out in order to stop them, or do they have no right to release your information without first asking your permission and receiving an affirmative answer? Women’s bodily sovereignty must surely be as important as unwanted advertising. Isn’t it ?
    I here state publically that I have opted out of sex. If I change my mind, I’ll let you know. Oh, and by the way, if my battered dead body is found, I don’t like rough sex, I have never liked rough sex, and I never will like rough sex, so don’t let my murderer use that as a defence.

  95. Anne

    So there was recently this super-scientific study done by super-brainiacal British scientists who picked some quotes about women from “lad mags,” (the British equivalent of Maxim, etc.) paired them up with some quotes about women from convicted rapists, and presented all these quotes to some study participants who were mostly unable to tell who said what.
    In the comment thread in an article about the study, there was at least one guy whining about how women or feminists (interchangable to this type) don’t stop and consider men’s perspective and don’t care what men think and feel. On an article about men’s quotes in men’s magazines.

  96. speedbudget

    Worse yet, Anne, the men in the studied identified with the rapists’ comments. Identified with.

  97. speedbudget

    I need to quit commenting to early in the morning. Sigh.

  98. Fictional Queen

    Why isn’t men’s consent such a big deal? Why shouldn’t women be worried about a guy having given consent?! Men are inviolable! It’s disgusting.
    Plus it’s cool to be a misanthrope. Why wouldn’t you be?

  1. Consent is sexy « The World Is Watching

    […] only thing I have left to add is a fantastic comment at the end of the consent blog at I Blame The Patriarchy, which is the best analogy of consent, I […]

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