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The consent model of rape - problematic?

(21 Posts)
LadyBlaBlah Thu 23-Jul-15 18:06:03

This is fascinating.

"it is okay if sexual relations under patriarchy objectify and subordinate women, so long as women consent to it"

And so much more to digest.

FesterAddams Thu 23-Jul-15 20:43:43

Seems to me to be an extended rehash of the argument that all sex is rape, therefore consent is meaningless. Though the authors do begrudgingly admit that "we might find that there is some usefulness in denoting some distinction between the average heterosexual relationship and, say, sex trafficking" (my emphasis).

Fair enough if that's what you believe, but I'm not sure where that leaves you.

The conclusions seem weak - "A definition of rape should be purely instrumental" - what does this mean in practice?

What did you find fascinating about it?

LassUnparalleled Thu 23-Jul-15 23:54:29

I got about 1/4 through it. It didn't seem to be saying much beyond all sex is rape or at the very least most sex is problematic.

Incidentally I clicked on what I thought was a link on the menu and have downloaded to my phone a 137 page pdf called "The Weapon of Theory - A Maoist (Third Worldist) Reader"

JeanneDeMontbaston Fri 24-Jul-15 17:46:49

I'm sorry, I lost heart well under halfway through, but their logic starts off shaky. And I say that as someone who does think the gendered nature of rape isn't acknowledged enough, and who also thinks that you can't get rid of the unequal power dynamic if you're having heterosex (which is a bit more elegant than 'all sex is rape', and considerably less heteronormative). To my knowledge, no one has ever claimed all sex is rape.

Anyway, logic problem, to me, is here:

The problem with rape, according to the “consent” framework, is not that rape is a crucial mechanism through which men exert dominance over other genders and women especially, but merely that it is (apparently) sex that one party does not agree to.

This argument only works if you've already accepted the premise that rape is sex but for one difference (absence of consent). So it's circular logic. Since I don't think rape is sex but for the absence of consent, I don't find it convincing that you could claim rape is 'sex that one party does not agree to'. It's sexual violence - the whole point of recognising it as sexual violence, rather than 'sex that one party does not agree to' is that this acknowledges the power dynamic they think is erased here.

caroldecker Fri 24-Jul-15 18:26:45

This claims all PIV is rape.

JeanneDeMontbaston Fri 24-Jul-15 18:36:45

Maybe I didn't make the point about heteronormativity very well. confused

FesterAddams Fri 24-Jul-15 18:49:18

To my knowledge, no one has ever claimed all sex is rape.

This article seems to be arguing exactly that. It's not completely clear to me, but the authors seem to be arguing that lesbians can't meaningfully consent either because "lesbians, to the extent that they are women, are still coerced to some degree into a mode of existence which is constructed by and for men and particularly for men’s sexual arousal".

JeanneDeMontbaston Fri 24-Jul-15 18:52:56

Yes, I'm saying, I don't think it's rooted in previous feminist claims - which is what I understood you to be saying. AFAIK, there isn't a serious line of feminist thought that interprets all sex as rape. These people are pretty out there.

I do take their point female sexuality is to some extent non-volitional (as is male), and non-volitional in ways that reflect the pre-existing gendered power dynamic. But I don't think that can be seen as rape. It's back to this problem that they have defined the relationship between rape/sex and consent in a circular way.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FesterAddams Fri 24-Jul-15 23:03:43


Sorry I misunderstood your point. No, I don't think the argument that lesbian sex cannot be truly consensual represents an established strain of feminist thought.

nooka Sat 25-Jul-15 21:45:44

Did I read that wrong or is there an implication in that quote that lesbians are somehow not women?

IrenetheQuaint Sat 25-Jul-15 21:54:49

I find it hard to take seriously arguments that don't allow for the possibility of genuine female desire and sexual enjoyment.

But I do agree with the author that 'consent' isn't a great term, or model. Consent is usually what we give to unpleasant medical procedures, and using it for sex reinforces the image of a woman lying back passively while a man does things to her. I much prefer 'enthusiastic participation' as something to aspire to.

minkGrundy Sat 25-Jul-15 22:37:02

I agree enthusiastic particpation is a better way of looking at it but their deginition seems slightly to confuse to consent and to submit. Lots of words have two definitions e.g. terrific. So that alone is not enough.
Plus consent to be governed is not as simple as the gvnmt are the bosses, being in gvmnt is also seem as serving.

There is some mileage in saying that you cannot say the divifing line between sex and rape is vobent this implies that rape is also sex and therefore not violence. But perhaps while they are looking at the dual meanings of words they might want to consider the nature of the term violence.

They also seem very scathing about the idea that women enjoy might think you do but really you don't ...patronising much?

And labelling the theories about sexual dysphoria as pseudo science with their pseudo logic is very poor. Given that orgasms release endorphibs and any activity that releases endirphins can cause a rebound depression, why should sex which is after all.a physical activity be anny different?

And the feelings of dirtyness is in part a social construct not aided by women telling other women that what they are doing is wrong. But I can also have feelings of revulsion if I choose to eat until I am sick but I am not being abused by the cake. I might feel unhappy if I lie on my couch and do nothing but I am not being oppressed by my couch. What I am saying is that those feelings of revulsion are personal and internal and do not relate to another party hence why the reporting women often have these feelings unrelated to their feelings for their partner.

As for social constructs of sexuality I would say that the sicial concept of male sexuality is just as if not more constrictive than that pushed on women (i am not talking about the media objectifucation of women i am talking about the attitudes around what it means to be a 'real man')

Garlick Sat 25-Jul-15 22:49:20

I much prefer 'enthusiastic participation' as something to aspire to. - Oh, me too, in every way grin

But the understanding of consent is only just gaining traction - that took at least 100 years. Not sure the world's ready for enthusiastic participation just yet!

"lesbians, to the extent that they are women, are still coerced to some degree into a mode of existence which is constructed by and for men and particularly for men’s sexual arousal".

What? Is the author implying that lesbians have relationships in order to satisfy the girl-on-girl male fantasy? confused (I took a look at the link & didn't read it.)

I've never bought into the piv = almost rape thing, even conceptually. To do so, you have to accept a construct in which intercourse is something men do to women. Should you reframe it as 'vap' - vagina around penis - your construct begins to look a lot more like active participation smile

minkGrundy Sun 26-Jul-15 00:43:23

Vap grin

minkGrundy Sun 26-Jul-15 00:44:36

Sorry about all the typos above blush I was a bit distracted.

caroldecker Sun 26-Jul-15 00:57:45

the problem with rape and consent vs active participation is it is a legal construct.
We teach our children tha active participation is the only way to have sex and both parties have bodily autonomy an dshould enjoy the interaction.
However, when we are locking people up, we need a lower bar than a disappointing sexual experience - hence consent.

Garlick Sun 26-Jul-15 01:00:50

You're right of course, Carol. I don't envy the panel that will one day have to legally define active & enthusiastic participation grin

Mink - It makes vaping sound a tad more attractive, at least.

LassUnparalleled Sun 26-Jul-15 01:42:41

their definition seems slightly to confuse to consent and to submit

More than slightly. Before I gave up on it I was thinking " Well how exactly do you propose we can keep on having babies since everything connected with sex seems so problematic"

So far as "consent" is concerned the writer is ignoring the fact sexual acts need to be concensual for both parties (or all, if that's your bag).
I appreciate the article is looking at female rape by men but men can be sexually assaulted by other men; boys can be sexually assaulted by women (or indeed as the Joyce McKinney case showed)even adult men occasionally can be sexually assaulted by women) Therefore I am not convinced that "consent" is wrong as a concept, particularly as the writer didn't seem to offer a coherent alternative (possibly she did but I couldn't face reading any more)

The sentence about lesbians seems to me to be utter nonsense.

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