Swiftly and graciously accepting rejection is a cornerstone of radical consent. It hurts, but if you really believe in sexual autonomy, you just have to suck it up — without pleading or wheedling or demanding answers. You need a reason to be with someone, not to reject them.
Of course, rejection can be based on prejudice. It can be cissexist or racist or fatphobic or biphobic or ageist or ableist or anti-virgin or whatever else. And if someone voices those sentiments, you’re right to call them up on it. But nobody owes you an explanation on why they don’t want to fuck you or date you. I’ve been hearing people assume prejudice in situations where no reason was given, and I tend to think it’s likely no reason was given because no one wants to say “I’m just not that into you”.
In an existing relationship, pressing for a reason can be used to get someone to stay with you under the promise that you will change. But though it’s widely acknowledged that rape and sexual assault occur within established relationships, conversations about consent can tend to focus on the beginnings of things. Even when consent education explicitly resists the idea of perpetual consent, or conclusive negotiations (eg in this questionnaire), people can assume that certain ideas or questions aren’t applicable to their situation. The communication style and power dynamic of an established relationship can complicate negotiations, as much as it can facilitate them.
But coercion can come from a place of disempowerment — eg using your body image or mental health issues to manipulate someone into having sex with you — as much as it can come from the abuse of power. When you feel utterly powerless, it can be hard to imagine that you’re exercising coercion, but that’s exactly what’s happening when you try to beg and trade in the face of rejection.
One of our Basic Rules of Flagging is that we need to be open to suggestion and open to rejection. Consent depends on both — if you are too polite to proposition, too precious to be propositioned, too evasive to reject and too insecure to be rejected, how are you negotiating consent?
thanks to bunny for quoting the section on coercion and disempowerment that sent me to this blog, this is a very good post and now i have another neat blog outside of the tumblr on my bookmarks. terrif!
this is very interesting food for thought, and touches on a lot of things i’ve felt in the past…
seriously? so because i’m cunted, like makeup, and sometimes i wear heels, i’m just kowtowing to a patriarchal ideal of what i’m supposed to look like? that’s fairly, no, actually that’s COMPLETELY laughable. not to mention insulting.
who are you, who the hell is ANYONE, to tell anyone else what they’re supposed to look like? do you REALLY think that because i wear makeup i’m any less radical than someone who doesn’t? really? because i can pretty much guarantee that while you’re running around michfest, celebrating your weemoonhood, i’m fucking shit up a lot harder than you are.
i’m so fucking tired of this ciscentric idea of what feminism is.
i’ve got a cunt and i wear makeup. i also pack, bind, and can kick the ass of pretty much any fucking cisdudebro that fucks with me. i realize that to transphobic second wavers this means that i’m some sort of gender betraying tool of some ridiculous systemic oppression against “real wimmin” and i also realize that all of you will now call me a crazy tranny.
the thing is, by refusing to do things that CAN ACTUALLY BE FUN IF YOU LET THEM (like wearing makeup, running around in a jersey dress when it’s 100 degrees out, or fucking someone with a flesh cock, regardless of their gender) you’re just letting the patriarchal ideals that you so deplore control you.
ugh. fucking second wavers… betty friedan? geezus fuck. seriously? is that all you’ve got? betty fucking friedan? why not just cry about mary daly again? maybe you can braid each other’s hair and read the transsexual empire together, too.
stupid fucking ciscentric weemmoon. there’s a reason you’re so scared of trannies. we fuck with your weird, NORMALIZED, idea of what life is. you can’t play either or with us, and that just makes your heads hurt. here, let me call you a fucking waambulance. but first, i need to fix my makeup."