There are many reasons I don’t watch the nightly news. All the violence saddens me. All the politics frustrate me. And all the misogyny pisses me off.
(Instead I prefer to read headlines online, then click through to articles that interest me or offer some sort of enlightenment.)
But recently, several appalling stories have broken through my bubble, and I’d like to share a few thoughts I’ve had as a result.
“No means no” is a catchy slogan, but I worry that it might be doing more harm than good. Because “no means no” seems to imply that you don’t have to stop until someone clearly tells you to. That is NOT the case. In fact, you have no right to anyone else’s body until/unless they give you explicit permission. So what we should be teaching people is something more along the lines of, “Only yes means yes.”
Sex isn’t something to be done TO someone. It’s not something to be TAKEN. Sex is something to be done WITH someone, to be SHARED. Any other way means you’re doing it wrong.
So, with that in mind:
It doesn’t matter if a girl is a slut. It doesn’t matter if she’s wasted. It doesn’t matter what she wore or where she went. It doesn’t matter if she made poor decisions or put herself in a bad position. It doesn’t even matter if she would willingly have sex with every single member of the varsity football team anyway. What matters is whether or not she DID — i.e., did she give them her consent? If not, then they raped her.
I don’t know how to end this post except to say that recent headlines have reminded me why I want to write for a young audience, how important it is to teach everyone to respect one another, and what a long way feminism still has to go.
Also, my friend Rachele’s forthcoming YA novel CANARY is, unfortunately, very topical.
Kate Franklin’s life changes for the better when her dad lands a job at Beacon Prep, an elite private school with one of the best basketball teams in the state. She begins to date a player on the team and quickly gets caught up in a world of idolatry and entitlement, learning that there are perks to being an athlete.
But those perks also come with a price. Another player takes his power too far and Kate is assaulted at a party. Although she knows she should speak out, her dad’s vehemently against it and so, like a canary sent into a mine to test toxicity levels and protect miners, Kate alone breathes the poisonous secrets to protect her dad and the team. The world that Kate was once welcomed into is now her worst enemy, and she must decide whether to stay silent or expose the corruption, destroying her father’s career and bringing down a town’s heroes.