My pal Jessica Valenti has written a piece in the Guardian arguing that we cannot wait until college or uni to teach consent, instead we must be teaching it to high school students! She’s referring to American high school I assume, which is typically age 14 to 18. Guess what Jessica? That’s too late too!
By the time a kid is 14, he already has fully formed ideas about how to relate to people. I mean even toddlers are hitting if they are hit, yelling if they are yelled at and blowing kisses goodbye if that’s how they are treated. Toddlers! A kid in high school will have grown up learning respect for others because he’s been respected, or else he will take what he wants from who he can because that’s what has been modeled for him through getalong shirts, being forced to kiss Aunt Lily and the general bullying behaviour of mainstream, authoritarian parents.
Consent isn’t just about sex. Consent is about body autonomy and the fact that each individual should be the only person who can decide what happens to their own body. You can’t do whatever you want with a kid because you think you know better and then when the testosterone kicks in change the game and say, “So I know I’ve been telling you when and what to eat, when to shower, when to sleep, whether to cry and all that, but actually that’s not how it works in the adult world. I know all the messages at school, in the media and everywhere else have been telling you that you need to be a big, strong man who takes what you want and you’ve been waiting your whole life to grow up and do so but actually that’s not how it works. No really. No one has ever asked you for permission, but you have to ask for permission.” It’s not going to work.
This is my biggest beef with mainstream feminists. They don’t actually seem to have any idea of how humans grow, develop, and become the people we are. It’s a sweeping statement, I know but the ones that I rage at really don’t understand psychology. To say that there is any kind of interpersonal guidance that should wait for the adolescent years is positively absurd.
Mainstream feminists like to boast about their big ideas to rid the world of rape culture, but they don’t have a clue. Writing books, creating programs and enacting laws don’t get to the root of the problem. Only good parenting can do that.
You want to stop rape culture for good? It starts in the cradle.
Featured Image courtesy David Goehring
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