ray245 wrote: ↑
Alyrium Denryle wrote: ↑
The current crop of younger people is already on board with that for the most part.
Are they? Most discussion about consent is still about sexual relationships, but simple physical contact is not well discussed. Much of our approach to reading consent to have physical interaction still revolves around reading non-verbal body language.
I'm not saying you're wrong to identify this as an issue, but you should recognize that if you want to fight this battle, you're going to fight against it at very, very heavy odds. Here's why.
Please note that I am not committing a naturalistic fallacy such as "this occurs in nature therefore it is right." I am saying that, as a blunt and crude reality, we cannot hope to do anything constructive if we are ignorant of natural phenomena. In this case...
Humans are members of the animal kingdom. As such, humans have instinctive courtship rituals,
the same as any other animal species. If you look at other primate species, you find that they have certain signaling behaviors that are used during courtship and which lead towards two animals becoming mates. They adopt certain postures, carry out certain behaviors, touch or groom each other in certain fashions, and so on. Since apes and monkeys lack the power of speech, this courtship is of necessity 99% nonverbal.
is not immune to this phenomenon. Humans also
exhibit certain fairly consistent patterns of touch, body language, and facial expression as they court one another and evaluate each other's suitability as a mate. Moreover, we evolved with these patterns in play. They long predate our ability to speak. Our brains still contain automatic responses to these behavior patterns. This is equally true of both men and women.
Thus, you will find many
cultures where, if you put young males and females together in an environment that is socially permissive of mating and courtship behaviors, they will start to approach each other, converse and interact, touch each other in certain areas such as the arm, then gradually escalate to closer and closer forms of touch until they move off to a secluded area to finish their standard homo sapiens
This exists in a variety of cultures. In general, insofar as culture alters the process, it does so by brute force short-circuiting it. For instance, in a culture where all women are kept in purdah, wear burqas in public, and are forbidden from interacting with men without a male relative or husband present to chaperone them, traditional homo sapiens
courtship cannot occur or can occur only under very unusual circumstances.
Now to 'fix' the problem of how nonverbal courtship behaviors create ambiguity and cause people to behave inappropriately, showing excessive romantic interest in uninterested persons... Well, you appear to propose that we adopt a cultural custom of making all consent and courtship behaviors very, very verbal.
This is not a bad idea in and of itself. But it is, to put it mildly, fighting an uphill battle against human biology.
At the present time, I doubt you will find any culture on Earth where humans that are courting each other 'automatically' start asking lots of questions in search of explicit verbal consent:
"I see that you've tilted your head, smiled at me, and batted your eyes. May I put my hand on your elbow?"
"Thank you. This is nice."
"Good to know. May I move a little closer and lean against you?"
"Do I have permission to call you honey?"
"Uh-huh! Now, please put your arm around my shoulder, if you're comfortable with that."
"No problem. I've started evaluating you as a possible medium-term romantic partner, by the way."
"Oh! That's interesting, because I was starting to tentatively consider evaluating you
There would be nothing wrong with a society where people do this kind of thing. But if you actually try to visualize it, you may have a little trouble visualizing a starry-eyed young couple in the midst of falling in love with each other behaving this way. I know I do. To me, the exchange of dialogue I describe above sounds a little bit comical. And there's a reason for that.
Because, see... people don't work like that. Not in the ancestral environment, and not when thrown together at a party and told to figure it all out of their own free will and under their own power.
The way people do, empirically, work involves a lot of nonverbal courtship behaviors. They DO carry out this conversation about consent, courtship, and mating, or try to do so. But it's overwhelmingly done through body language and other nonverbal cues. This is precisely because our homo erectus
and homo habilis
ancestors had to be able to carry on the exact same conversation about consent, courtship, and mating... and said ancestors didn't have spoken language to do it with. So they evolved a protocol that didn't need to be spoken, and that's the one we use today.
Teaching the alternative would require a massive, exhaustive, ongoing effort to catch people early (possibly before puberty) and condition them to court each other in ways that are nowhere in their brain's list of instructions for "this is how to court people" or "this is how it looks when someone is courting me and signaling romantic interest."
Could you do it? Maybe. But it would be very difficult, require a high level of psychological sophistication, and work only in a very "top-down" model where there is some Relationship Czar who's responsible for deciding how everyone in society is going to court each other. Without that, people will make individual decisions of their own accord... And when acting individually without social conditioning to tell them not to, people fall back on the instinctive courtship rituals.
For the same reason that babies instinctively try to walk on their feet with their head in the air, instead of trying to learn to walk on their hands.
Lord Revan wrote: ↑
We should remember that you can't remove uncertainty 100% from social event where sexual harassment is possible as there is a degree of subjectivity there, though obviously some things are "never OK".
I dispute that. You can have 100% certainty if people aren't told that one of the easiest places to get laid is to go to a party or a club where everyone is drinking alcohol on some level. You can be 100% certain is understanding consent does not rely so heavily on "subtle body language" and if it is actually verbal. We think that asking a question like "can I touch you" is socially awkward when there shouldn't be any social stigma in asking such a simple question.
Just asking "can I touch you" isn't going to cut it; you need to replace several
steps in an ongoing mutual courtship dance with explicit spoken statements. Because a woman giving permission for a man to touch her shoulder is very, very
different from the same woman giving permission for her to put his arm around her, which is in turn different from him giving her permission to put both arms around him (this consent is usually assumed by default but only because of traditional gender roles)... And all of the above are super
different from either
partner giving permission to touch the other's private parts.
A courtship ritual in which all consent is explicit, verbal, and affirmative would have to run through a lengthy checklist of steps that, normally, human lovers go through while courting. It would look a lot like the one I made up above... And it sounds pretty weird. Not because there's anything wrong with it as such, but just because it takes a huge amount of conversation we're evolved to think of as nonverbal, and moves it into a verbal domain we don't instinctively use for the purpose.
Our entire approach towards social events itself is problematic. And we are responsible for causing the problems because we've been encouraging such social events in the first place.
Well, we could socially segregate the sexes and completely bypass the human courtship ritual through arranged marriages or something, I guess? I mean seriously, what's the alternative you're proposing? If males and females are going to meet one another and form mating bonds, they have to have SOME
way of meeting each other that makes it socially acceptable to court each other.
The problem with those who use "blured lines" as a defense tend to try to use to defend actions that are most definetly in the "never OK" part of thing, thus trying to give the image that there was dout to whether what they did was wrong when there was no dout.
They are used because society itself construct the idea of having a "blurred lines" in the first place. If there never was such a thing known as a "blurred line" of consent, do you think anyone would want to make such an argument in the first place?
There should not be a "blurred line" at all. It can be something very clear cut if people paid less emphasis on "feeling the right moment to make a move" based on body languages alone.
The idea of consent being a cat and mouse game is just plain idiotic. We have a problem with consent because we have a problem with the whole idea of flirting.
If nonverbal flirting didn't exist, WE
wouldn't exist. Because our hominid ancestors would never have reproduced. Because they would have been stuck sitting around staring at each other awkwardly and not having any children. Maybe they'd hoping that they'd suddenly invent some magical superpower called 'language' so that they could ask each other if anyone wanted to have sex.
We can certainly create new cultural rituals surrounding courtship and mating that partly supplant the old nonverbal flirting behaviors. That is entirely possible. But it's not going to replace them entirely, or erase our brain's tendency to respond to those behaviors.
Simon_Jester wrote: ↑
I think it's also that Takei has done real good for people, and that the accusation is singular and happened before many of us were even born.
It's like, there's a difference between a "groper" in the sense of "has ever groped anyone ever" and a "groper" as in "chronically gropes people because that's what they do.
" It seems fairly clear that Takei is not a groper in the latter sense, which means it's hard to say a lot about his basic character from a single incident in an eighty year lifetime.
But it's people like Takei that makes things more problematic. Weinstein is a special case in the sense that he is not that well-liked and being so flagrant about sexual abuse.
The many, many women raped by Weinstein might want to debate the idea that George Takei groping one man one time back in 1981 is "far more problematic" than Weinstein using his power in the film industry to coerce a small army of women into sleeping with him over a period of decades.
And I'm pretty sure Weinstein didn't start out his career as a serial rapist thinking "other people sometimes grab people or touch them, which means *I* can coerce dozens of people into sex guilt-free!"
In other words, we aren't having a zero-toleration policy that would actually end such behavouir.
Would a zero-tolerance policy, with ever-escalating penalties for breaching the code of sexual conduct, actually end the behavior?
Or would it just keep chasing itself around in circles until it reached the point of "an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind?"