This year the federal government showed us they don’t understand consent. Then they spent $4million plus on what was to be an educational series for young people that featured a weird milkshake video. It answered a lot of questions for me as to why rape culture appears to exist in our parliament: they don’t get it. To them it’s a transaction that has nothing to do with gender, that’s why they made the woman the protagonist… and they reduced sexual conduct to a flavoured drink. Hang on, maybe I can only allege they don’t get it?
Then there was the suggestion of the consent app. This suggestion by NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller showed further that old white men don’t get consent. It’s not a milkshake in the face. It’s not an app that reduces sex to a social transaction that, in the end, protects men from prosecution but not women from unwanted penetration. The consent conversation has been more about protecting men from legal ramifications of rape and assault, and less about empowering women to make assertive choices and have them respected. The reason we can’t have conversations about consent in a way that is meaningful, is that true consent can’t exist until there is social change.
Consent is meaningless until you address patriarchy. How do you give ‘permission’ for something male culture already feels entitled to? Consent becomes meaningful only when we have eradicated entitlement.