So, for however long I’m about I got bored and went scrolling though some of the old tags and came across a post by Mainer74, a man whom I’ve had a few disagreements with in the past. Now, I’m not going to tear down his post this time, this is mostly some random thoughts based on really what’s at the end of his post about “heathens embracing consent culture” titled: “reality of consent culture.”
We are not in a time where we can pretend sexual assault and sexual abuse is not present in our society. We are in a time when we can chose whether we will embrace consent culture, and the fundamental principals of reciprocity and respect as the foundation for our interactions, or we can continue to embrace the existing culture of denial and shame. I am proud that our local Heathen community has chosen to embrace consent culture, not only for what it frees the women of the community to be, and express, but for what it frees the men to do as well. When the rest of society chooses the same of its own will, perhaps we may see a day when there will be no need for a #metoo movement.
I mean, I don’t think there has ever really been a time when we could pretend sexual assault and sexual abuse is not present in our society. Unless you’re in Europe, and the sexual assaults are happening at the hands of “refugees” and “migrants,” in which case we can totally pretend that. Simple truth is sexual assault has always been with us in one form or another, although what has counted as sexual assault has certainly changed over time.
After all, there was a time when both men and women considered a man sleeping with his wife perfectly okay and the concept of “marital rape” didn’t even exist. Used to be smacking a woman on the ass was a complement, not harassment. I’m sure there’s other examples, things that were once normal, or even positive, that are now viewed as villainous and abusive. We can consider ourselves more enlightened and moral than those in the past, but I’m sure they’d feel the same way about us.
Now, Mainer’s post is all about praising his local heathen community for embracing the “culture of consent,” which, frankly, I’m not sure how I feel about. Mostly because of the way I’ve seen “CoC” work in other areas. Could be theirs is different from what I’ve heard about, but…I kinda doubt it.
See, my first real exposure to the idea of “Culture of Consent” was with the anime/comics con scene with something called “Cosplay is Not Consent.” Which, pretty much killed my interest in going to cons. Not because I was all gung ho about running around grabbing the asses of cosplayers (I wasn’t), but because of the language and attitudes that were coming in as part of it.
See, the history of cosplay (put very simply) goes like this. Originally cosplay was done by fans who loved characters and wanted to dress up like them. Some of them were crap, and some of them were amazingly well done given the tech at the time. And there were a number of attractive women who would were highly accurate and skimpy costumes. Because this was the good old days when we still embraced sexual liberation and our comic book characters were all about showing off the perfection of the human form. Unlike today where it’s all about drawing a shit looking body suit on the ideal body of a third tier tumblr artist high off their own farts.
And sure, some people (men and women) could be creeps because, holy fuck here’s an attractive woman in a tiny outfit of your favorite character or waifu. Of course some people might push the boundaries of control, but it was handled. Assuming the person wasn’t handled by nearby gents defending “m’lady” con security could always eject them from the building.
But an important thing happened not long before the “Cosplay is Not Consent” and “Consent Culture” arrived. The nature of people dressing up in cosplay shifted. Namely in the female area. It went from young women who loved a character which they felt sexy as and made a cosplay of them, to young women who had multiple cosplay costumes…and modeling careers based on their cosplay because others thought they were sexy.
Now, I’m not saying I have an issue with women doing this. I don’t. I even have a couple models I’ve been a somewhat big fan of their cosplays. But it was hard to deny (personally) that this whole “wearing a cosplay is not a consent to be approached or photographed,” and the proliferation of women whose cosplay was their career. Nor the timing of Social Justice making its hard press into the hobby. Suddenly male fans were “predators” who “assaulted innocent young women just because they were in cosplay.”
The situation wasn’t too dissimilar in other areas where I’d seen consent culture pop up, though often it was worse. Thankfully I was well out of university by the time it was showing up there, but it’s killed the tiny desire I might have had to go back. After all, when you have campaign posters that read: “Jake was drunk, Josie was drunk, Josie could not consent to sex, therefore Jake is a rapist,”…well, you can draw your own conclusions about how that goes. Especially in the face of many allegations of rape which summarily ended in kangaroo courts where a guy was stripped of everything involving his academic career, his social reputation, and expelled over what, in many cases, turned out to be verifiable false claims.
It’s even extended beyond that, with some champions of the cause insisting men need a woman’s permission before they even say hello, or attempts to fine and jail men for “manspreading” in public spaces. That men failing to keep their legs closed (regardless of whatever mechanical reasons guys don’t like to do that) is tantamount to “sexual assault” because they’re either taking too much space or showing off they have a penis, or something.
Mainer talks in his post about how his group is filled with “respect, trust, and consent” and how this is a natural heathen attitude. There’s even a bit about how in his group men need not fear interacting with women nor false allegations because of this (and even seems to spit on the idea of men fearing false allegations).
In which case I hope he’s right, but I frankly think he’s a gods damn idiot. Just as we cannot deny that sexual assaults happen in this day and age, we also cannot deny that hundreds, if not thousands, of men in positions of power are flat out refusing to be alone with women, mentor women, or if at all possible, have anything to do with women. Many laughed at Mike Pence’s rule of never meeting another woman without his wife in the room, but two years later many a man has taken to this rule. Especially in the wake of the Kavanaugh situation.
To recap and dispel some misconceptions about what happened with Kavanaugh here’s a tl:dr; A man who has been a judge for decades (well respected) and who has gone through 6 intensive FBI investigations is nominated for the Supreme Court. Almost instantly a woman comes forward and accuses him of sexually assaulting her at a party. This happened thirty years ago, and originally consisted of him grabbing her boob and trying to kiss her while they were both drunk. Then, somehow (with the medias help) this some how turned into an allegation of attempted rape, then attempted gang rape. All based off a single encounter which may or may not have happened, with a man who may or may not have been Kavanaugh, on a date that was in question, in a location that could not ultimately be determined by the alleged victim. And people were ready to try him in a criminal court and send him to prison.
Let that sink in. If you have ever been a guy in the 16-25 range, who has been drinking at a party, and intentionally or unintentionally grabbed some girl’s boob, you can be accused of Rape 30 years later by that girl if she so chooses. Hell, you don’t have to have actually done it or been there, and you can still be accused. This is the levels we have reached with “consent culture.”
Mainer makes a big deal about how in his group, this “consent culture” is obtained by everyone being open about what they are comfortable with at any given time (and the men accepting that because some men are predators, all men must respect women’s fear of men, because women are never predators and fuck ‘innocent until proven guilty’ I guess). That’s right, the man who calls men fearing women’s false accusations a ‘pile of shit’ says it’s okay for women to fear men’s ‘depredations.’
Of course, Mainer seems to either be ignorant or ignoring known instances where women have retroactively changed their minds about shit they were okay with, or even happy about, at the time at some later date. And no, I’m not talking about instances where a woman has been the proactive partner in a sexual encounter and then a few days later felt bad about it and called it rape (though that has been documented in some college cases). There’s simple and easier examples out there. I’m sure we’ve all known someone, or heard stories of someone that goes like this;
For years a couple is together and the girl raves about how awesome her boyfriend is. But then they break up and suddenly she has all these stories about how he “liked this weird thing” or “he was into some freaky shit in bed” or “his penis is kinda weird when you get down to it,” or any number of stories like that. “He was controlling,” “he didn’t care about my emotions,” etc, etc, etc.
So sure, for now Sarah was cool with that giant bear hug you gave her at the Blot. You know the one, where you picked her up off the ground and she laughed. But let’s say years down the line the group takes a theological direction she doesn’t like, or she leaves because of a new lover, or any number of reasons. And she decides, “you know what, Bjorn giving me that hug was kinda scary. He was so big, and I couldn’t do anything about it. He just picked me up like it was nothing. And I think his hands landed on my breasts. Oh gods, thinking about it makes me feel dirty.” This goes on for weeks, or months, building in her head.
It’s not unbelievable. People tend to start thinking the worst about groups they leave some times. Especially if the parting was based on some difference between them and the group. Just look at my post talking about Joe’s explanation why he shut down his blog. One of the most ardent defenders of folkism flat out declared it evil, racist, and trans/homophobic, all because he was asked to step down over his transgender child.
So the next thing Bjorn knows, people are calling him a rapist because Sarah wrote a post somewhere about the “atmosphere of sexual assault and harassment” that “fills her former group” which “claims to be all about consent, but is filled with large men hugging and pawing at women!”
And suddenly the realm you thought was filled with consent is just another realm of sexual assault.
Now, I’m sure if Mainer responds he’ll probably insist that this will never happen in his group, and that the women there aren’t like that, and blah, blah, blah. And you know what, I hope he’s right. I hope it never happens. But insisting it could never happen because “oh, we’re doing this special consent thing” is the real bullshit. Even Odin warns about the fickleness of a woman’s heart. Any man who has ever been in a relationship knows that what she loves one day may be something she hates another, and that actions once neutral or even positive can become a bone of contention in a fight, an act where he did her wrong.
We live in a world our ancestors could not imagine, in some ways. We have serious problems in the relationships between the sexes. Insisting that these are one sided, or that one side’s concerns are of less import than the others will not solve them. Sexual assault can be devastating. In equal measure though, false accusations can be just as devastating. To insist that one side’s fears are justified and special care must be made for them, but to mock the other side’s fears and deny them is foolish and will not provide solutions.
Consent is important, but it is also important to look at what is happening. Often terrible things are cloaked in noble words. To embrace a thing simply because of that cloak of nobility is foolish. One must look to see what is truly happening, what the outcomes actually are, and what the true motivations behind any movement might be.