I don’t understand why people have a problem with “consent is sexy”. Please explain it beyond “oh it sexualizes consent!” Is consent not inherently sexual? Consent is saying “yes I want to have sex [or whatever sexual act it is that you’re consenting to]”. Sex is sexy. Agreeing to sex and saying you want it is sexy. The flip side is that if you aren’t saying yes, it isn’t sex (it’s rape) and rape isn’t sexy. How is this message of “consent is sexy”, whose implications are that rape ISN’T sexy, not a good message that we want people to hear? You’d think that with all the porn out there that has rapey plots/stories/whatever that all feminists, especially rad fems (who are the main people I’ve seen that are against the “consent is sexy” thing), would be jumping at a slogan that says rape isn’t sexy.
If you have to sexualize my right to say no in order to respect it then you’re doing it wrong, is basically the argument here.
The flip side of “consent is sexy” is actually “lack of consent isn’t sexy;” and that easily becomes, saying no isn’t sexy. There is already a bunch of media encouraging men to push and prod and press until a woman’s “no” becomes a “yes” and pressuring and coercing women to submit to sex that they don’t want and aren’t comfortable with. The meaningfulness of consent is always ambiguous in a rape culture so that issue needs to take precedence here because outside of rad fem circles I never, ever hear that discussed. This issue needs to stop being about how “sex is hot, rape is not!”
Of course rape isn’t hot. The most vile, atrocious, piece of pigshit rapist knows that rape hurts women—and that’s exactly what makes rape sexually appealing to misogynists. If we have to use the notion that rape isn’t sexy to convince men to care about sexual violence, we’re doing our cause a great injustice. We’re contributing one tiny, “feel-good” message to the cultural pool of hundreds of thousands of conflicting misogynistic messages, messages that are incredibly more powerful. You can tell men that rape isn’t sexy, but they’re not going to give up their porn and other shitty media that tells them that rape is sexy. In short, this tactic sucks because it makes sexual violence something to be evaluated by standards of sexual appeal and refuses to make men examine their own participation in rape culture.
Attacking rape/rape culture needs to be focused on the devastating physical and psychological effects on rape victims, the way that the perpetuation of rape culture erodes women’s humanity, and how to combat sexual violence—not on this “consensual sex is sexy” and “rape is unsexy” rhetoric that essentially says, “Don’t rape because rape isn’t sexy!” instead of “Don’t rape because rape is a violent crime that destroys a woman’s life.” Attacking rape/rape culture needs to serve women’s interests by helping women and holding both rapists and rape apologists responsible for their actions.