Parents, teach your boys some respect. It’s not just up to girls to say no… yanno?
Last weekend a writer named Will Saletan stirred up a hornet’s nest when he tweeted some advice for parents:
Teach your daughters to say No firmly, and mean it. Men sense women’s willingness to yield. Make clear you mean business.
Like other feminists, I saw this as a classic case of a man weighing in with very little understanding of the issue at hand, and no appreciation of the reasons why it was bound to provoke a storm of criticism. But the exchanges the tweet prompted, on Twitter and elsewhere, reminded me of another, perhaps less popular opinion I hold: that discussions of sexual consent and refusal very often present the issue of ‘saying no’ as less complicated than it really is.
In 2015, just before I started this blog, I wrote something on this subject which I never found a home for. In fact, I’d more or less forgotten…
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