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We need to do better in our conversations about consent. And I don't just mean because we don't know how to respect consent, I mean because our conversation about it is hopelessly simplistic, ahistorical, and underdeveloped. I'll be exploring this topic in more depth on the show.
And, well, who better to speak with first than feminist author and icon (yes, the word is apt), Laurie Penny! Laurie is the author of multiple books and countless (okay, maybe not countless, but a lot) of essays. Many of those essays can be found in Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults , and many of her ideas are presented at length in Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies, and Revolution. She's also just finished writing a book on consent and season one of the Joss Whedon HBO series, The Nevers.
Laurie and I discuss:
- the basics of consent and why it's dual work
- what sex work can tell us about consent
- how desire plays itself out in politics
- the James Deen sexual assaults
- how women have to deal with the fall out of sexual assaults
- what happens when your friend (or partner!) is a sexual assaulter
- why almost every instance of abuse is also a gaslighting
- whether or not Freud ignored abuse or went a long way to support survivors
- why we need to support survivors speaking up and also be thoughtful about their sexual politics at the same time
- the difference between consent as "rules" and an ethics of consent
- Emma Goldman
- How millennials are naming the problem.
- The supernatural premise and politics of Laurie's show with Joss Whedon, The Nevers.
Sorry for the disparity in volume between Laurie and I; she's just a little quieter than me, and the equipment I have does best when both people speak at the same volume level. That said, I want to get new mics, and your contribution will go directly to that.
• For more Laurie, support her Patreon and get tons of cool stuff. Here's a thoughtful conversation between her, Mary Beard, and Miriam Gonzalez.
• Here's my essay with Heather Berg, "The Problem With Sex Work Is Work:"
• The women I mention who first published The Communist Manifesto in the US were Victoria Woodhull (pictured below) and Tennessee Claflin. There's a sexual freedom organization called The Woodhull Freedom Foundation, which is carrying the work forward in vital ways.
• The organization I was Vice President for for two years, The Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC), is still going to support adult performer rights. We had a huge shake up when the chair at the time, James Deen, was accused of multiple sexual assaults - first by Stoya. APAC remains an urgently needed organization; please check them out and support them.
• Here's my essay about my boyfriend assaulting me, "If You Ever Did Write Anything About Me, I'd Want It To Be About Love."
• Judith Herman's best known work is Trauma and Recovery, and it's definitely worth a read.
• My essay, "A Culture That's Sick About Sex Will Never Be Able To Stop Harassment And Abuse" was a, um, controversial essay when it came out. I think it's a bit easier to read now that we've had some time to grapple with #MeToo, but it's still, I hope, helpful.
• The Frantz Fanon (pictured below) quote Laurie utilizes is, "“Each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it, in relative opacity.” Obviously, read Fanon if you have not yet read Fanon! His work also figured largely into AEWCH 48 with George Ciccariello-Maher, on anti-colonialism and activism.
• Here's some writing on marriage and love by the late, great Emma Goldman.